Big plans ahead for new Queensland U3A president
NEWLY-elected U3A Network Queensland state president Gail Bonser realises she's taken on a huge job and intends to do it to the best of her ability.
She's confident she'll have the support of all U3A members and, importantly, her husband.
Gail is also secretary at U3A Twin Towns.
"I first joined U3A Twin Towns in 2006, not long after I retired from work and moved from Perth," Gail said.
"I knew almost no-one,other than family members,when we moved here - we came to be closer to our sons and their families - and U3A offered some interesting courses and the opportunity to meet new friends.
"I initially enrolled in a French class and a class entitled Women in History. Before long I was also attending a literature class, French conversation and was sourcing speakers for a session titled Tea and Talk, which I still lead today.
"I became secretary in September 2014.
"It has been an exciting time to be part of the committee. We have in recent years embraced new technology, reviewed our administrative practice, worked hard at making the organisation more professional and welcoming, improved the facilities, planted a productive garden and broadened the program."
On a typical day at U3A, one member could choose to learn a new dance, practise a form of gentle martial arts, study a language, paint, draw or do a craft activity, garden, listen to a speaker from another organisation, join in with a literature class or talk within a group about current affairs.
"There is research that shows that people who join U3A are happier, cognitively and socially stimulated and have lower mortality," Gail said.
"U3A was first established in Australia in the early 1970s. The longest established U3As in Queensland have passed their 30th anniversary and they are firmly entrenched within their communities.
"Within the membership of the 33 U3As in Queensland there is a wealth of talent and expertise. I am hopeful that the network can harness the available expertise to develop new ideas and tools for member associations to use to their advantage.
"As a peak body we speak on behalf of our member associations and offer them support wherever we can. We also seek to raise awareness of U3A at state and local government level and within the community and to support the establishment of new U3A associations."
Gail says she's lucky to have a talented and experienced network committee whose assistance she can draw on.
"We are currently developing a plan which includes some ambitious targets. It will require each of us to take on specific tasks and we will need to tap into the expertise of members to achieve them," she said.