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Meeting Minutes 6/13/2024

Updated: 3 days ago

June 13, 2024, 3:30 p.m.

In person at Patten Free Library

 

Attendees:  Karin Sadtler, Jim Peavey, Polly Shaw, Janet Persen, Phyllis Wolfe, Susan Ellis, Tommy Davis, Marla Davis, Allison Hepler, Caroline Kurrus, Roberta Jordan, Jess Irish, Barbara Reinertsen

 

Welcome and Introductions:  Karin welcomed everyone, and we introduced ourselves.  Karin noted that since Deirdra and Michele were not able to attend, we would postpone a debrief of the Town Hall meeting.  The agenda would include a discussion of social media, led by Susan Ellis, and an update and request for feedback on the transportation project.

 

Social Media: (See also memo sent out by Susan.) Susan Ellis mentioned that her background is in social media and websites, and that her understanding is that a priority for our group is getting our Facebook posts back up and running and to add Instagram.  Referring to our website statement, she asked the group if it is our goal to promote that our member communities are places where people of all ages can thrive and age gracefully, or if there are other goals we should have in mind in our communications.  Some of the items that came up in discussion were:

 

·      Provide helpful information, such as on emergency preparedness, how to stay safe, etc.

·      Share messages from aligned groups, such as Age-Friendly Maine, Maine Council on Aging, AARP, United Way of Mid Coast Maine, Patten Free Library, Main Street Bath.

Susan encouraged people to share additional ideas with her.

·      Promote what AFCLK has done

·      Promote what AFCLK hopes to do – aspirational.  Use communications to actually make our communities better. This could involve getting people of various ages connected and recruiting more volunteers.  There would need to be a link and a call to action.  There should be specific asks, not just to volunteer “for us.” Jess mentioned that “Sign Up Genius” is easy to use.  Others mentioned that when asking for volunteers, social media can be fine, but a personal ask is best. 

·      Help change negative perceptions of aging.  This included a discussion of language, with people saying that currently preferred is either “older adults” or “people over (whatever age, e.g. 65)”.  It was mentioned that the Maine Council on Aging has a training on Anti-Ageism; Marla volunteered to look into the possibility of our hosting such a training.

·      Photo contest. Some preparatory work had been done on this idea, including with a contact of Deirdra’s and with Midcoast Youth Center.  Susan and Karin said they were willing to help work on this project.

·      Audiences.  There was discussion on which age groups use which social media, and what we should use and focus on.  For example, young people aren’t using Facebook so much, but are more likely to use Instagram and Tik Tok.  Perhaps we could get someone from Morse (or Y, or MYC) to join our group.  There was also a concern expressed that we should focus on older adults, including ones who are not as physically and socially active as others.  (They may not use Facebook, but possibly a program like “Next Door.”)  It was suggested we not dilute our focus too much by concentrating on young people, as there are other excellent groups with that mission.  Let’s focus on:  what does our group do now for older adults experiencing isolation (one of our core issues) or other problems.  It was also mentioned that often when we talk about young people, it is in the context of promoting intergenerational relationships and activities that could benefit older adults, not looking solely at young people.

·      Forming a communications committee.  Susan expressed, and others agreed, that it would be good to form a committee, including older and younger people, to explore the best channels and make sure we have consistent and active communications.  The group agreed that the steering committee would not have to approve a Quarterly Calendar or specific messages, but that it would be a good idea if either Deirdra or Michele, as steering committee co-chairs, could join the communications committee and serve as liaison.  Allison volunteered to join Susan on the communications committee, and Jim was asked and agreed to serve as an advisor. 

·      Potential event at new Uptown apartments for older adults.  Polly said she recently moved there and would like to see us put together a program to be held in Uptown’s community room.  It would be good to talk with people there about issues and what their problems are.  (It might also be a place for our group to hold our regular meetings.) Jess volunteered to reach out to Uptown management to see if they would be receptive to this idea.

·      Reviving and using our e-mail list.  Barbara asked if we could revive the use of this list of, she believed, several hundred people who had at some point expressed some interest in our work.  Karin gave some of the background on what service was used, etc.  Caroline and Janet agreed to work on setting up a usable way to get our communications out by email to this group.

 

Transportation: (See also Volunteer Transportation Program procedure handouts distributed in advance of and at the meeting.) Jim said that he, Marla, and Karin had been working on how to merge what we currently have for volunteer rides through People Plus and what Georgetown is doing on its own.  People were encouraged to review the Procedure sheets and ask questions or give feedback. 

 

In response to questions about the role and responsibilities of towns that wanted to participate in an AFCLK-organized system, it was clarified that there would be no financial commitment required, and that it would be up to AFCLK to reach out for a volunteer administrator (required) for each town.  We’d want the town government to say they agree, and to help promote the program, so that the towns and AFCLK are in sync with the ridership program.  AFCLK would train and support the volunteer administrators.  

 

Regarding funding, it was asked if an organization might be willing to use grant funding for a part-time position, and if that would need to be for the whole area or, for example, for Bath alone.  (The City of Bath is AFCLK’s fiscal agent.). We are signed up for another year with People Plus, based on our payments, but there is a sense we might be able to start our own system sooner.

 

Liability insurance would probably be important.  AARP had offered to provide, but there are limitations to what it would cover and there would still be risks.  There were questions about the possibility of Directors and Officers and General Liability Insurance.  (AFCLK is not currently a 501-c-3.). We would probably need to make sure we committed to certain practices, such as refresher training, supervision, etc., to reduce risks.  It was suggested we consult with a lawyer who is familiar with liability issues to make sure we understand and minimize risk. 

 

Karin asked for volunteers to review the draft handouts from the point of view of a potential driver and a potential rider.  Barbara and Caroline volunteered.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 4:36 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

Barbara Reinertsen

 

 

 

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