I wanted to write this post to tell everyone about my experience at Convention last week in Salt Lake City, Utah. Salt Lake City is a beautiful place! I really enjoyed visiting this city. Temple Square and all of the buildings within it were beautiful, City Creek Mall was unique, and the Family Search Family History Library was educational! I was able to trace my family line back to 1797.
Caroline, Jessica B., and I had a great time at Convention, but it was not all fun and games. We learned a lot about our sorority on a national level and how to lead our sisters on a local level. This experience has prepared us for the coming year in many ways, and we cannot wait to share what we learned with the EB at our EB Retreat and with all of our active sisters at Fall Retreat!
Throughout Convention, Caroline and I attended several workshops. These included workshops on parliamentary procedure, communication, preserving OPA’s history, planning meaningful service projects, constitution clean up, and songs. We learned some awesome new OPA songs that we cannot wait to share with our other sisters!
The first thing on our business agenda at Convention was the National EB’s review of OPhiA Vision 2015 plan for Year 2. One of the bigger projects involved in the Vision plan is to employ a person to design and create a national database to better organize all OPhiA information. There is also a new OPhiA website in progress as we work to rebrand our image and recruit new members. There is work to raise money for our sorority on a national level as the NEB has piloted a Chapter Booster Club at three different chapters, and plans to expand the program soon. In the near future, OPhiA nationals will be sending letters to active sisters’ parents encouraging them to donate to the sorority of their assets and abilities as they see fit. The VP of Advancement Planning, Pamela McEwen is staring a donation program called “Friends of OPhiA.” Through this program, sisters make an annual donation of $5 to support member services, chapter support, sorority publications, and OPA’s leadership programs. Your gift will help OPA to grow and develop their programs and services. For more information on this program, please contact Pamela McEwen at firstname.lastname@example.org
Then, we voted on the amendments to our national constitution. The first amendment, attempting to change the name of our active pin to “lifetime member badge,” failed. The active pin will still be referred to as an active pin. The second amendment, which passed, refers to our alcohol and illegal drug policy. This section states that there shall be no use, possession, or distribution of alcohol or illegal drugs of any kind at an OPA event. It goes on to define an OPA event as an event, project, meeting, or gathering that has been officially coordinated, sponsored, or promoted by any member of the sorority as part of sorority activities. An OPA event is also defined as any outing, meeting, or gathering that is discussed or planned at another OPA project, meeting, or gathering or through official means of sorority communication including sorority email or social media groups. The next amendment, which also passed, outlines the repercussions to a violation of our alcohol and illegal drug policy.
Next up we held elections for positions on the NEB. Megan Johnston, our District 3 TLC, was elected VP of Membership, Aly Inglish for VP of Business Operations, and Heather Pritchard, a Nu chapter alumna from Georgia Tech, for President Elect.
We participated in an awesome service project with TreeUtah to clean up a community garden in Salt Lake City.
At the end of business, the location for Convention 2013 was announced…. Pittsburgh!
The last event of Convention was Banquet where our chapter received numerous awards! Every 2011-2012 Alpha Zeta EB officer won the Outstanding Officer award. Then, Alpha Zeta won the Chapter Development Award as well as the Chapter Excellence Program Gold Seal for the fifth year in a row! An incredible eighteen sisters won awards for Individual Achievement in Service, and we had three sisters in the top ten for Individual Achievement in Service- Thi Nguyen, Jessica Bowron, and me, Teigan McIntosh! What a huge honor!
Convention 2012 was a great success, and I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to represent our Alpha Zeta chapter. I know that Caroline and Jessica feel the same way. I am excited to share all of this new information with you, and I cannot wait for all of the great things that I know we will accomplish this semester.
Well, it is that time of year, and I can hardly believe it! This year has gone by so quickly; it seems like just yesterday that we attended fall retreat, and we were talking about NEXT fall retreat at chapter last night… Crazy!
I have definitely enjoyed this year, and made some awesome new friends! I love all of the Etas, especially my littles Mei Mei and Jennifer, and I am so thankful that they were able to enjoy OPA with me. 🙂 Banquet was great, and I think that it was the perfect way to finish up the year. Our sisterhood chair, Thi, did an amazing job with our fun-filled, Cinco de Mayo celebration. We did things a little bit differently this year in that we were allowed to bring guests. I brought two- my fiance, Troy, and our friend, Zack. (Troy is on the right in blue, and Zack is on the left in green.) 🙂
As a chpater, we have accomplished some amazing things this year! As of last night at our chapter meeting (and JB is still not completely done counting…) we have 2,675 service hours this semester!! For the whole year, we have 4,205 hours!!! That is SO amazing, and I am incredibly proud of everyone for all of their hard work. Many sisters received awards at banquet for “over 40 hours” and “over 50 hours.” I am proud of all of the girls who met our new 25 hour requirements, and impressed that so many doubled or almost doubled this requirement! Maybe we can raise our requirement to 30 hours per semester at fall retreat…. 😉
Over this year, I have seen our chapter grow, and I know that we are on our way to bigger and better things. We grew in number, but I also think we grew in friendship, leadership, and service. I know- corny… But I really think this is true! I thought that the chapter grew closer than it ever had during spring of last year, but I think that this spring has fostered even more frienship and sisterhood between the sisters. I can truly say that my sisters are some of my best friends!
At Banquet, I got awards for perfect attendance, over 50 service hours, and, most importantly, Miss OPA! 😀 I was so surprised and honored to be chosen for this award- it truly means the world to me! The other awards were given to Caroline, Miss Service and our future Service Director, Sydney, Miss Friendship, and Priscilla, Miss Leadership. Here we are:
Our chapter meeting last night, the last chapter of the semester, was also the time for our officer transition ceremony. I was happy that my grand-big, Liz, as well as other alums and our District TLC, Megan Johnson, could attend. This was a very special and memorable night for me because I was officially sworn in as the new Alpha Zeta President!!!!!!!!!! 😀 Tegan Y. even handed down our OPA presidential gavel- this proves I am important now. HAHA 😉
And in OPA fashion, we took TONS of pictures. 🙂 Here is the old EB and new EB together:
And the members of the new EB:
Service Director: Caroline, President: Teigan (ME!!), Sisterhood Chair: Tiffany, Secretary: Emily, Membership Director: Thi, Treasurer: Ann, and Vice President: Heather
These are some wonderful, amazing, and beautiful ladies. I absolutely cannot wait to serve on next year’s EB with them; it is truly and honor and a blessing to be chosen as next year’s president. Even though I feel like I have said it a thousand times, I will say it again… I want everyone to know that I am very excited for the new year and all of the great things to come. THANK YOU, sisters! I LOVE YOU!!
The end of the semester…
Just because the semester is ending, does not mean that our service has to! Most or all of the service that we do as sisters of Omega Phi Alpha is completed through group service projects, but this is a reminder that that does not have to be the case. I am going to try to make an effort to do more service on my own, and I would like to encourage everyone else to do the same. Here is a quick list of things you can do over the break from The HandsOn Blog:
- Make artwork for a local senior center or retirement home—they will love the colorful wall decorations!
- Organize a canned food drive at home, school, neighborhood, or place of worship. Donate your collected canned goods to a local food bank or shelter.
- Donate unwanted stuffed animals to a local shelter— there are many children who would love to have an animal to snuggle with this holiday season!
- Donate your family’s holiday party leftovers to a local shelter or soup kitchen
- Gather your old clothes and shoes to donate to the Salvation Army, Goodwill, or other donation center.
- Play board games at a senior center.
- Donate your old books to your local library— there are kids dying to read your books!
- Donate your old backpack there is a child who would love to have a new friend to carry their school work in!
- Have a hot chocolate and cookie stand in your neighborhood and donate the money to your favorite cause.
- Hold a toy drive for kids in a shelter or hospital.
- Take a bag of dog or cat food to your local animal shelter.
- Pick up trash in your local park or neighborhood.
- Grow a community garden.
- Start a recycling program in your community if there is not one already.
- Plant a tree.
And the end of the Etas pledge period!!
This Saturday, December 3rd, the members of the Eta pledge class will become active sisters of Omega Phi Alpha- it is activation! I am so excited for all of the Etas, especially my littles, Mei Mei and Jennifer. They have worked so hard, and this is well earned for them. I am also excited for my big and grand-big to attend activation, and for my first activation as an active. I wish that I could say more, but it is a secret ceremony, and I can’t release any details! The Etas will just have to wait to see what we have in store for them. 🙂
As a follow-up to Light the Night, I received the nicest thank you note from Stacy! I couldn’t begin to paraphrase it, and I figured that by typing it, the words would lose some of their authenticity, so here is a scanned copy of the note…
Maybe it was an emotional day for me, but this note had me in tears. Thank you, Stacy!! Receiving this note from you really meant a lot to me, and I know that the other people you sent thank you notes to felt the same way that I did when I found it in my mailbox.
Light the Night is truly an Omega Phi Alpha memory that I will treasure always. “Why?” you might ask, “Wasn’t it just a walk?” Well, yes… It was “just” a walk, but it was SO much more than that. I loved meeting your family, especially your mom, and I was so happy that they were all able to attend this service project. The personal connection really made the project special to me, making it one of my favorites. Also, the amount of people involved and the amount of money raised by all of the teams is simply astonishing. This was in the email sent by Light the Night on November 10th:
Thanks to you we have raised over $1.2 million for blood cancer research and patient services!
Light the Night was a great success! I thoroughly enjoyed the night, and I think that everyone there had a great time as well. It was such a huge event, and I think that we are all excited to be involved again next year and inspired to do more!
During “for the good of the chapter” on Sunday night, Stacy told us that her mom loved the walk, and she told Stacy,“I like how you talked in front of people.” Stacy also let us know that she has some cool ideas for next year!!
When we first arrived, I was so happy to see that Stacy’s mom, dad, and brother were all able to attend the event. It was great to see them there in our lavender shirts right beside Stacy and Linda, aka “Stacy’s Mom” for the night. 🙂
I would like to say a big THANK YOU to all of our donors! Because of their amazing kindness and generosity, we were able to meet our fundraising goal and surpass it! As a team, we raised $1,510.00! That is $1,510.00 going to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society for treatment and research! I am so proud, and I think that next year we can make it even bigger- maybe we could move our goal from $1,000 to $5,000 or $10,000! I think that we could do it! Because I raised over $100, $231.83 to be exact, I got a free meal ticket, a t-shirt, and a red balloon to carry during the walk. (The balloon was kind of annoying me because it did not go straight up, so I let my grand-big, Liz, carry it. Thanks, Liz!)
As we lined up for the walk, I was shocked to see the amount of people there- as I said before, it was a huge event. It was much bigger than I anticipated it to be. There were so many people involved and it really felt great to be a part of something bigger. We started walking at a snail’s pace because there were so many people around, but we were slowly making it up the first hill. At the starting line, there was a woman announcing teams as they walked past. Most of the team’s were much bigger than ours and carried a banner with their team name. Because we didn’t have this for her to see, I squeezed my way through the crowd to get to the woman, and I started yelling, “Stacy’s Mom! Stacy’s Mom!” right in her face. (Yelling because the crowd and the music was so loud!) She announced it on the microphone and our team cheered! This may seem like a silly detail to some of you, but it is the small things like that that really made me feel like I was part of the night and the experience for Stacy’s Mom.
Our team’s spirits were high, and as we walked, Stacy tried to lead us in the chorus of the song, “Stacy’s Mom.” Hilariously, badly, we made it through the chorus, but that was about as far as we got… For those unfamiliar with the song responsible for our team’s name, here is the reference:
I decided to bring my puppy, Chloe, with me to the walk. I guess this was a good idea, because everyone loved seeing her and holding her. The only problem was that she never…. let’s just say “relieved herself” while we were at the park, and when we started to walk I could tell she really had to go! Unfortunately, it was not really the time or place for that because we were 1) on the streets of Atlanta and 2) walking along those streets with a large crowd of people. There were no places to stop and if we did, we would get left behind. Well, when nature calls, I guess that it wins, because we did end up stopping, and I tried to give Chloe ample opportunity to do her business in a planter. Kelly took a picture: (not sure what is up with that flash of light…)
Unfortunately, this was not the right place for Chloe, and she refused to do anything. Giving up, we had to run to catch up with our group as everyone by Kelly and Liz had kept walking. (It was so nice of them to stay behind with me so I wouldn’t get lost!) We did manage to keep up with the group after that, but Chloe was a little wiggle worm that would hardly stay in my arms! I kept trying to get other people to hold her so I wouldn’t have to… Not a very hard task with a cute little puppy in a group full of girls. 🙂
At the end of the walk, I hugged Stacy and her family goodbye, and we went our separate ways. I really think that Stacy’s mom enjoyed the walk- because Stacy told us that she did at chapter, but also because I could see it in her face. This was such a great night, and I think that it is one of my favorite Omega Phi Alpha memories!
On Sunday, October 30th, I participated in Boo at the Zoo at the Atlanta Zoo with my sisters. For this event, lots of families came out. All of the children, and some of the parents, wore Halloween costumes. Some parents even matched the children- I saw one family of Supermans and another where the mom and daughter were both dressed up as chickens. They had the zoo decorated with Halloween decorations, both in and out of the animals’ habitats. There were pumpkins, spiderwebs, and ghosts hung throughout the park.
I dressed up as the tooth fairy! (This was also my costume for our Halloween chapter the week before.) I wore an extremely sparkly pink dress that I got on sale at Charlotte Russe last year, some hot pink tights, sparkly flats, a crown that I have had forever, and the wings from my angel costume last year. I cut a tooth out of some white sparkly felt and safety-pinned it to the front of my dress. For Boo at the Zoo, I made a toothbrush wand using some sparkly embellishments of ribbon and pipe cleaners. As you can see, the key to being a tooth fairy is sparkly sparkles! Even though I thought it was pretty obvious what I was with the large tooth pinned to my chest and the toothbrush wand, some kids were a little confused. Throughout the day, I was called princess, fairy, and butterfly, but all of those are acceptable costumes, so I was ok with the confusion. Here is a picture of my costume along with my little, Mei Mei, who dressed up as candy corn! (She is adorable!!)
When we first arrived at the zoo, around 8:30 am, we were not able to park in our designated spot because of the runners in the Atlanta Marathon. They had the streets blocked off around the zoo, so we parked a few blocks away in a residential area and walked. It was so cold, and I couldn’t feel my toes! When we finally got to the zoo, a nice zoo employee directed us to the building where all of the volunteers were meeting. There was our large group, fifty girls from Omega Phi Alpha, as well as a group from the Key Club of a local school. We were split into groups and told what we would be doing for the day. My job would be handing out candy over by the reptile house. They had lots of candy stations set up all over the zoo, and there were also craft stations for the kids to enjoy.
Here is a video from last year’s event. I wanted to include this video in my post because I really think it captures the fun spirit of Boo at the Zoo, and it shows some of the adorable kids’ costumes. The baby bumblebees and lions were my favorite, although there was one little girl who was dressed as a flamingo. It was an awesome costume! 🙂
After the event was over around 3:00 pm, some people came to shut down our candy station, and then we were free to walk around the zoo! A whole group of us got together to explore.
While watching the pandas, Christine and I were reminded of this popular YouTube video: (I can watch this multiple times in a row! I don’t know why I find it so funny…)
Overall, I really enjoyed this service project! It was fun to spend time with my sisters, especially some of the pledges that I had not previously spent as much time with, and I loved seeing all of the kids. I would like for us to go back next year.
This semester, we are doing a service project through the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society called Light the Night. This annual walk helps raise funds to help those fighting blood cancers. This project is especially important to us because one of our sisters, Stacy, is directly affected by these diseases; her mother, Linda, is currently battling Amyloidosis and Fibromyalgia. Here is what Stacy said about her mom on our team’s homepage:
- Linda Fussell is my hero! My Mom is truly my best friend and I am honored to be walking for her!
- My Mom has had so many medical problems these past few years, and so many unanswered questions. This past year she has endured over five surgeries.
- My Mom is 54, and was diagnosed with Amyloidosis last spring. The Doctor’s still think there is more wrong, and she was given a second diagnosis of Fibromyalgia this summer.
- Her disease, Amyloidosis is very rare, and was caught early! They believe it is localized.
- My Mom and I joined the Amyloidosis Support Group where we heard of Light the Night, and knew it was perfect! We hope one day Amyloidosis can be cured!
I am writing to tell you about the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night Walk to benefit cancer research. This event will take place on November 5th at Centenial Olympic Park, and I will be walking along with other sisters from my service sorority at Kennesaw State University, Omega Phi Alpha. This event is especially important to us because of the close connection that Stacy, one of our sisters, has to this disease; her mother was diagnosed with Amyloidosis last spring, and she was given a second diagnosis of Fibromyalgia this summer. We are participating in this walk in honor of Stacy’s mom.
Here is the link to our team’s homepage where you can find out more about the event. http://pages.lightthenight.org/ga/Atlanta11/StacysMom#Welcome-to-our-Teams-Homepage
If you feel led to do so, I would like to ask you to donate to this cause to raise funds for lifesaving research and patient services. Even a small donation will get me closer to my goal of $100. If you are not able to donate, please pass along this email to others you think may be interested. Also, I would like to ask for your prayers for Stacy’s mom, Linda Fussell, and our team as we participate in this walk.
Thank you so much!