Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Last week I found out that my grandfather has cancer. Non Hodgkin's lymphoma to be exact. I was in the middle of my visit with Tau Delta chapter at Birmingham Southern College, and literally in between officer meetings when I got the call from my mom. I tried to stay positive and keep my emotions under control so that I could do my job which is exactly what I did.
Later that night, the women held a ritual so that I could see one during my visit, and afterwards I discussed with them the importance of finding what ritual means to them and I also shared with them what ritual means to me and some of my favorite parts of ritual. Well, when I was talking about one of the parts of ritual that stood out to me, everything I had found out about my grandfather hit me and I got emotional and ending up sharing with the women about my grandfather's cancer and how it is hard being away from my family at this time. The girls were really understanding, and because I don't like to cry in front of people, I quickly pulled myself together and moved on.
The next day I was continuing my officer meetings and after my meeting with the Philanthropy chair, Jessica, she reached into her bag and handed me a candy bar. I of course thanked her and she said that I would understand when I read the card, so she handed me an envelope and left. I of course opened the card and this is what I read.
My mom used to give me Hershey's chocolate whenever I was sad or upset or just having a hard time. I became reliant on the Hershey's to get me through the petty drama of middle school, the difficulties of high school, and the unfortunate twists of everyday life. When I came to college, I was afraid because no one was going to be there to give me Hershey's. I could but it myself, but it wouldn't be the same. Well, I miss my mom's Hershey bars, but God gave me something better. My sisters became my Hershey bar, and AOII is my Hershey's. When I'm hurting, my sisters are there and when all else fails, AOII is there. There to remind me that love and friendship is everlasting and real, and that I can be a light to others.
Thank you so much for coming and staying with us this week. Than you for offering advice and being so supportive of this period of change and transition in our chapter. Thanks for reminding us to be thankful for each other. Thanks for pointing out what it means and what we represent when we wear our letters because I AM that girl who wears Norts and a t-shirt everyday. Thanks, most importantly, for sharing whats going on in your life. I know how hard it is to be away from family and friends and to be the new girl each week. I hope you know I am praying for your family, and I hope you get to be with your family soon. You always have a home at Tau Delta!!
Lots of Alpha love and Hershey's,
Jessica McCurry, Tau Delta"
We all talk about how we are all connected because we are AOII's and the bonds that we have as sisters, and I now understand how that connection is real and how I do have sisters on the road while I travel. And even when they don't really know me, they are still there encouraging me and supporting me along the way.
Thank you to the ladies of Tau Delta for reminding me and truly showing me what sisterhood is all about.
Let your lights shine,
Thursday, September 22, 2011
All were invited to partake in the Bid Day celebration! We distributed t-shirts and bid day bags with lots of AOII paraphernalia! It's sweet to be an AOII held true as we had plenty of candy in vases and the women were able to create their own candy bags! We played a fun game called: I'm an AOII, and you're an AOII too if... Then, pictures were taken and clothes were purchased from the AOII emporium. All the women had a great time at their first official AOII event! It's sweet to be in AOII!
That night was the colonization ceremony! The ceremony was held in the beautiful Stadium Club at YSU. Family, friends, University staff, YSU students, and many of the students in Greek Life at YSU attended! Also, several alumnae of Alpha Omega Pi (a local sorority at YSU) were present, and after the ceremony discussed the alumna initiate process with Jenny Meade (NS-D)!
Gifts from Greek men and women: AOII letters and roses!
About 100 people witnessed a very special occasion - the colonization ceremony for Alpha Omicron Pi. This is a ritual ceremony that is open to the public. The women entered in groups of five, with alumnae and AAC members serving as their sponsors, and Karen Galehan (XB VP) serving as the presiding officer. During the ceremony, the colony chapter of Alpha Omicron Pi at Youngstown State University became official. The Phi Lambda chapter of AOII is on its way to be re-installed, and 40 women are on a journey to become initiated members of Alpha Omicron Pi! It was such an exciting and memorable day for these women, YSU, and AOII! It was such an honor to be a part of this experience!
AOII Colony at YSU!
My last 2 visits since I last blogged were Lambda Chi at Lagrange College, and Delta Tau at Samford University and both were so amazing. First off, I have to brag on the ladies of Lambda Chi! Those women are amazing and they turned it out and in one year changed their recruitment from unsuccessful to absolutely amazing! I was so proud to be sitting in on the hand bid matching and watching the other advisers faces when AOII was the only ones to make quota and chapter total! They got 11 amazing new members and it was great to see how their hard work paid off!! Keep up the great work ladies!!
Lambda Chi's 11 fabulous new members on Bid Day!
I next went to Rho Delta chapter at Samford University for my last recruitment of the semester and these girls turned it out! In every aspect they made improvements and they adjusted to anything that was thrown at the them! In the end they got 50 amazing women and for the first time in many years were above chapter total!!! They also had the wonderful problem of not having enough room in their bid day picture!! So proud of you ladies!!!
But now, recruitment is over. I am currently with the fabulous women of Tau Delta chapter at Birmingham-Southern College. I’m dusting off my officer meeting skills and trying to get use to having regular sleeping hours! So as we change from Summer to Fall, I change from Recruitment to General Visits and I can already tell it is going to be a beautiful season full of new adventures!
See ya on the road,
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Beta Kappa Chapter Members at recruitment retreat in Whistler
After 19 days in Vancouver with Beta Kappa chapter at the University of British Columbia, I boarded a bus yesterday to head to Seattle. It was Bid Day and the chapter’s first successful completion of formal recruitment since their recolonization last semester. I was so lucky to see the chapter progress from recruitment retreat before school started through three rounds of recruitment spread over a week, to bid day when the women finally welcomed their 15 fabulous new members! It was such an amazing experience and I am already excited to go back to the chapter later on in the semester to see what other wonderful things they accomplish.
Chapter members during round one of Recruitment
Kimberly, an AOII Alumna, and Me at lunch in Seattle
Part of the way through the bus ride to Seattle, we exited the bus with our luggage in hand and entered a building to go through customs and immigration to cross the border into the US. Although it was one of the shortest trips through customs I have ever experienced, I did have to wait in line for a few moments. A gentleman behind me noticed my AOII luggage tag on one of my suitcases and said, “You must be going back to school.” I told him that I was actually a consultant for AOII and he proceeded to tell me that he had recognized the tag as being from Alexandria and Company (although it was purchased from the Emporium, of course). It turns out that he works for the company that makes the tag! When we had to load our luggage onto the conveyer belt, I heaved my 50 pound tank onto the belt, followed by my 35 pounder, and finally my AOII tote bag and purse. He commented that I had so much luggage and I told him that I lived on the road. His response? “So do I. The longer you do it, the less you pack.”
I guess that must be true, because today, almost 2 months in to living out of a suitcase (or two), I packed up my second box of clothes and shoes to be shipped home. The first box I shipped home was before we even finished training in Nashville, although the other ELCs also had this same problem. I’m slowly whittling down my “closet” to what I really need—or as my friend Amy would say, purging. So, what is it exactly that I “need” while on the road? Here’s a little glimpse into life on the road and the essentials of living out of a suitcase.
A box of goodies to mail home
All of my clothes in bags makes it much easier to find things in my suitcase!
There's a place for everything!
My travel necessities- my kindle (currently reading The Help), Tervis tumbler so I don't get thirsty, Planner for organization and pens for color coordination, and, of course, my AOII-tastic purse!
Stationery- lots and lots of notecards and stamps to keep in contact with friends at home and thank the wonderful women I get to meet while on the road!
'Picture yourself in AOII' in pictures:
We started with cheers for the evening!
We had a photo booth to picture yourself in AOII!
We led an activity that expressed their core values and how they matched the values of AOII.
We served refreshments and drinks!
And, we showed some of our wonderful AOII emporium apparel!
The night ended with some more fun in the photo booth!
Tonight, we are hosting another recruitment event titled, 'A Black and White Affair'! Stay tuned for another update on tonight's event!
Thanks again to the women of Chi Epsilon for their help last night!
Monday, September 19, 2011
As I arrived at Beta Zeta (Kennesaw State University), the weather was beautiful, sunny, and hot. No rain in the forecast for days. Then, I glanced at the next place I was headed to - Zeta Psi (East Carolina University). A hurricane watch was in effect and was supposed to hit the North Carolina coast on Saturday morning. My flight into Greenville, NC was scheduled for 10am on that Saturday morning.
I kept checking all week, and it did not look too promising. On Friday afternoon, I got a call from the airlines that my flight had been cancelled. However, they only cancelled my flight from Charlotte to Greenville, not my flight from Atlanta to Charlotte. I thought I'd be stuck in Charlotte! Luckily, I called the airlines and had the nicest women on the other line - she let me choose my rescheduled flight! After speaking with Zeta Psi's adviser, I thought a Monday morning flight would work well, so I booked a flight into Greenville, NC on Monday. Some of the lovely women of Beta Zeta let me stay in their apartment for a few more days. I crossed my fingers that everything would work out well, and kept Zeta Psi and all the east coast chapters in my thoughts and prayers.
On Saturday night, I received an email from Zeta Psi saying that conditions after the hurricane were not safe. Many trees were down blocking streets, and they were expecting power outages for several days. Panhellenic recruitment had already been postponed and school was cancelled. After some phone calls and emails, it was decided that I would stay at Beta Zeta for another week. Celia Reed, NS-R for Network 5, graciously took me into her home - and southern hospitality was immediately felt.
I began setting up a few meetings and kept my days busy with officer meetings, (some for a 2nd time) a committee meeting, new member meeting, and a social event. It was great spending more time with the Beta Zeta ladies! We even toured Atlanta and had some food from the south - my favorite was the sweet potato souffle! We went to the CNN center, stopped by The Varsity, and checked out the grounds for the 1996 Olympics.
During my extended stay, I had a chance to develop such a strong relationship with all of the women of Beta Zeta - it was hard to say goodbye! And, I can now navigate through their entire campus and find all 5 of the enormous parking decks! I owe the members of Beta Zeta, the advisers, Celia, and all the network volunteers who worked around my change of plans a huge THANK YOU! You all make AOII such a great organization to be a part of and work for.
The women of Beta Zeta!
Friday, September 2, 2011
Now you may be thinking, Blair we are not NPHC. We don't all step, and not everyone has seen "Stomp the Yard." But when I inevitably get the question, "What positions did you hold in your chapter?", its not the social chair or philanthropy that stands out, but the fact that I was step show chair. Once I put that out there, I am just as quickly asked to do a step.
During my 3 visits, I have not only stepped and strolled, but I have taught steps to the women in the different chapters. I guess the job of step show chair is never over!!
So maybe after I go to all my visits, we can all come together and do the AOII stroll to D.J. Skrilla's AOII rap song! I think it would make an awesome video for the website (hint hint)
stepping around the country,