I’ve been active in my local JDRF chapter for over 20 years …. For the first several years, I went as a walk participant on my mom’s company’s team. And then about 10 years ago I signed up to work on the Logistics team that helps to plan the walk. I started out on the Food Committee and helped organize food for the event. Then I became the Food Chair. Then I was asked to Co-Chair the walk about 6 yrs ago, and I did that up until last year.
We have always had a kickoff event around this time of year – it started out being a really fun dinner/party that was intended to get everyone pumped up for the walk and get excited about fundraising and attending the walk. There were door prizes and giveaways (one year I won a tv!) and I always left there with my chest puffed out a little with pride. And super pumped (pun intended) about reaching out to my family/friends that have supported me all of these years to ask, yet again, for donations.
Then a couple of years ago, with a new regime and lower budget, it was cut way back and fewer people attended and it just wasn’t the same. But I still went. Because I was still the co-chair and the walk has always been VERY important to me.
This year I had not heard anything about a kickoff event. So I emailed my local chapter and I received what appeared to be a form letter of such. Telling me that they’re happy I’m “back” this year (was I gone?) and that this year we are part of a pilot group that is changing the name of the walk from “JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes” to “JDRF One Walk”. Also, there will be no kickoff event. And no awards event (which we’ve always had, as well. This is where I’ve received all my awards from years past.)
I’m not sure how I feel about that …. Granted I’m just one person. But I’m one person that has been VERY involved in my chapter for over two decades. I’ve helped plan the walk for a decade. And I’m fine with taking a step back to attend the walk with my family again. I’ve actually looked forward to that. My six year old gets excited about going every year. And I hope my twins look forward to it as they get older, too. But I’ll miss the “small” stuff. Like the kickoff, and the awards banquet. I am not sure yet what to expect this year, and I’ll certainly going into it with an open mind … but I am not sure it’s the right thing to do to cut out so much of the stuff that we are used to from years’ past. We’ve made a lot of changes recently – in the last 3 years alone we’ve changed the location, the regime at the local corporate office, downscaled the events, etc.
I’m hoping that this year will be better than ever. It’ll just be different. And sometimes change can be good. 🙂