Opportunities Abound

LivingPower September/October 2023

By Mike Taylor

Attendees at Durham Fall Conference

One line from our website says it all. “If you are a member, get involved here.” Membership in NCRGEA offers each of you a variety of opportunities to do just that, get involved. From a Zoom briefing in the comfort of your home to local district gatherings to regional conferences, your association is making it easy to get involved and engage.

One of the pleasures I take from serving as President of NCRGEA is to attend our regional conferences. Since last fall, I have attended conferences in Concord, Shelby, Winston Salem, Fayetteville, here in my home county of Carteret at Morehead City, and Hendersonville. And later this month, we have conferences scheduled for Statesville (September 13), Durham (September 19), and Greenville (September 26). This job is certainly offering me a crash course in NC geography.
You should have already received an invitation to attend one of the September conferences, and if one is close to you, I especially encourage you to do so. As our Executive Director Tim O’Connell says of these conferences, “The goal is to bring retirees together.” The conferences offer a chance to find out the latest information about a multitude of issues that impact our lives as retired public servants. Topics for the conferences include health insurance, Social Security, updates from the NC State Treasurer’s office, General Assembly happenings, and much more. Over a dozen of our sponsors and state agencies have tables to distribute information, talk with retirees about specific issues, and even offer freebies to take home.

At the spring conference in Hendersonville, Humana offered hand fans to attendees. I had to have one of those and told the gathering, in my opening welcome, after seeing the fans I had a flashback to that rural church I attended in my youth where similar fans provided our air conditioning. Of course, those fans were all provided by the local funeral home!

But NCRGEA provides so many more opportunities for you to get involved in your association. NCRGEA has nine regional districts that stretch from the mountains to the coast. Those nine districts come in all shapes and sizes. In the northeastern portion of our state, District 5 is made up of 25 counties, while District 8 includes just one county, Wake. Given the location of the state government, that should be easy to understand.

But no matter the geographic size of our districts or the number of retirees that live there, all NCRGEA members have the same opportunities through a Community Advisory Board (CAB) that is established in each district. These CABs, which meet at least twice a year, help connect NCRGEA with its membership at the local level. Join the CAB in your district. You can find out more information on a CAB near you by visiting the NCRGEA website.

Dr. Deryl Davis Fulmer, a retiree from the NC community college system, who also worked in higher education in Wisconsin, serves as our Community Liaison, connecting members with activities like our monthly Lunch and Learn webinars and other Zoom programs. These active engagement programs cover the spectrum of topics, from “Aging Un-Lonely,” steering clear of internet fraud, health insurance, and how to organize your documents for the inevitable (no explanation needed). We are quickly discovering that providing educational content programming is a value-added feature of your membership. Participation has been strong, with virtual attendance totaling over 1,400 since January 1, 2023. Dr. Fulmer adds, “It’s exciting to know how many members we are reaching.”

NCRGEA believes strongly in getting you, the membership, involved, and your participation is proving that if offered a good program, NCRGEA members will zoom in!

There are numerous opportunities for you to get involved in your association. Another line from our
website sums it up best: “NCRGEA is for those who want to be more active and engaged in retirement.”