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.”

NCRGEA Conferences: See You in September 2023

LivingPower July-August 2023

Plans are underway for the upcoming NCRGEA Fall Conferences, and we are excited to be heading your way in September at three locations across the state. On Wednesday, Sep. 13, we will be at the Statesville Civic Center; On Tuesday, Sep. 19, you can find us at the Durham Convention Center; and on Tuesday, Sep. 26, the final NCRGEA Fall Conference will be held at the Greenville Convention Center.

Back by popular demand will be some improvements to the schedule and changes in events and sponsor participation, which were introduced last spring at our conference in Hendersonville and scored highly in survey results.

Get ready for plenty of local flair at each conference, including an outstanding lunch served by a local caterer focusing on regional, featured food from the area, and exciting door prizes from local merchants. Another local angle includes having a representative from the local NCSU Cooperative Extension office on hand to lead a presentation on a regional landscaping topic and answer attendees’ questions. “We are making a point to highlight the cultural aspects of each community,” said Tim O’Connell, NCRGEA Executive Director.

Each conference will have our partnering sponsors ready to discuss many aspects of retired life – from healthcare to social security to hobbies and activities. Sponsors will start the session with quick, two-minute introductions, which provides attendees with an overview, helping them decide how to engage throughout the day by to the information and assistance most important to them.

Stephanie Bias, a representative from the North Carolina Department of Insurance’s Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) said, “The approach of the two-minute greeting by the sponsors made a big difference to attendees. It put a face with a name, agency, or business, so attendees could target their visits to the exhibit booths.”
The schedule will allow time for attendees to visit the information tables, visit with each other, and make new friends. “One of our goals is to bring retirees together,” said O’Connell. “This allows them to share ideas and make connections. This time together also allows staff to get new ideas for future programs and events.”

Look for invitations and additional information coming soon with details on registering for NCRGEA’s Fall Conferences in:

9.13.23 Statesville: Statesville Civic Center | 300 S Center St | Statesville, NC 28677

9.19.23 Durham: Durham Convention Center | (inside Marriott) | 301 W Morgan St | Durham, NC 27701

9.26.23 Greenville: Greenville Convention Center | 303 Greenville Blvd SW | Greenville, NC 27834