Reprinted from the December 2023 DIRECTION Newsletter:
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR REFLECTIONS
By Teresa Berger, Executive Director
This issue wraps up the 50th volume of DIRECTION. Wow! I’d like to take just a moment to thank you for your continued support of CALLERLAB as we continue fostering the art of square dance calling and improving caller skills. I look forward to seeing our progress over the next 50 years.
I missed out on the first several decades of CALLERLAB. Despite my short tenure on staff, I have still been reflecting on my time with CALLERLAB, and wanted to share a few takeaways with all of you.
When I was appointed Director in December of 2020, I wrote an article for DIRECTION called, “We’ve Always Done It This Way.” In the article I talked about the many changes we experienced during 2020. I was optimistic for the future of our organization and hopeful as we navigated toward a “new normal.”
Three years later, I am thrilled with the forward movement of our organization. Don’t get me wrong—there is absolutely value in preserving tradition and following precedent. However, it’s just as important to find a healthy balance between “we’ve always done it this way” and trying something new to grow and improve. I’m so proud of the work our association has done to find a strong balance between preserving tradition and trying new things. Let me share just a couple highlights from 2023.
We’ve embraced technology in ways even I hadn’t imagined. For the 2023/2024 Membership Year, more than half of our members renewed their membership via the online form! When you use the online form, not only does this save the Home Office a significant amount of time, but also saves us additional printing costs. On another technology front, I counted at least 20 different committee meetings and trainings held via Zoom just in 2023. It’s great to see our Members active online!
Welcoming new members has been a top priority, and I’m thrilled to see many new faces joining our community. For the 2023/2024 Membership Year, we have 124 Members and licensees that joined this year who were not Members or licensees last year. We’re glad you’re here!
We’ve been brainstorming, collaborating, persevering, and innovating to keep our traditions alive while adapting to the post-pandemic world . It’s been a team effort, and I commend all of you for your openness to change and your enthusiasm for keeping our CALLERLAB family vibrant and thriving.
It has been an honor to work alongside exceptional leaders, to listen to your stories firsthand, and to share my love for square dancing with all of you. One of my favorite parts of my job is having a front-row seat to the amazing work you are doing in the square dance community. Square Dancing is not just about the calls and formations (although these are definitely important); it’s also about the friendships, the laughs, and that sense of belonging that makes our activity so special.
As we kick off our new membership year, I want to thank you again for your continued support of square dancing and CALLERLAB. Please know that I’m cheering for all of you. Here’s to the adventures of the past year and the many more to come!