December RVC Column

December is usually a time for parties and feasting and family get-togethers. Unfortunately, our current political, economic, epidemiological and weirdweather “perfect storm” has meddled with most of that. As for crosscountry travel, faggedaboudit. The multilayer uncertainty has also derailed the planning that most Local Groups do for their holiday season gettogethers.
So what to do? Stock up on canned goods, hide under the bed and resort to the internet and video conferencing. If you’re not already an experienced user of Zoom and GoToMeeting and Hangouts, ask any nearby schoolkid for help (and give a figurative pat on the back to their teachers, who’ve been dumped into this new environment and are swimming far more than they’re sinking, bless ‘em). Plains and Peaks Mensa found that trivia nights work almost as well online as the facetoface variety. Nebraska-Western Iowa Mensa reports that online book clubs do the same.
Many of our most successful events center around food, from picnics to dineouts to the Hospitality rooms at Gatherings. Believe it or not, it’s possible to do a foodcentered video conference. How about a multi-cook cooking class for swapping techniques and favorite recipes? Denver Mensa used Zoom for a speaker session featuring a professional mixologist who showed us his methods and philosophy. Or you could just do what people have been doing since cell phones got cameras – everyone shows off the vittles on their plate and then proceeds to consume while carrying on table talk. It just takes one volunteer to start what could become a tradition.
For those of you who’ve been hanging back from the internet because of its wellearned Wild West reputation, here’s a bit of good news. There’s a new Sheriff in town, at least in two places. Mensa Connect is an online conversation facility, supported and secured by American Mensa, with separate sections for national, regional and local discussions. Starting November 2 it’ll have a General Discussion forum – which will be moderated to keep things civil. On Facebook, the old Hospitality and Firehouse groups have been converted to SIGs. Both groups have committed to being kinder and gentler than they’ve been in the past.
Finally, as I wrote last month, I will not be running for RVC next year. If noone runs for that position the AMC will appoint a Regional Coordinator but that person will have no vote on policy matters that will affect our Heartland Region. If you have leadership experience within American Mensa or elsewhere, consider putting your name forward. I value the experience and friends I’ve gained over the past four years, but now it’s your turn. Visit AML’s Election Portal and start your candidacy rolling. I’ll sign your petition.
~~ Rich

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