What can we do?

By Bill Obers - Zone 7 Director

“Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”

When John F. Kennedy made this statement, it was on 20 January 1961 and was part of his inaugural address as President of the United States of America. I believe that the words are as true and meaningful today as they were then, when they caught the minds of many young people.

In New Zealand we have a long and proud history of being a country where volunteering is a way of life.

At least it was for us, but maybe not so much for people today. Everyone now seems to be busy working and earning the mighty dollar to provide for their family and choice of lifestyle, with little time left for any volunteering activities.

Most facets of community life, from sporting clubs to service clubs to motorsport and everything inbetween, suffer from the lack of members willing to take on roles of responsibility. In some cases, even membership is declining, or has even declined to the point where the club is barely able to continue.

Grey Power is potentially one of these “clubs”, where many of our members have done their fair share of volunteering over the years and perhaps many are now over it. And who can blame them. Over the years it may have been kindergarten and school committees, scouting or guiding or similar youth-related organisations where their children were involved, or maybe they were a leader as well.

Maybe they were a member of an emergency-related service (fire, ambulance, St John, civil defence) where many years of service was given, or it may have been a church or service club that benefitted from their volunteering. Whatever it was, THANK YOU for your service and commitment.

So, why am I mentioning that here? In the words of Uncle Sam,

Advocacy for older persons’ welfare

As you well know, Grey Power is an advocacy organisation promoting the welfare and well-being of all those citizens in the 50 plus age group. For advocacy to work effectively there must be quality information.

Depending on the subject and the depth of knowledge required, many hours may have to be spent getting the latest and best examples and information to make the best presentation possible. This may be where you can help.

Grey Power has many topics it deals with, all of which is undertaken through National Advisory Groups and/or Standing Committees. These NAGs and SCs are chaired, in most cases, by a member of the Federation Board, with a small number chaired by a subject matter expert (SME). The ‘chairs’ are assisted by people with an expertise or an interest in the topic that group covers.

One of the problems is that the Federation Board does not know ‘‘who and with what expertise” is out there in Grey Power membership land, which is the reason for this article.

Yes, they know the names and some other basic information, but not the working and interest background or previous experiences of its members.

So, if you have some spare time and are willing to offer some of that time to Grey Power, please let the Federation office know and they will pass your details to the relevant people.

The various topics include (but are not limited to):

  • Election Strategy
  • Research
  • SuperGold Card
  • Social Services
  • Finance
  • Investment
  • Marketing
  • Communication
  • Aged Care
  • Retirement Villages
  • Energy
  • Health
  • ACC
  • Local Bodies
  • Housing
  • Transport
  • Retirement Income
  • Taxation

Going back to the start, it will be great to see people asking themselves, “What can I do for my Grey Power?” …and then offering their services to, and supporting, Grey Power.

More articles