Ransom Family

Random Ramblings and Happenings

2013 WA PTA Convention

on May 6, 2013

Last week was super busy crossing items off of my ever growing list of tasks to complete.  I made a huge list on the weekend of all that needed to be done for the week (phone calls, chores, errands, appointments, events, arrangements, eating, naps, all that) and assigned everything out for the week to make it more manageable.  I always like getting just a little bit through the day and having more than half of the list complete (not matter how small the task was).

I wanted to be ready to go to the Washington State PTA Convention in Bellevue (three and a half hours away) Thursday afternoon.  I really should have taken a picture of my big list this week all crossed off.  It felt good to be done with that.

I arranged with a lady from church to watch my kids after school on Thursday and Friday and another to watch Vincent and Abby during the day on Friday while Andy was working.  Earlier this year, our ward had a service auction where the friend watching kids after school offered a certain number of hours of babysitting and I “bought” her coupon.  She “bought” my coupon that was dinner and dessert so we swapped. On Thursday when I dropped off my kids, I also dropped off a nice big dinner (2-9×13 pans of pizza spaghetti, green beans, two hot fresh loaves of my favorite french bread, Elizabeth’s special fruity salad, and some snickerdoodle cookies) that would feed both her family and mine that night.  This was great because Elizabeth had jujitsu not long after Andy was to pick the kids up and doing it this way the food would be ready to eat when he got there and they could just go straight to class. Somehow my friend thought I meant that the dinner was for two nights instead of just one and so they ate for two nights there, which was awesome.  I left my house Thursday afternoon clean, with laundry done, dishes done, tidied, food prepared (not that Andy’s can’t but I was trying to make it easier), schedule written down, kid bags prepped, my bags packed, AND I even had an hour nap. I felt so good (and yes, I’m a bit crazy about certain things.)

Meanwhile, I rode with a lady from a neighboring PTA (and her cute baby) and my PTA’s President over to Bellevue.  (I’m the PTA Vice President again.)
We had dinner at Wendy’s with whoever wanted to come from our area’s group and tried to go to bed at a normal time (late for them, early for me.)

Friday morning Mount Rainer was beautiful out our hotel room window.  The day was beautiful.

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I asked someone to take a picture of some of our group on Friday morning.  Our incoming treasurer was already in the area the day before with her daughter so she joined us there.

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Friday afternoon we had lunch with a very large group of three regions from our side of the state that were low in numbers at a fun pizza restaurant.  We were seated on the top floor  (look at that ceiling!) The lady in the middle standing up is Karen Albers and she is from our area and gave her speech to be elected WA PTA President for the next two years.  Unfortunately, she didn’t win, but she is fantastic!  The other people in this picture are two ladies who help run our region and our PTA’s star, Kerrilynn.  A few years ago, Kerrilynn was our state’s leadership chairperson and was in charge of all training for the whole state and went to National conventions and all that.  She still does those things when she can and still comes to our PTA because her daughter goes to our school.

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After our yummy lunch, I took a picture of this massive hotel that held our convention.  More than 900 people attended convention!  This year marked the 100th annual WA State PTA Convention.  How cool is that?

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Kerrilynn is still in charge of plenty of things for the State PTA, like creating historical displays and teaching classes.

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We had many speakers in our general sessions.  This lady is the CEO of the Seattle Storm Women’s Basketball team.  The pictures are from the big projector screen ahead of us because we were too far from the podium.

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Our state governor came to speak to us.  His speech was mostly just political  about how the state would love to support education, if only there weren’t any tax breaks.  I say if there’s money that’s needed somewhere, give a certain percentage cut to all other non essential programs.  There’s no reason to just stop one.  Make everyone tighten up their budgets and get rid of extravagant things they don’t need.

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While listening to all of that political stance, I decided to take pictures of the chandeliers instead. ;)  They had these fun glass bubble lines hanging down and there were probably 30-40 in the ballroom.

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We had three class sessions Friday to attend.  I wrote down so many notes of ideas with things we can tweak a little bit or redo so it works better for our PTA.  That’s what these things are all about!

Friday evening we had all kinds of PTA business to conduct with rules and laws to accept or amend, officers to elect for the next two years, and plenty of fun things like doorprizes (which I did not win, but they are awesome!)

Saturday morning there were more public speakers who were there to encourage, but they kind of just made us a little mad.  I’m not going into that other than to say that our state is quite divided politically.

Part of Kerrilynn’s history display had this quilt that was made for a former WA State PTA President in the ’70’s.  It was quilted by Richland women.

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Saturday more class sessions were offered with plenty more ideas and tips and wisdom.  I still need to reread them all and figure out what things to implement.
We also talked with the vendors who were there about all kinds of things, but especially our project of building an Outdoor Classroom Pavilion at our school that our PTA has been working towards for six years.  We talked Thursday morning with someone in our town about steps we need to take and a timeline and we are planning on next summer 2014 to have it complete.  This is very likely to happen because we have a local construction company who offered to install our structure for free if our PTA pays for the materials and permits.  This is very doable.  We got quotes for our 20×20 shade structure from three different companies and two said it would be between $20,000-30,000 for it.  The third one said it would be $13,500 and may even cost less next year.  How great is that!?  We are even closer to our goal than we thought!  We will put four picnic tables underneath so teachers can take classes outside for science experiments, class rewards, parties, and our principal likes to eat lunch each day with students and he could do that out there too, if the weather’s nice.  Our school is so supportive of this and so is our community.  I love seeing it all come together.

After that long day, we decided some Cheesecake Factory was in order!  Our treasurer went over at 5:30 to request a table and they told her it would be available at 7:30, so that’s when most of us showed up.  She shopped a little in between.  These are ten of the women (and one baby) who attended convention this year from our region.  We had more, but not all of them joined us.

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Saturday night they had a President’s reception to say goodbye to Novella Fraser whose WA State PTA President’s term is up this year.  Our neighboring school friend had to have a picture with her baby so she could show her daughter her first convention.  (Can you believe that when her baby was 36 HOURS old, she agreed to take on the position of her school’s PTA President?  She has four sons as well and wants her school to succeed!  That’s dedication!)

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I’m probably not quite as inspiring, but I do try.  I needed a picture too, right?

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Randomly our treasurer found out that one of her high school classmates was also attending.  Isn’t that so cool?

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Saturday night my school’s PTA President and I ended up whispering for quite awhile about things we can adjust, change, eliminate, or add to our school’s programs.  Then my head was spinning and I just had to stay up even longer and write it all down.  I have pages and pages of ideas now.
Here’s one that I came up with on Saturday that will work for our school and hopefully will help with two of our main goals for the coming school year. We have had a steady decline of PTA members in our PTA over the last few years, so I want to work on that as well as that Outdoor Classroom Pavilion that is looking more and more real everyday.  I thought it would be awesome to use a bulletin board we have and have a big pavilion on it just like we are planning and every time someone joins our PTA, we will add a person underneath the pavilion.  This, hopefully, will let everyone know what our goal is and one way we want to get there.  So excited!

Sunday morning they had an awards breakfast.  That is what it sounds like.  They give out great awards to outstanding people serving their schools and communities. Karen Albers (from our region) presented the Lifetime Membership Award to longtime PTA champion, Judy (also called Committee Queen.)  She had no idea for a long time, but someone told me just as the award started so I had to have a picture after she realized it.  It was cool.

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Sunday morning I went to a class taught by my region director.  There were nine class sessions offered with eight or nine different classes presented each time so there was plenty of variety.

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After three classes, we headed home.  We got gas near the beautiful Seattle Temple.

20130505_945It was so nice to get away for a bit, but really nice to come home again and see my kids.  I think they all grew an inch or two in those four days I was gone!  After doing dishes and cleaning up toys, I let them pick a few things I got from the vendors at the convention.  They liked that.

Then we headed over to Andy’s parent’s house to celebrate his little sister’s birthday.  These fun kids all wanted to sit on Grandma Shirley’s lap.

20130505_946These kids (and all the kids like them) are the reason I work as hard as I do in everything I do, but especially PTA.  PTA gives each child a voice and with our large numbers throughout the country, when we all work together, our voice is powerful.

Do you know much about PTA and all that they advocate for? These are some of their successful accomplishments:
Immunizations
Child Labor Laws
Kindergarten Classes
School Lunch Programs
Juvenile Justice Program
(so youth aren’t sent to adult prison)

The more I learn, the more I like.
What was YOUR favorite thing at the school where you grew up or where your children go now?

 

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One response to “2013 WA PTA Convention

  1. Melissa Jemmett says:

    I am tired just reading that blog post!!!! I too love the feeling of looking at a list with everything crossed off….especially when I have extra time. Sounds like the convention was good. :)

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