As we wind down 2018, I’ve had a chance to breathe and look back on the year we’ve had among the Ramallah community. Being the President of this Club is a monumental task. There is no way a single person can do everything on his or her own. It was only possible through the help of the volunteers who came to help throughout the year; and for that, I’m thankful. We do not give the volunteers enough credit. So, to those of you who cook for us, who collect tickets, who decorate, and to the dozens of others who donated their precious time, I want to say thank you. Together we have had a successful year.
As President, I was focused on the long-term expansion of this Club. If you aren’t going forward, you are going backwards. We must not get complacent with what the Ramallah Club currently is, but continue to push onward. In furtherance of that goal, this year we created the Ramallah Club Capital Fund. This is money that is earmarked specifically for major construction or renovation projects. There is increasing competition for banquet space, and in order to be the top choice for Jacksonville events, this Club needs updates. Having a capital fund will allow us to effectively make those updates, and to keep our eyes on long term growth, while still allowing flexibility to deal with daily expenses.
In that vein, the future of the Club is in its members. More specifically, the future is in our Youth Group, and truthfully, it is the Youth Group that makes this Club so fun. From selling desserts, to building haunted houses, to community service in the Jacksonville area, the Youth Group has never refused a call for help. We often look to the past for guidance, but we could also all benefit from emulating our youngest members.
Financially, the Club is strong. That is a relief for all of us. We needed a revenue boost this year, so last year we reluctantly raised dues for all members. We worried that the increased cost would drive away members. We worried that our membership would diminish. We worried, that we were asking too much of our members. All of you recognized that this Club needs us to thrive, and membership revenue increased this year. The Club asked for help from its members, and you rose to its aid.
Aside from the big projects, I’m proud of the little things. For example, this year we started serving dinner at the General Assembly meetings. We were lucky enough to have families donate those meals. The Ramallah Club is a place for family, and as a community, we are a family. Nothing brings family together like food. When we dine together, and make decisions about this Club together, we are stronger for it.
Finally, I am proud to have been the President when we made a pitch for, and were awarded, the 2020 Ramallah Convention. For the first time in decades, we will have the convention here in Jacksonville and I cannot wait for all of us to show off our community to the other Federation members.
I came to this community two years ago and asked to lead. We had never had a President so young and inexperienced, yet you all trusted me. Every day since then I have thought about that trust. It was my motivation to prepare for every meeting, to consider every decision, and to work at every event. I hope I did not let you down.
Tala Suad Farah
President – The Ramallah Club of Jacksonville
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