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Territorial Volunteers Gain Insight at Leadership Training

Chapter Officers and AARP volunteers gathered Jan. 26 to learn about ways to improve efficiency and effectiveness in all areas of their AARP endeavors.

With the many ongoing projects and activities that the VI state office conducts in partnership with its volunteers each year, it is very important that time is dedicated to upgrade and support the ongoing training of volunteers. It is also important that all volunteers are familiar with new developments or changes that occur at the national level.

The all-day training, held on St. Thomas, featured a very special presentation from Lily Liu, Brand Manager and AARP’s national Historian. Liu’s remarks surprised many in the audience because she went into far greater depth about the hopes, dreams and actions of the association’s founder, Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus. While most volunteers are familiar with the story told about Dr. Andrus finding a former teaching colleague residing in a chicken coop due to a lack of retirement planning, few were familiar with the additional stories about the now legendary actors, musicians, dancers and others whose lives were directly touched by Dr. Andrus’ influence.

For many in the audience, Liu’s presentation hit home. It demonstrated how the work and influence of one person could ripple out into the community touching and improving the quality of life for many. It also helped volunteers appreciate how important the AARP work they do throughout the Virgin Islands truly is.

Before coming to St. Thomas, Liu accessed AARP’s national archives where she found a terrific article written in 1979 featured in AARP’s Modern Maturity. The article prominently featured a story with photographs of the Virgin Islands as a premier retirement location.

Liu’s presentation was followed by a training session led by AARP’s new Training Officer, Gerri Hanna. Hanna shared with the attendees AARP’s new One AARP philosophy and how this change will help to embrace and engage volunteers in the work that AARP does and the products and services it offers.

The afternoon sessions got into the nuts and bolts of running vibrant chapters. Volunteers broke into different training sessions created specifically for the chapter roles they currently play, or would like to play in the future.

These trainings were designed to delve deeper into leading chapters as well as to help volunteers understand the duties and responsibilities, the "whys" and the "how-tos" of the various positions. The individualized trainings provided volunteers with the ability to broaden their perspectives, have meaningful interaction with state staff concerning how the State office can support their efforts and resolve any outstanding issues or questions they may have had about their chapters operation.

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