The Strawberry Patch

Enrichment and Inspiration for Beta Sigma Phi Sisters from Marilyn Ross

Ask Maggie: About City Council Involvement

Dear Maggie,
 My chapter is a very busy one, and we are finding it difficult to have time for all our plans and those of our city council. Our council requires so much from us; it is like belonging to another chapter. We have discussed withdrawing from council because we can't support all their projects fully. Is this a typical situation? What functions should a council require of its chapters?
 Spread Too Thin

Dear Spread Too Thin,
 The foremost reason for city council is to instill harmony and cooperation among the chapters in its area. A city council's first concerns should be chapter strength. Any other projects a council takes on should be done because the majority of the chapters want to do them. Many city councils are finding that chapters no longer have as much interest in council. All councils need to find out what exactly the members they represent want in the way of a city council experience. The Council Interest Survey, provided by International, will help any council find out what its members really do wish to support. Then the council can have projects that chapters have voted to sponsor. (Remember, those chapters who do not vote for projects might not be required to participate in them.) The Survey can help your council make sure that all of its projects are in tune with the membership's interests, and therefore destined to be successful. Council can then also concentrate on a social such as Founder's Day, which keeps everyone in council in touch.

Dear Maggie,
My chapter is a small Ritual of Jewels chapter. We are finding it hard to rush on our own, and we are worried that we will soon be too small to continue. Our chapter is the only Ritual of Jewels chapter in our council. We haven't had much help from other chapters in council with rushing. Should we be getting more help from our city council, or is rushing only our responsibility?
 Running Out Of Steam

Dear Running,
 My first question to you is, "Have you asked your city council for help?" Often, a council doesn't want to seem pushy, so it will wait for a chapter to ask for its help. If you haven't directly asked for help, now is the time to do so. It is most important to council that it help your chapter build itself up and ensure that there are strong Ritual of Jewels chapters in the area. After your chapter has grown stronger, the city council should work to form more Ritual of Jewels chapters. It is time for all Beta Sigma Phi communities to be concerned with their Ritual of Jewels chapter strength. You are right in thinking that the Ritual of Jewels strength in your community is something city council should be concerned with, and actively work to preserve.

Dear Maggie,
Our chapter doesn't seem to have anything in common with our council anymore. The council repeats the same projects year after year, and there seems to be resistance to trying new projects. Council functions are losing support, and the younger chapters don't feel that their ideas are given any credence. It seems as if our council doesn't seem to care or notice. How can we get our city council to make some changes and consider the younger members' ideas too?
 Looking for Attention

Dear Looking,
 Your problem is not uncommon. City councils and chapters often turn projects that have been successful into traditions. Then councils hesitate to change projects, even when they get stale or less successful. If a project no longer has the support of the majority of council's chapters, it should be re-evaluated and changed or dropped.
Younger chapters can get more say in council by getting involved on committees and by running for city council office. It is difficult to make changes if your chapters' members are not willing to take the responsibilities that go with influence. If the problem, on the other hand, is that young members are not being allowed to take responsibilities and hold office and chairmanships, you need to make it clear to city council that in order for you and other younger members to feel involved, you need to given full rights and opportunities in the council. International's City Council Interest Survey can be used to help all chapters in council make their needs known, but it is up to the council to follow the findings of the survey.

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