news&views 2024 spring | Page 5

From the President

Deb Gerow | President , ARTA

Look to This Day

As a child , one of my favourite activities in July or August was attending camp . I enjoyed it so much that my parents knew that they should not plan family excursions when my age group was scheduled for camp . It became a must-do on my summer “ schedule .”
Every morning at camp , we attendees scrambled from our beds to go outside and assemble around the flagpole . Standing on the dewy grass facing the rising sun , we would watch as the flag was raised . Then we would recite the “ Salute to the Dawn ,” which begins with “ Look to this day .” This ancient Sanskrit poem was written in the fifth century CE . Its words have stayed with me all my life . I am sure that at age 9 not all of it made sense to me , but time has clarified my understanding .
The poet , Kalidasa , talks about the importance of every single day . He emphasizes that everything in our existence that is true and real is contained in a single day . He concludes that it is essential to live every day well . Our yesterdays will be happy dreams and our tomorrows will be hopeful visions if we do so .
This message is probably why this poem remains in my memory . I confess that I am a dreamer . I do believe that it is important to live every day to its utmost . I am fortunate to have many happy memories of days gone by , and I dream of great things yet to be accomplished .
I think that those who do the work of the Alberta Retired Teachers ’ Association , whether paid employees or members who have volunteered their time for the organization , are dreamers at heart . That is not to say that we “ dream the impossible dream .” Our vision is to “ support an engaged lifestyle after retirement through member-centred services , advocacy , communication , wellness , and leadership .” This very achievable goal is what we work toward every day .
When our association was formed , the original members were concerned about adequate pensions , health benefits for seniors , and opportunities for retirees to overcome isolation by socializing with other members . Since that time , we have seen our pension plan become fully funded . The ARTA Benefit Plans provide exceptional coverage for health care and travel insurance . Our ARTA branches organize many events for their members to engage in , and ARTA committees support and organize activities like conferences , the ARTA Annual Golf Tournament , and the ARTA Wellness Challenge .
The recent opening of the ARTARx pharmacy offers another benefit to members in the greater Edmonton area . ( We are currently dreaming of and working toward offering this service to members in other parts of the province .) In a few months we are opening an ARTA office in Calgary , which will provide better access for members living in the southern part of the province .
Through hard work and living every day to its fullest , we can look back on happy memories of past efforts and look forward to a bright future for ARTA . I exhort you all to keep on dreaming , and together we will make a difference . news & views SPRING 2024 | 5