Wednesday, December 11, 2019

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Oakmont News, Opinion & More

Thanks to the Volunteers of Oakmont — and How to Become One

As we recuperate from another Thanksgiving holiday and Black Friday/Cyber Monday shopping frenzy, it may be a good time to reflect on the thanks due the volunteers of Oakmont for all they do to make this a wonderful place to live.  All of us in Oakmont have much to be thankful for this year — our beautiful surroundings in the Valley of the Moon, the fact that fires have bypassed us this year, our families and friends and the comforts of life here.  But we should not overlook the work of volunteers who through their efforts make many many additional benefits of living here possible.  Oakmont would be a far different place were it not for the thousands of volunteer hours put in by OVA members each year.

OVA VOLUNTEERS

The Oakmont Village Association Board of Directors  Being an OVA director is probably the most demanding volunteer job in Oakmont, but also one of the most rewarding — directors get to decide the future direction of OVA.  OVA directors experience the ire of OVA members who may disagree strongly with decisions made, but they also receive the gratitude of OVA members who appreciate and respect the challenges of serving on the Board.

OVA Treasurer   With direction from the Board and the Finance Committee, the Treasurer is responsible for receiving and disbursing funds for OVA, prepares monthly reports and the annual OVA budget, and assists with financial decisions such as financing options and funding for the accounts of the Asset Replacement Fund and the Capital Improvement Fund.  The treasurer is elected by the Board for a 1-year term after the Board election each spring.  Elke Strunka has served for several years as treasurer.

OVA committees   OVA committees advise the Board and, in a few critically important cases, perform work which otherwise would require paid staff.  The Board approves all committee charters, and often requests committees to direct their attention to specific areas of Board interest.  In their advisory capacity, committees have a strong influence on Board decisions.

OVA clubs, classes and organizations   According to the link, there were 144 OVA clubs in early 2019, and several new clubs have been approved since then.  Clubs generally provide services to their members, and have free access to Oakmont meeting rooms.  Other organizations, including the Sunday Symposium, Lifelong Learning, and Technology Learning Center, provide intellectual programs available to all OVA members, and various fitness programs provide opportunities to improve our health.  The breadth of available clubs and programs is too enormous to fairly represent here, but all of them are dependent on volunteers to keep them running.

The Oakmont Community Foundation   This is an independent organization, set up as a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation, for the purpose of allowing tax-deductible donations to benefit OVA clubs and organizations.  Its directors are OVA members.

Oakmont News   The Oakmont News is the official newspaper of OVA, and thus is the vehicle through which the OVA Board communicates with the community, as well as the main source, along with the OVA website and Eblasts, for club and event information.  The content of all of these is managed by the Communications Committee.  With two Oakmont News editions a month, weekly regular Eblasts, and continual additions to the website, this is a big job, even with the able support of the professional staff.

Oakmont Observer   The Oakmont Observer is the completely independent and unofficial online source for news and opinions related to Oakmont.  In contrast to the Oakmont News, articles in the Oakmont Observer are sometimes critical of the OVA Board or decisions made by the Board.  OO articles often provide factual information on Oakmont-relevant topics that you will not find in the Oakmont News.  The Oakmont Observer is an outlet for any OVA member who wishes to communicate responsibly to the Oakmont community; views expressed are always those of the author, so may vary widely.

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The hard work of our volunteers make Oakmont the vibrant place that it is.  The OVA professional staff are friendly and supportive, but are not numerous enough to provide all of the services provided by our volunteers, nor can they be expected to make the major decisions about how Oakmont is to evolve.  A relatively small proportion of Oakmont residents volunteer, and those who do often serve in multiple organizations, e.g. serving on one or more committees as well as leading clubs.

BECOMING AN OVA VOLUNTEER

I would like to urge everyone reading this to consider volunteering for something within Oakmont.  Not everyone can volunteer, of course.  Some, especially in a senior community like ours, simply are no longer physically or mentally able to do so, or family commitments may not allow a large commitment of time.  But you don’t have to undertake the heavy commitment of being an OVA director in order to give something back to the community.  Read the Oakmont News and the Oakmont Observer, to keep abreast of what is going on within Oakmont and to determine what might be of particular interest to you.  If your are able to, run for the Board or volunteer to be on one of the committees that are so crucial to the governance of Oakmont.  Join a club and help organize and run its activities.  If writing is a passion of yours or if you see the need to changes in the way things are done in Oakmont, contribute to the Oakmont Observer, which is currently looking for writers in all caterories:  news, features, events, opinion.

Specifics

If you want to run for the OVA Board of Directors, contact the Nominating Committee (NC).  Until the Nominating Committee provides contact information on their web page, you could express your interest by contacting the Board, who will pass the information along to the NC.

If you are qualified and interested in serving as OVA Treasurer, you should contact the Board to express your interest.  You may also want to contact the current treasurer, Elke Strunka, for more information about the duties of the position.

If you would like to serve on an OVA committee, you should contact the Board to express your interest.  You may also want to attend a few committee meetings, or to contact the committee chair, to better understand what the committee is about.  More information on each committee is linked from the OVA Committees page, and the committee charters are available on the OVA Committee Charters page.

OVA clubs, classes and organizations are diverse and are led by their members, independent of the Board except for requiring Board approval to be allowed to use OVA facilities.  To become a member, use the contact information provided on the web page for the organization you are interested in.

The Oakmont Community Foundation volunteers are the members of their board.  If interested in participating, you can reach them by Email.

The Oakmont News is operated by the OVA Communications Committee (CC), and the contributors are generally members of that committee.  As with other committees, if you would like to serve on the CC, you should contact the Board to express your interest.  You may also want to contact the CC directly.

The Oakmont Observer is operated by a few OVA members, with no approval from and hence no control by the OVA Board of Directors.  It provides a platform on which any OVA member may write about Oakmont issues, with just enough editorial oversight to assure that articles are responsible.  If you would like to write for OO, you may sign up at the top of the OO home page, or contact the editors at  theoakmontobserver@gmail.com.

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1 Comment

  1. Yvonne Frauenfelder on December 5, 2019 at 10:34 pm

    Thank you, Bruce, for an excellent piece of writing on the all important role of the volunteer in Oakmont.

    Our community is unique in its system of volunteerism, and the untold hours of effort, work and engagement by its residents, contribute significantly to keeping our dues in check.

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