While summer may mean quiet times for most islanders, the Zonta Club of Sanibel-Captiva keeps working, learning and contributing. Recently, seven members of the club attended the Zonta North American Inter-District Meeting (NAIDM) in Cincinnati, Ohio. Reports from this largest-ever contingent of members to attend will help guide future goals and activities of the club, already recognized as one of the most successful clubs world-wide, and a leading contributor to Zonta International for its global initiatives.
The NAIDM is held in the U.S. or Canada on the year in which there is no Zonta International convention. Titled “Challenges and Opportunities for Zonta’s Second Century,” the 2021 conference featured sessions ranging from effective training to women’s issues, such as ending child marriage, to member recruitment. Zonta San-Cap is fortunate, the group said, in that the islands’ steady influx of new-resident retirees provides a source of potential members; however, according to Karen Pati, international membership chair, clubs must also focus on attracting and retaining younger, working women, making membership accessible to them.
The NAIDM is an opportunity to meet other Zontians, share ideas and gain new knowledge. Erika Steiner, club President-elect, compiled a comprehensive report using input from every attendee. The San-Cap Zontians said they learned strategies for influencing legislators; effective conflict resolution — “no winners or losers in a volunteer organization!” – fundraising, service and much more. They noted that their club has significantly more active local service projects than most other clubs represented, excluding the impact of the pandemic.
In addition to advocating on standard women’s issues, Zonta International is working to expand advocacy in formerly non-traditional women’s fields such as space and environmental issues.
In this vein, the keynote speaker on the last evening was Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, distinguished scientist, astronaut and executive. Sullivan was one of the first six women to join the NASA astronaut corps in 1978 and was the first American woman to walk in space, completing three space shuttle missions during her 15 years at NASA. She also participated in a dive into the deepest part of the ocean, the Mariana Trench. She left the assembled Zontians with this inspiration: “If you have the opportunity to make a difference and change the world, take it.”
Look for information soon on Zonta’s fall fund raiser, an exciting online auction. Meanwhile, the Grants Committee is hard at work reviewing applications from area non-profits for grants funded by the 2021 “Peek at the Unique Repurposed.”
The Zonta Club of Sanibel/Captiva is a service organization of professional women working together to provide hands-on assistance, advocacy and funds to empower women and girls on the islands, in Lee County and around the world through Zonta International. For more information, visit www.zontasancap.org.
Pictured above are members of Zonta San-Cap in Cincinnati: (from L, standing) Nancy Dreher, Katrina Wilhelm and Nola Theiss; (seated) Judy Langley, Pam Eccles and Erika Steiner. Not pictured: Karen Pati.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]