Summons Spring/Summer 2019 | Page 2


Afton J. Basden, CP

WDALA President

Hello WDALA Members! I’m so glad we are now into summer. This is my favorite time of year – my family spends about half of our weekends camping in our 5th wheel travel trailer at Fort Stevenson State Park with a group of friends. These are the most relaxing times my family has all year because we are away from the house and all the usual chores. We eat, play games, walk, sunbathe, eat, explore little shops in Garrison, swim in the lake, eat, and sleep. (Yes, we eat too much…) I think everyone needs a chance to check out now and then!

I recently saw an article that rated North Dakota as one of the “least fun” states. I’ve been thinking about this for a few days. On one hand, I can see why some people would not find North Dakota fun.

However, I truly believe it’s what you make of it. If you work a job you hate, associate with very few people, and you only go out when the weather is nice, North Dakota will feel like a terrible place to live. On the flip side, if you find a job you like (or at least feel good doing), join a church or other organization that keeps you well rounded, and have meaningful face-to-face contact with people (not just social media!), just about any place you are can be fun.

I’ve lived all over the world as a military child and military wife, and despite the weather, remoteness and lack of entertainment venues here, we have chosen North Dakota as our home for the past 17 years and the foreseeable future. Our lives are very full and we feel we have lots of opportunities for “fun” all year, and it is all about relationships with other people.

One thing that has helped me feel “connected” to my community is my involvement with WDALA.

I first joined WDALA in 2002, and mostly stayed in the background until around 2008, when I started taking officer positions. One reason I decided to become an officer, although I felt completely unqualified, was that I have received wise counsel over my lifetime that “you get out what you put in.” And I have certainly found that to be true! I wouldn’t trade the experiences I have had as a result of being involved with WDALA for anything.

Recently, someone asked me for ideas to motivate members of another organization to serve as officers. We talked about the difficulties we encounter filling positions on boards or committees, and how it always seems to be the same people serving everywhere, and eventually people get burned out.

I told this person that I was extremely grateful for the slate of officers that have served with me the past two years, because I have been very lucky, but I honestly did not know the answer for the future. Part of it is mentoring the new and younger members – being friendly to them, and helping them learn about the positions they agree to serve in, knowing most if not all feel unqualified for whatever they have agreed to do, and remembering we are all trying to do our best. That being said, both of us wondered about the future of our organizations as we struggle to find people willing to be involved.

If you are new to WDALA (within the last year or so), I would really love to have some feedback about your membership experience. Why did you join WDALA? What have you liked about WDALA? What has disappointed you about WDALA? Does your employer support your membership in WDALA? (And if so, in what ways?) How could we do things better? What would you like to see from WDALA in the future?

I look forward to seeing you at the fall seminar in Bismarck October 1 and 2, and at WDALA’s 35th anniversary celebration the evening of October 1st. I wish you a great rest of the summer, and I hope you find ways to put the “fun” in living and working in North Dakota!