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Volunteers are the Key to the Future

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by Karen Kemmis, PT, DPT, MS, CDE, FAADE | Jan 17, 2018

Last weekend, AADE hosted the 2018 Coordinating Bodies (CB) Leadership Program in Chicago. I attended, joining a room full of CB volunteer leaders. One of the most exciting moments was when AADE President Donna Ryan asked for a show of hands for those who were attending for the first time. I was shocked and thrilled when about two-thirds of the room raised their hands! A round of applause immediately erupted from the room. While it is important to have the knowledge and experience of, shall we say, seasoned volunteers, it is critical that we have new members step into volunteer roles as well. 

The program was filled with great content presented by engaging speakers that set the volunteers up to be successful in their CB and/or Local Networking Group (LNG) leadership roles. Topics included: 

  • The Art of Delegation and Inspiration: Building a Volunteer Team
  • Project Management Tips for Successful CB/LNG Activities
  • Tools to Reach out to New Members, Keeping LNGs Engaged, Planning an On-line Strategy
  • Managing Your CB Finances
  • How to Get Member Input
  • AADE’s Goals for Today and Tomorrow
  • Strategic Content Planning for Your CB
  • Advocating for the Future of Diabetes Education or Why You Must Have a State Grassroots Coordinator


New volunteer members will be key in our future


There was also an introduction of AADE’s new and exciting technology offering, DANA. (Keep an eye out for more information on this amazing program!) As you can see, everything was covered to help you move from an inexperienced volunteer to a successful leader. During breaks and at the reception, there was a buzz as participants interacted, getting to know one another; sharing challenges, ideas, and strategies; and meeting with old friends while also making new ones.

As you read this, you might be saying “I don’t have the time, experience, or the interest to be a LNG or CB leader.” That’s okay! There are so many other opportunities to be involved within your group. Do you have some fundamental technology skills to help your LNG/CB with social media or your webpage, or the ability to write a little blog from time to time? Maybe you have some basic finance knowledge (equal to balancing your checkbook). Or are you organized and ready to help plan an LNG or CB program? There are so many possibilities that could fit your interests and the CB’s/LNG’s needs.

A key initiative for our organization is “Visioning for the Future of AADE.” New volunteer members will be key in our future. I know volunteering for a leadership position might sound scary, time-consuming, overwhelming, and uncomfortable (along with many other less-than-positive things). But there are so many varied opportunities. Consider watching your CB/LNG activities and contacting the current leaders. Let them know your abilities, interest, and willingness to help. You can be an active part of the future of AADE!

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Karen KemmisAbout the Author

Karen Kemmis is a physical therapist and certified diabetes educator, and also holds certifications in Pilates for rehabilitation and exercise for aging adults. She is based out of SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY and splits her time between a Joslin Diabetes Center affiliate, an outpatient rehabilitation department, and a PT program where she is an adjunct professor.

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