This year was a year of much change for The Club accompanied by many achievements.  I want to acknowledge that change can be both difficult and uncomfortable for some people and want to commend you all for your pioneering spirit to “try new things.” 

We started the year by:

  • Reorganizing the board to make it a governing board focused on strategic issues, future direction and capacity building
  • Reshaping committees to increase the number of opportunities for members to become involved
  • Revising the Standing Rules
  • Adopting a membership proposal submitted by Membership Development Chair, Arlette Bradley, resulting in:   
    • Provisional Program that included an orientation and written Provisional Guide, developed by Janet Donald
    • Mentorship Program chaired by Linda Hyde,that partnered a provisional with an active member; 15 applicants joined in January, completed their requirements and became active members in April.
    • Ambassadors Program that recognizes our long-term members, chaired by Beverly Metcalf.
    • Credentials Program that handles check-in at membership meetings, reports attendance, and distributes name tags, co-chaired by Sally Melvin and Anne Kinsley.
    •  Skills Inventory Database of members’ skills that will enhance NGC’s ability to fill future chair and committee positions is under development by Carol McMenamy.

Peggy Blackburn, Treasurer, revised and expanded financial reporting ability with a new chart of accounts that complies with national standards for non profit organizations.Each month a Statement of Financial Position and Statement of Activities is prepared on the accrual basis.  Under her leadership,with assistance from Beverly Metcalf, Assistant Treasurer, the new Finance Committee developed guidelines for cash controls, separation of duties and other financial safeguards and drafted next year’s budget in consultation with committee chairs.  The Assistant Treasurer completed collection of membership dues and reported to Florida Federation of Garden Clubs.

The new Governance Committee, chaired by Lydia Galton, organized a Board Retreat focused on legal and fiduciary responsibilities; created a Board Handbook and conducted Board Orientation; proposed required policies to the board for approval; and assembled a Strategic Planning Workshop with participation of 48 members resulting in a Strategic Framework for The Club. The Nominating Committee, comprised of Arlette Bradley, Gail Pica, Diane Green and Marilyn Gross was Chaired By Bev Metcalf.  A special thank you for their work in selecting our new officers.

Recording Secretary, Ann Westerfield, recording proceedings of board and membership meetings and placed them online. In her absence, she was assisted by Candi Childs. She has retained hard copies of all policies and signed Code of Ethics and Conflict of Interest statements.

Our Corresponding Secretary, Candi Childs, encountered new challenges this year.  She was required to learn Mail Chimp, our technology to expedite notifications to members electronically, has mastered the challenge, and  began refining this position’s responsibilities that have been altered by technology.

Our recent success, Naples Flower Show, “LIGHT”, chaired by 3rd VP Kathleen Hawryluk, was visited by 2,579 guests who enjoyed the 48 judged,12 invitational, and 12 companion designs, most incorporating some form of a light source. Stephen Knapp’s light painting was displayed in the auditorium lobby and set the context for the show. The 358 horticulture entries displayed many rare and unusual specimens.  Cooperation between NBG staff and NGC volunteers made this a spectacular show.

This year’s House & Garden Tour, chaired by Arlene Cluff, was a sellout. Patron and general tickets totaled $74,600, a $4,060 increase over last year. Working with developers and builders, the House Acquisition Committee was successful in securing the four homes in Aqualane Shores and Olde Naples,.  Hospitality created a fabulous presentation of food, lovely floral designs, and served close to 1,000 guests.  Thanks to the tireless efforts of all members for making this a smash hit!

Linda Brown, 1st VP and Chair of Program and Education put together a stellar membership meeting program comprised of local, regional and national presenters. Ron Morgan appeared to be the biggest hit.  Kathy Whalen’s program in February attracted 104 guests resulting in a total attendance of 261. Both speakers conducted workshops the day following their presentation.  Mary Pulick, Design Chair, organized 10 workshops including beginners, intermediate, creative, table and miniature design.  Diane Dahl and Thomas Hecker, Horticulture Co-chairs, scheduled seven workshops including Flower Show preparation, private garden tours and a trip toFlamingo Gardens and Jesse Durko Nursery.  This year members had the capability to register for all programs and workshops online.

Community Involvement Committee Chair, Fifi McMahon, and her formidable 13 member team  involved 36 sponsors for the House & Garden Tour – 5 Silver and 6 Bronze Level,14 Business Partners, and 11 Special Friends – exceeding their cash goal of $10,000 with in-kind donations.  Beverly Metcalf’s hard earned raffle netted $4,495, a $1,495 increase over last year.  Sponsors were thanked at a Sponsor Appreciation Event at Marvin Diamond’s home and many have indicated interest in further involvement. Sandy Lasch developed a comprehensive grant program which will go into effect this fall.

Under Hospitality and Events Chair, Peggy Coniglio’s leadership, Leona Curzi and Cynthia Langslet provided a menu of treats at each of our Membership Meetings and successfully addressed the new obstacles encountered this year…increased attendance and loss of storage.  Judy Perkins and Joyce Alfieri did an outstanding job organizing our Holiday Luncheon at the Port Royal Club, the Flower Show Preview Party and the Annual Meeting Luncheon at the Royal Poinciana Golf Club.

The Facilities and Operations Committee, supports all members.  Chair Melinda Earle, kept track of all items belonging to Naples Garden Club and reports that onsite and offsite storage are filled to capacity.  Goodlette Self Storage is filled with large items from House & Garden Tour and  the Flower Show. Consequently, Melinda’s favorite job is throwing away clutter left in the office.  Plans are underway to replace the bathroom door, kitchen faucet and addressing the problem with the office floor.  Joyce Fletcher managed scheduling space, telephone calls, mail and the desk.

Perhaps the committee that has undergone the most change is the Communications Committee due to the introduction of increased use of technology.  Barbara Sampson served as chair the first part of the year and worked with all committee chairs to collect program and event information, update membership information and update all Yearbook sections. She produced and distributed the Yearbook. Jane Corbly served as chair for the remainder of the year.  Roberta Ross headed up the PR team who placed information in the print media and contacted Naples area garden clubs and related organizations to promote NGC programs. Under Liz Chehayl, Trowel Prints was produced each month on time with the cooperation of many board and committee members.  The routine of gathering new articles for listing on the website has become more efficient but we still have many improvements to make.  The grant received from the Community Foundation of Collier County to develop a Strategic Communications Plan for The Club will help us sort out these issues.

Finally, Gail Pica and her committee completed the Flower Show School courses and she continues to mentor many members as they work towards becoming Flower Show judges.

A special thank you to all of you for your energy, enthusiasm and efforts in making this such a successful year for Naples Garden Club.


~ Presented at Naples Garden Club’s Annual Meeting on Friday, April 13, 2012