November 2018 Friends of the Arboretum Newsletter

Thanksgiving Wishes

From everyone at the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens and The Arts & Recreation Foundation of Overland Park, we wish you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving.
We are truly thankful for each and every Friends of the Arboretum member, and for your support this amazing place in our community.

Chair’s Corner

The Friends of the Arboretum Advisory Board is ready for the new year. We have elected officers and one new board member. We have another board member to consider but the name was submitted after our last meeting, so I will announce that person in the next newsletter. We have elected Sonya Wright as Chair. Sonya was Chair in 2015, but resigned from the board due to work considerations. She was back as a member this last year and we’re delighted to have her as Chair again. She’s a very able leader and passionate about the Arboretum. Jennifer Gerlach is our Vice-Chair. She has been a board member for one year and has completed the Overland Park leadership program. She has lots of great ideas. Kim Ledbetter will return as Secretary. She was very kind to step in last year when we needed someone and is doing a wonderful job. Linda Higgins will be Treasurer. She has also been on the board one year. The job of Treasurer isn’t typical as an accountant keeps the Arts and Recreation Foundation of Overland Park (ARFOP) books which also includes our finances, but we always have plenty for the Treasurer to do and depend on them to keep us on track throughout the year. We thank Linda for stepping up to do this important job. All of the officers are passionate about the Arboretum and spend lots of time there.
We have two members resigning from the board. Pat Blanchatt has served the full six years allowed. We will miss having her thoughtful presence on the board, but she will continue to chair the Plant Sale and is always volunteering in other capacities as well. Ben Schmitz has been our Treasurer for two years, but family and job requirements have caused the need for him to resign. We thank him for his two years.

We have elected Carlos Corredor as a board member. Carlos comes to us with lots of marketing experience which we plan to use as much as we can. He has already volunteered to serve on the 2019 Goals Planning Committee and we’re excited to have him on board. As I said, we have one more to add and have a name we will be voting on this next week. I will write more about them next month.

We have also completed our 2019 Goals. In conjunction with ARFOP we have been formalizing the goals process in an effort to make our efforts more directed and effective. I will share those goals next month.
Our regular meeting day and time is the third Monday of the month at 4:00 at the Arboretum. We will have the first meeting of 2019 on Monday, January 14th. Guests are always welcome and we would love for you to come to a meeting to meet our board and see what we do.
We hope you’ll come out for the Holiday Luminary Walk which begins this Friday. It’s a great way to kick off the holiday season with your family and friends.
See you at the Arb!
Linda Patterson

Volunteer Spotlight

Our featured volunteer for the month of November is a regular presence around the Arboretum. Tom Mencer, chair of our Botanical Brewfest works hard all year preparing for what has become one of the most renowned beer tastings in our area. This year’s event saw a record number of 1,400 guests, and 1,129 tickets sold, and a net profit that has surpassed all preceding years. Tom started volunteering at the Arboretum in February 2014. He jumped right in, becoming involved with event planning for Nights at the Arboretum and the Botanical Brewfest. He is also a Greeter, Tour Guide and serves on the Bird and Train Committees. Tom states that what originally drew him here was the fact that he could come here after work and “de-stress”. He and his wife Kathy would occasionally come out to walk so he knew of the quiet tranquility at the Arboretum.
Tom worked in the Property and Casualty insurance industry for 39 years, the last 30 in claims management. Shortly after he retired, a friend talked him into coming to a New Volunteer Orientation, and thankfully, he stuck with it. When asked what makes him most happy, he says that spending time with family and friends, watching the grandkids grow up and watching basketball. He says he is a basketball junkie and that he doesn’t care who is playing as long as it’s a competitive game.
Tom is a great guy and a dedicated leader. He is generous with his time and recognizes the importance of community. He says, “I have met a lot of wonderful people at the Arboretum. They are people of all ages, both guests and volunteers. I would like to say thank you to all the volunteers who have worked the Botanical Brewfest. The event would not have grown into one of the premier fall events in our area without your help. Also, I have been fortunate to have a strong leadership team and excellent support of the Arboretum staff.”

Thank you Tom for your dedication and support. We are grateful for your service.