This month we celebrate another great year for WNCOS. Our annual holiday social provides a great opportunity to gather in a more relaxed setting and share all things orchid, reminisce about the year’s events, and look forward to the coming year! Axel is providing a ham. Please bring a dish to share and, if you like, bring a bottle of wine. We always have an amazing spread of food provided by our members so if you leave hungry you have no one to blame except yourself.. This year, due to our success at the Asheville Orchid Festival, we’re pulling out all the stops with an amazing raffle…this is one event not to be missed!
It is with fond memories that I write this, my final newsletter to the WNCOS as your President. I wasn’t looking to be your President two years ago, but the Society needed some seasoned leadership to bridge a gap after Graham chose to step down. I felt that I could use the time to better organize the society, create a road map for our operations, and make future transitions even between unseasoned boards relatively easy. As they say, the best laid plans…
Instead of executing on that vision, 3 months into my tenure the AOS approached WNCOS to host their Annual Spring Meeting and we were immediately thrown into an undertaking unlike anything the WNCOS had ever experienced. One which required unprecedented levels of risk, planning, preparation, and countless hours of time from so many.
Looking back on those early meetings where I presented the plans to the group, I am still honored (and a little bit shocked) that you believed enough in me and our core team members to support an effort that fundamentally changed the reputation of the Asheville Orchid Festival, and the WNCOS, forever. Our event set a benchmark that everyone of you should be proud of. The WNCOS is now known to be one of the best orchid societies throughout the country and our event is roundly held to be one that will be remembered fondly for ages.
Each of you that participated in any way deserve a round of applause. Yes, there was a small group who worked tirelessly all year and they deserve more than we can ever give them in return. It was, however, the entire society that showed the friendliness and good nature that had the biggest impact on our visitors from around the region, the country, and the world! You stepped up to show them how caring, open, and genuine, the people of our region are, and they responded by having the time of their lives with us. For that effort, and the way our society showed the world what we could do, I will be forever grateful to all of you.
So while my initial plans for better organizing the society did not come to fruition, we were given an opportunity to show the world the character that the WNCOS is made of, we poured well over $20,000 in profits into our bank account for some future opportunity, and we gave Mike Mims a couple years experience to be better prepared to take over the WNCOS and lead us into what I am certain will be a very bright future. I have no doubt whatsoever that he will be exceptional as our next president.
This is also a bittersweet moment for me in that it marks something of an end for my orchid career. As most of you know, I sold my entire collection of orchids, and with my tenure as President coming to an end I will no longer have any responsibility with orchids except to enjoy what others grow. I’ve always tried to brighten the newsletter with pictures, so I decided this month I’d take you on a trip down memory lane with some highlights from my collection. From it’s humble beginnings on a plant stand in the dining room to a ridiculously over-engineered grow room, there were more than a few very special blooms along the way. Enjoy…and see you all at the Social!