I'm Never Bored, but I Did Get "On the Board"

In this posting I'm going to talk about something I've been doing for a year now and haven't blogged about it yet. Last year about this time, I was just finishing up the Positive Prevention course and had done a couple blogs on here, when I was approached on two occasions to see if I would be interested in sitting on the ACG Board of Directors. I was informed that there are two seats on the board for community members or....us, PHAs (persons living with HIV/AIDS). Honestly, being asked took me by surprise but they told me to think about it. I did think, for about a day or so and then I said, "sure!"

I seen this opportunity as a way of representing other PHAs and having their concerns addressed in any issues the board would be discussing and making decisions on. Any decision requires a discussion, everyone at the table is encouraged to speak up and give imput and I like that.

One thing that led me to accepting was, "no experience necessary". They did set up with some training on Board Governance through the Guelph Volunteer Centre (GVC). When I attended the sessions, constantly things came up by Gayle and she would say, "you should hear what the ACG is doing". I was often called upon to talk about what it was we were doing but at that point, I had only been to one meeting. Our board had worked with the GVC to put together our Governance Manual which lays out all of our policies and procedures. Our mission Statement/Vision, which is, "We dream of a time and place where everyone is free to live healthy, vital lives," was used as a model for others.

At the beginning of October I went for some other training put on by the Ontario AIDS Network (OAN), as part of their Positive Leadership Development Institute program. It was called "Bored........Get on Board" and it looked at more at being on a board as a HIV positive person. I feel more comfortable in my position on the Board now and as proof of that, I am starting my second year on the Executive Commitee seat as the new Treasurer. Yaaaaaay!

Other training I have taken was a one day course on GIPA which stands for "Greater Involvement by People Living With HIV/AIDS." A popular slogan that is often mentioned with GIPA is "Its not about us without us." The objective of GIPA is to allow PHAs more involved in their care, their rights and services just to name a few, by attending workshops, conventions etc. and actively participating and contributing.

So........as of the end of last nights meeting (Oct. 26th) there are two seats available if anyone is interested in filling them. I can say that you don't have to wear a label saying that you are a PHA. People don't need to know that you are a PHA and that includes the public. I just tell people I am on the board, that's it, and all they need to know. It would be the same if I was on any other board.

If anyone is interested you can contact Tom Hammond or myself and we can submit your name to the Recruiting Committee. The more people we are able to put on the board allows for more voices and more people to do the things that will benefit us all. If sitting on the board isn't your thing you can still have your voice heard by knowing who the board members are and having them bring your concerns to the meetings. There is always at least one board member at every ACG function who is willing to hear from you.

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