Newsletter | Nov/Dec 2021
by Mui Ho
As a group, OWA has tried different programs and activities, but nothing beats the annual retreat. It galvanizes the group and it allows members to spend time together to work on issues. The retreat appeals to members for different reasons. For the South Bay and Sacramento members, considering the horrific traffic to be endured for our bi-monthly meetings, the weekend retreat gives them a better opportunity to participate with OWA and catch up with old friends. An old member Koje Shoraka from LA always looked forward to coming.
Unlike older members who came together in the seventies, members now have less urgent issues to resolve, but they still enjoy meeting and spending time with colleagues. Many younger participants like the retreat so much they often end up joining our Steering Committee. By default, our retreat has always been a most crucial membership drive.
We are fortunate to have landed on Westerbeke Ranch. It is a family business run with care and foresight. They keep the ranch buildings in their rustic glory, with interior improvments to update the comfort level for guests. The improvements to the landscaping have been fabulous. There have been beautiful additions and renovations every year. Even thought we loved the vegetable garden installed eight years ago, I can see why they have planted more trees and ornamental plants more recently. It is lovely to walk around the lower garden below the swimming pool. To enjoy the openness there is the upper garden with the labyrinth. We have walked the labyrinth every year to remember our old friends.
We had a very successful Zoom retreat in 2020, and this year our mini-retreat party at member Leslie Golden's garden was quite enjoyable. Many members expressed a preference for meeting in a member's home as we did in our early meetings in the seventies. It is more personal and a fantastic opportunity to showcase the design of our own environment.
The highlight of this year's retreat was the Zoom talk on "Environmental Justice Pathways and Considerations" by attorney Jennifer Hernandez.