Dear TORCH Members:
Our 2006-2007 school year is winding down and my first year in
leadership of our group
has been a blessing! I have valued the
support from the rest of the board and the entire membership while I
head first hoping to swim, not sink. As I thought of the
responsibilities of the first year, I knew it was important to
least make sure the group that had been so carefully nurtured by
those before me would be able to continue providing
organized, mutually supportive structure that had benefited families
over the years. In other words, my
prayer was "Lord, don't let me
mess up a good thing!"
With everyone's help I think we have had a terrific year!
activities were well attended, new friendships were built, new doors
were opened to us (Our Lady of Lourdes!),
we were blessed by a new
Bishop who wants to get to know us, and membership grew (both from
newcomers, new homeschoolers,
and new births!).
Each year-end comes with a sigh of relief and…. a picnic! June 3rd,
3pm at Baileywick Park
will be a great chance to celebrate the
beginning of summer. However, its never too early to look forward to
year. We have some changes ahead for our group… but you can
all relax! I am going to keep my commitment to 2 years
coordinator and as an additional blessing Toni Onks, Jennifer
D'Andrea and Missy Savage will remain on the
A significant but very positive change that will affect both Raleigh
and Cary groups is the decision
by both the leadership teams to end
our affiliation with the National TORCH organization as member
chapters. This decision
is based on responsible stewardship of group
funds. Each year out of our $25 annual dues, $12 is sent directly to
National. Over the last few years, the role of TORCH National
and the benefit of our affiliation with it has been diminished.
years past, National sent out 11 newsletters annually, provided
training for leadership, issued membership cards,
insurance, and maintained a website with helpful, current information
on Catholic homeschooling with
links to our local chapters. Attempts
of late to contact National have gone without reply. Insurance
a compelling reason to join TORCH, was stopped
several years ago(though the website, when last checked, still
lists it as a benefit). We've received no newsletters for the
past two years, and the website provides limited assistance
seeking information on Catholic homeschooling since it is out of date
and lists dead links and old contacts.
The consensus was that being a
chapter of the National TORCH organization brought no real benefit to
our member families
and, in fact, was detrimental to our ability to
provide other services to our families because of the large
of dues paid to National each year.
There were several concerns that surfaced as a result of that
first concern was maintaining the truly Roman Catholic
nature of our group. We assure you that we will continue this
in all our literature and actions even though we are
dropping the TORCH title. Additionally the behavior guidelines that
our membership practiced courtesy and personal responsibility
in all our actions will also remain.
was money. After discussing this with Jill Ruvidich,
who is taking on the coordinator's job in Cary, and our board, it
decided that we would maintain the same dues - $25 for one chapter,
$38 for both. The excess funds that in the past
would have been
mailed to National will be available to sponsor additional activities
and benefits to our families locally.
For example, we could provide
speakers to parents and/or children, offer small retreats, build up
our tape library and
assist with functions like the Bishop's Mass. We
are open to suggestions for other local activities which could
our membership. Local membership cards will be issued for
discounts and identification.
Our next concern was a new
name, since the "TORCH" name is for
chapters paying national dues. We would like solicit your ideas to
come up with
a new name. The leadership teams from Raleigh and Cary
will make the final decision out of all the ideas submitted. Our
for a new name is June 1st, so time is limited. Please
submit ideas via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
or you can call me 919-
649-7667. Both groups will share the new name and keep our Chapter
patrons- Our Lady of the
Most Blessed Sacrament for Cary and Pope
John Paul the Great for Raleigh. At the same time, our Yahoo! Group
change. This change is fairly simple and handled in house.
No one will have to re-subscribe and we won't lose any of our
or archived messages.
In addition, we can continue to have the HSLDA (Home School Legal
discount as long as our homeshooling group (Cary
and Raleigh combined) has at least 10 paying members of HSLDA.
let me know if you belong to HSLDA and we can determine if we
meet this criteria. I do not think this will be an issue
for us so
our discount should be available. If you would like to join HSLDA,
please visit their website at www.hslda.org
for the appropriate
forms. In addition, although we haven't had group insurance for the
past few years, we could look
into this somewhat costly option
through HSLDA if we deemed it necessary.
This is a big change for us, but I truly
believe it is a change for
the better. We have a great group! We have Picnics, First Fridays,
All Saints Celebration,
Christmas Craft Fair, Spelling Bee, Science
Fair, Co-op classes, local field trips and so much more. All of our
events are due to local efforts, local families, and local
parish hospitality. Although the name will change, I think we
only be stronger next year with additional activities and benefits.
And, we are still going to maintain our close
relationship with the
Please thank God for a successful year as it comes to a close and
God's guidance as we make next year even better!