Chautauqua volunteers recognized with reception

Matt Burkhartt | Staff Photographer
Steve Percy, chairman of the Chautauqua Foundation Board of Directors, speaks at the volunteer recognition reception at the Chautauqua Golf Club Tuesday.

Each year, hundreds of Chautauquans pour their time, energy and resources into various volunteer efforts on behalf of the Institution. At 5:30 p.m. this past Tuesday at the Golf Club, a volunteer recognition reception was held to honor those who have participated in the different volunteer organizations at Chautauqua.

Keeping with Week Six’s arc of “Brazil: Rising Superpower,” the event capitalized on themes from South America’s largest country, complete with inspired cuisine and cocktails, as well as a live band.

“I think it’s a great organization. We’ve been in the area 40 years, and we realize the importance of the Institution to the whole area as well as the people who come here and spend the summer,” said Dick Turney, who has been a Chautauqua Fund volunteer for more than 20 years. “The gathering is nice. It’s a wonderful thing to see all these motivated people come together for the purpose of helping the Institution. I just feel so good about that.”

Guests were invited to mingle and enjoy drinks and appetizers before the evening’s speakers welcomed and thanked everyone in attendance.

“It is a real pleasure to be invited to host this event tonight because we get to recognize some of you who are putting significant amounts of time and effort to bring Chautauqua forward,” said Sherra Babcock, vice president and Emily and Richard Smucker Chair for Education. “Tonight, you, who volunteer your time with six different groups, are invited to come and celebrate. All of you are near and dear because you make Chautauqua possible.”

Among the groups in attendance at the event were Chautauqua Fund volunteers, Chautauqua Advocates, the NOW Generation Advisory Council and regional captains, the Planned Giving Committee, Promise Campaign volunteers and readers for The Chautauqua Prize.

“Somehow, the embrace in this place is a bigger embrace than any other place in our lives, and it’s because of this consistency of coming back to a grounded place where ideas and values and presence is part of the fabric of the day,” said President Tom Becker.

Becker continued his address to the audience by thanking all the groups who dedicate their energy to the sustainability and continued viability of the Institution.

“It’s all about effort here — as is everything you all are doing. It’s this generous sense that without that effort, this really doesn’t work or it’s just one other place,” Becker said. “It’s utterly relational, so it’s special. And you all know that or you wouldn’t be giving the kind of time and energy and intellectual, emotional and spiritual effort into what you do if you didn’t know that. I tell you it works because of all of you.”

The evening’s addresses concluded with a toast by Steve Percy, chairman of the Chautauqua Foundation Board of Directors and co-chair of The Promise Campaign with George Snyder. Percy announced that the Foundation has reached the $70 million mark in Promise Campaign fundraising. He then toasted the audience in Portuguese.

“Without you all, Chautauqua wouldn’t be as we know it. You are its present, you are its future and you are its promise,” Percy said. “May all of your efforts bring you and your fellow Chautauquans much joy and satisfaction.”