For months out of the year, teachers work nonstop to become better educators and find ways to educate their students. But when teachers retire, it is commonly thought that their jobs as educators and community servants are done, and they can take the time to unwind and relax after investing so much time into their careers.
For the local educators who have joined the Baldwin County Retired Educators Association, this is not the case.
“Our organization embodies the core values of service, resolution, fellowship and support,” said BCREA member Penelope Seagle. “For this year, the mission statement that we and the state are using is ‘running with champions.’”
The association, which began in Baldwin County in 1971, serves as a place for retired educators in the Milledgeville and Baldwin County communities to come together to socialize, discuss issues and give back to the local schools.
“We welcome anyone from the county who is a past educator to come and join the association,” said Seagle. “Cafeteria workers, bus drivers and anyone else employed by the county is welcome to come and join us.”
Seagle said the association has many members of different ages. Some have recently retired while others have been out of the classroom for many years. Seagle said the BCREA also welcomes retired educators from all levels to come join.
“We’re open to any and all retired teachers in the community,” said Seagle. “That includes Georgia Military College and Georgia College along with any teachers from the other schools in the community.”
To join, retired educators must pay a membership fee to the local association, and then pay an additional fee if they wish to join the state association.
Seagle said the BCREA also accepts retired teachers from other school systems who have moved to Milledgeville.
Each month, the BCREA holds its meeting at the First Presbyterian Church of Milledgeville. There is usually a guest speaker on hand to discuss issues that are important to senior citizens in the community.
“Usually our speaker comes to give facts and information about things that seniors need to know about like health care and credit,” said Seagle. “In one of our coming meetings, we’re going to have someone from the Better Business Bureau in Macon come in to discuss how to avoid senior scams.”
The BCREA also occasionally schedules outings or dinners on special occasions throughout the year in lieu of a traditional meeting.
“Next month, we’re planning to go to the Georgia Retired Educators Museum in Flowery Branch,” said Seagle. “It’s the only museum in Georgia dedicated to the history of education in the state.”
In November, the group usually travels to the state retired educators convention in Stone Mountain. There, members attend different events and also display a scrapbook that documents all of the programs and community service the group has done throughout the year.
Seagle said the organization also holds luncheons throughout the year for various events.
The BCREA makes a point to give back to the community throughout the year as well.
“The Baldwin County Fire Department and the [Milledgeville-Baldwin Convention & Visitors Bureau] just came and spoke at our last meeting, and they both welcomed us to come and volunteer,” said Seagle. “At the beginning of school, we bring school supplies for Baldwin County students and give that to the social worker. Also, we bring canned food every month to donate to the food pantry at the First Presbyterian Church.”
Seagle said the BCREA also records its members volunteer hours and awards a certificate to the person who gets the most hours at the end of the year.
Even though the organization does outreach in the community, Seagle said the main thing she enjoys is the fellowship the organization provides.
“This provides us with the opportunity to get together,” said Seagle, “and have camaraderie, as well as discuss issues and facts that are facing us.”
To learn more about the BCREA or to join call Seagle at 478-454-9081.