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fraternalism

VP Trish: 2020 Convention

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As I sit here finishing up my four-year report, I think of our upcoming Virtual Convention. The reality of this is, is that we don’t have a choice. The PA Insurance Department insisted that we have a Convention and take care of the business that must be handled this year.

There are a couple advantages to a Virtual Convention. Well, maybe one – no travel!

The camaraderie will have to wait until next year. The social gatherings, the Falconette Luncheon, the Legion of Honor Conclave and meeting, hospitality rooms, interactions, auctions, sight-seeing and fun! There is no doubt that Members of Nest 88, New Britain, Conn. will be fabulous hosts.

One of the things that I am disappointed in is that I do not get to present my PowerPoint and explain what I have been doing the last four years as your National First Vice President. I like to put up photos, explain who, what and where and I also like to acknowledge Members. Included in this blog are a few photos of events from the past couple of years; obviously, I am not able to explain everything.

I am hoping that all of our Delegates take the time to read our reports ahead of time. Each Delegate will receive a binder prior to the Convention which will contain reports and other information needed for the Convention.

Hopefully, all of the Nests have elected their Delegates. The deadline for National Headquarters to receive the mandate forms is October 20. Please visit polishfalcons.org/national-convention. The form is fillable, fill it out, save it, then attach it as an email and send to convention2020@polishfalcons.org. Again, deadline is October 20. Once we receive your forms, we need to verify membership and dues.

Looking forward to our Convention on Saturday, November 21.

Fraternal Information

In order for an organization to be considered a fraternal, the organization must have a lodge system. This is why the Polish Falcons of America has Nests and why each Member must belong to a Nest. The Polish Falcons of America is a 501 (C) 8 non-profit.

Fraternals were formed with a common cause in mind; the PFA is obviously ethnic-based. We do now permit those who are not Polish but have a genuine interest in the Polish culture and traditions.

Keep safe! Wash those hands!

Czolem!

Druhna Chris: PFA Beginnings

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With the outbreak of COVID-19 and the cancellation of PFA events, and with history being an important part of the Falcons, I would like you to share your experiences as a Member with us. I am interested in how you became a Member; was it through your parents or grandparents? What activities have you been involved in, or are still involved in today? What is your favorite memory? How have your friendships in the PFA flourished? What are some of the things that you have learned as a Member? These are all things that interest me.

I know that I became involved in the PFA through my Ciocia, Betty Bubacz. She was the Instructress for Nest 118 in Pittsburgh. She always stopped at our house on the way to gym class with my cousins. One summer evening, she saw how bored I was and decided I should go with them to gym class. So, I went. That night Druhna Leona Kozloski was there to teach Polish dancing. I had so much fun that I continued to go to gym class and have been active pretty much since then. I did have a bit of a break during college. I got involved again when our National First Vice President Trish talked me into attending a Nest meeting. She has been one of those lifelong friends who helps me with everything. As soon as my children were able to attend events, they became actively involved. They both, too, have made many lifelong friends in the PFA. My husband took a little longer to get involved, but has been my back-up and behind the scenes helper with everything I do in my job as the National Physical Education Director. My cousin Barbara Chervenak was, for a while, my helper at all the Youth Events as Secretary, and a general helper with everything. Now, my cousin Patty Capozoli helps me with all those events. We always manage to have a great time with each other and the youth participants. After my pause for college, I have been active in my Nest and District and with the National Office. The Puskar’s are a Polish Falcons family. All of my closest friends are Polish Falcons people. I am very grateful to my Ciocia Betty for taking me with her to gym class that day. Polish Falcons is a huge part of my life, and I love every minute of it.

Now it’s your turn. I would love to hear the stories of how you became involved in the PFA. I know that there are many, many families that have similar stories to tell. Now that we are all mostly at home practicing our “social distancing,” you might have the time to write down your story and send it to me. Maybe we will get enough stories together to put them into a book. I love photos too. Maybe you can send one or two with your story?

There is no age limit to who can send their stories. All ages can tell us about their favorite parts of the PFA. I am looking forward to hearing from you! Email your story to cpuskar@polishfalcons.org.

Czolem!

#GivingTuesdayNow: Support your Nest!

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05/12/2020 Update: Contributions now being accepted through May 31, 2020.

Support your Nest!

#GivingTuesdayNow (May 5) is a global day of generosity and unity, a day to come together and give back in response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19, no matter who or where we are.

If able in this difficult time, PFA National Headquarters is asking Polish Falcons Members to make a contribution to support their Nests.

Our Nests have been closed for five weeks or longer. There is little or no income and bills still need to be paid. How much would you have spent at your Nest over the course of five weeks? Are you able to donate that amount or a portion of it?

Today through May 12, let us come together as Falcons for our Nests. This is your chance to show support for your Nest and make a donation to help the Nest get through these challenging times. No amount is too small. Thank you for giving.

Click here to make your contribution.

VP Trish: Gorecki Scholarship Program

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As I write this, the Independent Committee is reviewing this year’s applications for the Richard C. Gorecki Scholarship Program. I wish I could figure out why more of our Members don’t apply for this program. If one receives the grant, it is a $10,000.00 grant. Yes, $10,000.00!

Richard C. Gorecki passed away on April 14, 1994 and generously bequeathed a portion of his estate to the Polish Falcons for educational purposes. The Gorecki Scholarships are designed to reward those Falcon Members who demonstrate the highest academic standards and leadership qualities. Since Druh was from Nest 79, a Nest 79 Member receives an additional $1,000.00. Or if a Member is from another District XIII Nest, they receive an additional $500.00. (The additional amount is only $1000.00, not $1500.00 if you belong to Nest 79.)

I agree this application takes a bit more work than our Dr. T.A. Starzynski Scholarship. There are a few more qualifications but not difficult ones.

  • A Member has to have been a Member at least six years.
  • This Member must have a permanent plan of insurance or an annuity. If there is a T or J in your policy number, you do not have a permanent plan. This permanent plan must be in place at least one year prior to application.
  • The applicant (Member) must be entering at least their junior year of college. Full time post graduate students may apply.
  • The applicant must have a G.P.A. of at least 3.0.
  • The Applicant must be enrolled full time and still be enrolled full time when collecting the grant.
  • National Dues must be current; billing of National Dues begins at age 18.

The application itself is rather simple.

  • There are two essay questions, each with a minimum of 500 words.
  • Falcon activity and/or community service are very important. One community service form and letter are required.
  • Nest information form and letter are requested, but if one is not very active in Falcons (due to geography or lack of programs in your area), as long as there is community service, one would qualify. Keep in mind that even though your area may not be very active, there are National Youth Programs.
  • Three letters of recommendation are required. Recommendations may not be from relatives, the Nest or Community Service Organization as requested above. I personally enjoy writing letters of recommendation; I am sure there are others who feel the same way!
  • College or university transcripts sent by the institution.
  • The deadline is always April 15; paperwork must be postmarked by this date.

As I mentioned, the decision as to whom receives a grant is made by an Independent Committee; no one is a Falcon Member. There are five individuals who meet and decide. When I receive the applications, I confirm Membership and qualifications. Copies are then made and mailed to each Committee Member. Following, the Committee comes to our office and we all have dinner. I, then leave the room while the Committee meets and makes their recommendations. I am not part of the process. Obviously, we will not be having dinner this year! The committee will meet virtually.

Another thing that surprises me is that traditionally most of the applicants are female. But this year, there is only one female applicant (very rare).

I understand that college students are extremely busy, but students are used to writing essays so our two essays (we have two questions) don’t take a ton of time; obviously the applicant needs to do some thinking! There is the need to print out forms and request letters from others, but again, not that big of a deal!

So say this entire process takes you eight hours, do you usually earn $1,250.00 an hour? Seriously, invest in yourself and give yourself every opportunity. If you have any questions (any!) regarding our scholarship programs, please contact me at vptrish@polishfalcons.org.

A list of all the Gorecki recipients is on our Scholarships page.

If you are going to be eligible next year, please apply!

Keep safe and healthy! Czolem!

This blog is 676 words, done quickly!

Past National Bowling Tournaments

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We are missing our bowlers this year! As we await the time we can gather together once again, check out this list of past PFA National Bowling Tournaments compiled by Janet Knauber and Trish Del Busse.

VP Trish: Reminiscing on the National Bowling Tournament

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My first National Bowling Tournament was in 1981 hosted by Nest 52, Rochester, N.Y. At the time, Nest 52 still had their Club, which included a small bowling alley next to their bar. I had just moved and was not in a good frame of mind (I get very emotional!), and I simply did not know what to expect. I was quite surprised and not in a pleasant way. I went home and told my Mother that I thought the event was awful! Her response – “Well, there is something wrong with you!”

That fall, we attended the District IV Bowling Tournament and had a blast. A few folks asked us if we were going to South Bend (Nest 80) in the spring. At that time, there were two weekends and most of the Pittsburgh Membership went the second weekend. Well, my Mom went the second weekend; so we decided to go on the first weekend (There were other factors within our team that made the decision.). In a better frame of mind and expectations slightly different, off to South Bend we went! Five of us jammed into one car and all of us slept in one room! Obviously, I understood my Mother’s comment!

So much has changed since then! Think about how much the world has changed since 1982!

  • There were no computers so all entries were sent in on a paper application. There were quite a few bowlers so if you wanted to get your preferred day and time, you had to get your application in early. Geography played a role in these assignments. The Nest Financial Secretary had to sign off and you had to get it signed by the (at the time for the ladies) WIBC. The application was usually mailed a few times before it arrived at the National Bowling Commissioner’s home.
  • There were two divisions – men and women, no mixed. The teams were five person and one had to have a sanction card to participate. We even bowled two male teams on a pair, then two female teams on a pair. It took a while before we were bowling together.
  • Your doubles partner had to be the same gender. If you bowled singles, you had to bowl doubles.
  • Teams dressed alike; we used to have so much fun coming up with outfits!
  • There were no computers at the lanes so the Host Nest had to have enough volunteers to keep score. This was quite a task but again, tons of fun! Then, the Host Nest had to tabulate all of those results by hand. Every team, every person, every series, imagine that!
  • The tournament moved from the east to the west alternating years. West was of course, in the South Bend area. East was Erie and east. Nests would bid on the tournament, often giving away items or hosting a hospitality room, and also each team member received a goodie bag from the Host Nest.
  • Results were posted in the Sokol; we couldn’t wait to receive the Sokol so that we could see the final results!
  • Each Nest still receives a souvenir to put in their Club.

But, the common denominator at the tournament all those years ago was the camaraderie. And that remains the same! Bowling is simply an excuse to get together with life-long friends! The Camaraderie!

I have missed very few tournaments since I began going. I could fill several issues of the Sokol Polski with stories, with lots of giggling. Conversations in the van or in the car or on the plane or on the train! Silliness and just plain fun! Mom’s apple pie, Humphrey, vacuum cleaners, glass elevators, serenades in the van, comedy routine, National Drill, Denny’s restaurant, casino on the boat, playing pool, holding Kathy’s belt loop, a Chevette, Barbie’s pool party, pushing a Cadillac, playing cards, driving a Corvette, homemade dinners at the Club, rubber legs, limo rides, sunbathing, that girl, tailgating, Asti, let’s dance, bus rides, McDonald’s in the bus, shotskis, 50/50, paint sticks, costumes, elevator floors, hotel lobbies, late night conversations, take me home country roads, shoe shopping…

And, I met my John at a National Bowling Tournament all those years ago!

See all of you next year in St. Louis!

Keep healthy and safe! Czolem!