A Message From The President

December 2013

During November and December, I am reminded of the importance of family traditions.  My family spends the week of Thanksgiving on Sanibel Island with my brother, his family and his wife’s family (the Abbotts). There will be 20 of us eating together on Thanksgiving Day ranging in age from two to seventy-six. Our group keeps expanding as new family members are born. Before eating turkey, we have a blessing and remember departed family members.

Six years ago my brother invited my family to join the Abbotts in Sanibel for Thanksgiving. My initial reaction was to decline the invitation because I like hosting Thanksgiving dinner at our home. I was reluctant to trade the memories of cooking all day for eating a boxed take away turkey dinner in a beach condo. After discussing the invitation with my husband, we decided to accept the invitation and spend two nights at the beach. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the Abbotts have been celebrating Thanksgiving in Sanibel for 30 years and have created numerous traditions around this holiday. They warmly welcomed us into their extended family and we now spend the entire week of Thanksgiving with them. (The gourmet turkey dinner is delicious and each condo is assigned side dishes to bring for dinner!)

My Sanibel story is intended to encourage you to establish a new tradition, especially if you are feeling a void in your life during the holidays. An empty nester or a widow could host friends for dinner and begin a new tradition filled with laughter and joy. Or if you know of someone who recently had a loss or major life change, please invite them to join your family to celebrate the holidays.

Traditions are important to strengthen bonds, connect generations and create lasting memories. Athena has traditions, such as the annual retreat, Young Women of Promise and Career Assistance Grants. Each of these events provides a wonderful opportunity to connect with other Athena members and form a bond with them. We have remarkable women in our organization who are eager to share their life experiences and teach us valuable lessons. Athena traditions provide a sense of identity and purpose to our organization.  This Thanksgiving I am grateful for the friendships formed through Athena and guidance I’ve received from my sisters. Happy Thanksgiving!