Over time, and as individual families began to grow, our Thanksgiving celebrations began to change. The number of chairs around the table stayed the same, but the faces were different. I grew up in a restaurant family and there were times when our employees found themselves alone on the holidays. Whenever circumstances created an empty seat at our family table, it was quickly filled by members of our extended restaurant and community family.
To me, that is what Thanksgiving is all about. It is the opportunity to come together with family and friends to share joy and give thanks.
When I sit down to Thanksgiving Dinner tomorrow, surrounded by my family and those “orphan” friends who have found their way to our table, I will give thanks for my year as president of CSAC. I count among my blessings the many things I have learned, the incredible support of this amazing association and the many strong friendships I have made among my colleagues from all over the state.
Being president the first year of new Governor’s Administration was certainly an adventure. While it has been a great honor to represent California Counties and interact with my peers, I spent more time traveling this year than perhaps ever before. Hop in the car and drive to Sacramento one day, Alameda County the next and so on. The foibles of air travel taught me how to embrace spontaneity when cancelled flights spur impromptu road trips to places like Fresno County and beyond. Stopping in to visit supervisors along the way, I learned to enjoy the process of getting where I was going and experiencing the changing landscape throughout the state.
In fact, throughout my tenure as president, I have learned to enjoy the process in more than just travel. After putting it off for eight years, I bucked down and completed my CSAC Institute credential this year. As I have shared here before, I often wonder why I waited so long. I have truly enjoyed the quality and variety of courses provided by the Institute and I eagerly look forward to taking more classes in the future.
Through my experiences as president and earning my credential, I have learned that the strength of our Association is the host of similarities that bring us together. Like friends and family gathered together around the Thanksgiving table, the CSAC Annual Meeting next week will bring together California’s Counties. We are celebrating 125 years as an Association, and that longevity is truly something for which we should give thanks. We have an incredible line up of speakers and sessions for you, and I look forward to seeing you in San Francisco.
As many of us face the busiest travel day of the year, I hope you too can learn to enjoy the process, get where you are going safely and enjoy a healthy and happy Thanksgiving holiday.