By Michael Verdi
About 50 members of PSGCNJ braved the oppressive heat and humidity Monday, July 15th, for an afternoon, of food, fun, games and, of course networking, at our summer picnic … did I mention it was hot?
“We plan group outings every six months, or so, to bring members together to help build the PSGCNJ employment community. It’s purely a social event, where there are no agendas, or speakers, and the members are the stars,” said PSGCNJ Executive Director Ken Hitchner, who made an announcement at the gathering.
As revelers arrived at Colonial Park, in Somerset, New Jersey, they were greeted with the rolling landscape of the park and the large, beautifully decorated pavilion.
Party-goers jammed to the sounds of the islands with smooth reggae music as they mingled, laughed, and even networked while the picnic feast was being prepared. Members enjoyed delicious BBQ fair including; hamburgers, hot dogs, pulled pork, refreshments, and a long table filled with delectable side dishes and desserts as far as the eye could see.
What value does this event bring to the PSGCNJ Community? “This event offers good team building and an additional opportunity to network with folks we haven’t met before. It also helps lift our members’ spirits and allows them to take a break from our regular meetings and the stresses of their employment search for a little camaraderie and fun,” said Stephanie Jones, Marketing & Events Committee Co-Chair.
Participants confirmed the need for informal, social gatherings, which allow them to take a break and reconnect with other members. “I came to the picnic to escape the conundrum of my job search and re-engage with past contacts,” said PSGCNJ member Richard Regalde.
Others were interested in meeting new people. “I registered for the picnic because it was outdoors and I wanted to meet new people and chat with connections in an informal manner,” said Cindy Vega, employed part time, adding that her assignment is ending shortly and she is interested in refilling her networking pipeline.
During the event, the Marketing and Events Committee organized several activities including; a membership quiz, water balloon toss game, horseshoes, croquet, volleyball/badminton, basketball, Frisbee, and a ring toss game.
Due to the high temperatures, the balloon toss games were clearly the activity of choice for overheated party-goers. The wet and wild balloon toss allowed competitors to test their throwing & catching skills, as well as cool off a bit, by tossing water balloons to their teammates at increasing & decreasing distances.
Congratulations to the two winning teams of the water balloon toss — Fran Day/Darragh Turman and Linda Green / Steve Murray, who all received prizes.
Another popular activity was the membership quiz, where PSGCNJ members answered a battery of questions to test their knowledge of the objectives and latest statistics of our employment group.
Congratulations to Cindy Vega, Sharon Smith, Ellen Schwartz, Barbara Usack, and Judee Szaro-Treanor who all won prizes for answering the most questions.
Based on conversations with both participants and organizers, all of PSGCNJ’s goals were exceeded at the picnic! A big thank you to Stephanie Jones for organizing the event! Stephanie did all the shopping for the picnic with the help of Dirk Graham, Assistant Chairperson of the Membership Committee, Acting Treasurer and Volunteer on the Job Fair Committee. Also, a big thanks to others on the Membership Committee such as Lenise Mitchell who greeted everyone at the Welcome Table, Bernie Lewis who brought the ice and Bill Dearborn who brought the charcoal, the 3 Grill Masters Steve Laue, Joe Fillippone and George Shephard.
Thanks to a few members of the Marketing and Events Committee for making posters & promoting the event. Finally, thanks to all PSGCNJ members for making donations that made this summer’s picnic a success.
By Michael Verdi