Golden Boot 2006

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Golden Boot 2006 - All Join Hands Foundation

presentation at Wish Upon A Thar by Seth Levine

First, I want to thank my friend Ett McAtee for presenting me with the Golden Boot Award. Over the years, you've had many opportunities to witness me getting all choked up on the microphone in front of all of you, but rarely have I been as shocked, pleased, and lost for words as I was last year when Ett called my name. I thank her now for choosing to recognize my small contribution to our activity, because I honestly have no idea what it was I said when I accepted the award last year.

The Golden Boot recognizes many different types of contributions to GLBT square dancing. It is presented not by the IAGSDC or any awards committee, but each year, by the previous recipient to the next. There are no set criteria for receiving the award, yet I believe it is something we should all strive to achieve as we take part in this great activity that we love.

I've spent a good deal of time over the past several months pondering who would receive the award this year. I've re-read many of the presentation speeches that have been delivered over the years, and I've noticed several repeating themes, the most prominent of which, I think, is the theme of Family. Indeed, the gift that Ett presented to me commemorating my Golden Boot award is a lovely hand-crafted framed needlepoint piece with Chinese symbols representing the word "Family."

In Ett's presentation, she mentioned that my parents were with me, and had earned their 10-year medallions last year. I'm very pleased to let you know that they have begun working on their 20-year medallions now, and are with me again this year, along with my partner, Gene, my extended families from Desert Valley Squares and T-Squares, and my extended extended family, all of you.

As an extended extended family, we enjoy many of the advantages of our more nuclear families. One of the brothers or sisters or cousins hosts a great party every year in their back yard in a different city. Each year, we get together to catch up on who in the family has married and divorced and re-married. We celebrate births and deaths together, and always have fun welcoming those who are new to the family.

Our family activity is mostly run by volunteers, so we have, in our extended extended family, those who do a lot of dancing, and those of us who seem to spend a lot of time standing around talking about dancing.

Because our family activity is square dancing, we need callers and teachers, and I believe that we have among us today and at our home clubs some of the very best in the world, not only in the GLBT Community, but in those from the straight community who call and teach for us. The Gay Callers Association has been a vital part of the IAGSDC's growth and development by offering Caller Schools and professional exchange opportunities for those who call for GLBT Square Dance Clubs. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the GCA, its members, and to the straight callers who have called, taught, and worked with our clubs, sometimes at great risk to their own careers.

The IAGSDC also has a legacy. The legacy of the IAGSDC consists not only of our oral and written history, but also, as with most nuclear families, our legacy comes in the form of financial support handed down from family members, some of whom make their gifts during life, and some after. In 1995, Joe Petersen, a member of the Rocky Mountain Rainbeaus in Denver, left provisions in his will to give money to the IAGSDC. The Petersen Fund was created as a result, but was not set up to allow others to make similar contributions.

[The following paragraph was condensed and paraphrased during the speech, since AJH had just made their annual presentation]

And now I lead us off into a small commercial break - In 2002, seeing the need to create a conduit through which members of our extended extended family could contribute toward the preservation and promotion of our family and its activities, The All Join Hands Foundation was created. To date, The Foundation has collected over $60,000 in tax deductible contributions from you, the members of our family, and has distributed approximately $30,000 toward their goals of promoting GLBT Square Dancing and protecting our shared heritage. These sponsorships have included significant underwriting for the past 3 GCA Callers Schools, funding of Trail-In and Contra dances which bridge the gap between the GLBT and Straight communities, providing funding for production and mailing of an IAGSDC Newsletter which serves as a communication link to the members of our family, and many other projects. The Foundation also now provides a means for members of our family to legally pass an inheritance on to those of us who remain when the time comes.

I encourage you to consider The Foundation when making your annual charitable contributions, and in your estate planning. And now, back to the our regularly scheduled awards presentation -

It gives me great pride and pleasure to present the 2006 Golden Boot award to an organization which I believe truly enables our Family to continue and develop its long standing legacy, and I'd like to invite Gordon Macaw, Randy Clarke, and Greg Wilson to the stage to accept the award on behalf of The All Join Hands Foundation.

Traditionally, the Gold Boot Award includes some token of remembrance such as a belt buckle, watch or the lovely needlepoint item I received last year. When considering presenting the award this year, I thought about what would be appropriate to give this group, and decided that there's something The Foundation could use more than jewelry or a wall hanging, so my gifts this year are comprised of a copy of my last will and testament, which includes provisions for a portion of my estate to be given to The Foundation, and also a gift of $1,000 from my family and I to be targeted to help fund future GCA Caller Schools, along with a challenge to all of the members of my extended extended family to consider donating to The Foundation to continue to help secure the legacy of the IAGSDC and its member clubs and dancers.