It was easy to get caught up in the excitement of being the founding member of the Old Pueblo Chapter of American Pilgrims on the Camino, but life is too short to spend so much time working to promote the Camino de Santiago de Compostela that I so love when circumstances and certain people create an atmosphere whereby the enjoyment dies.
Often times during my tenure, I asked myself whether or not I respect those involved in the chapter, is the group cohesive and respectful of each other, do we bring to each monthly meeting knowledge and experiences to share with others without promoting our own agendas, and do I trust them?
My answers to those questions were “YES”, a resounding YES for the first year and one half of my tenure.
As Chapter founder and the officiator of the meetings, I was responsible for all administrative work of the chapter, scheduling presenters, leading each meeting, greeting the members, welcoming the new comers and basically getting information out to the group. Because of my co-coordinator’s other responsibilities, I found myself doing everything most of the time, which was not ever a problem. Founding and leading the Old Pueblo Chapter was a labor of love.
However, for the past 18 months or so, it was becoming evident to me one particular member had begun launching his own campaign to grasp control of the group.
With the passing of each month, this member’s rude interruptions of my greetings, his frequent comments regarding his dislike of the widely used John Brierley guidebooks and his attempts to bring others into his camp became obvious to all. Other chapter members began making comments to me regarding his rudeness and the stance he took of being the only ‘veteran member’ who has the correct information on how to approach the Camino.
Truthfully, I did not, nor do I now possess the skills to tactfully put him on notice. His outbursts became more frequent and his attitude of being in charge became exacerbated until finally I no longer wished to be part of the leadership of the Old Pueblo Chapter. I have since learned his actions of subterfuge were greater than I had imagined. He has placed himself in the position of sending out private, password protected documents of how the ongoing meetings should be run. Needless to say, I was not included on the distribution list.
He had warned me and I quote “Just please don’t assume your singular decision matches the wishes of the group at large.” I hope he is reading this blog as I would like to say to him “Just please don’t assume your decisions on how the Chapter should be run, match the wishes of the group at large.”
His actions over the past 18 months, his stand on the mentioning of the tours I run (even though I have permission and was told there is not a conflict of interest by the National Board of APOC to do so) and his recent bullying attempts via email with me have changed the answers to the questions I have asked myself from “YES” to a very loud “NO”.
As a result of the recent events, I have resigned from my position as Chapter Coordinator. After consultation with the Board of APOC, I have been assured they will be soliciting nominations and members who might be interested in filling the coordinator positions that are now vacant. I have been assured that during the process of establishing new leadership, the chapter will continue as before with ongoing meetings.
I wish all the readers from the Old Pueblo Chapter the best of luck going forward and to the pilgrims who will be embarking on their Caminos this year I wish them all the blessings and magic the Camino bestows.
Ultreïa et Suseïa ~ Arlène
You are the best and I thank you so much for all your encouragement to get me back on the Camino. As a result as you know I have walked three other Caminos and am now ready for long walk of the Via Francigene. I appreciate all your hard work, your ideas and your restraint. The situation of yours remind me of a quote from the late great Robin Williams. When heckled by the audience he responded with saying “Alas, assholes do Vex Me!” Good luck and have a great tour.
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You could not have found a better quote if you tried! I wish I would have used that one.
Arlene – I’m stunned by this. I know you have put your heart, and yes your soul too, into the Chapter. It is, unfortunately, an aspect of human nature for some to seek to subvert the endeavours of others for their own personal aggrandisement. In this instance, it seems that the tenants of the Camino, being generosity of spirit, graciousness, humility, and dare I say it personal honesty, are quickly forgotten in the of pursuit of what’s perceived to be “power.” You epitomise all those wonderful characteristics of the Camino – and I’m proud of you for what you’ve done. You’ve talked the talk – and you certainly have walked the walk!!
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Thank you so much for your thoughts on my post, I know well how you have been so aware of my dedication and love for the Camino as I am aware of your same dedication and love for it. At this point I believe the Universe is directing me to bigger and better places where I will be able to make an even greater impact. Under my leadership the Old Pueblo Chapter has grown from 30 original members in 2013 to 284 members at the end of December 2015, I think part of the credit for that growth was due to my dedication and love of the Camino.
I have much to share, life is going well for me, major changes are happening in my life, this unfortunate incident is simply the catalyst to something greater, stay tuned – even you may be surprised at what will manifest.
That’s true. Arlene, the Old Chapter has been a step, a stage in your Life just as saint Jean to roncesvalles.Look in the front.never turn back, and s
one more interesting things are waiting for you.
bises from France.
Bon jour Marie,
Very nice to hear from you. Ah, yes definitely a stage or shall I say a chapter in my book. I am looking forward to wonderful new adventures.
In fact I will be leading a tour during July on the Caminho Português via Costeria. I still have a few spaces if you might be interested, it is stacking up to be a very nice group of people so far. Do give it a thought and contact me at CHAdventures@outlook.com if you might be interested.
Sorry for your troubles, Arlène. You have done more than your fair share running the chapter. Hopefully a way can be found to bring this errant member back to earth or barring that bid him adieu. Who needs that kind of childish aggravation.
I only hope this errant member can be reigned in. It is sad I was unable to do so and decided to resign from my position as Chapter Leader. As I said in the post, I did not do I now possess the skills to tactfully deal with this member, I can only hope those who will replace me and my co-coordinator will be able to do so.
Thank you for you comment, it is truly appreciated.
Oh Arlene what a harrowing time we experience in life now and then. It seems that there are bigger and better things for you as you travel on. We can’t keep a good lady in the one place for too long:)
Love and light
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Thanks Angie for your kind words, yes it can be harrowing at times. But as you said, I am looking for the next chapter/adventure to manifest.
Love you too – Arlène
I know you are following your heart Arlene, and that is never a wrong path. Proud to know you.
Steve, proud to know you too! Yup, I am following my heart and I’m sure I’ll land someplace extra special
I am so proud of all you have contributed to so many. Your leadership skills will take you far. I cherish your friendship, laughter, and insight. You are one special person. Nancy
You know me Nancy, I’m happy to have shed the stress. Onward and upward – thanks for your comments.
Well, Arlene, you obviously needed the space to use your exceptional talents and personality for better and greater things. You go girl!! 🙂
Yes, time to move on. And let me tell you changes are in the works, stay tuned.
Holy shit!!!! What an obnoxious bastard! I will give you a call. I am currently awaiting a phone call from across the “pond” from our friends in Hove, England as we are planning a trip (Viking River Cruise) to China in April 2017. I also have to call a very sick friend who appears to be dying slowly from two non-functional kidneys and diabetes and all of the problems that it brings on.
Will try and call later this afternoon and if not, tomorrow.
Looking forward to chatting with you. Lots to tell you. Take care
Hi Arlene. I’ve only just read this. I’m sorry you’ve had to endure that mans nasty negative energy. I’m pleased to see though that your upbeat positive energy has overcome this and you are moving onto bigger and better things. Enjoy the new path you are on.
When is the next trip to the Camino?
I have 3 guided tours offered walking the Camino. There are also self-guided tours of both routes on the Caminho Português as well as self-guided Bicycling Tours of the Caminho Português. All of these tours are advertised on my website which is located at http://www.choosehappinessadventures.com.
For Fall 2017 I am offering a Guided Camino Francés – walking from Astorga to Santiago de Compostela.
For Spring 2018 I am offering two Guided tours – the first is walking the Camino Costa da Morte, walking a loop from Santiago to Muxia, onto Finisterre and back to Santiago. The second tour is of the Caminho Português Central Route – walking from Porto, Portugal to Santiago de Compostela.
I have placed your address on Choose Happiness Adventures email newsletter so in the future you will be informed of all the upcoming tour offerings.