Branch Spotlight: Calgary Retired Teachers’ Association

The Calgary Retired Teachers’ Association (CRTA) hosted their annual Steppin’ Out conference last month at the Riviera Plaza in Calgary. While the event is in its fourteenth year, its name has never been more appropriate, as this year’s event marked the first opportunity for the branch to meet since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Sure, newsletters, Zoom calls, and small, socially distanced gatherings in the park kept everyone in touch, but there’s nothing quite like that feeling of Steppin’ Out.

While the event was intentionally a little bit smaller than in previous years, the enthusiasm was high. Members gathered on Thursday night for a banquet and a special presentation from Calgary’s own celebrity conservationist, Brian Keating, celebrating the wonders of nature that can be found when you step out into the world, or even into your own backyard.

Friday was marked by prize draws, two more fantastic meals, and a diverse array of presentations from speakers covering topics as diverse as local history, cybersecurity, travel, health, wellness, and so much more. All the while, in the background, attendees could make use of a jigsaw puzzle exchange table, giving new life to the boxes that had become a popular pandemic pastime.

More than the fantastic educational sessions, more than the wonderful food, the real joy of the two-day conference was the chance to reconnect with old friends for the first time in over two years, and welcome new retirees into the fold. At their core, the strength of ARTA branches is their ability to forge and maintain connections, and there’s no better example of this than Steppin’ Out.