It is with gratitude and pride that we nominate Ingrid and Tom Barry for the Local Legend Award. We feel that they deserve area-wide recognition for their service to their club, Riverside Squares, and to the activity of square dancing.
Ingrid Barry first learned to square dance in Riverside‘s 1992-93 class, and joined the club in 1993; Tom went through class at another club and joined Riverside in 1994.
They soon showed their willingness to serve, becoming both BaIh’1er Chairs and Class Coordinators for the club for the1997-98 and 1998-99 seasons. In May 1999, they were elected Presidents of Riverside Squares.
Since assuming the club presidency, the Barrys have brought new energy and innovation to Riverside Squares. First, and probably most importantly, they have not shied away from change. Willingly accepting and putting into practice the Multi-Cycle concept has brought new vitality to Riverside Squares, with larger classes each year of the program.
The Barrys have expanded community outreach and service by the club. These efforts include demonstration dancing at the Spectrum Elder Daycare Center, the Gloucester Senior Care Variety Show fundraiser, and the North Shore Cancer Walk; and the institution of a spring Scholarship Dance to raise funds to provide a scholarship for a graduating Danvers High School Senior who plans to enter the field of health, recreation, or fitness. These activities have made Riverside Squares better known in the community.
Additionally, they have been innovative in the club’s recruiting efforts, including hanging a street banner in Danvers Square advertising our New Dancer Dances (classes), obtaining free advertising space in a community service ad block supported by local businesses, and starting the wide distribution of bookmarks announcing our New Dancer startups. (This idea was instituted by Riverside at least a year before it appeared in Bernie Coulthurst’s column in the Northeast Square Dancer Magazine.) Their new recruiting ideas have also included two programs to which Riverside dancers are encouraged to invite their non-dancing friends: a New Years Eve pot-luck party and dance (including some very easy square and folk dancing) and a summer barbecue.
Under the Barry’s leadership, the Riverside Squares club has grown and become one of the healthiest square dance clubs in New England. This is particularly encouraging as we see more and more clubs in our area closing their doors. Their leadership style is very low-key and they delegate well, which does away with bureaucratic roadblocks. This makes it easy and pleasant to serve with them as officers of the club.
The Barrys have demonstrated a solid commitment to seeing the square dance activity flourish in the Danvers area and have led Riverside Squares to become an outstandingly successful club through a difficult period for square dancing in New England. For this reason, we believe Ingrid and Tom Barry are well deserving of the Local Legend Award.