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    The Fifth Decade

    1995 - 2005

    In 1995, the Florida Council on Aging established the FCOA Advocacy Award. A This award was created to recognize the outstanding advocacy efforts of State Legislators on behalf of older persons. The award is based on the nominee's activities and actions during the just ended Florida Legislative session. The first recipient of this award was Representative Lars Hafner. The first issue of AgeWise, a publication on bringing together education and aging, was mailed to FCOA members. Ed Asner served as the 40th Anniversary Florida Aging Network Conference opening keynote in Ft. Lauderdale.

    In February, 1996, FCOA convened a Think Tank to explore trends in health and human services. In May, the FCOA President appointed a special Task Force to explore issues of cultural diversity and issue a report of recommendations to the Board. Rosalynn Carter was the opening keynote at the 1996 Florida Aging Network Training Conference in Haines City.

    1997 marked the beginning of new procedures for electing FCOA trustees and officers. Every FCOA member whose membership was current received an election ballot, providing more members the opportunity to participate in the election process (in the past, only those who attended the General Membership Meeting, held during the annual Aging Conference, were given a chance to vote).

    Dr. Ruth Westheimer delivered the opening keynote address at the 1997 Florida Aging Network Training Conference in St. Petersburg Beach. The Florida Department of Education, in partnership with FCOA, released "The Older Worker: Florida's Prime Resource", an important study on older workers. FCOA was also awarded funds from DOE to establish and facilitate two statewide Task Forces.

    In response to the increasing need for specialized training for leaders in the Aging Network, the Florida Council on Aging established the FCOA Leadership Academy in 1998. The first Leadership Academy was held May 11 of that year in Ft. Myers. Responses to an Aging Florida magazine was first published and distributed in the Fall of 1998. Dr. Stephen Golant served as the Editor-in-Chief.

    The FCOA website was established in 1999. The Intergenerational Service Award was added to the QSLA program that year. Three issues of Responses to an Aging Florida magazine were published. Governor Jeb Bush was the opening keynote at the 1999 Florida Aging Network Conference in Miami.

    The FCOA Board of Directors adopted FCOA's Core Values in June, 2000. Five FCOA members were appointed to the Panel on Excellence in Long Term Care, created by the 1999 Florida Legislature, to develop criteria to give a truly superior facility a "Gold Seal" rating. Senator Bob Graham was the closing keynote at the 2000 Florida Aging Network Conference in Tampa.

    In 2001, FCOA began sending Network Alerts to FCOA members via e-mail. Responses to an Aging Florida magazine was re-funded by DOE (FCOA had not received funding for Responses in 2000). The first ever joint FCOA/FASP Florida Conference on Aging was held in Ft. Lauderdale that year with opening keynote Lt. Governor Frank Brogan. 

    Debbie Reynolds spoke at the annual FCOA/FASP Membership luncheon during the Florida Conference on Aging in Tampa in 2002.

    The final three issues of Responses to an Aging Florida magazine were published in 2003. Governor Jeb Bush spoke at the opening session of the annual Florida Conference on Aging in Orlando.

    FCOA participated in an Advocacy Summit sponsored by the Florida Association of Aging Services Providers in April, 2004. A variety of groups involved in aging attended, many of whom had not previously worked together as advocates. The White House Conference on Aging conducted a Listening Session, the first one outside of Washington, D.C., during the annual Florida Conference on Aging in Miami. Several FCOA members were given the opportunity to give testimony at this session, which helped provide input from Florida to help direct the agenda for the 2005 White House Conference on Aging. 2004 was a BAD year for hurricanes - Florida was hit by Hurricane Charley, Hurricane Frances (which cut short the Florida Conference on Aging by one day), Hurricane Ivan, and Hurricane Jeanne. The hurricanes criss-crossed Florida, causing widespread destruction in major areas of the state.

    2005 marks the Golden Anniversary of the Florida Council on Aging. The original objectives developed by the founding members of FCOA continue to motivate current FCOA members. In its first fifty years, the Florida Council on Aging provided professionals, retired seniors, non-profit organizations, and others with an opportunity to participate in an ambitious set of initiatives that benefit personal career goals, statewide needs of the elderly, and national dialogues on aging. The Council has had a long, eventful history and will continue to serve the needs of elders into the 21st century.