An Comunn Gàidhealach Ameireaganach (The American Scottish Gaelic Society, or ACGA) has elected a new slate of officers for 2020-21, and welcomes two new members to its board of directors.

The ACGA board chose long-time member and former co-vice president Liam Ó Caiside (Cassidy), to lead the board as president for the next year. Former co-vice president Jeff Justice will be vice president, and former president Mìcheal MacAoidh (Mackay) will be treasurer.

Term limits required MacAoidh to step down after serving as president since 2014.

Eileen Walker of Virginia and Reese MacKay of Colorado both joined the board, after being elected by the membership earlier this year. In addition to Cassidy, Justice, and Mackay, they join current directors Shannon Duncan, Cam MacRae, and Barbara Lynn Rice.

“This new board will continue to build on the strong foundation laid by Mike Mackay over several terms as president,” Ó Caiside said. “We will bolster the events and services we currently provide to members, and introduce new services and initiatives as well, especially online.”

Among the goals set by the board in its August 9 meeting were:

  • Developing a new Scottish Gaelic Learners Grant Program.
  • Holding a Virtual US National Mòd this fall.
  • Holding an online Annual General Meeting before the end of the year.
  • Using Zoom to reach out to Gaelic Learning Communities.
  • Developing a monthly Zoom-based video program.

“During the pandemic, we’ve become accustomed to using video conferencing programs such as Zoom and Skype to work remotely, and we’ve seen how powerful these tools can be,” Ó Caiside said. “ACGA held a very successful Grandfather Mountain Gaelic Song and Language Week entirely through Zoom, with four days of classes followed by a mòd.”

Like other organizations and businesses, the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing ACGA to adopt new ways of doing things and to seize new opportunities. “We can’t meet ‘shoulder-to-shoulder’ during this pandemic, but we can meet online, and we plan to do much more online this coming year,” Ó Caiside said.