by Harmon Everett
Farewell to the Commodoreship!
Thank you to all who have helped make these last several years as Commodore, really fun and exciting! And here’s my wish for many more!
I’m not actually leaving. I’m going to remain on the scene as Commodore Emeritus to help out, – and maybe by having fewer Commodore duties, I will be able to lead more paddling trips! Which is, of course, the main reason the club exists! I would like to thank the people who have spent their time and effort over the past several years actually leading HCC Paddling trips: Dave, Joe, Tom, Terri, Natalie, Fraser, Bob, Bruce, Linda, Tisha and Philip, Paul, John and Frank, and if I’ve left anyone out, please forgive me – and tell me so! We need to recognize the service you have provided!
I reviewed my opening message from 3 years ago, and found I have left most of my goals unfinished. I wanted to include more and different group activities along with HCC’s club activities, more commercial organizations – REI, ACK, Southwest Paddle Sports, Academy and others, and improve the website. Sadly, not much of that has come to pass. I can hope to continue to work on those issues.
We did, however, produce a bang-up 50th Anniversary party. The credit for that goes to the tremendous effort put forward by the committee members – Honey, Joe, Christy, Frank, Bob, Ann, Fraser, Janice, Mary, Natalie, Sherri, John and Cindy – Thank you for all your hard work, and for the rest of the volunteers who made the Anniversary so effortless. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and will be remembered for many years to come!
I would also like to thank the members of the Executive Board who have provided the support that has allowed me to have so much fun as the Commodore! Honey, in so many capacities; Dave - who provided so much work as the Fleet Captain; Bob, who reasserted order and control over the mess of the Club finances I left when I left the Purser position; Will Blumentritt, Ken Pape, Frank, John – who produces one of the best Newsletters, ever, month in and month out; Terri, who took over the Fleet Captain position last year, and sadly has had to relinquish it this year. Hopefully she will be able to continue to lead as many trips in the future as she has in the past year. And Terry, who is working the Boatswain’s position. Thank you all!
The Club still faces many challenges that I hope to help with, and encourage all of you to roll up your sleeves and put your paddle in and help too. Every organization, organism, or system must bring in more resources and energy through its activities, than it spends on those activities, in order to thrive and grow, or it starves and dies. For us, that means we need to continually bring in new members, and include them into our activities – in being Board members, in leading trips, in helping with the website and interaction with other clubs and commercial organizations. In welcoming them as friends.
The club – and most clubs – are faced with challenges brought about by all the new technologies. There are new boat designs and materials, electronics are both distracting from paddling activities, and enhancing it, and provide for new ways to organize and coordinate trips. Can we as a club adjust our activities to accommodate the new ways of doing things? Organizing a trip with other paddlers was helped in the past by having a central phone message system, or an electronic message board. Now, with universal cell phones and flash mob instant group organizations in the palm of your hand, what can our club do to add value to a paddling trip? We know we have monthly meetings that provide spectacular presentations, and opportunities to share with our fellow paddlers, but the purpose of the club is to have more fun on the water. We all know people who paddle on their own, or with just a few friends, and don’t join us. What can we offer to make their trips more inclusive with our club? I’m leery of trying to attract new members with gimmicks and offers that don’t reflect the real value of what we do: spending time on the water with friends. And at the meetings, spending time with friends talking about paddling on the water. I guess we need to reach out to newcomers at meetings and welcome them to become friends, and reach out to other paddlers on the water and ask them to join us.
With that, the club is like a river, with an ebb and flow. We need to have our paddles in the water, and working them. I’ll be here and I hope you will join me!
See You On The Water!
Retiring Commodore, Harmon Everett