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Planning for your Club's future ??


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In doing your planning for the future of your sailing club, 

what are the main variables - opportunities and threats, if you will - that you examine ?? 

Just trying to make sure we are not missing something .  . . . 

Thanks in advance !!  

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57 minutes ago, AJ Oliver said:

In doing your planning for the future of your sailing club, 

what are the main variables - opportunities and threats, if you will - that you examine ?? 

Just trying to make sure we are not missing something .  . . . 

Thanks in advance !!  

One word: Youth

If you club looks and feels like Caddy Shack you are on the wrong side of history.

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Definitely youth.  The old country cub model does not appeal to younger folks anymore.  By younger I mean adults with young kids mainly.  One thing we are doing recruiting these younger folks into volunteer positions so they can do their thing.  It;s been great so far.  New ideas.  New energy.  Good events.    

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balancing maintaining / replacing current assets vs improvements

balancing fees vs value

diversity (or lack thereof) in the membership

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Sea level rise. Replacing/redesigning/maintaining facilities is about to become an expensive undertaking, and it wasn't cheap before.

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Thanks for all the feedback - well, except for the Senator's nonsense. 

And luckily for us, our Club is 570 feet above sea level, so not much worry about ocean levels. 

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Our long range planning committee is hard at work.  Looks like we are going to have to replace a major portion of our slip system in the next few years.  Been patching it together for over a decade now.  Always tricky in determining how much $$$$ to invest in our physical plant as the land we sit on is leased from the local water utility.   

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14 hours ago, jerseyguy said:

Our long range planning committee is hard at work.  Looks like we are going to have to replace a major portion of our slip system in the next few years.  Been patching it together for over a decade now.  Always tricky in determining how much $$$$ to invest in our physical plant as the land we sit on is leased from the local water utility.   

Rent may drop if the land goes under water.  Maybe get a barge to operate from?

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Two things:

- Age of membership

- Leadership succession

In a small club it's tough to find new blood for future commodores and we are having to make a conscious effort to put new people in the traditional preparatory positions to get them ready for the big chair.  Engaging as much of the club as possible in the different volunteer roles is an ongoing effort.

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1 hour ago, PaulK said:

Rent may drop if the land goes under water.  Maybe get a barge to operate from?

Building is safe. Back in the ‘80s when the water level was even higher we had to shut the electricity off to the slip system.  The electrical conduit ran under the pier decking and the lake level was within a few inches of the conduit.  Lots of unhappy cruisers and folks who used their boats as weekend cottages. No A/C, no refrigeration.

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Prof. Oliver:  as a former poli sci, econ and city planning professor, I find your view of Sandusky being 570 above sea level so as not to worry about sea level rise myopic at best.  I suggest you check with other clubs around the Lakes.  For example; the Milwaukee Yacht Club can no longer sell fuel due to lake level heights.  Most of South Shore Yacht Club's docks were wiped out; partially do to water levels, and the water level causing catastrophic failure of a federal breakwall.  (Lake Michigan is 580 feet above sea level)  Similar situations have been occurring further north and across the lake.  My understanding is that even Lake Superior is having issues.  For example,   caves at Pictured Rocks being flooded.  And Superior is 600 feet above sea level.  If someone decides things are getting to dicey in Superior, all that water is coming your way, along with the water empyying out of Michigan-Huron (considered geologically one lake).  Which it seems to be doing, as the Michigan-Huron is down about a full foot from September's record high.  Planning for Lake level rise would seem to be prudent to protect your club's assets.  Just my 2 cents.

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Warmer global temps mean more water is evaporated into water vapor. (Didn't we all learn this in third grade?) More water vapor in the air means more precipitation: rain/snow/sleet/hail. More precipitation means higher river and lake levels. Then it all flows down into the ocean. This does not include ice melting in Greenland and everywhere else. 

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51 minutes ago, PaulK said:

Warmer global temps mean more water is evaporated into water vapor. (Didn't we all learn this in third grade?) More water vapor in the air means more precipitation: rain/snow/sleet/hail. More precipitation means higher river and lake levels. Then it all flows down into the ocean. This does not include ice melting in Greenland and everywhere else. 

Neither this nor the post above it have anything to do with why the lakes are so high.  Eight years ago they were several feet down from where they are now.  They were so low that marinas were worried about going out of business because they couldn't dredge fast enough, and the shipping companies worried about having to take much lighter loads.  Then the winter in 2014 was so cold that the lakes all froze over completely and stayed that way for a month or two longer than usual.  That meant the sun reflected off the ice instead of evaporating the water, and the lakes filled right up.

Sea level rise isn't going to affect the Great Lakes above Lake Ontario.  There's this little thing in the way called Niagara Falls.  The St. Lawrence has a lot of falling rapids on it, too.  And locks.  The lakes are going to rise and fall as they've always done.  Considering the drowned church in Lake St. Clair, lake levels have been much lower in the past than anyone alive today remembers.  And could do so again.

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45 minutes ago, coyotepup said:

Neither this nor the post above it have anything to do with why the lakes are so high.  Eight years ago they were several feet down from where they are now.  They were so low that marinas were worried about going out of business because they couldn't dredge fast enough, and the shipping companies worried about having to take much lighter loads.  Then the winter in 2014 was so cold that the lakes all froze over completely and stayed that way for a month or two longer than usual.  That meant the sun reflected off the ice instead of evaporating the water, and the lakes filled right up.

Sea level rise isn't going to affect the Great Lakes above Lake Ontario.  There's this little thing in the way called Niagara Falls.  The St. Lawrence has a lot of falling rapids on it, too.  And locks.  The lakes are going to rise and fall as they've always done.  Considering the drowned church in Lake St. Clair, lake levels have been much lower in the past than anyone alive today remembers.  And could do so again.

We're talking about rainfall and water runoff from a rather large watershed (300,000 square miles) going into the Great Lakes. Not just sea level rise. 

 

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5 hours ago, PaulK said:

We're talking about rainfall and water runoff from a rather large watershed (300,000 square miles) going into the Great Lakes. Not just sea level rise. 

 

How cool the cat doesn't doesn't have to pay for a hydro lift!

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On 3/6/2021 at 8:05 AM, coyotepup said:

Two things:

- Age of membership

- Leadership succession

In a small club it's tough to find new blood for future commodores and we are having to make a conscious effort to put new people in the traditional preparatory positions to get them ready for the big chair.  Engaging as much of the club as possible in the different volunteer roles is an ongoing effort.

that's where the current Commodore comes in.  That's me right now at my club. I made sure a good VC was in place who will do a great job when my term is over at the end of 2021.  And together looked for a younger hard working person with our goals and vision to take over as VC next next year...

 

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now back to the OP..

1. youth and new members.   We're working hard to offer activities to cater to young families.  More US Sailing Adult sailing courses, family restaurant nights bi monthly (we had monthly the last 2 years)   Friday night outdoor mooooovie night, a sunday paddling club (any craft that you can paddle...SUP, kayak, canoe, etc.) 

2. Infrastructure ...yes as buildings and grounds age, they need more upkeep and its not cheap.  Just maintaining our grounds and equipment is costly...and yes on the Hudson, wer DO need to keep water levels in our minds.  We have had more flooding in the past 4 years than ever before.  Having the ability to choose projects that don't break the bank but improve the clubs infrastructure.  Last year we spent over $30k to have our walkways  redone.....yes bonds help but in order to offset interest we have been selling personalized bricks when will become a part of a section of walkway....we have brought in thousands of $'s with this to offset the costs.

3. Education.  We are now a US Sailing teaching club. We can host US Sailing instructor courses and have both our JR. Sailing and a US Sailing Adult basic Keelboat course which runs throughout the season.  We are also giving the membership what they yearn for....short mini classes on topics they want to learn about ( knots, splicing, RRS, navigation/chart reading,  boat electronics.....)

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13 hours ago, dacapo said:

now back to the OP..

1.  2. Infrastructure ...yes as buildings and grounds age, they need more upkeep and its not cheap.  Just maintaining our grounds and equipment is costly...and yes on the Hudson, wer DO need to keep water levels in our minds.  We have had more flooding in the past 4 years than ever before.  Having the ability to choose projects that don't break the bank but improve the clubs infrastructure.  Last year we spent over $30k to have our walkways  redone.....yes bonds help but in order to offset interest we have been selling personalized bricks when will become a part of a section of walkway....we have brought in thousands of $'s with this to offset the costs.

 

Our club has set up a 501 (C)(3) charitable nonprofit foundation for maintaining our historic buildings.  This allows members - and the public -  to make tax-deductible charitable contributions that benefit the club without having to ding the members every time. Took us about three years to set up, but seems worthwhile after a storm blew our awning over the top of the building, ripping off the cupola and windvane, and  landed it all in the street.  Do you have any idea how expensive working wooden shutters are?  Re-pointing 100 year-old brick? Copper roofing? We're just getting started. 

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On 3/8/2021 at 6:46 AM, dacapo said:

that's where the current Commodore comes in.  That's me right now at my club. I made sure a good VC was in place who will do a great job when my term is over at the end of 2021.  And together looked for a younger hard working person with our goals and vision to take over as VC next next year...

 

Has to be more than just the Commodore.  We elect a Rear at the annual meeting and that person becomes Vice the next year and Commodore the year after that.  We typically want the candidates to have been at least one, if not two of the big three committee chairs: Race, Regatta, or Entertainment.  Race and Regatta have assistants so that is generally a multi-year gig as well.  Being on the Board (another two-year stint, and an elected position) also helps.  So the RC needs to already start thinking who he wants as his committee chairs with an eye toward those people running for RC in a few years.  And those people have generally have had to be involved in some way already.  So a lot of club engagement is involved, from Past Commodores on down.

We tend to feel that if the club is running smoothly and everything is going like it should, the Commodore him or herself barely has to do anything at all, except give speeches and handle the sticky situations that arise.

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30 minutes ago, coyotepup said:

We tend to feel that if the club is running smoothly and everything is going like it should, the Commodore him or herself barely has to do anything at all, except give speeches and handle the sticky situations that arise.

haaa, in normal years ;-)

 

Last year was trying , at best.   With that said, I am a hands on person. Do as I do not as I say............I'll work with all the committees encouraging them. I'll put together volunteer committees to work out problems.  I'll jump on the work boat and help a crew that is short handed.  Lead by example.  Be friendly to all...use sugar when possible....venom at last resort.  I want to grow our sailing community and I have grand ideas...my successor next year has those same ideas and I thin the VC next year (one of my crew) has the same goals in mind....

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7 hours ago, dacapo said:

haaa, in normal years ;-)

 

Last year was trying , at best.   With that said, I am a hands on person. Do as I do not as I say............I'll work with all the committees encouraging them. I'll put together volunteer committees to work out problems.  I'll jump on the work boat and help a crew that is short handed.  Lead by example.  Be friendly to all...use sugar when possible....venom at last resort.  I want to grow our sailing community and I have grand ideas...my successor next year has those same ideas and I thin the VC next year (one of my crew) has the same goals in mind....

Yeah....I must say our Commodore last year did absolutely exceptional work.  That was a year that needed a much heavier hand on the wheel.  Last year was absurd but we did end up getting our racing done.  The entertainment chair ended up with nothing to do though :(

Next year is my turn in the big chair and I fully intend to be visible.....but also mindful of the most common piece of advice I've received, which is D-E-L-E-G-A-T-E.  We have a Commodore's Council made up of the club's PCs, and one of their biggest credos is to provide guidance but never to interfere.  The club is healthier, we figure, when it's run mainly by future commodores and not past ones.

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On 3/1/2021 at 10:10 AM, stayoutofthemiddle said:

One word: Youth

If you club looks and feels like Caddy Shack you are on the wrong side of history.

yep, if your club doesn't have a robust youth program, you're doomed. there are very few exceptions. 

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1 hour ago, frozenhawaiian said:

yep, if your club doesn't have a robust youth program, you're doomed. there are very few exceptions. 

A youth program is important, however their parent are paying their fees.  Once it comes out of your own pocket the club is competing against school fees, mortgages, kids sport fees, etc and membership often falls to the bottom of the pile.

More importantly the club has to understand why their members stay being members.  They have to look at what members want and how the club meets these needs.  Not all members have the same needs but for a club to think that people want to be members so they can say they are members of the club are doomed to fail. 

I suggested they open a small business center, just wi-fi, a printer, some desks and a meeting room.  As everyone is now able to work remotely it can become a hub for working members to utilise the club as a base for some work followed by a client meeting then client lunch.  They thought a gym would be a good idea but your competing against hundreds of cheaper and better equipped gyms. 

Also have an active recruitment committee, with people from all age groups as older members have no idea what the younger and family members want. As an example my sister did a adult learn to sail at our club, once finished there was no follow-up at all.  There are 140 boats doing twilight races, there should be prizes for boats that take out learn to sail graduates who can then end up racing the Saturday races.

 

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2 hours ago, frozenhawaiian said:

yep, if your club doesn't have a robust youth program, you're doomed. there are very few exceptions. 

I don't agree.  I'm sure it's helpful, and for the sport at large it's critical.  But, paper clubs, for one thing, don't need 'em and would have a hard time running 'em anyway.  And the kids in youth programs are years away from being paying members.  It's not a dependable recruiting pipeline.

Youth matters, but it's important to realize that "youth" can in fact be new members in their 40s and 50s.  If you do it right, they'll be members for 20, 30, even 40 years.  That's not insignificant.

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25 minutes ago, Bill E Goat said:

 

I suggested they open a small business center, just wi-fi, a printer, somedesks and a meeting room.  As everyone is now able to work remotely it can become a hub for working members to utilise the club as a base for some work followed by a client meeting then client lunch.  They thought a gym would be a good idea but your competing against hundreds of cheaper and better equipped gyms. 

Do you ski? Quite the slippery slope you suggest.  What is the difference between competing with home office spaces - which people have already set up - and gyms, where you're competing against cheaper and better-equipped gyms?  What happens when a client meeting takes over the conference room and extends into the next person's allotted time? What if your client arrives late to the meeting and it's someone else's turn?  Who's to blame if the network is slowed by too many users at once and your presentation freezes? What happens when your client lunch keeps the most senior member from getting a seat?  Our club's bylaws expressly prohibit conducting business on club grounds. Take your client out on your boat instead. You can talk shop all you want out there.  Maybe they'll want to join the club!  

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34 minutes ago, PaulK said:

Do you ski? Quite the slippery slope you suggest.  What is the difference between competing with home office spaces - which people have already set up - and gyms, where you're competing against cheaper and better-equipped gyms?  What happens when a client meeting takes over the conference room and extends into the next person's allotted time? What if your client arrives late to the meeting and it's someone else's turn?  Who's to blame if the network is slowed by too many users at once and your presentation freezes? What happens when your client lunch keeps the most senior member from getting a seat?  Our club's bylaws expressly prohibit conducting business on club grounds. Take your client out on your boat instead. You can talk shop all you want out there.  Maybe they'll want to join the club!  

Agree with all of the above, however this club has plenty of room, 2 dining areas and actively promote members to hold business functions.  I wouldn't expect it to be more than 6-10 desks.   As for home offices, there comes a time that you just have to get out of the house or lose your mind

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  • 2 weeks later...

The club started a Sailing School nearly 15 years ago, 80 kids out their learning to sail every Thursday afternoon /evening May till September, all run by volunteers. It took several years, But the normal club membership is increasing as is the number of boats going out for club racing each Sunday. (They teach adults as well).

We also in Normal years would have come "try sailing" for free tying in with a local boat show, unfortunately due to covid cancelled last year and this..

Meanwhile our temporary buildings put up in 1963 need replacement, a new long term lease on our grounds has had to be negotiated. So that the new building can be installed.. It will be on steel piles raised well above the ground, the piling being a major part of the costs...

Just up the river they built 11 houses about 30 years ago, their test piling indicated solid at 30 ft... When they put the real piles in some went in  100 foot!!

There will be disruption for a year, when we move to a temporary temporary cabin in the carpark.

 

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