A SPECIAL EDITION FOR 10/10/2012
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THIS IS A SPECIAL EDITION:
THERE IS ONLY ONE NEWS ITEM, AN EDITORIAL, AND A LONGER STORY!
This special edition is entirely my idea, and it's precipitated by the reality that my editing duties will be handled for the next couple of weeks --- maybe a week or two longer than that --- by Kathy Brown, my co-editor. As "Editor in Chief", you have only me to blame for the contents herein.
By the way, it's not going to be posted on the BYC.ORG web site. You'll have to forward it to anyone you want to see it, and you can email me at email@example.com if you have a complaint! --- Joe Coons
THE NEWS ITEM:
Donna Olsen's email address was listed wrong for RSVP's for the Commodore's Ball. It is firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is the way the story should have read:
Invitations for the 88th BYC Commodore's Ball, "Hot Tropical Nights," will be mailed on Monday, Oct. 8th.
Please contact Donna Olsen
if you have not received your invitation to the ball by this Friday.
Reservations may be made through the mail via response card, at the BYC Lounge, or at Friday nights at the BYC or by calling Donna Olsen with information at (360) 961.7359
. Be sure to make sure your reservations before Sunday, Oct. 21st.
Looking forward to making great memories together at the Commodore's Ball with dinner, dancing, and fun times.
There is a feeling among some Members of our Club that the Club is having some kind of "Tough Times"...that we need to do something quick.
In the 39 years I have been aware of the BYC (and during all but six of those years I've been a Member), those feelings have come around before. But the "times" the Club is facing now are nothing new, and certainly not very "tough"!
Fact is, the Club turned a nice profit last year, and we could again this year, as long as we, all together now, bring in some Members. Remember, the Club's programs are financed by our dues, and dues are directly proportional to the number of Members we have!
Here are some FACTS for you to consider about our past and present:
We had the famous "Club was in the Basement Years" (we met in the downstairs Ward Room) from 1995-2001. Early in this time we really were practically bankrupt on paper, but we had undertaken generating the revenue that kept us afloat by renting the entire main floor...it had not yet been divided (it was all one room and we couldn’t afford to partition it), so we had to meet downstairs unless we rented the whole restaurant for our meetings. (Note that the remodeling in Spring, 2010 years ago was not our first, by any means...)
But it was also during those years that we bootstrapped our way out of the situation. In 2001 we partitioned off the present Lounge, and the rebirth of your BYC was really underway.
Now, you might try answering two interesting questions to bolster your spirits:
1. “How do we deal with our bank loan?
Beginning in 2002, the Club began prepaying its bank credit lines, and soon we re-wrote our loan at a much lower interest rate! Virtually every year we pay our loan (there is only one, and we lease nothing) down more than scheduled! We have absolutely first-class credit!
2. “What capital investments and improvements have been made and how have the Club’s Asset Accounts grown?"
In 1998, 14 years ago, for the first time in years we were able to handle all current maintenance projects. in 1999 the entire deck was rebuilt (due to improper contruction, it was rotten). In 2001 we added a new mark boat; but also in 2001 we withstood a $30,000 writeoff when a tenant-restaurant failed and weathered that storm in good shape. That was the year we divided off the lounge from what is now Windows on the Bay. In 2002 we spent over $100,000 on windows (replaced again in 2010) and new HVAC. The newly-fit building was appraised at $660,000. That year also the Junior Room downstairs was built, and over 60 new Members joined!
Amazingly, another 78 Members joined in 2003! Also in 2003 the old bar floor was refurbished, a new ice machine (the one we still use) was installed. In 2004-5, tenant Kim Alfreds refurbished the dining room and kitchen improvements that became ours at the conclusion of his lease. In 2005-6, the sprinkler system project began at a cost ultimately to be over $80,000! By 2008-2009 we had added another mark boat, and, of course, in 2010 we did the big remodeling that we enjoy today, and the building was again appraised, now at over $900,000.
These days, we undertake maintenance without hesitation, with professional cleaning and gorgeous facilities...
That's where this Club, supposedly "in difficult times" has come!
3. “What is our Club's Financial Status?”
I can give you the answer (it was in the Roster that you all have): In the year ending last September 30, the profit of $24,919 brought our Net Worth to a total of $315,492. For Comparison, on 9/30/1999, it was $130,513. Net worth has grown by $184,979, or an average of $16,816/year. Please note that in those twelve years, we made a profit in '99, '00, '02, '03, '04, '05, '06, '07, '08, '10 and '11, and lost money in '01, '09. In six of the profitable years, the profit was less than $8,000; in both of the loss years, the losses were well over $10,000.
Put another way, each of our 275-or-so Members has an undivided $1147 interest in the Club up from $474 in 1999...although, of course, that "member interest" can’t be withdrawn...and that net worth has our building plus all our other furnishings and equipment depreciated down to less than $500,000. It's a VERY conservative number!
Bottom line: I am still impressed with this institution which not only is surviving, but doing it pretty well, especially compared to most Clubs.
Of course, I do believe it can be better, and I am counting on each of you to help it do that, first by helping our new Commodore Jody Erickson sign up new Members!
AND HERE'S A LONGER STORY:
On Wednesday October 3, the Past Commodores led the annual Installation of Officers ceremony. We installed Jody King Erickson as Commodore, Michele Bodtke as Vice Commodore, Jonathan Knowles as Rear Commodore, and Mick Corcoran as Fleet Captain. New Trustees are Neil Bennet, John Gargett, Angie Santosuosso, and Mark Schmerler, while 2nd-year trustees are Arne Ahlen, Kathy Brown, Mark Sontosuosso, and Joe Young. At the conclusion, Troy Curran was "promoted" to Past Commodore and presented with a beautiful symbolic sextant in a mahogany box by incoming Commodore Jody.
It was my honor to be the MC for the ceremonies, and before the swearing-in began I related the following history:
"Here we are, once again, for the Induction of New Leadership for this great old Club! I’m asking you to reflect for five minutes on How we got here. It wasn’t easy! I want to remind you of our history, and the continuum of traditions and activities and service to the Club by its Members that got us to this point.
"Retiring Commodore Troy Curran is the 88th in our history, and his fellow officers and Trustees are in the ranks of over a thousand key Members who for generations have kept this Club intact and serving boating and its members since 1925. It hasn’t always been easy…in fact, it’s generally always been hard.
"Past trustees will affirm: The business of the Club takes careful thought and serious commitment.
"And any Past Commodore can tell you: “Going through the Chairs” was one of the most satisfying things of their lives…and one of the jobs they undertook that took way, way more time, treasure, and effort than they ever imagined it could. There were times when, but for our love for the Club, we could have easily walked away…in fact, a few officers over the years actually got very scarce during the later months of their terms, the victims of stress, personal problems, or financial setbacks that made Club service just too much of a burden.
"This induction is, therefore, an auspicious occasion that deserves some reflection, and that’s why these ceremonies are hosted by the Blue Gavel organization of Past Commodores. We know what the past, present and future leaders face, for we have all been there!
How has this Club succeeded? How have we worked so hard, through thick and thin, over 87 years, to keep the 1925 dream of a few water-loving guys with a half dozen boats and space on a log boom on Chuckanut Bay alive?
"Maybe it was propitious that we were first created on Valentine’s Day, 1925: We all love our Bay, Boats, and this wonderful place here in Bellingham.
"It hasn’t been easy for this Club some years. During World War II times were tough for us, there was little boating…our Members were busy working for peace or away in service to the nation, and had little time for pleasure.
"And then there were those awful, bleak, bleak years, in the recent 1990’s, when we seriously … seriously… considered even closing the Club and selling our building, and we were struggling to stay solvent. We were in debt and --- in nautical terms --- sinking fast.
Yes, some years, our leaders bailed like crazy to keep us afloat.
"But there have been the great years! Years when we rode on waves of growth, excitement, service, and fun! We grew from a dinghy dock and buoys on Chuckanut Bay to a log boom, then a shack, then a real Clubhouse on Cornwall, symbolically in part above the water on pilings. The picture of that space, now Palmer’s restaurant in LaConner, hangs on our wall. Those were prosperous years, and from the thirties until the fifties, our success to a considerable extent was due to the tone of the times, with lots of alcohol at events and profitable slot machines keeping the tills full.
"Then, once again, in 1960, our leaders had to adapt. The slots were gone. Income was falling. So we moved here to Squalicum Harbor, built a grand building, became a great place to eat, and soon had over 2,000 Members! There was a waitlist to get in. For a time, until the mid 1980’s, this place thrived…mainly --- frankly --- because it had become a good restaurant. Many members didn’t care about boating particularly; they just wanted to eat and drink and dance. Although we had no “social member” category, that’s what most of us were back then.
"Part of it was a little sneaky…the building was going to be supplied by the Port until the State caught on and told us it couldn’t be called a “Web Locker”, and we had to build it ourselves. And the Board of trustees bought Jimmy Brooks a few extra rounds in his drinking days during a Board meeting, and he contributed a bulldozer and operator to clear this space, and $5,000 to get it started…and didn’t remember his generosity the next morning until he was reminded of it.
"Then, along came change again.
The moms in the nation’s families went to work, and didn’t have so much time to wait on their husbands.
Family activities for the kids meant that dads weren’t hanging around bars so much, and the Highway Patrol and Mothers Against Drunk Driving changed this nation’s recreation habits. We stopped making most of our money with alcohol service…the State now allowed liquor by the drink! Folks could go a any old tavern, the Club had no special privileges as a bar…
"I was drafted to be on the Finance Committee by Commodore Earl Williams and Vice Commodore Bob Moles, both now deceased. I found accounting done in pencil on a spreadsheet that showed we had lost over $150,000 in a single year. We doubled the dues, but to do it --- we knew all the older members would vote “No” --- we created the new “Senior” membership, and gave them half-price dues. The result: By not having the great number of 70-year-olds vote because they wanted half dues, we could double them and yet the seniors paid the same.
"That sneaky strategy saved the Club in 1987, just 25 years ago, it was…
"In the late ‘80’s, responding yet again to changing times, our BYC leaders turned the helm again, with emphasis on that old, 1925 idea: Emphasize boating and love of the water, not just food and drink, as the reason for this Club’s existence. Under the pressure of losses that in one year totaled over $100,000, Commodores and Boards struggled just to keep the business afloat. In just five years, dues went from about $100 to $360, a huge increase. Members disappeared in droves. In 1986, there were 2150; in 1993, 1000; by 1998, around 350. We had decreased in size by eighty-five percent!
"We struggled for years. Then, beginning in the late 1990’s with men --- and beginning in 2001, with women --- pulling together and carefully turning our helm, we began getting stronger and stronger again.
"Big changes began when we got out of the food business. Our first dining room lease was in 1995, and it took five different restaurant lessees over the thirteen years before our present lease with Tom and Barbara Kilpatrick and the Hilltop began. One of those lessees went bankrupt leaving us with big losses (we called them “the boys”). Four lessees tried and then sold out at a loss, including our Member Kim Alfreds, but Kim made terrific improvements to our dining spaces during those years when our Club was his unintended charity. And through all those negotiations and all this turnover, it was Past Commodore Steve Moore we turned to, to help us deal with those tenants. He is an unsung BYC hero --- most think of him only regarding emails --- and he is an example of the many times when the Club has sensibly recruited experts from our membership to help us make good decisions. Our experience with Steve is a good example of using professional Members to counsel us. His arrangements on our behalf got better each time.
"A huge change came during Chuck McCord’s term, 1998-1999: We became all-volunteer. We went from losing money and having as many as 80 employees to earning modest returns with none. Gradually, we pulled back from the riptides and rocks of failure as we adapted to the new world we found ourselves in. For example, a big program improvement was suggested and implemented first by Commodore Steve Ross, and it was called, “Fridays at Five”.
"We kept seriously analyzing what we could do well and what irrelevancies we should abandon. We carefully crafted budgets that we could adhere to. We completely revised our accounting, and in the process tightened controls and eliminated wasteful expenditures. We got bids for many services instead of just placing orders. We got serious about reciprocity, helped to do it by a retired Seattle bus driver called Captain Homie. He shared with us how much fun operating a boat “on the cheap” could be, and he nurtured our reciprocal relationships with other clubs all over the Northwest. In 2001, we once again got a liquor license and Past Commodore Dick Johnson began an unmatched record of service, donating nearly two thousand hours a year to his post as volunteer bar manager. This time there were volunteers doing the serving. It’s easy to keep costs down if you don’t pay wages!
"It all began to pay off, slowly, steadily, until we got where we are today, revitalized, financially strong, serving our boating and membership sub-communities with so many efforts.
"Paraphrasing Winston Churchill, it was long, and hard, and our leaders never withdrew from the tasks at hand, and this perseverance continues.
"It is the fine people here in this room, and those who came before all of us, who have brought us here. We owe every one of them a debt…it is one that we can only repay by giving this Club our continued support.
"Now, October 3, 2012, in our 88th year, we are here to induct our newest leadership team, and to honor those folks who are turning over our helm to new leaders. In this year we have accomplished so many things but the greatest is our solid stability, the fact that we are no longer in jeopardy. The list is long.
"I’ve also been thinking about Troy Curran, and how he and his Board and our wonderful Club Volunteers accomplished so much since this time last year.
"It’s interesting, but Troy gets it done without a lot of fanfare. Of course, he can be counted on to get things done, even if I can’t get him to write a “Commodore’s Column”.
"Now, I am by no means easy to work with! I’m impetuous, impulsive, ready to go with any late idea. I drive Commodores nuts! Is that right, Past Commodores? But no matter how I bulldozed some opinions, Troy just listens, smiles, and is silent.
"I’ve said this about other commodores, but it’s true of Troy: He’s “clique-less”. He smiles with everyone he engages. He seems to like every one! He has no one special group; we are all his special group!
"But you know, he’s a great businessman, and he’s a lot nicer than Steve Jobs!
"He’s served us so well, and so steadily, and with so little self-aggrandizement, that it’s easy to forget he was in charge!
Please join me now by standing and showing your appreciation for our retiring Commodore, Troy Curran, as we invite him to say a few words and make a few awards." --- Joe Coons
Remember to submit your articles to Jibsheet@byc.org
Deadline is each Monday
Fair Winds and Following Seas from your JibSheet editors, Joe Coons and Eric Nyberg