I am most honored to be given the opportunity to explain just why I have spent the last thirteen years as a part of the Council and intend to continue as long as the Council will have me.
It all began with the Royal Vancouver Sail Past Celebration in 2008 when I was offered the chance to visit here to honor the relationship between our clubs. In the course of that weekend Fred Turner sort of cornered me in the Lounge for a conversation about this organization and how it could be of value to our clubs. He made good points, worthy of thought, but it was clearly a sales pitch, and my first reaction was “I’ll get back to you,” ….in nicer terms. With some further thought, I began the small campaign to have St. Francis Yacht Club join the Council, eventually successfully, following my term as Commodore, in which many of the reasons for membership became clear.
So, here I stand fifteen years later, still at it, and the question of why is reasonable. I will attempt to make it clear. First of all, in my opinion Membership in ICOYC is a grand opportunity to improve our sport and my club. Like most opportunities, though, the rewards only come from taking active advantage of what is offered. If you do not step forward, there is nothing to be gained. In this case the gains to be enjoyed are not ours, but our Clubs’. We are merely the representatives of those Member Clubs and every action on our part is for the benefit of our club and fellow members. For each of us, that is an opportunity and responsibility to further serve in a unique manner.
So, what is it that the Council provides that is so special? There’s a list on our website that describes but does not explain. It begins with “Education and Collaboration,” talking of the Forums and Conferences and our library of ‘best practices’ on the website. What is special there is that the source of it all is from peer clubs with similar challenges to face. For most of us, finding a peer club locally is difficult where problems are similar. In the Council we have dozens to learn from. I truly enjoy bringing those reports and ideas from your clubs to my own leadership and sometimes helping them connect with others who have already faced the same issue. My favorite information to deliver, however, is the revelation of a fellow club’s experience with a tactic we are considering that dramatically failed. Those are some of the best lessons.
One further reward I personally enjoy is now being asked for my counsel and reports on some issues. It took a few years, but makes serving my club a pleasure.
The ICOYC Listing then goes on to speak of “Networking and Friendship,” speaking of the relationships made on a personal level with a basis of good will and trust. That basis brings with it an honest and forthright exchange of all sorts of things, far beyond any formal report or paper, often, quietly and confidentially, to the benefit of our clubs. Last of all there is the social aspect of our group, with exchanges of cruising, youth programs, regattas and simply visiting fellow clubs around the world. Personally, I have enjoyed visits to many of your clubs, and treasure the legion of friendships established over time. We share an abiding love of our sport, our clubs and our continuing service to all.
I truly hope that all this is your experience as well. It all can be if you step forward and accept the role as liaison from the Council to your club, helping them to steadily improve for the benefit of the members. The ICOYC has been a grand opportunity for me and St. Francis Yacht Club. I hope it is for you as well.