From the President’s Deck
Apparently I get a few columns to write stuff now that I was voted in as club president. I’d like to say it is an honour to serve the club but I won’t. I said that in my e-news emailed around early August. On reflection though, it isn’t an honour to be club president. I hold a committee position for my own reasons. Sure, it is good to give something back to the club that has given me so much. I even have enough ego to actually think I can contribute something to the role. But the real reason I offered to fill the role is actually so much simpler. I like to meet people, form friends and this, fellow members, is the most important thing for my paddling hobby. Making friends and meeting paddling partners is what I think membership of the NSW Sea Kayak Club is all about. It is the people and the good times that keep me coming back for more. Over time, I gain experience and skills and my enjoyment of this club has taken on a life of its own.. And I’m thinking that perhaps that makes me selfish.
I see a lot of paddling action. Not because I’m club president. I see the action because I stick my hand up and say I want to be part of this and that. Day trips, weekend trips, training days and training weekends, surfing sessions, exploring new coastlines, helping others, committee work, organising trips, pool rolling and OANDORAs. And this is just my last month.
Rain or shine. All you need is the right clothing, layer up, and you’re off. Every paddling day is different and almost always you discover something for yourself or finally, a paddling tip received sinks in.
Funnily enough, in getting around and talking to club members, I know that there are many dozens of club members just like me. All dead keen to explore, to learn and to grow as a sea kayaker.
So to all of you out there, to all members, this is a call to action. You all joined the NSW Sea Kayak Club for a reason. If I asked you all I’m sure there would be lots of reasons. My message is: You get out of it what you put in.
To the newer members, there is nothing stopping you. I hear a few grumbles – I’m not grade this, or grade that, so how can I do it? I have to do a course and there aren’t many of them. Well, I’m here to let you know what is available. There are bucket loads of club instructors who give freely of their time to help people. There are scheduled paddles every week that accept paddlers of varying grades, right down to the most novice. All you have to do is contact the organiser, turn up and be ready to paddle on time. If you do attend a few of these, you will most likely find yourself learning quickly and progressing, developing that network of paddling buddies and together you can select paddles to match your abilities.
Now spring is upon us, the days are getting warmer and longer and this makes learning and getting wet just that little bit more pleasant.
And to anyone that wants to extend their paddling circle of friends, the club is always seeking out volunteers to help. We are looking for an illustrator, a graphics person, a Rock and Roll co-ordinator. If you want to help long or short term, on a project or a club position, if you have a bit of time or a lot, you’d be surprised how your skills can help. A simple thing that just about anybody can do is write an article for the club magazine.
It is a privilege for me to write my first column about enthusiasm. I mean this because I don’t need to talk about more mundane issues like finding members, or falling club standards, or even worse, raising funds. I have the privilege of putting aside those mundane issues due to the good work of the people who have gone before me and who made the club what it is today – arguably the pre-eminent sea kayaking club in the country. For their role in this, I’d like to congratulate and thank the outgoing committee members, George Jessup, Ken Day, Peter Kappelmann and Claus Busseler.
As I wrote in the e-news, Peter has contributed enormously to club life by being the webmaster for over seven, yes OVER seven, years. Ken has put in a huge effort in running RnR 2009 with Susan and then being Vice President for two years. George stepped in as president last year and has provided a solid year of thoughtful leadership for the club. Claus ran a great RnR 2011. The AGM crowd thanked everyone for their efforts that go on behind the scenes in keeping the club rolling along, and I’ll thank them again here.
And finally to the new committee, my mother taught me that when you borrow things you give them back cleaner and in better nick than when you borrowed them. Well that goes equally for the committee positions. I hope that together we can be productive, we can launch new initiatives for the club or bring back old ones that were enjoyed in the past. I hope we can harness the energy within each and every member to make the club even better. If we can continue existing traditions and find only one or two ways to make the club better then I think we will have done our jobs. What new things or reinvigorated old things can we come up with? I’m hoping whatever it is will be good and you can be certain that we will be working hard to ensure that is the case.
The committee has some old faces and some new. I’d like to thank everyone for taking on their positions and thank them in advance for giving their time, expertise, experience and doing it all in good cheer.
Published Edition 84, September 2011