The TRDMA May meeting took place Monday May 5, 2014. According to our by-laws, this is the meeting where we hold yearly board elections. This post is an informal version of the meeting minutes.
The short message is: Both the outgoing and the incoming board are extremely worried about the low number of volunteers, both for events and to sit on the board. The TRDMA can only be what the community makes of it, and we’ve operated for too long with very limited resources. If the situation doesn’t improve, the future for our local races looks bad.
The meeting started at 7 pm at the Two Rivers School
Bill McKee (personal reasons)
Edie Forest (traveling)
The situation of the club
- Our events attract considerable numbers of participants.
- We are getting compliments for the quality of our trail work and friendliness.
- Last year the monthly meeting were all in all better attended than the two previous years.
- We have been attracting some new volunteers, and checkpoint management and sponsorships have improved.
- The trail team, despite the ugly November storm that downed so many trees and the loss of the long-standing trail boss, has being going very strong.
- We don’t have enough volunteers to fill all the roles that are needed to put on a race.
- There are in particular not enough members interested in filling board positions.
- We have too few long-standing volunteers. At the moment, we are losing long-standing volunteers.
- New volunteers aren’t feeling very welcome. They aren’t trained properly and tend to burn out too quickly.
- The few long-standing volunteers tend to get over-committed and work themselves into a state of exhausted exhaustion during events.
- We don’t have the capacity to plan ahead to develop deeper relationships with sponsors, renew bibs, or organize GPS tracking, or trail mapping, or many other useful things.
- We are not currently attracting as volunteers the many young mushers in the community. In part, this is because they want to run the races.
The absence of board candidates was of particular concern to the outgoing board. For this reason, the outgoing board decided that if it was not possible to elect a board in the May meeting, the club would be dissolved by June 1.
In the discussion preceding board elections, everyone present agreed that they would be available as volunteers and to train new volunteers, if work and personal commitments allowed.
Stephanie offered to assist the future secretary. She will organize the rabies clinic as in the previous years, and suggested we should re-visit the idea of a (monthly?) newsletter (on paper and mailed to members), which she would help with.
Edie (absent) passed on the note via Stephanie that she would take on the role of volunteer coordinator. This was very warmly welcomed as such a role could help alleviate many of the issues surrounding volunteer recruitment and retention.
Chris also offered to continue assisting the future secretary. She isn’t a candidate for the office, as she needs to concentrate on the web site maintenance. She offered to be a race manager for the Chatanika Challenge race, ideally together with a coordinating team.
There was discussion about whether it was preferable to give the community a jolt by dissolving the club, maybe freeing the path for a completely new group of people to become active, or by trying to build on what we currently have.
Eventually a motion was made, to vote for new board members for the season 2014/2015.
Vice president: Becky
Secretary: still open
Member at large: still open
This result means that the club is going on for the time being.
Following the election we also discussed the idea that we should be putting on *only* the events that we can adequately staff with volunteers, even taking the risk that maybe we would cancel a big race if necessary.
Discussion following the election
Paperwork — Chris and Sandra will take care of filing the biennial report with the State of Alaska (EDITOR’S NOTE: This has happened.)
Paperwork — Stacy, Becky and Scott Chesney will get together about other official paperwork that is outstanding. (EDITOR’S NOTE: This has been initiated since the meeting.)
Paperwork — Becky and Greg need to get together to get Greg the signature authority. Becky should keep hers so that two people are authorized to sign checks and can relay each other.
Thank-you notes: Bill is producing picture frames. Chris to look for the club’s letters from previous years. Stacy to send them out.
The time of the monthly meeting (Monday night) is not working for a few people. We can move it.
We also decided, that a membership sign-up should include from now on some kind of volunteer commitment. We will also post on our website, that we are in need of more volunteers, in order to be able to organize races.
The meeting was concluded by 9 pm.