Perhaps inspired by federal politics the Club has had a mid-term change of President, but in a very different context. Tony Murphy did an excellent job as President over a year and some months and as Vice President prior to that. He will be missed by the Committee but will, no doubt, now have more time for kayaking and to pursue his many outdoor interests.
I see my return to fill the vacancy as President as short term with the hope that one of the current Committee will step up and nominate for the role at the next AGM. There are many new faces on the Committee since I stepped down as President a few years ago and this is a sign of a healthy club and something to be encouraged. If you would like to influence aspects of the Club or simply to contribute, please consider nominating for a Committee role. If you are unsure but would like to discuss nominating, please contact me and we can meet for a paddle to have a chat about it.
One of Tony’s legacies was a recent series of conversations with Paddle NSW about the possibility of re-affiliating with them. PNSW are the lead body in kayaking in NSW for liaison with policy makers and although their focus is competitive kayaking this places them as an important potential partner for us. A significant minority of our members also hold membership of Paddle NSW because of their interest in competition. These discussions did not lead to a decision to re-affiliate as the additional cost to our members appeared to outweigh the benefits, but this is an issue that may well be revisited by this or future Committees as circumstances and opportunities evolve.
The Club website has been a source of much discussion over the roughly 7 years that it has been live. Stephan Meyn built a complex customised website, but one that requires significant maintenance and management as a consequence of this complexity. Providing that technical support has been a challenge. As a consequence, we are in the final stages of testing a new website and expect to go live over the next several weeks. The site is built on a commercial template and has limited flexibility but will be much easier to maintain than our current site. Selim Tezcan and I have built the site with Selim having done the heavy lifting on most of the page design and layout. We hope that it will offer some advantages, with access to a smartphone app to manage trips for example. Keep an eye out for an email in the not too distant future. When you receive the ‘go-live’ email, please use the link to create a password on the new site and please complete any missing or incorrect details in your user profile. Once we go live, the usual web address will be redirected to the new site.
There has been a focus on training leaders and instructors over the last few years in response to a reasonable perception that they were becoming thin on the ground and limiting Club activities. This has tended to dominate the trips calendar to some extent and I would like to encourage an increase in paddles that reflect the reason that most of us paddle with the Club – which is to have fun and to meet other paddlers. I am open to members suggestions as to how we should address this, what social activities might be of interest, so let me know.
Another agenda that I would like to float and will raise with the Committee at my first meeting with them shortly, is the ability to include ski paddlers on Club trips. If supported, this would always be at the discretion of the trip leader and would clearly be more appropriate on some trips and not appropriate on others. There is clearly common ground between the ski paddling folk and sea kayakers and I think it is in the interest of the Club to foster this and potentially to tempt a few folk over the line to also embrace the joys of our brand of ocean going vessel.
Finally, I would love to see our SOP document reformatted as a handbook, easily readable and making the most of the content. It is rather dry, to say the least, in its current incarnation, but contains a lot of useful information contributed by various authors over many years. It deserves to be better presented. I ran out of steam to attack it last time I was on the Committee, maybe this time. Any takers?
In conclusion, thanks as always to the current Committee members for the energy they are putting into their areas of responsibility and to the leaders who are posting trips and increasing opportunities to paddle and to meet other Club members.
Campbell Tiley (NSWSKC President)