February 1, 2015:
Turn, turn, turn…
Okay, you have to be of a certain age to remember this song by the Byrds which was a musical rendition of a quote from the Bible (Ecclesiastes 3:1, “For everything there is a season”). But it is appropriate for this discussion.
You may recall we have had disappointing attendance at the last couple of “Boat Show Bashes.” Once a thriving party that built on the successes of our Volvo Ocean Race parties, it provided much needed income to the Club while we contributed to charities such as our own EYC Foundation, Box of Rain and the Maritime Museum. The last two years it lost money and this year it wasn’t on account of poor weather, as had been the case in 2013. This is no reflection on the Special Events Committee and the other folks who helped plan it.
Several of us got together with Carol Vilardo – our current Special Events Chair – along with some past Special Events Chairs. We concluded that, as the song says, there is a season for everything and the season had passed for this event. It was facing too much competition from other events related to the Boat Show and so it was time to turn the page.
This also provided us the opportunity to bring some focus to what Special Events should have as its mission. Currently it handles things like Commodore’s Ball, the A2B Cotillion, and Commodore’s Reception. It handled these things instead of House Committee because before we moved into our present Clubhouse, these events were “off-site.” Recently, they took on Boat Show Bash that was always on-site and began to pick up things like the party after the overnight race to Solomons Island as well as the new Labor Day Regatta Party. Clearly it had ventured far beyond its original scope.
So what is the rationale for Special Events? We began to think of this in terms of decreased numbers of members volunteering to help with events over the last few years. This has been a source of discussion with successive Executive Boards and is a point of concern because volunteerism and the camaraderie that comes with it is an essential element of Eastport Yacht Club’s tradition. Could we use the refocus of Special Events Committee to bring some new incentives to member volunteerism?
Here is what we thought: Focus the efforts of Special Events on functions and parties that support our designated charities. In this way, we could give members a reason to pitch in as they would not just be helping with a party (not that there is anything wrong with that) but it would be for a “cause.”
EYC has always supported charities and we even have our own charitable organization – EYC Foundation which has done great work at promoting water activities for at risk youth and job opportunities related to the Bay and the Maritime Industry. The Board is approached by charities several times a year for help of one sort or another. Why not designate our core charities and really put some focus on it using the Special Events Committee? Well, that is what we have decided to do.
The next question you might ask is, what are our charities? I am glad you asked. Here they are:
- EYC Foundation and the good work described above.
- Leukemia Cup: A regatta and party of which EYC has been a big contributor and which has now been copied around the country.
- The Boatyard Regatta to Benefit CRAB: A regatta and party of which EYC has been a sponsor and shared management since its inception, which supports the efforts of Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating to make the Bay available to all, regardless of physical or financial challenges.
- Hospice Cup: A regatta and party that brings in tremendous amounts of money for a worthy cause. While this event already has a robust organization, Special Events will coordinate EYC’s support.
- Fish for a Cure: This event brings fishermen from all around and provides the Anne Arundel Medical Center with hundreds of thousands of dollars each year for cancer research – something that touches almost everyone in some way.
As you think about this list and all the good work that can be done by EYC and its members, you have to feel pretty good that we can have fun, get to know each other better and do good things in our community. I don’t know about you but it makes me proud to be a member of such a Club.
So when you see Special Events put out a call for volunteers, please recognize that in responding to the call a lot of good can be done while having a good time. We are not your average Yacht Club. We are Eastport Yacht Club.