Why Have an Association? philosophical discussion??

Discussion in 'Laser Class Politics' started by gouvernail, Mar 23, 2009.

  1. knot_moving

    knot_moving Member

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    I'm all for whatever gets more people out sailing lasers.
    So I don't really know what the staff does that helps with this. I know they publish the laser sailor and I suspect they are very busy with supporting some of the top sailors and some of the top regattas.
    What I would dearly love is a way to sort the online calendar by distance from a location - that way I can get a quick look at what is "close" to home.

    I've never looked in the magazine for the calendar -- of course I don't look on the website either. I seem to hear bout them through the grapevine and then go to the host club website to find details.

    I would really like it if the staff would possibly work on aggregating and organizing all the great info regarding things like boat maintenance.

    I have to repair my mast step pretty soon and it just wasn't that easy to search the forum and find really good info -- finally found the link to Fred's stuff. Same with sorting out the basic info on how to sail the laser right
     
  2. Eric_R

    Eric_R D10 Secretary

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    Look at the calender online. There is a nice google map with pins placed where regattas are located (that are already in the calender). You can see from there what's around.
     
  3. Barometer Soup

    Barometer Soup New Member

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    I like the fact that there is both available. I think you should have several copies of the printed version around to hand out to interested newbies, and averyone who has achieved a little bit should look online to attend other events to test themselves and learn more to bring back to thier local fleet.

    Our fleet is brand new(less than 1 year). We are growing tremendously(about 75 members and about 50 Lasers). We are hosting the No-coasts in September( check the Schedule online). Hope many of you can come to Park City Utah.

    Fred, I agree with your point, I find it has become the case in all aspects of modern life. Poeple have become so dependant on their damn blackberries and e-mail that the concept of actually talking with someone seems too personal. I applaud you for your efforts and look forward to meeting you in person someday.

    I bet Sherry and Tracy will work to include more events in the printed version in the future. Give them a call by phone!

    Barometer Soup
    Park City Sailing Association
     
  4. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

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    I'll throw my spanner in to upset people. Sorry in advance.

    From an Australian Association perspective, one of the association key functions is to promote and support association events, where you need to be an association member to participate. If clubs or individuals are going to run events which membership of the association is not compulsory, I don't see the need for the association to promote the event. What benefit is there for the association to promote an event to their members, when the event doesn't attract new members to the association?
     
  5. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    This doens't upset me at all, and it makes perfect sense. NA-ILCA is quite generous to be promoting events of non-members. Why join the class when there is a whole level of Laser sailing you can do and still get the benefit of having your event publicized? And with the high cost of genuine Laser parts, and the easy availability of cheaper substitute parts, we already have a NA-ILCS. That is Non-Association--Imitation Laser Class Sailors. This easy availability is a new situation as we all become more accustomed to using the internet.

    I think that the NA-ILCA should demand membership for the use of its services. Yes, it will set a clear delineation of members and non-members, real Laser sailing and imitation sailing. Let's stop helping the imitators, concede that there will be a place for them, but not at our party.
     
  6. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

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    Drifting off from Fred's question(s) a bit, but I disagree with the posts above for the following reasons:

    1. It's usually a Yacht Club or Association that hosts an event, not an individual, and we should ALL be thankful that they are gracious enough to open their facilities to allow us to come play. So, I don't see how NA - ILCA could tell the difference or should even spend the resources trying to tell the diff. to determine if they should "promote" or publicize the event.

    2. As a member, I want to sail with as many friends/competitors as possible at a regatta, regardless of their membership status. I understand the need to make major events "member only" when the class is laying out substantial money and resources, but at local events when there are no or minimal class resources/money involved, we should be all inclusive.

    3. I believe membership grows when there are more regattas and people sailing in those regattas, when membership is NOT mandatory and I believe the opposite would also be true. Remember the stink raised when US Sailing floated the mandatory membership idea ? The concept that there should be two groups, "our party" and "those not invited to our party" rubs me the wrong way.
     
  7. torrid

    torrid Just sailing

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    Exactly what I was thinking about.
     
  8. bjmoose

    bjmoose Member

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    Upside down thinking.

    Folks take up laser sailing, then laser racing, then decide they like it and are going to keep doing it, then they join the class association.

    Why throw up an impediment in the way of step 2?

    Why make it harder for sailors just getting into the sport, and the ones most in need of information, to find out about the less-formal events that they're most suited for?
     
  9. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

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    As HUGE supporter of Class Associations ...I believe it is ALWAYS correct to strongly suggest folks pay their dues.

    But...

    If the Class Association wants the dues to come freely and willingly there should always be some sort of promise and performance.

    Example:

    If the Class wants to come collect money at a well known annual event, the sailors should be told..

    "Certainly we need to get your dues. That way we can send you reminders next year to come back to this event again!! We can send you newsletters for that entire year until you come back here and pay your dues again next year. Other regatta hosts can use our database with your address in it to invite you to all sorts of other events. Association dues is not for purchase of a license to play. Association dues is your way of paying for someone to keep track of where you are...so we can all invite you out to play!! The membership expires exactly one year from the day you pay it because it is YOUR PERSONAL MEMBERSHIP and we want you to make it an annual habit not only to pay your dues and support the efforts of the association but we want you to come back here to this event next year."

    In fact, that is EXACTLY what I told the kids at CORK when they whined about having to pay dues for the last regatta they would be sailing for the summer. Every year I signed up a couple hundred people for our Association at CORK and every year I set those memberships to expire the day before registration for the next CORK.

    If I had worked for a bunch of officers who demanded I set all memberships to expire January first I would not have stolen the kids money at CORK or collected full dues from anyone after January first.

    I digress...

    Others seem to think there is some sort of reason memberships should expire december 31 and that their desire for uniformity trumps the desire to recognize people as individuals. Just because I think the policy is a bunch of crap is no reason to further hijack this thread so...

    Back on topic...

    I have a very personal need to be able to justify collecting dues at a regatta I host. I need to be able to tell my friends why I am taking their funds and sending those funds to some remote location.

    If the Association's guarantee does not include inviting those sailors to lots of nearby events over the next twelve months...What purpose does the association serve??

    Note: I am not claiming therre is no function of the association. I am simply asking...
    In the absence of my favorite Quid Pro Quo... "Pay dues here and we will personally invite you backhere and to all the other events that happen before and including this event next year"

    Can you name a function or service the association performs that justifies its demand of "Pay us or you can't sail here."??

    If so...Please do.
     
  10. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

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    There is no hinderance to non members participating in events where membership is not mandatory. The way they are going to find out what events are on is by word of mouth or by what ever advertising the event organisers decide to do. They certainly aren't going to know about the event from the class newsletter as they don't receive it.

    Notifying association members of an event is literatally advertising that event. If I want to advertise in something in a newspaper, magazine, journal or newsletter, then I'd either expect to pay for it or alternatively make sure that organisation running the media source at least gains revenue from it, in this case membership fees. Space cost money! Why should the association spend money on an event where the event organisers aren't going to make sure that everyone is a member of the association or at least strongly encourage non-members to join?
     
  11. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

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    As an aside, the membership for the NSW and I assume all other Australian districts is due at the start of the season, but individuals may join later in the season. Membership only lasts until the start of the next season, so some individuals membership may only be a few months if they joined very late in the season.
     
  12. gouvernail

    gouvernail Active Member

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    Why do you do that?? Can you explain how sailing is made better by having memberships all expire annually on one arbitrary date??

    I can't.

    From the beginning of the Laser Class Association until 2002, North America had a policy where a PERSON'S dues was good for one year from the date THE PERSON paid. For those of us who managed the class, it was much simpler to process a few memberships every week ( sometimes as many as 500) as opposed to processing 3000 memberships all at once in January and the rest as they trickled in through the year. ( The class membership once exceeded 7000. Had we continued the 14% annual growth rate the class maintined while I was secretary we would have passed that 7000 number sometime during 2007. )
    The people paying the dues had individual expiration dates stamped on their individual cards and after about 1990 the entire dating process was handled by a computer anyway so the only thing individually dated memberships did was make it better:
    a. Membership processing was easier to administrate.
    b. Individual dates allowed each person to enjoy a full year for the full payment.

    Even if it were true that there were some sort of efficiency in doing one annual mass mailing, that efficiency is lost by the "right" we offer our sailors to pay up anytime.

    ( What processing a membership entails:
    renewal:
    Check the address, sail number, email address, phone number and ages and sex to make certain the information from the previous year is accurate. Publish a membership card. Insert that card, a transome sticker and a bumper sticker or two into an envelope. Put postage on theh envelope. Mail it. Deposit the payment in the bank. If a newsletter was missed because the payment was late, include the missed newsletter and keep teh old renewal date, or give a new renewal date and don't biother sending a newsletter. I always sent the newsletter and kept the old date.
    New member: same as above except include a welcome to the class page, and a copy of the most recent newsletter.)

    Let me explain something here: When the incredibly inexperienced new class management team decided in 2003 to change to an annual January expiration for 100% of our memberships, I, as a person who had spent three entire years of my life and Allan Broadribb who had spent fifteen years of his life, running the Association office objected and did our very best to explain that we, with decades more experience in class management than the sum total of those who wanted to change the policy, thought the change was a very bad idea. The experienced guys were ignored and the change was made.
    This and a myriad of other things the new managmennt considered were "better ways of doing things" led to a loss of 50% of the membership and

    Has any one of you considered what things would be like at a Laser regatta had we continued the 14% growth rate or..

    Replaced the horrible obnoxious long haired bearded loudmouth with somebody who was BETTER at doing the job and IMPROVED the growth rate of our game??

    Can you imagine how things might be different if 4000 more sailors were paid members right now? What if only 800 more were signed up last year??

    Can you imagine how things might be different had Vanguard's sales continued to grow as they did between 1999 and 2002? (under 500 in 1999 and over 1100 in 2002?)

    North America had 10 berths for the Cancun worlds and 23 including Mexico for the Hyannis 2002 worlds. What if we still ahd that many berths this year...or more by whatever factor continued 14% annual growth would have produced??


    Why not make it your challenge to help, our North American game start catching up and outstripping the 14% growth rate so someone other than the fat old hairy loudmouth and the officers who supported him can claim to be the best Laser Class managers ever??

    That might take some real focus and hard work!!!


    But I digress...


    Once again.

    This thread is about philosophy...

    Why do we have an association? What do we wish to accomplish? What do we expect the association to do? What must the members do? What happens if the members fail in doing what we want? What happens if the paid staff fails to do what we want? Should we selfishly pick up other's slack because their lack of performance might hurt our game?

    How do you balance these issues?

    The Association is a tool we established to sell more boats and make the game work better. How would you use the tool to accomplish those goals today??

    Is the original goal no longer relevent?

    Should the Assopciation change from one with a beacon and welcome mat to a locked door with a secret combination?

    Should a membership application need recommendations, sponsorship and approval followed by a probationary period and more approval??

    What do you want?

    and of course...How will you volunteer to help??

    Please give examples.
     
  13. AlanD

    AlanD Former ISAF Laser Measurer

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    Remember that the combined Australian Laser Association is a fraction of the North American Laser Association, however each district directly manages its own membership. So off the top of my head the largest district has around 350 members.

    Having the membership fall at the same time allows us to chase all the membership fees at the same time of year. Some clubs collect the association membership fees, when they are collecting their membership/race fees for the new season, alternatively individuals can pay directly to the district association, many of whom pay at the association event early in the new season. In our situation it is easier to manage than memberships falling due throughout the year.
     
  14. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

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    Whatever happened to, "try before you buy"?
     
  15. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    Rob, that statement puzzles me. Can you explain what you mean by that in the context of the thread?
     
  16. Scott B

    Scott B Member

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    I imagine he means it would be nice for a non-racer who is interested in racing to be able to race a couple of times (to test the waters, so to speak) without having to pay money to an association.

    If you have to pay to play before you do any playing, less people will be interested in trying the game.
     
  17. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    They way things are now, you can play forever at a certain level without paying. When should you start paying?
     
  18. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

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    I think many people rationalize it along the lines of if the association is directly involved in putting on the event, then by all means the requirement of being a member to sail in the event is necessary. However if the event is being put on by your local yacht club and the association has no involvement, then being a member of that association should not be a requirement for participating. It could/should be encouraged via a feature/benefit explanation from the association of what membership does for you.
     
  19. Rob B

    Rob B Active Member

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    I think Scott kinda read my mind. Clearly "club sailing" is different from a District level event, (at least a well run one) and while I to believe membership should be a requirement for the higher level events I think folks should be allowed to try a district level event or two before being required to pay dues.
     
  20. pez

    pez Member

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    I love this topic... I find I run hot and cold with the association. I agree with someone's point that if the class association is under no obligation to advertise an event where compulsory membership is not required. That said, I think refucing to promote such events is NOT in the interest of the class.

    If someone showed up at my personal regatta and demanded that people pay their class dues, he would shortly leave my regatta unless he could be made to understand and agree with my position. I own the boat and I'm free to put a 350hp Evinrude on the back if I so choose.

    I feel that the district and national events represent an echelon of laser sailing that requires class membership and any sailor that wishes to participate at that level should expect and pay their class dues.

    Everyone should pay their class dues for the good of the class... the class should make every effort that time and budget allows to make sure that any sailor, member or not enjoy laser sailing, and hopefully tell their friends about it. Such activity would be, well, good for the class.
     

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