As I compose these epistles From the Helm, I find a desirable pattern taking shape in my writing. Rather than a rehashing of what the Club did, or what events are going to happen, I feel the need to talk to you philosophically. This did not come to me as a bolt of lightning, but as a means of refraining from repeating what other columnists are writing on the website and in the Inlet/Outlet. So, with this article, I will continue to develop the thread of growth that I started in previous columns. Among other aspects of our “purpose,” is to promote interest in sailing.
My investigation of the history of the HISC has revealed that we were founded by people who liked to race their sailboats and party afterwards. From the very beginning in 1971 we established the four functional areas of the Club: Race, Cruise, Social, and Youth Sailing. All four promote interest in sailing. All of them are intertwined. For example, a number of our members were part of youth sailing in their childhood and are now members who own and race sailboats. This demonstrates that our organization is a generational thing; sailing is passed down in families.
We, however, desire to expose the love of the sea to those who have never been on a sailboat. This is most important now that our membership is getting younger. So, your humble (OK, maybe not so humble) Commodore has been pushing his staff to find ways to get boat-owning members to invite the folks who don’t have on out for a day on the water. It is starting to pay off. The Crew Pool committee opened up the Sailing Social to the match-making process. We were successful in filling sailboats with members. It will continue past this one event. If you want to sail with a boat-owning member, you have but to enter your name with that committee. There is a whole list of members who will take people out and we hope to add more. Anyone reading this who wants to sail Esprit du Vent need only contact Josh in Crew Pool and let him know.
Closely allied to the above is the concept of mentoring. For a few years we had an excellent system by which each new member was given a mentor upon being presented to the membership when given the membership packet and HISC hat. In fact, the mentor did the presentation. It was expected that the mentor would insure that the new member felt “at home” in the Club and with HISC members. Sadly, that tradition has fallen into disuse. When I step down from command next year, I would like to see that practice restored. At a time when organizations in general and sailing in particular are losing members, we are fortunate to be growing. Let’s all do our part to see this continue.