Ramblers Association
Presidents Report to the 2013 Annual General Meeting

Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen and welcome to the 4th Annual General meeting of the Ramblers Association 

It is indeed a pleasure to be here tonight to present this annual report to the membership after completing our 3rd full year of operation and I believe I am reporting very good news about a very solid and successful club

As an organisation who’s Mission is “To provide members with interesting outdoor activities….” I truly believe we meet out mission with the following:

25 Sunday morning hikes or snowshoe outings and a substantially increase of  day Saturday events to 13.

Several members have also independently organised weekend hiking vacations.

We also sprinkled group breakfasts, pub lunches and alfresco wine and cheese events throughout the year.

Your Board at a recent meeting decided that we would not use total membership as a yardstick to measure the success of the Ramblers Association, but would instead consider the degree of participation and the overall satisfaction of the membership as the yardstick. We have been constantly monitoring these two parameters. Participation at our Sunday morning hikes continues to grow and we have now surpassed 40 people on occasion.  And from the feedback we get we are providing members with the type of activities they want and in which they are willing to participate and help organise.. That being said we currently, Septembers 30th have 78 members which, because this is a time of renewal we expect to grow to well over 100.

We do get comments that the pace is a little too fast or too slow, which is to be expected but most people come back and rapidly become habitual hikers.

We continue to respond to the needs of the community in other ways as we now seem to be the only organisation representing the hiking and walking community in the area.

In January we accepted again an invitation from the Town of Hudson to be a part of their Winter Carnival, Shiverfest and the Ramblers Association organised a hike across the frozen Lake of Two Mountains.

In Hudson we continue  to be part of a permanent committee made up of Town of Hudson staff, elected officials and ourselves representing the users, who look into the development and utilisation of the trail network within the community and to work on the completion of a contiguous trail stretching from one end of the Town to the other. I have attended several meetings but progress is at a snails pace, it is not anticipated that this will change until after the municipal elections when hopefully the Town  council will be more efficient.

In St Lazare we  continue to work with council and administration to ensure that the needs of hikers and walkers are taken into consideration in future trail plans , not an easy task in a town where the horse is king.

We continue to try to work hard with the local equestrian community whose trails we frequently share as well as local land owners where we obtain permission to cross their properties before planning events.

All of this community action has been well received and almost everyone now accepts the hiking fraternity as responsible individuals, respectful of private land and of the environment.

There is one other matter that often gets overlooked in volunteer organisation and that is financial responsibility and as you have heard the Board ran the operation this year within budget and with a slight surplus

But what about the future, the Board already has ambitious plans for next year. The Bi-weekly Sunday morning hikes, the mainstay of our organisation will stay unchanged except that we will continue to expand our horizons and look to new destinations and leaders.

The All-Day Saturday events will continue and if enough volunteer leaders can be found will perhaps be more frequent.

Many of our members this year organised hiking weekends either independently or in cooperation with  the FQM and this is expected to grow with the full cooperation of the Ramblers Association. A committee has been formed under the leadership of Edith Courchesne to explore future initiatives. As you will hear later from Alain there is even talk of group hiking vacations.   

The possibilities are limitless, but it must be remembered that this is a volunteer organisation.

One should realize that the annual fee paid by each member, which works out at less than a dollar per event, goes to cover such administrative costs as liability insurance, Federation membership and Government registration, all other functions are performed by volunteers. It is also important to remember  that the Ramblers Association is a participatory club with everyone expected over time to contribute in one form or other with the running of the Association. We obviously need people to work on researching and exploring new trails a skill that not everyone will have when they join the club but people are also needed to help with registration and control at the start of an event, with writing articles and taking photographs, with administration and fund raising. There is a place for everyone in the governance and leadership of the Ramblers Association.

We will not be able to expand the activities of the club unless more people become involved in running and managing our activities.

In conclusion I am proud to say that your club, the Ramblers Association, has had a good year and I think an even better future. None of this would have been possible however without the hard work and dedication of the Board of Directors.

  • Anne Bourel our Vice – President was our chief administrator, translator and principle liaison with the Town of St Lazare. Anne also took over the reins when I was away.
  • Claude Fortier, who maintained the hiking and event schedule, was always able to find a willing leader and a challenging route, Claude also managed our website creating a splendid place to go to learn about upcoming events and activities as well as a great repository for photos and reports of past events.
  • Paul Michetti , smoothly manages our registration and ensures the dues and fees are collected, this is so important to our survival. Last year he  put in place a changed membership renewal system which is based on individual anniversary date and is working very well.
  • Barb Gibb our editor who makes sure we have maximum publicity. She is also renown for organising the most innovative of hikes; look forward to a good one this Halloween.

This year two of our hard working Directors retired from the Board:

  • Caroline O'Connor  joined the Board in early 2012 acting as the clubs  Secretary among other things and did an excellent job.
  • Diane Boileau was  preoccupied with our health, making sure we carried  the first aid kit she devised. and ensured  that  all leaders renewed  their CPR certification and had first aid training. She and her husband Glen also an active club member have moved to a cottage on the coast in New Brunswick.

We wish these retiring members well  as they move on and hope they will return whenever possible to hike with us 

I would like to thank not only these retiring members but the whole Board for their hard work and dedication to the ramblers Association.

There are others that are not members of the Board but also deserve recognition:

  • Martin Hofton our eminence gris and ensures we are not trespassing on the hiking trails we follow. He spends many hours talking to land owners to make sure we are welcome.
  • Ann Peters and Terinex who have supplied us with office support.

I would like to also thank the following who acted as trail leaders

  • Sylvain Cardinal
  • Lise Chamberland
  • Michèle Côté
  • Édith Courchesne
  • Al Gibb
  • Michel Giroux
  • Lise Grenier
  • Martin Hofton
  • Carole Lalonde
  • Alain Michel
  • Christine Moore
  • Marcel Plante
  • Pierre Roy
  • Brigitte Savage
  • Monique St-Onge

Plus all the members of the Board who were very active in leading hikes

Thank you for your effort and commitment,

And last but certainly not least, my dear wife Louise who doesn’t like hiking but keeps the books and financial records in great shape as our accountant.

Thank you to all these people that make sure all our events are run safely and give so much pleasure to all our members.

That concludes my report and thank you for your presence tonight. If there are any questions I am prepared to try to answer them.

Drive home safely and I look forward to talking with you on the trails


October 4 2013

Financial Statements

États financiers pour la période se terminant le 30 septembre 2013 Financial Statement Period ending September 30,2013  
REVENUS       INCOME      
  Adhésions 2 895,00 $     Membership fees $2 895,00  
  Dons -980,00 $     Donations -$980,00  
  Intérêts 0,36 $     Interest $0,36  
      1 915,36 $       $1 915,36
  Assurances 120,00 $     Insurance $120,00  
  FQM 75,00 $     FQM $75,00  
  Avantages aux membres  (SEPAQ) 84,50 $     Members Benefits  (SEPAQ) $84,50  
  Fournitures de bureau 84,79 $     Office Supplies $84,79  
  Articles promotionnels 136,25 $     Signature Items $136,25  
  Frais bancaires  (Paypal) 50,35 $     Banking Charges (Paypal) $50,35  
  Équipement 45,98 $     Equipment $45,98  
  Matériel de randonnée 44,06 $     Hiking supplies $44,06  
  Frais postaux 10,60 $     Postage $10,60  
  Imprimerie 160,00 $     Printing $160,00  
  Cours RCR 280,00 $     CPR Course $280,00  
      1 091,53 $       $1 091,53
SURPLUS     823,83 $ SURPLUS     $823,83
      4 769,02 $       $4 769,02
SOLDE EN BANQUE en date du 30 septembre 2013     BANK BALANCE on September 30, 2013    
Louise Browitt, le 7 octobre 2013     Louise Browitt,  October 7, 2013