Newsletter October, 2011
Presidents Report to the 2011 Annual General Meeting
Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen and welcome to the 2nd Annual General meeting of the Ramblers Association
It is indeed a pleasure to be here tonight to present the annual report to the membership after completing our first full year of operation and I believe I am reporting very good news.
I think by any measure this past year can be considered a success for our organisation.
As an organisation who’s Mission is “To provide members with interesting outdoor activities….” We have this year provided everyone with a full slate of events:
- 27 Sunday morning hikes or snowshoe outings
- 9 Full day Saturday events that have included kayaking as well as hiking
- The introduction of Saturday morning hikes to answer a demand from people who find it difficult or impossible to attend on Sunday morning.
- And the third annual Father Demers two day trek from Hudson to Rigaud.
- We also sprinkled group breakfasts and alfresco wine and cheese events throughout the year.
While I have no statistical data to substantiate this, I do believe our attendance at these events average between 15 and 20 people. I make a point at all events I attend which is most, of asking the participants, especially first timers of their impression of the outing and would they return and the feedback I receive is virtually always positive. 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. This is perhaps better realised in the number of fully paid members we have, this number stood at 92 individuals at the end of our fiscal year which shows incredible growth over the last year.
We have also responded to the needs of the community in other ways. In January we accepted 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. We have agreed also to be part of a permanent committee proposed by the Town of Hudson made up of Town staff, elected officials and ourselves representing the users to 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. We participated in the Town of Hudson street fair and if we can attract more volunteers we will play an even greater role next year. When St Lazare organised a reception to announce the expansion to la Pinière trail network, the Ramblers Association was invited to be present and we look forward to working with the Town of St Lazare in helping with walking and hiking trail development.
We have been providing regular articles on the health and other benefits of hiking to The Hudson Gazette and again in cooperation with the Town of Hudson have begun to compile a series of Hudson Walking tours, which we are hoping to promote at next years Street Fair.
We have also tried 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 that involve their land. 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 I am very please to report as you will hear in more detail later this evening that the Board not only ran the operation this year within budget but actually created a surplus of almost $1500. Perhaps we should go and show Greece what to do.
But what about the future, we do not intend to rest on our laurels and 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. The All-Day Saturday events will probably be increased to a minimum of one per month and initial reaction to Saturday morning hikes is positive and I expect this will soon become a regular feature.
Some of us have the ambition to take on even greater challenges. There is a trail that goes from Ottawa to Kingston beside the Rideau Canal system which could be tackled over a number of weekends or a brief vacation.
The hiking repertoire of La Federation Quebecoise de la Marche extends to some 500 pages covering all corners of the Province and offering wonderful opportunities.
The possibilities are limitless, but it must be remembered that this is a volunteer organisation.
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 and all other functions are performed by volunteers. Members should realise 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.
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, which happened a lot this last year.
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.
Rosalie Shewchuk smoothly manages our registration and ensures the dues and fees are collected, this is so important to our survival.
Diane Boileau who is preoccupied with our health making sure we carry the first aid kit she devised which would possibly be suitable for a war zone and making sure we stay healthy.
Barb Gibb our editor who among other things corrects my bad grammar and makes sure we meet the stringent deadlines imposed by Jim Duff editor of the Hudson Gazette and last but not least, Heidi Wright who is our liaison with the Sentiers Vaudreuil – Soulanges and is always keeping an eye out for new areas where we can work with the various levels of government.
Your Board works very hard and deserves your appreciation.
There are others that are not members of the Board but also deserve recognition:
Martin Hofton who organises our annual Father Demers long trek and spend many hours talking to land owners to make sure we are welcome
Ann Peters and Terinex who supply us with office support.
Michael O’Morchoe our resident photographer and who has great plans for the future and my dear wife Louise who doesn’t like hiking but keeps the books in great shape as our accountant.
Thank you to all these people as well as the trail leaders and tail guards that make sure all our events are run safely and give so much pleasure to all our members.
That concludes my report and while I am prepared to answer any questions at this time perhaps it would be better to wait until we have completed the whole agenda.
October 5, 2011