Newsletter October, 2012


Presidents Report to the 2012 Annual General Meeting

 
 
Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen and welcome to the 3rd 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 2nd 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….” We have this year provided everyone with a full slate of events:
 
26 Sunday morning hikes or snowshoe outings and
 
10 Full day Saturday events.
 
In the fall of 2011, we introduced  Saturday morning hikes to answer a demand from people who find it difficult or impossible to attend on Sunday morning this unfortunately was not received with enthusiasm and was discontinued.
 
Over Thanksgiving weekend 2011 we held  the third annual Father Demers two day trek from Hudson to Rigaud unfortunately this had to be cancelled in 2012 due to a lack of leaders, but I will talk more about this later. 
 
We also sprinkled group breakfasts, pub lunches 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 20 and 30 people an increase of 50% over the previous year. I continue to 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 by the fact we already have 75 paid up member sat this time only one month into our renewal period. At the end of the fiscal year we have well over 100 paid members.
 
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.  
 
This is progressing much slower than I would like due to excessive bureaucracy, but at least we are a voice at the table and I believe the Town better understands our needs. 
 
We participated in the Town of Hudson street fair again being part of the community and obtaining exposure. 
 
St Lazare also organised a consultative committee to pursue better usage of their trails and cooperation between walkers, equestrians and other users. This committee was put on hold with the election of the new Mayor, however we recently had a separate meeting with Mayor Robert Grimaudo and I was pleasantly surprised with his interest in our activities. 
 
We continue 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 as you have heard the Board not only ran the operation this year within budget but actually created a surplus of almost $1500. 
 
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. 
 
The possibilities are limitless, but it must be remembered that this is a volunteer organisation.
 
Unfortunately now we come to the bad news, the father Demers Trek was cancelled this year  as Martin and I who organised the event in previous years were both in Europe over Thanksgiving weekend . And we were unable to find other leaders to replace us
 
One should remember 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 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.
 
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, 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. 
 
Caroline O'Connor joined the Board in the summer and competently assumed the position of Secretary when Rosalie Shewchuk retired. 
 
Paul Michetti also joined the Board in the summer, smoothly manages our registration and ensures the dues and fees are collected, this is so important to our survival. He has put in place a changed membership renewal system which is based on individual anniversary date
 
Diane Boileau who is preoccupied with our health, making sure we carry the first aid kit she devised. She will also make sure all leaders renew their CPR training this year. Diane is also responsible for tonight's coffee and cookies.
 
Barb Gibb our editor who among other things corrects my bad grammar and makes sure we have maximum publicity. She is also renowned for organising the most innovative of hikes; look forward to a good one this coming Sunday
 
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 our eminence grise is always looking for new routes and trail and 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 or tail leaders 
 
• Al Gibb
• Alain Michel
• Brigitte Savage
• Édith Courchesne
• Lise Chamberland
• Lise Grenier
• Marcel Plante
• Michel Giroux
• Michèle Côté
• Monique St-Onge
• Pierre Roy
• Sylvain Cardinal
 
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
 
Terry Browitt
 
October 22, 2012
 
             
 

FINANCIAL STATEMENT

The Ramblers Association

   

Operating period : October 1st, 2011 to September 30, 2012

   

Opening Balance

$ 2518.31

   

Income

 

Fund raising

$    42.06

Interest earned

 $      0.38

Membership Fees

$ 2220.00

Guest Fees

$    40.00

Father Demers Trek $  260.00
Paypal  

Total Income

2,562.76  $

   

Expenses

 

QFM membership

$ 75.00

QFM insurance

$ 120.00

Website

$ 333.69 

Office supplies

$ 108.20

Safety & signature supplies

$ 295.49

Travel

$ 478.50

Total Expense

$ 1410.88

   

Surplus (Deficit)

$ 1151.88

   

Closing Balance

$ 3670,19

   

$1,000.00