Minutes – PVS Excom – February 28, 2007

The meeting was held at the home of Dick and Rosemary Schwartzbard. Present were David Abraham, Mary Beale, Charlie and Sara Huggins, Bob Knopes, Dick Laeser, Dave Lerner, Bob and Jan Marx, Ray McKinley, Burr Schuler, and Dick Schwartzbard.

The minutes from the January 9th meeting were approved.

Dick Laeser provided a balance sheet of the club’s finances. Total assets on 2-28-07 came to $8399.34, which is similar to the balance a year ago. Dick has received several boxes of information from Ray Jones representing the club’s treasury archives. He will be able to do some retrospective analysis if the need arises.

Bob Marx requested Excom’s approval of next year’s Snowmass trip. The trip has become the comfort trip for PVS with its ski in - ski out accommodations. Steamboat had held a similar position in the past. However, interest declined after a stay when the weather was particularly bad. Carolyn Mauer and David DeVilbiss will lead the Snowmass trip again. The club anticipates that the trip will only be available for another year or two because of a change in ownership. The 2008 Snowmass trip was approved unanimously.

On the subject of the Ski Trip Guidelines (STG), Bob distributed copies of the most recent changes to the revised Guidelines of January 10th. He has added a “purpose” section at the beginning of the document to explain why the Guidelines have been written. He has also added wording in Attachment 4 regarding fees imposed when an individual withdraws from a trip. Turning to the Selection Criteria section of the guidelines, Ray questioned the allotment of 20 points to #1 “Fills a desired niche…” He noted that that would make #1 only five points lower than all of #2 (destination, lodging, cost, and availability of other activities). Bob agreed to reduce the total points for “fills a niche” from 20 to 10 (the original figure) and the potential high score from 60 to 50. A motion was made to approve the revised Guidelines. It was seconded and unanimously agreed upon. David, Ray, and others thanked Bob for making the Guidelines clearer than they had ever been. Bob reciprocated by thanking people for their helpful comments. The approved Guidelines will be posted on the club website. Notices will appear in TOOT as well.

Ray announced that he has lined up hosts for the monthly meetings through June of ’07. Liz Warren-Boulton and Joe Jevcak will be hosting the March 20th meeting, the Ufholz’s the May 15th meeting, and the Callaway’s the June 19th meeting. The annual meeting on April 17th will be held in the Party Room at the Heitchue’s condominium building. There is a $100 user fee charge, which Excom agreed to cover. Valet parking is available. People are encouraged to carpool. David has assembled a committee of four (Jan Marx, Dottie Villers, Sally Finan, and Rachel Abraham) to oversee the menu. David will take responsibility for the beverages.

The March 27th Excom meeting will be at the Abraham’s.

Rachel Abraham has organized a guided tour at Brookside Gardens for Thursday, April 26th.

David announced that Pat Vagonis would be retiring as club membership chair. Mike Hatanaka has consented to become the new chair. The transition will be completed before membership applications are mailed out in May. This is a renewal year. The appointment of membership chair does not require Excom approval.

Extrapolating from figures provided by Sara and Charlie, David reported on recent membership activity. For the last two club years (5/05-4/06 and 5/06 to present), total club membership (members of all types + applicants) has been stable at 192. In 2005 several active members moved away (6 to Williamsburg). The loss was offset by the addition of new local members. This year only one of the 14 new applicants has met the meeting requirements necessary to become an active member.

Average attendance at monthly meetings has declined from 42.9 persons in 2005 to 37.8 persons in 2006. When the April and December meetings (historically the best attended) are excluded from the calculations the figures for 2005 and 2006 are 41.6 and 33.1 respectively. The general impression was that attendance was higher in the past. David sites several factor effecting meeting attendance: 1) Meeting location (central vs. distant), 2) Traffic (steadily increasing), 3) Reluctance to drive at night (loss of night vision etc.), 4) Waning interest in the club, and 5) Outside commitments.

The average age of the membership is increasing.

In contrast to meeting attendance, participation in ski trips has been similar for the last two years. It was 44% in 2005-2006. This year it has been 44.5%. In 1999-2000, however, it was 55%.

David pointed out that 2 years ago we said that we needed to go on a recruiting binge. The club has not been too successful with this. A blurb about the club was delivered to a few ski shops. The majority of the applicants continue to be referred by the membership. He asked for additional ideas on how to bring in new members. David has an appointment tomorrow with the manager of the Ski Center. He plans to ask if there is any way the Center can help in our recruitment of members. When his term as President of the club concludes in April, he would like to have a program in place that will assure the longevity of the club.

Ray thanked David for the analysis of the attendance and participation numbers. (Please see the addendum to the minutes for David’s figures and comments). Although it wasn’t examined, he would predict that the average age of ski trip participants is considerably younger than the average age of the general membership. Although he and Nancy have brought in several people for ski trips, they have tended to be younger. Ray noted that as we age, the people we bring in are older.

Dick Schwartzbard pointed out that the discussion has actually been about two different things: meeting attendance and membership. He recommends a reduction in the number of meetings. “We have too many meetings.” Fewer meetings would result in higher attendance. Ray recalled that ten years ago, there were the same number of meetings and attendance was higher. Dave Lerner cautioned against changing the number of meetings because many people look forward to them. They provide a social activity.

A suggestion was made to hold the monthly meetings on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, which would obviate driving at night.

David asked if there was interest in pursuing new recruiting efforts for members. “It’s not something the club can continue to ignore. The 192 (members) will become 182 pretty quickly, and it will go down from there.”

Dave Lerner mentioned the possibility of having a PVS booth at a ski show to raise awareness. He saw the best method as actually having people come on a ski trip. Promotion of club trips through BRSC and brochures posted on the club website help draw people in. Once the individual(s) is involved in a trip, members can befriend him/her. Burr pointed out that trip leaders could be particularly helpful in making newcomers feel welcome. Dave recommended posting selected write-ups of events and trips on the website.

David asked for a volunteer who would communicate the discussion points at tonight’s meeting to the new club leadership. Dave said that he would do so. David recommended sending minutes from the meeting to the new Excom members as well as the sitting members.

Dick Laeser proposed setting up a simple database pertaining to club activities. Charlie said that he has records going back many years.

Dick Schwartzbard asked for a response to the suggestion of holding meetings on weekend afternoons. David said that if Ray could find a weekend meeting, then he should book it. Ray hopes to do so for a winter meeting next year.

A suggestion was made to include a survey with the membership applications that would query people’s preferences on the number, day, and time of meetings.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:45 pm.

Minutes submitted by Mary Beale, Secretary

Attachment to Minutes of PVS ExCom Meeting of February 28, 2007

The presentation made by President David Abraham included the following:

Date herein presented and discussed are from records kept voluntarily by Sara Huggins, and the membership database. As indicated, data either cover a calendar or a club year, the latter being the periods from April to March of the following year.

  1. For the last two club years, memberships of all types and applicant members totaled 192 persons. That situation continues to be stable even though during the current year far fewer applicants will qualify for full membership than in the prior year.

  1. There is a distinct increase in Absentee Members due to some member relocations. This fact is believed to be contributory, among other factors mentioned below, to the decreasing member and applicants participation on non-skiing club events.

  1. Participation in club-sanctioned ski trips dipped a year ago and has increased in the current year. Percentage of persons participating in sanctioned ski trips was 55% of membership back in the 1999-2000 season, dropped to only 44% last year and is up to 52% in the current season.

4.Last year 10 applicant members qualified for full membership, this year only one person will qualify as of the April membership meeting while 8 others will have failed to qualify. Clearly, there is waning interest to become full members on the part of some applicants while others experienced mitigating circumstances such as illness.

5, Attendance at monthly club meetings has declined from 2005 to 2006. During the former year average attendance was 42.9 persons while during the latter the number was only 37.8 This 12% reduction was largely concentrated in members’ attendance, not in applicants’.

6. When excluding from the count the meetings held in April and December – the two most heavily attended meetings due to their special programs – attendance figures decline to 41.6 for 2005 and 33.1 for last year.

7. Comparing data for the months of January and February for ’06 and ’07, the numbers per meeting average 24.5 and 30.5, respectively. The increase in this year’s average is believed to be an anomaly due to the locations of the two meetings, and is not believed to be a reversal of the observed trend.

8. Anecdotal information suggests that the declining participation trend, observed by a number of well informed members for the past several years, and just the last 2 or 3, is largely due to the following factors:

  1. Meeting and events locations, which are inconvenient for some members to reach.

  2. Increasingly difficult traffic conditions making travel at night both perilous, stressful and time consuming

  3. Members reluctance and/or inability to drive at night

  4. Conflicts with increasing availabilities of attractive cultural offerings

  5. Some meetings are perceived to occur too frequently, and at times and in venues which, as noted, are difficult to reach.

  6. “Special” generally non-recurring events, such as the Williamsburg weekend and the Upstate New York wine tasting remain attractive and are well attended (as are most sanctioned ski trips).

Data and analyses compiled, analyzed and presented by David G. Abraham