Sycamore Island
Meeting Minutes

December 11, 1996

The 111th annual meeting of the Montgomery Sycamore Island Club was called to order by President Bill Eichbaum at approximately 8: 10 PM with the following members signing in: Warren Brown, David Winer, John Matthews, Johnna Robinson, Mary Vogel, Joe Vogel, John Thomson, Peggy Thomson, Philip Jones, Jay and Fem Ingersoll, John Krasny, John Stapko, Holly Syrrakos, Larry Hei iman, Cynthia and Clarence Payne, Jerry Barton, Jinny Jones, Susan Garbini, Tryon Wells, Peter Winkler, George and Marcia Loeb, Doc and Phyllis Taliaferro.

Tryon Wells has developed a new computer data base that is expected to substantially reduce the workload for membership secretary and other officers -- a demonstration may be scheduled on lap top for a future meeting.

Captain John Matthews reported that plans for a new canoe shed are in hand, and that discussions about the design continue while the National Park Service (and its partners) move ever so slowly in repairing the tow path. The current condition of the towpath is expected to remain an obstacle to delivery of construction materials to the island, at least until Spring. The design concept for replacement of the shed envisions "modular" units that would hold about 12 canoes each, and would be built in a line to look like a single structure.

Canoeing supervisor David Winer reported that cooperation has been good in getting canoes that require protection from the elements off the Island. As noted in previous meetings, fees for keeping boats on the Island will remain in effect because there is still a substantial, even increased workload, in dealing with boats on the Island in flood conditions even though the shed is gone.

Bill Eichbaum read a letter of appreciation that he had drafted for Peter Jones extending the club's thanks for his dedicated service to the Island as caretaker and making special note of the contributions by Holly. (The letter will be printed in the Islander). In addition to a kind letter, Bill announced that Peter would be receiving a bonus greater than in previous years. --Noting that we had searched for something suited to their new location "inland,' Warren Brown presented a Peter a gift from the club: a wood canoe paddle and certificate "presented to Peter and Holly with thanks for surviving many floods and dedicated service to Sycamore Island." Unfortunately the special subcommittee on engineering was not able to agree on a way to affix the certificate to the paddle, but the message seemed to get through about not being up the creek without one.

Bill Eichbaum reported for the nominating committee on the proposed slate of officers and supervisors for 1997. The report was adopted as presented in the December Islander and then the slate of officers was unanimously elected as recommended. While most of the officers and supervisors are continuing in place from 1996, some incumbents are retiring making room for Tryon Wells as Vice President, Holly Syrrakos as Recording Secretary, and Susan Garbini as House Committee Chair. Bill also reported that the positions of electrical and plumbing supervisors were being abolished due to lack of interest or activity in those positions.

Under new business, George and Marcia Loeb noted the lack of participation in workfests and other club events, suggesting that some contribution to the club at a work session or as substitute caretaker might be a condition of continued membership. A lively discussion followed about the problem of limited participation in club activities, the practicality of keeping records of participation in workfests, possible expansion of the number of active members, encouraging some members to move to inactive status, and other ideas for how to promote more active involvement of members in maintenance and management of the club. Bill Eichbaum noted that the number of "young" backs available to do the heavy lifting was rapidly reaching the critically low level There was general agreement on the need for better information about how often members are using the Island, numbers of participants in workfests, and other facts that could help make informed decisions on the issue, especially since weather and water levels have made the past year quite unusual, Doc Taliaferro offered to begin collecting information on club use for future reference.. The only conclusion was that this is a significant problem with many dimensions and that some specific proposals or options need to be developed for discussion at future meetings in the year ahead.

The meeting adjourned at approximately 9:30 PM to a very tasty table of refreshments provided by the Thomsons.

Warren Brown

Vice President (retired)