Sycamore Island
Meeting Minutes

February 8, 2017

Cindy Bertaut, Anne Waidmann, Marianne Ross, Gerry Barton, Jody Benjamin, Meredith Griggs, Tryon Wells, Drew Walsh, Luca Anderlini, Richard Bertaut, David Winer, Star Mitchell, Alison Levine, Karen Possner, John Beck, Rebecca Carroll, Kathy Carroll, Bob Shanks, Margie Shanks, Stan Fowler, Lucky Marmon, Bill Marmon, John Noble, Molly Newberry, Rodofo Castro, Jim Drew, Larry Heilman, Jeff Komarow

President Richard Bertaut called the meeting to order promptly at 8:00

The January Minutes were unanimously approved.

Treasurer’s Report
There was no report from the Treasurer. Richard Bertaut reminded members that the dues for 2017 had increased from $375 to $400.

Membership Secretary’s Report
John Noble introduced the new Membership Secretary Anne Waidmann. Anne retired in July from Price Waterhouse, where she did benefits work.

Before handing over the Membership job to Anne, John Noble gave his final report. As of Feb. 8th, there were 159 Regular members, 71 Senior members, 21 Inactive members, 59 Wait Listers, and 15 Honorary members. The final numbers will not be available until Feb. 15, when the Financial Secretary Sherry Fizdale will know the final number of resignations and the number of those to have moved to senior membership status.

The following three families were approved unanimously for membership:
  • Luca Anderlini and his daughters. Luca grew up in Rome and moved to the United States in 2001. He teaches at Georgetown.
  • John Beck grew up in Bethesda and spent his career in community banking. He is a long-time paddler and applied for club membership after participating in a Canoe Cruiser down river race.
  • Margie and Bob Shanks. Both are canoers and kayakers as well as lawyers. They have three children. 
Captain’s Report
The club’s new Captain is Stan Fowler. He has been on Sycamore Island for more than thirty years. Stan is scoping out the duties of the Captain’s job by conferring with members and C&O Canal Park Rangers. He is familiarizing himself with issues regarding swim safety and has for years been involved with river safety. He is a trained life guard. He is familiarizing himself with the Island and what maintenance jobs need to be done. On his list: a new post to hold the ferry.

Swimming Supervisor’s Report
Swim Supervisor Larry Heilman was pleased that the Captain Stan Fowler also planned to be involved in the “swim safety” issue. Four years ago, Larry wrote detailed report on all safety measures that should be observed and swim safety equipment that should be installed on the island, the swim float, and various docks. This report will be given out to all members who participate in the Feb.19 bird walk. Hopefully, they will join Larry after the bird walk for a stroll around the island and see for themselves what equipment is in place and perhaps what still needs to be installed. This review of swim safety measures and equipment could be repeated at the Spring work fest.

Relief Caretaker Supervisor’s Report
Supervisor Madeleine Carter thanks the following people for serving as relief caretakers in February: Steve Newman, Eric Aaserud, Kerry Anne Cox, Miriam and Alan Pemberton.

Old Business
There was an extensive discussion about the camping rules and the accessibility of the island to members. While the caretaker does not give permission to campers, standing rules on camping read that a prospective camper must confer with the Party/Camping Supervisor (currently Molly Newberry). If a member decides he/she wants to camp only a day or few hours before he/she plans to camp, he/she also needs to confer with the Caretaker. If neither the Party/Camping Supervisor or Caretaker is reachable, the member can call another club officer. In other words, don’t just show up. Checking in with the caretaker as well as the Camping Supervisor would allow the camper to know what other events might be taking place on the island at the same time. That info might affect his plans. If the caretaker gives a negative response, the member is entitled to know why.

All campers must respect the after-hours privacy of the Caretaker.

Some attendees suggested that while the ferry closes at dusk, the island is always open to members. This could mean that members could swim or boat to the Island on their own and stay after the ferry stops operating.

Dave Winer felt that members were not aware of this option and made the following motion: “It is the sense of the club that Sycamore Island and Ruppert’s Island are never closed off to members, except under flooding and other emergency conditions. While in attendance, members must adhere to all ordinary rules of the club, and particularly to those rules related to camping and the caretaker’s quarters.”

Some members expressed concern that persons arriving on the island on their own would not have signed the waiver which is on the ferry. This could be a problem.

After a lengthy discussion, the motion was defeated 9 to 8.  

New Business
Summer Solstice Camp-out: Vicky Judson repeated an offer to co-host a camping overnight on the Summer Solstice. Her only requirement is that someone volunteer to be the co-host. If you are willing, call Vicky (301) 320-5787

The Work Fest will be held on April 9th. Rain date: April 23rd. The Downriver Race is May 13th. Cindy Bertaut recommended volunteering as a Safety Boater. “Great Fun,” she says.

Thanks to Vicky Judson and MIchael Esch for hosting the February meeting. The turnout was excellent; the food and drink delicious.

The next meeting will be held at the home of John and Diane Noble, 7024 Arandale Rd., Bethesda, MD 20817.

Respectfully submitted,
Lucky Marmon,
Co-Recording Secretary,