-|- Sierra Nevada Unit

August 2014

The SNU will be holding elections in October. At this time, there are two openings, the President and the Secretary. These offices are important to the functioning of the Unit. With this in mind, it might be good to review, Why Have a Club.

In the September issue of the Blue Beret, IBT President, Joe Perryman wrote an article on “Why Are We Here?” This article and the piece below "Why Have A Club?" are based on the same theme. They are also related to topics Perryman discussed in his acceptance speech in the August Blue Beret

September Blue Beret -|- August Blue Beret

Why have a club?

Benjamin Franklin was asked “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” With no hesitation whatsoever, Franklin responded, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

“they had not yet worked out fully the question that has plagued all nations aspiring to democratic government ever since: how to implement principles of popular majority rule while at the same time preserving stable governments that protect the rights and liberties of all citizens.”

A club may not be a nation but it shares many of the same problems. Perhaps the first one is the question: Why have a club?

One reason to have a club is because it identifies ideas and values and goals that are shared between us. This is probably the reason we see so many who join the WBCCI and choose the SNU as their unit but never seem to make it to SNU events. They salute our flag and say they are with us in the values we display in what we do and say. They are telling us that it is important for us to pay attention to our values and goals and see that they are not tarnished or destroyed.

Another reason for a club is to spread the load yet make sure the job gets done. There are a lot of things that need to be done to keep an organization together and accomplish its activities. Governments need to be satisfied regarding taxes and compliance with law and regulation. Gatherings and events need to be arranged. Decisions need to be made in a way that brings people together rather than sets them apart.

Some of the tasks are visible and many not so visible. The club builds structures to see that all necessary tasks are covered and the load in doing them is shared. The importance of this can be seen in the demise of many WBCCI units. Even the SNU was headed towards such demise more than fifteen years ago as only one couple was doing nearly everything. A few of us gathered together to pick up the load and restructure the organization to better share the load with what we had available. We re-designed and re-structured the club and managed to bring it back to a solid membership actually doing what we bought our RV's to do.

The club is also needed to improve social cohesion through communication and fairness. This is why we have a regular newsletter, announcement list, website, Facebook page, and public service announcements. It is why rallies and other gatherings are important. It is why we have rules of procedure for decisions, especially those that have financial commitments or interface with the world outside of our club.

Benjamin Franklin's caveat is important to consider because we can only keep our club if we each take action to keep it. The SNU is like the dog's water dish. Water will evaporate out of it, leaks will empty it, a rogue dog will spill it, and the dish becomes empty and dry. Somebody has to keep water in the dish so the dog doesn't die of thirst. When it comes to the SNU, that somebody is us. If we do not tend it, it will dry out or be emptied by clumsy or rogue action. We won't have kept our club.

The last rally provides examples of what we face. There were accusations being floated: that a pot luck contribution made someone sick; that the coffee was stale left overs from previous days; that spite was the reason for packing up for an early departure. A gathering to accept an unusual financial transaction had one person ignored. Bringing up questions about the propriety of the transaction resulted in an immediate, vociferous, and hostile defense. One, on seeing this said he wanted the “smooth path” – not necessarily the right one or the legal one but the smooth one – and it appears many others agreed because they just stood by and watched the incivility.

Who in their right mind would want to step in to a position of responsibility in that kind of environment? That is our problem.

What will each of us do to make the smooth path also the right and legal one? What will each of us do to restore respect and courtesy towards others as a habit at our events? What will each of us do to make sure policy and procedures are understood and followed so that concerns can be expressed and civilly addressed and that decisions that are made can be seen to be good ones?

The water bowl is near empty. The dog is getting thirsty. Do we find a way to fill that bowl and keep the dog or do we squander fifteen years of effort and success and let the dog die of thirst?

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