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NECKRA Minutes - 2010 Annual Meeting

November 7, 2010
Northampton Country Club, Leeds, MA


The 2010 Annual Meeting of the New England Canoe and Kayak Racing Association was convened at 3:45, following a sumptuous banquet served at the Northampton Country Club.   Mike Ripple, NECKRA President, was unable to attend. Priscilla Reinertsen, NECKRA Secretary, conducted the meeting.  Pam Browning served as interim secretary.

Bob Allen, NECKRA’s “Mayor” was recognized for organizing the banquet and the awards portion of the gathering. 

1.    Priscilla presented the President’s report for Mike – see attached.  In his report Mike wrote that it had been his pleasure to serve as President for the last 5 years and felt that he was handing over the reins of a paddling organization that is in fine shape.  Mike is pleased that there are new people stepping forward to take over the newsletter and the website and taking on committee responsibilities as we work together to make sure our community works well for all.  Priscilla spoke on behalf of all the members in expressing appreciation for the considerable strides that Mike has engineered during his tenure, to move the organization forward in an era of rapidly changing ways to communicate and reach out.  There was a long round of applause for Mike.

The Secretary’s report was then presented by Priscilla – see attached.  Priscilla reviewed her close interaction with the President over the past two years, pulling together the Race Packet, with Tom Warner as packet editor; working with Mike on issues such as the Massachusetts PFD legislation this past legislative session; taking over the Curtis Race with the assistance of Jeff DeFeo, Phil Sousa, Kurt Kuehnel and others; and working with the Executive Committee to provide grants to Holyoke Rows and Greater Lawrence Community Boating.

Bill Farrell presented the Treasurer’s report – see attached.  Income ($3883.01) exceeded expenditures ($5792.50) by $1909.49.  This drawdown of the checking balance was deliberately undertaken as NECKRA awarded $900 in grants to youth programs – Holyoke Rows, Greater Lawrence Community Boating and USCA, Barton Cup.  The checking balance as of the Annual Meeting is $7244.83.  Priscilla presented the budget for 2011 – see attached, which includes an anticipated income of $4440 and an anticipated expenditure of $4690, for a net deficit of $250.

Deb Walton, NECKRA Membership chair, was unable to attend the meeting.  Priscilla presented her report – see attached.  NECKRA had 200 members this year, for an increase of 46 members over last year.  Deb would like to encourage members to join/renew early, and is open to suggestions concerning incentives.  She also needs to have just one uniform membership form available.  The PayPal online form does not require a birthdate nor email address – both being important for the Membership chair.  Membership forms were included in the packet of reports that were on each table. A large number of renewals were collected.

Pam Browning presented the Publicity report.  NECKRA advertised at the Westfield River race, through the Gen Clinton Relay, at the Run of the Charles and at the Great Stone Dam Classic race in Lawrence, MA.  Our best publicity was at the Pachaug Race where reporters from two local newspapers were present and wrote stories with photos, including a YouTube video.  Pam suggests greater use of Facebook, more NECKRA materials available at races, including extra Race Packets, a template on the website for news articles, and perhaps having a NECKRA individual do a trade show.

Our new Newsletter Editor is Shawn Burke, who explained that an issue will be printed soon.  All subsequent issues will be electronic, though arrangements will be made to mail subsequent issues to people who can not receive an electronic newsletter.  Shawn’s first issue has been put to bed regarding content.  Three issues will be composed each year, and the Spring issue is already in its conception, article gathering and organization phases.

Jack Beusman was introduced as the new Equipment chair.  Priscilla is working with him as he organizes an internet “equipment central”.

NECKRA’s new Webmaster is Steve Miller.  Steve takes over from Tim Allen who has served the organization with dedication for several years.  A new website will be put on line in the next few weeks, and will include links to many sites, in addition to a new look for the  information that is currently available on the NECKRA website.

Bob Allen presented the Competition/Training report and Charlie Brackett presented the Downriver report.  Eric Jones is joining Charlie on the Downriver committee.  Dan Rabinkin reviewed the race schedule changes for the 2010 Flatwater season report.  Mark Wendolowski was not able to attend the meeting to make a Downriver Kayak report.  Del and Vicki Cummings are being joined by Francisco Urena, Betsy Arnold and Chris Wilson on the Recreation Committee.  Francisco will chair this committee.  Sue Higgins will be the chair of the Clinton Relay committee.

2.  Old Business – none

3.  New Business

Election of officers and committee chairs.  The following individuals were presented on a slate.  Peter Olson moved that the slate be accepted.  Steve Smith seconded.

President – Priscilla Reinertsen
Secretary – Deb Walton
Treasurer – Bill Farrell
Membership – Deb Walton
Newsletter – Shawn Burke
Equipment – Jack Beusman
Website – Steve Miller
Race Packet – Mike Ripple, Tom Warner, Priscilla Reinertsen
Competition/Training – Bob Allen
Downriver Competition – Charley Brackett and Eric Jones
Flatwater Competition – Dan Rabinkin
Downriver Competition – Mark Wendolowski
Recreation – Francisco Urena, Del and Vicki Cummings, Betsy Arnold, Chris Wilson
Relay Team – Sue Higgins 

Slate unanimously approved.

Priscilla presented her vision for 2011:

a.  expand our reach towards youth paddlers
b.  strengthen the non-elite racing classes, support “mere mortals”
c.  expand our outreach to adult novice or fairly inexperienced paddlers, both in flatwater and downriver.

All committee chairs are asked to select at least 2 others for their committee, and to prepare a list of objectives and goals.  Priscilla will work with each committee.

By-Law Change.  Priscilla asked for a motion to add the position of Vice President to bring he total number of officers to 4.  This individual will assist the President, and may, but not necessarily, succeed the President.

Paula Thiel so moved and Steve Smith seconded.  Discussion briefly arose as to whether the matter should be postponed until the Competition Meeting.  Terje Reinertsen and Dave VanDorpe pointed out that a large number of members were gathered now.  Shawn Burke moved the question and the motion was unanimously approved.

The Unsung Hero Award was announced.  This year the prestigeous award was given to two Heroines – Ellen Downes and Paula Thiel, for their considerable volunteering to do the timing for a majority of the flatwater races. Their walnut plaques read “Timing Is Everything”. Shawn Burke was also honored with a walnut plaque for being the terrific “Points Prince”.  All three individuals received a standing ovation!

Priscilla explained the rationale for NECKRA’s grants to Holyoke Rows and Greater Lawrence Community Boating and suggested a Mission Statement be added to the NECKRA Constitution.  Currently there is no Mission Statement in the Constitution, which was written in 1982.  The mission statement would read:

 The New England Canoe and Kayak Racing Association is an organization run by volunteers, dedicated to advancing the sport of canoe and kayak racing for paddlers of all skill levels.  NECKR seeks to support established and successful community boating programs to facilitate awareness of and interest in marathon and downriver racing.

Peter Olson moved that the Mission Statement be adopted.  Ed Halpin seconded.  Motion approved unanimously. 

The Competition Meeting will be held on Saturday, November 13th at the home of Shawn Burke and his wife Monica. In Andover, MA, 11:30.  The Agenda was reviewed by Priscilla, and includes consideration of the Race Packet and new races; existing races that will not be held; support for Mark Wendolowski who is a member of the US Wildwater team; kayak classes, Best Race Director’s Practices; handicaps for flatwater points series and more.

4.  Adjournment.  Vicki Cummings moved that the meeting be adjourned.  Ginny Akabane second.  Unanimous vote in favor .

NECKRA Awards and Raffle

Series Awards:

  • Downriver Kayak – 1st Lou Carrier
  • Downriver Canoe – 1st Doug Palmer
  • Flatwater Kayak – 1st Ted Van Dusen
  • Flatwater Canoe – 1st Jack Morse

Outstanding Achievement by NECKRA Youth, 2010

Downriver Series

  • Phoebe Jones (age 4, then 5)
  • Rhys Jones (age 7)
  • Tommy Palmer (age 8)
  • JD Marona (age 17, then 18)
  • Ashley Higgins (age 17)

Flatwater Series

  • Zane Wendolowski
  • Natalie Lessard
  • Sarah Lessard
  • Calvin Miller
  • Nick Arnold
  • Louisa Page
  • Simon Page

Drawings for the many, many Raffle Prizes

Top prizes:

  • ZRE paddle – Paul Dyka and Dave Duggas
  • Kayak paddle – Tom Jones


Respectfully submitted:  Pam Browning and Priscilla Reinertsen