Volunteers Lunch Thankyou Speech

Thank you Graham for the opportunity to thank all the volunteers on behalf of all the sailors for the wonderful contributions you have made so we can enjoy days out on the water racing.

The collective volunteers of the club have enabled sailors of all different ages and experience, to come together to pursue their love of sailing. We do all have one thing in common. We all love getting out in the sunshine at beautiful Balmoral Beach and taking advantage of the magnificent waterways of Sydney Harbour. I think you would all agree, that it’s really hard to beat a good day out on the water. I think it’s this love of being on the water, as well as the camaraderie that we all share, that brings us together.

It goes without saying, but it can and should be said, that you are all lovely people and great company. We, the sailors, have immense gratitude to you all, for everything you do for us.

You, the volunteers, enable Balmoral Sailing Club to exist and function. You constitute the co-operative foundation that allows us all to have great days on the water. The club as a whole enables young people to learn from more experienced sailors and for more experienced sailors to learn and gain encouragement from the youngsters enjoying sailing.

I am aware, as a relative newcomer, that I am only seeing the very tip of the iceberg of the extraordinary dedication and commitment volunteers put into this club. The length and breadth of the voluntary activities is vast. I am told that approximately one in every two members are volunteers. There are about 30 main volunteers. The fact that you are here means that you are probably one of the main volunteers, their partner, or their family.

Volunteers come from all walks of life and have different personalities and skills but they all love being out on the harbour, are interested in assisting the sailors, or both. While many have a lengthy association with the club, an increasing number are using volunteering at Balmoral as a means of gaining another social outlet and /or just like being out on the water. I’m told they all like a good chat and they all have a smile on their face when they arrive and work well as a team, despite the stress of setting the start line and racing to get all the marks in place on time. Many volunteers take so much from our wonderful sport of sailing that I know for sure that many with a boating background have made a decision, consciously or unconsciously, to put something back into our great sport.

On water volunteers

There are 7-8 volunteers for the start boat and safety boats every Saturday. Volunteers spend 6-8 hours every Saturday out on the water, refueling and doing the point score. If you do the calculations over 9 months that’s about 2000 whopping volunteer hours in one season! Thank you SO MUCH to you and your families for giving up your Saturdays to help us so we can enjoy racing and stay safe.

A standout volunteer this season has been Heather Hall with the handover to Anita as race officer. Heather has also taken on extra days to cover state events and stepped in when they have been short of a race officer. Other standouts include Catherine who has also taken on many of the state events, Rob who has taken on many extra days on the safety boat when a driver was needed and for being our amazing official photographer for regular racing and state titles (we love your photos Rob and thanks for fixing the windsurfer mark), Karen for regularly coming out on the boats too since she became a member and offering to train up to become a race officer, Shirley Matthews who has taken on the organisation of the first aid courses and CPR courses, to the majority of safety boat drivers who have been open to switching dates when needed, and to Daniel for organising the trainers and program for the safety boat course. It is really hard not to single out almost everyone as they all step up when they are out on the boats. Thanks Bruce and team for your help with the power boats and all you do behind the scenes.

There have been at least 14 rescues this season by “Hunter Bay’ and ‘Eric Hart’, half each. On some really windy days I have seen numerous boats with broken masts being towed back to shore safely. It’s really reassuring to know that there are rescue boats out there to help us get back to shore safely if we get into trouble. Jono’s ribs will play an increasing role in safety as the junior sailing and windsurfing programs develop. Thank you for keeping us safe.

Off water volunteers

The new Juniors Sailing program aims to bridge the gap between completing tackers learn to sail and racing. Thank you Jono, Andrew, Gavin and Cullen for your initiative. This is such an important step in retaining kids in sailing and growing our club memberships. Fourteen juniors and their families participated this year. Thanks also to Jono for doing some light maintenance work around the club as well as making the club secure.

Class captains, thank you for all your time on and off the water. I know how much you do to encourage the growth of your class, help members, organise calendars and events, coordinate class duty, prepare point scores and presentation, and send out regular emails of encouragement. You lead and inspire others to be sailors and competitors.

Now if we think doing “the dribble” takes a long time, lets spare a thought for all the work Sue Halloran did and Boyd Newton, our new marketing man who has stepped up and kept us laughing with his version of Whales Tales. I note freezophobia is regrettably a lot more than a phobia, as we all know, when actually experienced.

Now to the Big Guns...

The board consist of 9 people who play a very significant role in providing the structure, function and safety of the club. When asking how many hours do the volunteers contribute each week, some would say “far too many“.

The Board’s contribution is invaluable and the club couldn’t function without your commitments. They are all on multiple committees and have multiple roles or massive roles or multiple massive roles. It was a real eye opener looking at the ‘meet the board’ webpage. My first draft described what each individual is responsible for, what committees they chair and what committees they are members of, however this added another 10 minutes to my speech, so instead I would like to make a few comments.

David Johnson our class captain for the last 2 years, has made a great contribution to the running of our club and is excellent at analysing issues and determining the most appropriate way forward. He developed the season’s race program, championed the development of our great junior sailing program at board level, minimized risk and assists with house duties.

Laurie Hoffman is our honorary secretary and chair of the social committee. It’s hard enough doing our own home administration let alone taking on the clubs as well! Awesome effort. There is a great vibe to the club thanks to all the social gatherings, and great presentation last week!

Will Jones our honorary treasurer does a fantastic job balancing the books and keeping us afloat. Thank you, Will.

Murray Freeman is a director, membership and racking officer and I have found Murray to be extremely helpful, reliable and accommodating .It’s a pleasure to work with you Murray.

Marco Teering is the IT guru and done an amazing job in overhauling everything technical including computers, website, data bases, and improving IT processes.

Nick Collis George is an inspiration in all he does and in the manner he does it. Beyond the board, a myriad of other work includes the junior sailing program, new boat racking, sourcing for grants and coordinating Tuesday sailors. You are a real asset to the club as well as being a National Grandmaster Champion. He even got me out for a go on the Aero!

Roly Webb is in charge of looking after the powerboats, database and house maintenance. Roly and his team of volunteers have added more racks to the bays, fully revitalised the rescue and race boats over the past winter and also managed the replacement of a new roof over the back bays that was leaking like a sieve.

I read in one whales tales that we have all sorts of helpers including a very kind plumber in Gerald van Hulsen paid by a few beers! Excellent work.

Also thank you to all the people who helped lift the fridges over the balcony. Awesome effort!

Anita Daum is our Race Officer and looks after policies and safety. Anita has done an absolute amazing job as race officer, and has a relaxed, positive ‘can do’ attitude. Thank you (and Heather) for your incredible contribution over the past season.

Anita and Roly would probably be our top 2 contributors in volunteer hours per week. Their contribution to the club is invaluable and would consist of and may top 20 hours per week, over and above their normal family and work commitments.

Lastly, I would like to acknowledge Graham Hanna who has been our Commodore for the last 3 years. He provides leadership to all. I have found Graham to be an exemplary Commodore and has assisted me on a number of occasions and has been extremely supportive and encouraging. He is jack of all trades and he still has a very competitive edge!

Goals set out in last years speech have been achieved. Well done Graham. We are very grateful for his support and leadership.

I am sure there are many other volunteers I haven't mentioned. A big thank you from the heart. We are grateful for all your work too.

Balmoral Sailing Club aspires to be an open and friendly club and encourages competitive sailors of all ages and abilities’. You, individually and collectively, have contributed to what we value here at Balmoral Sailing Club: community, enjoyment, friendly competition, personal growth and safety.

I am a firm believer that it is in giving that you receive. It’s a credit to all of you who contribute and participate in what is really an entirely proactive and coordinated complex team effort across a range of issues, all carried out in a positive context of friendship and good will. On behalf of all the sailors, I thank each and every one of you for your contributions, good company and kindness.

You should be proud of what you have achieved.

Thank you,

Melanie Webb
Windsurfer Class Captain

e: windsurfing@balmoralsc.com.au

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