Happy new year! I hope that our membership has weathered 2020 and is ready for what almost has to be a better 2021.
Last year was largely a bust for USNSA. We were unable to do any training for our branches. COVID-19 made that largely impossible. Luckily, our insurer refunded some of our premium, but financially it's been a difficult year for the association. And I know that's it's been difficult for our members and our branches.
To mitigate our financial position, none of the national staff has been paid. Our office manager has volunteered to not take her salary, and I salute her for her efforts. The Executive Director and I have never been paid, so not much savings there. We have been sending out renewal notices largely by email to save on the postage and paper, so if you see one, please renew! The branches have been very good about renewing their memberships.
Ever since the Navy decided to remove sailing programs from the NROTC units, those memberships stopped. We no longer train the trainers that used to be a large portion of our annual training agenda. It was a shame to lose that part of the program that was also a great way for the association to recruit new members. And we used to have a large fleet of boats used by the units that also made their way to the branches. Most of those are now either sold, donated or decommissioned.
It's a time of transition for the US Naval Sailing Association. Executive Director Mike Christman and I assumed our positions shortly before the passing of COL Bob Howe and the Navy gutting their support for sailing programs. He had managed a large robust organization expertly. Many of you met him as he enjoyed traveling around the system and visiting the branches. Unfortunately, Mike and I are both still working full time and don't do that kind of outreach. I would like to encourage you to reach out to us and let us know what we can do to help you and your branch.
We are planning a board of directors "zoom" meeting this month. Hopefully we will have an opportunity to expand our program as the virus retreats. Please send anything you would like the board to consider.
I would like to apologize for the state of the website. It was designed as we were trying to expand our online capabilities. Unfortunately, the hacking we kept experiencing made development a problem. We never really made it as user friendly as it was supposed to be. Considerable time and money was spent on its development, and frankly I'm not sure it was worth it. We have reached out to a couple site developers to remake the site, but the costs far outstrip our budget. It seems like a simple project, but when you add allowing members to access and modify their profiles and branches update their info, it gets very complicated. We were hoping to have online store, but that got real interesting.
So we are still doing all that manually. And the store is open. We have lots of patches, hats, belts and shirts.
Have a great year!