President & Treasurer's report


What a year!

We have never seen weather like that. It was a big challenge for our amazing groomers. Don Brisbane had to employ all his super powers. The result, after a titanic struggle, was a clear victory for our skiers. That is to say, great trail conditions from December to March. A toll was taken on our equipment, though, and we will be purchasing a new Ginzuu Groomer to better chop the ice.

The Royal Bank granted us some money with an enabling hand from our peerless treasurer, Mary Lynne Black and we were able to purchase rental equipment for elementary school children. With the invaluable assistance of our school partners, this equipment was in constant use.

Children are also the centre of our Jackrabbit program. Led by Graham Poole and enabled by adult and student volunteers, Jackrabbits was operating at full capacity. Young skiers who have completed this program have gone on to amazing success at the high school races, provincial races and national competitions; a tribute to efforts of parents and volunteer coaches who have developed a recipe for success that is truly admirable. Greg Mason will take over as Jackrabbit co-ordinator for the coming season looking forward to a bright future with all our support. Graham will now be Jackrabbit godfather so treat him with respect.

Our excellent treasurer, Mary Lynne Black has managed our money very well and ensured our financial stability. She has also worked with the Rotary Club and Active Women to enable important fund raising initiatives key to our ability to providing quality grooming and rental equipment.

Raising funds is a constant endeavour and through the efforts of Wendy Grater, we were able to hold the Ontario Masters Championships at the beginning of February. The club realizes a considerable net profit from holding events like the Masters and the Sounder because the organizers and their crews work on a volunteer basis. A cross country ski club is an expensive undertaking and we would not exist without the generous gifts of time we receive from our volunteer base.

In order to better advise and manage our ever-capable Burrow staff, Aleesha Mullen suggested we have Director of Visitor Services. She soon got the job and will, in the coming year, be instituting policies that will please our visitors. Aleesha was a key operative in the Active Women Weekend which was headed by super volunteer Nora Alexander. That was a great success, but also totally exhausting. A somewhat less elaborate event may emerge in the future. Acting as membership co-ordinator is just a tiny part of Ghislain Henry's contribution to the Georgian Nordic. He is also key to events like the Sounder and the Masters. These events are so well organized that provincial organizations want to hold events at our club in the future. Ghislain is also our leader of Racing Rabbits and Track Attack skiers and a force majeur behind our elementary school ski program. C'est incroyable!

When Peter Wiltmann came to the board with the proposal to organize a racing team about eight years ago, we had no idea what would ensue. Our young skiers can now train year round under his supervision and participate in provincial and national competitions. What an opportunity! Children can aspire to a whole new world of experience and we older adults can only look on in envy. Hard working young skiers with dedicated and supportive parents have made a great race team under Peter's leadership.

And what about Beaver Tales, our club newsletter? Charlene Payerl has produced a monthly gem. Through this modern, bright, on-line publication we keep the membership informed and enthused. There should be some kind of award. We occasionally have moose on our trails and this season we have our trails on the Moose. It has had a positive effect bringing in visitors to the area who rent equipment and buy trail passes for which we are most thankful.

Tim Redmond is board secretary. He writes and keeps our minutes, which are an invaluable aid to our memories in that they point out the decisions we have made and where that should lead. He also manages our email, keeping us abreast of arising issues. And that not being enough, he volunteers for our various events and Racing Rabbits activities whenever possible.

Wil Smith, our vice-president, is the board leader for summer programming. This is a hands-on enterprise leading to hours spent in fly-infested bush hacking out trails, building bridges, installing drainage and generally enhancing our trails. This being not nearly enough, he organizes and participates in bike and Exterra races that raise our profile as a summer activity destination. Also, to this end, he was our liaison to the Georgian Bay Biosphere which has resulted in an impressive array of new signage. Signage is key to avoiding that lost in the woods feeling.

After years of working on our water, plumbing and electrical systems, Doug MacDonald is taking his leave from the board. We have not got a replacement at the time of this writing and hope some equally skilled club member will step up to fill this considerable void.

Not all our efforts are successful when we depend on far away officials to appreciate our needs and value to the community. This explains why in spite of the efforts of Ron Chase to garner a Trillium grant we were turned down. Ron spent a lot of time and pulled out a lot of hair trying to satisfy Trillium's constantly shifting criteria. He may yet be convinced to try again soon.

Finally, we are also a club of paddlers and Lisa Robinson is central to our on the water activities with her paddling committee. They are constantly raising funds and trying to develop a comprehensive paddling program. A good deal of time and patience will be required but as paddling represents a good cross training activity for winter sports persons and as Nine Mile Lake beckons from just down the road, Lisa has every prospect of success.

And, in closing, I must say how impressed I am with the skill and effort of the members of the GNSCC board of directors. All members of the club can be proud of what has been and is being accomplished. Just to underline the extent of these efforts you should know that, while in semi-retirement from the board, the stalwart Peter Daleman helped fill our coffers by running the Burrow during an unplanned for Christmas rush of skiers from away.

What a year!