Reorganization Update and Town Halls

Ad Hoc Reorganization Committee


The United States Power Squadrons Ad Hoc Committee on Reorganization has completed its recommendations to the Board of Directors, which were approved in principle subject to revision on February 22 during the 2022 Annual Meeting.

The recommendations, initial plan, and timeline can be found here. Ongoing input on implementation is being sought from local leaders and the general members. A series of electronic town hall meetings are being scheduled, with the first set for March 29 at 8 p.m. ET. To make these town halls fun, clubs and groups of members are encouraged to have watch parties, so they can learn and participate together.

As always, committee members are available to respond to questions and receive input. Keep a weather eye out for more information and town hall dates!

Ad Hoc Reorganization Committee

Created by the Board of Directors, the ad hoc Reorganization Committee is led by Craig Fraser and includes David Allen, Allan Bombard, John Crawford, Bob David, Dave Fine, Myles Gee, Paul Mermelstein, Tracy Simpson and Ralph Ziegler.

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10 thoughts on “Reorganization Update and Town Halls”

  1. Congratulations on putting a plan together, it is a first step, however, a couple of quick observations.

    The timeline is extremely aggressive and you have outlined a lot of to-do items that have multiple interdependencies before other tasks can be started. If you have not already done so it would be wise to put all the tasks into a project plan so you can clearly see how they impact each other. This might help you come up with a more realistic completion date.

    What is the mission of our “new” organizational structure and how do the proposed changes support our mission/purpose? All changes should be able to be tied back to supporting the organization’s mission/purpose in existing.

    In the document I couldn’t find a clear and concise statement of why our organization exists or if the current mission/purpose is changing what we will become after the organizational changes. This lack of a stated purpose for our existence seemed to be an overriding and unstated theme in all of the previous comments.

    When I speak to community groups to promote our club and basic boating education course, I always start by clearly stating what our club’s “three pillars” or “mission” is. I start by quoting Roger Upton;

    “To my mind the organization can be of use to yachtsmen for three major reasons: first, improvement in navigating ability of power-boat owners; second, promotion of acquaintance and social intercourse by the power-boat owners; third, the fitting of power-boat owners to be of possible use to the Navy in time of war so that they might be received as volunteers should they so desire.”

    Or as I sum it up; EDUCATION for recreational boaters to make them safer on the water, SOCIAL ACTIVITIES for recreational boaters who want to explore our waterways, and COMMUNITY SERVICE projects that promote and support recreational boaters’ activities.

  2. Good job hearing the membership. CRITICAL QUESTION – What is the specific value proposition of the organization at each level.
    How long before local club member see/experience a real value benefit?
    Remember it is often easier to kill an organization than to successfully change it. Recognize that one or the other will occur!

  3. My squadron has been saying for years. Come for the education and stay for the friendship. We are an friendly educational organization not a boat club.

  4. Cheers to a comprehensive review and action plan. I would like also to suggest estimating the financial impact of the various alternatives as they are explored since all may not permit budget neutrality. A reassessment of space upon acceptance of a final plan may also be helpful: If the new operation can function in smaller premises, a move would free up capital / generate investment income to support ongoing operations. There is likely little room to increase course fees as we are already at a pricing disadvantage vis a vis certain State and other course offerings.

  5. I applaud your efforts to improve our educational programs, retain membership and recruit new members. But there remain many gaps.
    1. Most boaters purchase their boat and just use it, learning from their friends. Our programs are like taking and learning calculus first before you can use a simple calculator. We start with paper charts, piloting, etc. Somehow we need to become electronic-based with chart plotters, GPS, VHS, MMSI, etc., and tie into the manufacturers who are updating their electronics every 6 months, or at least annually. Some of our manuals go back to 2008.
    2. We are missing the fishing population. It seems that more than half the boaters are out fishing and we seem to be only working with the cruising population. The fishing boaters know the local waters best.
    3. We do not seem to have active programs for recruiting and retaining people of color. Our chapter is mostly retired, white people.
    4. We make people feel uncomfortable with our Chaplins and prayers. Some of our members today are not religious and get frowned upon for not bowing or closing their eyes during prayers. And our Jewish members are very uncomfortable about all the Jesus prayers. Are we non-denominational or a full hard-line Christian Organization like a church?

  6. this is p/c rayner weir, charlotte and shallotte river/ at one of our regular shallotte river meetings some time ago we had the visit of the local coast guard auxiliary membership chairman.—what was he looking for… members. same problem. the idea of our trained members working here with the navy and coast guard is a good idea. when i joined usps in 1963 we had our training at the navy reserve building! also at one of the america cup sail races in newport, i sat next to an older usps member—he told me, he trained jfk and taught him navigation at quonset point as a member of usps.. we are trained and can help in a national emergency. last, but not least, more local advertising help. thanks

  7. Kudos to the Reorganization Committee, Craig Fraser, David Allen, Allan Bombard, John Crawford, Bob David, Myles Gee, Paul Mermelstein, and Ralph Ziegler. The Reorganization Proposal can be the start of a bright new future.
    Tom Dawson’s first comment is spot on.
    We sorely need a concise statement of why our organization exists so that all reorganization changes support the purpose of our existence.
    Here’s a candidate: We Promote Skipper Skills.
    (We could, and probably should, do business as United States Skilled Skippers.)
    But doesn’t that ignore our social and community efforts? Definitely not.
    When skippers get together they share boating experiences, knowledge and information… promoting skipper skills. They also get to know one another… social interaction.
    When skippers are on the water as part of a crew, social interaction for the common safety and enjoyment of the whole crew is almost automatic, as is learning new ways of doing things … promoting skipper skills.
    Vessel safety inspections encourage skippers to equip their boat with the minimal safety items required by law and regulation … promoting skipper skills (including those of the vessel inspector) and performing a community service.
    Learning the ColRegs, the duties of stand-on and give way, the ultimate responsibility of all to avoid collision, and the responsibility to give aid so long as one’s own vessel and crew are not unreasonably endangered is perhaps the highest combination of social responsibility, community service and skipper skills.
    When student groups work their way together through the advanced courses, life-long friendships are often the result … social interaction and promotion of skipper skills at its best.
    The list goes on. The argument that focusing on skipper skills is detrimental to social and community activity is unfounded.
    If anyone can find a better concise summary of why the United States Power Squadrons exist, I’ll be the first to cheer.
    Bill Greenwald, SN-IN
    P/C, Current Secretary & ASEO
    Mohawk-Hudson S&PS D-2

  8. I have read the proposal & fully realize this is a complex issue. Congratulations & thanks to all who have done the work on these problems.
    As with many organizational issues there is no easy answer. That being said I would like to point out that our own D26 has been impotent for years with no real benefit provided to local squadrons.
    The upcoming D26 Cruise & Rendezvous hosted by North Strand is a case in point.
    “They” want members to attend & bring boats for boating activities but no work has been done to have a LOCAL marina host that can provide slips near the functions. The nearest possibility is 14 miles away & going “home” in strange waters in the dark is not appealing.
    No work has been done to provide a host hotel beyond the lobby of a Holiday Inn Express. No place to host members if they do get there?
    With cancelations they have received I don’t even know if this “planned” event will take place.

    D26 takes money from local squadrons, forces them to host their “parties” but provides little concrete support beyond awards & window dressing.

    The elimination of Districts is not just an idea whose time has come ; it is an idea whose time is overdue.

  9. I seem to see power boat this and power boat that. What happens to sailing. I thought we had migrated to Power and Sail?

  10. Thank you for your efforts to improve the organization! I appreciate parts of my squadron and I do not want to disparage the hardworking volunteers in it (and nationally) so I will not mention my real name or location.

    I am a new-ish member and I was excited to join the Power Squadron because as a new boat owner I need boating education. My squadron is large-ish and a little bit active (newsletter and a few events a year) but it is not oriented toward boating education; they focus on social events (meals) and everyone seems to know each other already. To retain new members I would suggest an informal rule that there should not be a single meeting where boating is not mentioned. New friends are fine, but I’m not in here looking for new friends — I’m after boating. Meal planning, finances, minutes, national reorganizations, etc. are not about boating.

    While the discussion has mentioned an aging population, I am a younger person and I don’t mind joining an organization with an older population at all! The more boating experience they have, the better, as long as that is made available to newcomers. I’m here for the boating.

    I have found the power squadron educational courses to be useful and well designed but there is not any interest in giving them locally. I suppose due to the pandemic and/or lack of teacher volunteers. I have found some online but I would rather take them locally.

    One thing that is not mentioned in the report is that I am not sure that the issue is just with the squadrons exactly. When I had no luck with my squadron’s educational officer, I reached out directly to a several committees and the response was very disappointing. Most emails were not answered. Those that were answered were mostly not helpful: e.g., want information about classes? You should go talk to your squadron educational officer. Well, he doesn’t answer. Some days it does feel like I have joined an organization that will not answer my emails.

    Finally, I think the previous name of the organization was much more useful. America’s Boating Club is very generic. When I have mentioned “America’s Boating Club” to a few friends it was confused with Freedom Boat Club (which sends out a lot of spam), BoatUS, or it is taken to be some kind of association of Yacht Clubs.

    I would be delighted to continue as a member with more emphasis on boating education!

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