2015 was an excellent year for VWC. We continued in growth and capability. This is a synopsis of our events and accomplishments.
First of all we finished the year within our projected budget, always a good thing! This was accomplished through initiation fees, dues, special project returns and money-making efforts. I’ll elaborate a little on some of these areas.
While gathering the information for this communication and preparing to turn over my documentation to the new president, I came across a memo of interest. On April 25, 2011, Paul Green penned the following to Wayne Hendricks; “The problem, simply stated, is a dramatic drop in the number of new members in the last year or two. We typically have 40-50 new members in the February-March-April time period. This year we geared up for 5 Certification sessions in March and had only 7 new members….”
Well, such has not been our problem in the past few years, In fact in the year 2015 we had 910 dues-paying members. Included in that number are 119 new members for the year.
We gained members and we unfortunately lost members as some were invited to do their woodworking at a higher level leaving us mourning their loss.
Dick Besler and his crew conducted a record number of certification and monitor sessions due to our increased membership. Increased emphasis was placed on the do’s and don’t's” for monitor responsibility.
In the lunch room, we installed a vending machine for the members’ convenience. While some took advantage of it, the jury is still out as to whether the machine will remain with us. The sales for the vendor are very small.
In the Shop we are the proud owners of a new sander, a new jointer, and a new digital 25” planer. With the help of a super group of maintenance folks, all the other equipment has remained in great working order. There was a period this year when the Delta table saw was down and it seemed like forever before it was in working order. The fault was not with us, but rather with the manufacturer Delta. Dave Adamovich stuck with it and now we have it back up and running with another motor in reserve.
Bob Bell worked 10% discounts for members with both Woodcraft and Rockler. This is not just on orders he places for members, but on anything a member orders or buys on his own. He/she only needs to note on the order or tell the salesperson face-to-face that he is a VWC member in The Villages.
Under the tutelage of Ray Roberts and later, Paul Porter we formally established an Information Technology (IT) department and began working to address what are critical needs for the Club and how to assure continued support. We purchased one new computer and established a plan for replacement of the others over the next few years as well as handling the emerging new operating systems.
The Toy Department streamlined production and had a record-breaking year producing 7125 toys and shipping 6222 of them totaling a value of $56,129. I think that even Santa’s elves would be hard-pressed to beat that record. During the year, Conway Williams, who had been serving as Dan Pallo’s second-in-command, assumed full responsibility for the Toy Department. At the request of the department, the Board adopted guidelines for toy production such that they remained an important, fully-functional group satisfying one of the tenets on which VWC was founded, but could efficiently produce without having to continually beat the past year.
Volunteers also continued to offer toys on the Square once a month, resulting in funds for the department and interest in the Club.
The leadership of Special Projects was transitioned to Hans Zassenhaus and new emphasis was placed on repair and smaller pre-made items rather than building large items frequently commercially available. In order to keep cardholders on the shelves, production was streamlined and “Let’s Build Cardholders” session were held where there was a full court press to produce followed by relaxation over pizza! Each session was able to produce 200-300 cardholders! Slant wedges also flew off the shelves. These $6 and$10 items continued to be very good money-makers for the Club.
We participated in Colonial Days, and as in other years appeared to be the most visited exhibit. Through sales and raffles we realized a profit of $1454.
We also participated in the three day showing of the traveling Viet Nam wall. We shared information about our Eagle Canes and Urns for Indigent Veterans as soldiers, families and interested citizens remembered loved ones in the Viet Nam era.
As before, we gave of our time and talents to create a Christmas tree for The Special Olympics Christmas auction.
And speaking of Christmas, we had some changes in our party for 2015. We changed from a volunteer-created food venue to a catered party partially funded by the Club. It was very successful, with 305 attending. Our raffle and silent auction efforts contributed $3521 to the Club, netting about $1500 after the costs of the party were paid. We reserved all four of the rooms at the Savanah Center for the 2016 party which will allow us space for 400+ members and guests.
But our crowning glory came about in December when a mom approached the front desk asking if it would be possible to build her 17 month old son a red wagon to use when he got tired of carrying the backpack which held his feeding tube apparatus. Jim Spallone who was on the desk recognized a very special need and engaged John Justice in the request. Soon thereafter, John knew what his endeavor would produce. He also approached the administration suggesting that the product be a gift to the family and that no money be charged for the materials. Eight days later a beautiful buck-board fashioned red wagon with yellow wooden spoked wheels and the little boy’s name, Declan, painted in yellow was ready. The family was notified and the rest was a beautiful Christmas story. Having been so pleased, the mom and dad contacted The Daily Sun. The resulting story was featured on the Christmas Day edition of the paper with a follow-up commentary two days later. I’d like to read that commentary to you.
Thanks to all,