EOTB Presidential Address 2011

Wow! Great food, great company, what an excellent way to start the season. I would like to thank the Membership for the great turnout. Thanks to our Board for organizing the AGM, the new location at Biagio’s Italian Kitchen was roomy, the food and service was excellent.

We had awesome door prizes, our sponsors have been extra generous this year. I would like to thank Dan and Kathy Trudel of National4WD in Smith Falls for being an invaluable sponsor over the years serving the needs of our membership in the area of their specialty 4WD services and parts. Corey and Brad were there representing. We are happy to welcome a new sponsor, Capital Dodge Chrysler Jeep in Kanata, they have been very generous in providing door prizes and supplying the Club with a Satellite Phone System.

As you all know we had elections this year I am honoured to be re-elected as President and thank you for your votes. I’m happy to introduce Rob as our new Vice President and welcome him on to the Board of Directors. I was sad to see Craig’s departure off the Board. Craig has been a valued Board member of the over the years and remains a valuable club member so it’s not farewell by any means. I would also like to welcome Pete back for another term as Treasurer, Rodney returns as Kingston Chapter Director, Paul as Ottawa Director and Evan is back with us as Secretary.

(From here on is my ramble)

Change has the potential to be good.

The sign of a healthy club is the amount of participation by the Members. We always strive to keep the Directorship fresh and new blood is always needed. In the past year and a bit I have witnessed a growing number of members willing to contribute to club activities. You don’t have to be a Board member to contribute. If you have an idea, the time and energy, please feel free to present it to us. It would be nice to see some charitable events pulled together. Don’t get me wrong, if you have a stressful job and just enjoy a low key trail run in the woods with your buddies then we are here for you.

Consider resources

Without a doubt the greatest resource our club has is its membership. The membership votes in a Board of directors, these are volunteer positions that can be considered a club resource. The contributions the Board of Directors make in organizing events, dealing with and re-writing by-law issues, offering 101, recovery and trail leadership courses and the day to day running of the club, these also constitute a resource. The end goal is to offer these resources back to the membership for their use. Sometimes we don’t see these resources or access them regularly but they become available when called upon. Just like when the membership is petitioned for an emergency extraction members seem to come out of the woodwork. I feel that offering safe extraction courses, a satellite phone and first aid training to mention a few, we add to our cache of resources that can be called upon when needed .They may seem like a lot of bother and cost now but in an emergency you really can’t put a price on them. So when the question comes up “do we really need all this to run a club?” well the answer is mostly “no”. We don’t need all this for basic functioning of the club but all can be considered valuable assets. After all, what is cake without the icing?

The times are a changing

Heading out at the last minute with a few of your off-roading buddies into the unknown is something a lot of us have experienced in the past but having a larger group requires a little more planning. We still encourage smaller groups to plan their own adventures with the benefits of insurance and club resources but we cannot condone tearing across unknown trails with disregard for the ever looming “environmental issues”. Part of today’s off-roading sport involves consideration for the future of our trail system, this is the reason why we instituted a mapping initiative, so when our children grow up they have the opportunity to experience their own off-road adventures.

You supply the fun

We have no future plans to organize “Trail Police” to wave you off the trail and issue tickets. Nor do we have or plan on printing up “… a thick and decidedly not fun-filled policies and procedures manual”. And by no means is our goal to organize the fun out of the sport.

Here’s the deal: We provide the organization and you bring the Fun.

See you on the trails.

Chris Palko


Eastern Ontario Trail Blazers