USCA Sidecar Forum

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Elections & Volunteerism [long and maybe boring]

A little over five years ago the USCA started to have elections to name its officers. Before that someone [usually Ed Johnson, the unquestioned father of the USCA] talked folks into taking the officer jobs. That actually worked pretty well... for a while, but people stayed in office forever and club matters were very slow moving.

Nominations recently closed for this year's election and there are several positions that have NO nominees. The North Central Region is one of them. The region consists of Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Iowa and Nebraska. It is the smallest region in the USCA in terms of membership yet it has hosted two national rallies in recent years and has a number of friendly sidecarists. It is also close to Wisconsin [which IMHO should be part of the North Central Region but that's a different subject] where there are a lot of equally fine folks who drive hacks.

The point is [bet you never thought I'd get there] we need folks to step up and run for these open slots. I know, nominations are closed but what's the alternative? The alternative is an appointment by the Board later when someone finally raises their hand and says “OK, if no one else will do it, I will”.

I've been on the Board for about six years in one position or another. Many of the Board members have been there as long as I have. Having some experienced folks on the Board is a good thing but right now we are once again out of balance. We need NEW folks to come forward and look at our issues with fresh eyes. Things on the board are so settled and familiar right now that a few of us can guess the way each member will vote on an issue without even asking.

I've been here too long. Six years ago things needed to be shaken up, now we are in a building stage and we don’t need folks like me. It's time for some of the folks who sit on the sidelines and hurl in comments to get of their duffs and actually do some work for the club. Heck, it would be nice if some of those folks were even members.
The BMW CCA is the national BMW car club. It is huge, has huge assests and it is run by professionals. When I joined back in the dark ages it was a lot of fun. There was only one paid staffer and a ton of volunteers and things got done despite that. Now it is run by professionals. It has a paid Director, paid Administrators, an accountant and a lawyer, paid newsletter Editor, paid Events person AND NO SOUL! The rallies are about as much fun as an insurance convention.

Volunteerism is the life blood of any organization like ours. Individuals like YOU, have to step up and get involved for things to work. NEW people have to be brought into the management of the organization or the organization becomes stale and falls into bad habits. Very little actually gets done. When new ideas come up, old thoughts stifle them before they can breathe. We worry more about our bank balance than we do about having fun. Yes, fiscal responsibility is important but I don't believe that it's necessary to have a year's operating expense in the bank in order to do things or in order to have fun. I don't have a year's home expenses in my checking account and I don't feel that I'm about to fail financially, of course I could be wrong.

Right now the club is losing money. Our newsletter is too expensive to print and mail [compared to the cost of membership] and the rally that I put on in Duluth lost a lot of money. I can’t resist saying that if it had been better attended we would have done fine. We are working with our printer to see if we can get costs lowered. One of the spearheads on that effort is the NEWEST member of the Board. ‘See, fresh eyes!

The USCA has made progress this year, we replaced our newsletter Editor with a new volunteer, we have a new volunteer Treasurer [who actually has an accounting background!] and we have a new web guy who is making some difference already and promises to do a lot more. We had to go begging for all those folks. What have we done that’s new and fun for the membership? How has your per

Thank you Al. Out here in the NW we need someone to replace Vernon as regional rep. I've got all I want in the WA state rep position but I'd sure hate to see the club go in the direction it looks like my other favorite group is going- just fading away due to a lack of enthusiasm. Is the age of innocence past and nobody gives a rusty rat's a** anymore?

Tom Wells aka Reardan Tom

Well done Al!

I am one of those new guys he was talking about people. If you want to make this YOUR club be a part of it. You can tell me how you want the club to be and there MAY be some changes. But there is a better chance if you get in and help make the changes your self.

As a fairly new member, I hesitate to drop in this discussion, but i must. Why is it when I log in the ratio of members to guests usually not a drastic as it is showing now, 3 members to 35 guests !! Seems like these lurkers need to pony up dues so the sidecarist lives on as does this wonderful site. Max who isn't at home to post his member #.

That just means they are not logged in. Most of them are registered users. Lotts of users only log on to post. When they're just lurking they don't bother.

A registered user is not necessarily a USCA member. There are way more registered users then there are dues paying members. Dues paying members are the financial support for this forum.

As you said, a registered user means they can post, not that they are a dues paying United Sidecar Association member. It would be nice if more registrants were dues paying as well. 🙂

By the way, I am both - registered and a dues payer. 🙂

I can only agree that we need more dues paying members but the fact that this site is free is very important. Those that do pay dues support the site and enable the free exchange of ideas and information about sidecaring. I'm definitely for more members in the USCA and I admit to having complained about the ratio of paying members to free users of the site but I'd never want to make the site available only to members. This site is often the first exposure that an interested person gets to sidecars. It is usually the first hit on a Google search of the word "sidecar" and serves as a portal to many of the other online resources about sidecars.

For a long time the USCA Board has talked about the creation of a PART of this site that is for members only. The idea hasen't progressed for a couple of reasons, one of which is, "What would we put in a members only section?". Do you have any ideas? Would you view a members only area as an extra value for members?

Growing the membership and helping to pay for a site that so many people use is a great idea but please, let's never even consider ending free public access to the main part of the site.

As a newbie and dues paying member it is interesting to see both sides. I feel it is important to be an active member so that I can give back to the organization, in some small part, for all the valuable information I have gathered from the many varied and much wiser people who have posted information on the site. The free interchange of information is best served by a free membership. But the value of dues paying members to keep this site "free" cannot be understated. (Here is where I pitch to all the members using the site without paying dues - for what you are getting the dues really are a small price to pay.) I also understand that registered users might not be logging on unless they are posting, but just maybe if they were to log on periodically (once a week?) even if they don't have anything to post, that would show they are out there using the site. A look at the member listing has some people not logged in for several years. Are they still interested? Or even using the site? Should they be removed from the members listing if they have not logged in within the last year? Maybe these questions have already been answered, or maybe they should be considered.

It's important to remember that once you log on [and IF you accept cookies] you will be recognized as a registered user when you sign on in the future. Being a registered user here has nothing to do with being a member of the USCA. The numbers of "Members" vs.guests is probably even higher than the numbers on this site indicate!

I agree with you Al, about new members volunteering, and burn out in the present board do to volunteering too long. I was the last President of the Third Wheel sidecar Club, it died in 1987 due to that same reason.. I was approached by Joyce to be the Arizona state rep. and I have accepted , just hope I can get some activity here this year. So , I guess I'll have to put my sidecar back on the Goldwing. Beeen driving on 2 wheels for a month. Doug