I'm honored that you have chosen me to serve your as Commander for the 2022-2023 year. I have been part of this wonderful group for over 35 years and was proud to receive my Life Membership in 2013. Over the course of this time, I have seen many changes in the organization and while change can be scary, it can also be a catalyst for improvement.
The past two years have presented a significant challenge for volunteer organizations such as ours. There was no playbook for Covid and it's a testament to our members and leadership that we were able to adapt to the new "virtual world." My two predecessors encouraged us to innovate and try new things and we have! Our Clubs held meetings on a variety of different virtual platforms and continued to teach classes, always focusing on the fact that promoting safe boating is our key mission. We continued to remember that we are also a fraternal organization, with virtual parties, happy hours and lots of bingo games!
We held a number of successful virtual District meetings and continued to keep our members engaged and active. We've seen a turnaround this past year in our membership losses and through the local Clubs' outreach efforts, retention has improved dramatically. As we return to pre-Covid normalcy, I'm excited to see the many boating activities and in-person events planned for the upcoming boating season around the district. I hope that you all will support your Club activities as well as joining with other local Clubs - there are strength in numbers and our combined efforts will increase our successes.
I truly believe that this is an exciting time for America's Boating Club. We saw boat sales increase dramatically during the pandemic as boating was something families could safely do together. We have the opportunity to turn all of these new boat operators into safer boaters through our efforts. We've also been able to reach significantly more people than ever before through our America's Boating Channel. Let's capitalize on these opportunities.
My theme for this year is "Reach for the Stars." We've worked hard to make our Club a success so let's have fun - on and off the water - while continuing to strive for excellence!
Thank you to all District members - your satisfaction is my top priority!