Updated May 5, 2020
Dear Fellow AYC members,
I wanted to keep you posted on our process for planning this summer’s activities and report on some decisions that we have made.
Three priorities are guiding our decisions.
First, we have to provide reasonable assurances for the physical health of our members and staff. WE have a more vulnerable demographic than the population as a whole because our membership skews older. I have asked long-time members Dr. Tina Bentley (Internist at Harvard University) and Dr. Rob Stern (Former Department Chief at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Professor at Harvard Medical School) to help evaluate possible activities from a health perspective. The Governor of Massachusetts will also have a say, of course.
Second, we want to maintain the financial health of the Club. When everyone pays their dues and fees (and about 80% have - thank you!), we are basically able to clear our fixed expenses plus a little bit. A significant portion of the profitable cushion in our budget is provided by weddings and other events at the Club which this year have all been cancelled. So we need to be careful to be sure the Club can operate in 2021 at full tilt. This year we need to be investors in the Club’s future.
Third, we want to provide as much of the Club’s usual services and activities as we can, consistent with the prior two considerations. For example, you will see a coming email from Nan Gorton, our Tennis Governor, explaining that we are planning to open two of the three tennis courts and what the safety protocols will be. We think we can minimize health risks by having space between courts, playing with marked tennis balls, and strategically placed hot & cold water hand-washing stations and hand sanitizer dispensers near the courts and marina. And even though (due to COVID-19 related delays) we are unlikely to have access to the company that ordinarily resurfaces the courts, Nan (thank you!!) is organizing volunteers to make the courts solidly playable (at reduced cost). Similarly we expect the marina boat slips to be accessible and we are reasonably certain we can develop protocols for launch service that minimize health risk to our staff and members and still provide access to moored boats (perhaps with longer waits).
Some of the harder decisions will involve the Junior Program, the kitchen, and access to the clubhouse (including bathrooms). We are working on those with physical and financial health in mind.
In the meantime, we are also brainstorming with all the Board committees to come up with ways that we can maintain the social fabric of Annisquam without putting our members and employees at risk. Ideas range from Zoom speaker series to games and contests to story-telling and historical photos. One idea that has legs is the possibility of allowing families to sign up to oversee the “Striking of the Colors” every night so that our young people get to experience the fun of the cannon and we preserve this unique ceremonial tradition.
Navigating these ever-changing waters is a mighty challenge because we don’t have a chart for this course, but if we avoid the rocks, even if we run aground on the sandbar, we will be on our way once the tide comes back in. I very much hope that you continue to be well and safe and that you will share with me and any of the other Flag Officers and Governors any ideas you have for this summer. I know that we will, together, come through this and that the Club will continue to be the thriving heart of our community.
Winand van Eeghen