Friday, June 26, 2009


What's wrong with this picture? (Apart from it being a bit underexposed.)

No? I'll give you a clue.

This is a picture of the North American Laser Class Annual Meeting held at the Buffalo Canoe Club yesterday evening.

Still don't get it? I'll give you another clue.

The annual meeting of our class, as in other years, is being held on one evening of our North American Championships. I assume that this is so that the maximum number of committed, active class members can easily attend the meeting. The number of people registered to sail in the NAs this week is 212.

How many people are at the meeting?

Yes. Looks like about a dozen. Maybe there are a few people off camera? I suppose we should count the guy who took the photo too. But
at least one of those people in the photo is a paid employee of the class, not a regular member. And I wouldn't be surprised if there's a representative from the manufacturer of the Laser there too.

Still leaves about 200 Laser class members who were in Buffalo but chose not to attend the meeting. Wonder where they were. Wonder how many of them will bitch and complain if the class isn't run the way they think it should be.

I'm not at the NAs this year so I wasn't at the meeting either. But I did go to the class meeting when I sailed in the NAs at Hyannis a couple of years ago, and I did speak up at the meeting on a couple of issues that were important to me. The meeting that year was about the same size, as I recall.


Is your class any better?

Thanks to for news of the NAs and a link to this and other pictures.


O Docker said...

I think you're wrong.

This is just the subcommittee that determines the size and shape of an official class association meeting table.

And look at that lack of discipline! I count at least five in flagrant violation of the white tee shirt rule.

Wait, what was your question? Something about why no one is showing up for meetings any more?

Pat said...

It should be easy to boost attendance. Just hack a message that makes it appear that the class is thinking about doing something really shockingly controversial such as changing gudgeon designs or moving the position of the sail numbers a centimetre.

Otherwise, people will stay away from the meeting so they can secretly polish their hulls to the nearest nanometer and prepare for the next day of competition, leaving a few people to do the boring meeting stuff.

Or, if the organizers want to boost attendance they could rent a bigger room with free beer and pizza and have Mary Pierce explain finishing under the string bikini rule.

Carol Anne said...

Also, it might have to do with how the meetings are run.

At the community college where I teach, very few classes are scheduled on Fridays, with the idea that faculty meetings can be held on that day. So far, so good.

In their employment contracts, full-time instructors are compelled to attend "mandatory" meetings, meaning that if they don't have a super-good reason (such as they got hit by a truck), they MUST attend or else face disciplinary action.

We part-time instructors have a clause in our contract that says we can't be forced to attend said "mandatory" meetings, but we will get paid extra if we attend up to two of them.

However, even getting paid to go to said meetings -- and often these meetings include free food as well -- isn't enough to make me give up part of a Friday to attend.

On the other hand, there are other meetings that I really DO want to attend, even though I'm not getting paid, because these meetings deal with issues I really care about, such as curriculum design, and the guy who runs these meetings knows how to run a meeting. He keeps them focused on the business at hand, and he NEVER lets them run over time.

Of course, the meeting that you picture isn't even in a large enough room to encourage participation; it's about half the size of the room the CNM Developmental English curriculum meetings take place in.

Especially for a class as large as the Laser, the annual meeting should be in something bigger than a back room. I can remember when I was a kid, going to the annual meeting/convention of the International Brotherhood of Magicians, of which my dad was (and still is) a member. Now THAT was a meeting, in a big auditorium, with a lot of energy flying around.

Okay, so the Laser class powers-that-be probably don't have the same level of showmanship as the IBM. But it should still be possible to design a meeting that people will WANT to attend.

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