Your Press Club of Southwest Florida officers and Board of Governors met for five hours on a Saturday in May for our annual retreat—an in-depth discussion of various issues that will strengthen our club. Before diving into the weightier matters on the agenda, Membership Chair Karla Wheeler moved to approve a new member and listed for the secretary’s minutes three members accepted by the board via email vote the previous month. Scholarship Chair Connie Kindsvater brought us up-to-date on scholarship committee business, including that we will be able to meet our newest recipient at the May luncheon. Program VP Randy Jones described his plans for upcoming programs. We voted to hold our board meetings at 5:30 p.m. on the first Tuesday of the month, starting Sept. 1.
Two NPC members not currently on the board were guests, to “listen and learn,” with the goal of seeing how the club operates. We were thrilled to have Soni Dimond and Mike Sheffield with us for the retreat. They will be prime candidates for future leadership positions.
Under “Old Business” came the approval of our contract with the Hilton-Naples for our 2015-16 season, when we shift our meetings to the third Monday (except in December). Also in this category, Karla and Connie are correcting errors discovered in the 2015 member yearbook, and Karla will email corrected and new listings to all members.
The remainder of our time focused on long-term strategies and problem-solving. Because the Hilton contract raised the cost of our monthly luncheons starting in October, we are forced to raise our fee. We voted to offer only two: members will pay $30 and all others, $40. This price structure falls in line with what other organizations like ours currently charge for luncheon meetings. Members may still elect to pay in advance or at the door, while non-members must pay in advance through Eventbrite or a check mailed to our reservations coordinator, Connie Kindsvater.
Treasurer Len Egdish noted that because we voted to keep our annual dues at $50 to make them affordable for hard-working but under-paid journalists, our treasury could use an infusion. He urged us to consider every NPC event an opportunity to fund-raise, not fund-drain.
We have sufficient money to cover scholarships for this year ($5,000) but will need more donations to fill the reservoir for next year. Phil Beuth pledged to raise money to replenish this fund. Remember: All donations to our Champions for Learning scholarship account are tax-deductible. More on this later.
We discussed changes to how the “Honor the Free Press Luncheon” will be handled for 2016, now that the E.T. Brisson Detachment of the Marine Corps League of Naples will no longer host it. Along with Beasley Broadcasting and the Naples Daily News, NPC will support a group of Marines from the League in this worthy endeavor.
Two committees were formed. The first will arrange all details—including menu, program, pricing—for our December 7 holiday party. It is also our annual meeting and election of officers. In past years, we’ve limited it to members and significant others only. This year we decided to allow guests. That committee consists of Rhona Saunders, Phil Beuth and Connie Kindsvater. The second committee, made up of Rhona, Penny Fisher, Marisa Cleveland and Mike Sheffield, will decide whether to have a summer event and, if so, when/where/what/how. Look elsewhere in Scoop for information about this summer event.
Although not a committee, Marisa and Marci Seamples pledged to kick off efforts toward a July 2016 event that could take shape as a way NPC might honor deserving journalists. Right now, this is too nebulous to give you more detail. I’m sure we’ll work toward that goal in the coming months, so stay tuned.
Finally, we held a vigorous discussion of the future direction of the club and how to attract leaders to take over when current officers and governors complete their terms. We want this club to be not only in existence but stronger in five, ten, even twenty years. To accomplish long-term goals, we revisited membership categories and talked about ways to be more, not less, inclusive of journalists, book authors, and those interested in supporting our mission. We will ponder these matters over the summer and continue this discussion at our Sept. 1 board meeting.
Yes, we’re taking the summer off!
If anyone has an issue we need to consider, keep in mind that all our officers, governors and particularly I, your president, are only a phone call, text or email away.
If you are here in the summer, I hope to see you at “the summer event” in July. Now, hunt up the Scoop article about this and put it on your calendar.