OH Steering Committee Meeting,
Jan. 14, 2020, Lebanon, NH
Present: Bill Barrett, Carter Bascom, Emily Thayer Benson, Thom Davis, Mike Dudley, Betsy Fowler, Brian Fowler, Phoebe Howe, Joel Mumford, Stroker Rogovin, Doug Teschner, Tim Traver, Toben Traver, Alex Ziko
1) Treasurer’s Report (Alex Ziko)
Alex is developing systems for better tracking of dues and donations. 32% of those eligible to join the OHA pay dues, and many also make donations. Suggestion: leverage OHA social media to encourage dues payment. We’re exploring ways to recognizing our many donors for their generosity, including possibly listing them in the Resuscitator. Most popular dues payment method is check, but the under-25 crowd in particular is making increasing use of Paypal for dues, cabin fees, and other transactions. Alex is also tracking members by age (only 8 members under 25?!). Alex to establish an OH credit card, for his exclusive use as treasurer. Possible unlisted expenses coming up for 2020 include website upgrades and possible purchase of land adjoining the Cabin.
2) Cabin (Carter Bascom & Stroker)
The Gervais family will be selling their 11+ parcel of land; it abuts the Cabin to the N (formerly owned by Liebeskind). Seller is in no hurry to sell and asked us to make an offer (assessed value is just north of $200K). Carter to research what constitutes a fair price (assessed value?). The Harvard Camp Corporation, owners of the cabin and land fronting Rt 16 and completely surrounded by the Gervais land, are also interested in purchasing the land in concert with the OHA, to preserve it in its natural state. Current understanding is to demolish the existing cabin (in poor shape) and systems, and allow the land to revert to its natural state. Carter will draft a timetable with objectives and dates, and contact groups who use the Harvard Cabin to gauge their support for fundraising. A full proposal should be ready for review at the April Steering Committee meeting. Josh Alper will be moving forward with applying for 501(c)3 charity status for the OHA, which should help with fundraising.
3) Gala (Phoebe Howe)
Phoebe is in the process of recruiting recent croo alum to serve as OHA representatives to this year’s training sessions for both summer and fall croos. Holly Chase and Amanda Keohane were mentioned as possible candidates.
4) Spring Reunion, May 16
Spring reunion regulars Dave Dudley and Bill Barrett have agreed to help Dick Stetson and Bridget Qualey organize this year’s event. Trail work (see below) and fun projects were suggested to help the event appeal to more Y-OH. All OH are welcome to all OHA reunions and social events.
5) Fallfest Reunion, Oct. 31 (Phoebe & Stroker)
Phoebe has agreed to continue to serve as Fallfest point person. Various ideas for featured speaker were discussed and the Committee settled on Erik Koeppel, a Jackson native who is an accomplished practitioner of the Hudson River School of painting and a regular lecturer and teacher on the subject. His works are eagerly collected by many, including OH. Ideas for future speakers include USFS Ranger Tai Gagney (serving in Tucks) speaking on mountain search and rescue. Also Bran Fowler, giving a talk on White Mountain geology.
A tour of the Jackson Historical Society—including paintings by Erik—is being planed for the morning of Fallfest, in addition to another of Brian’s now-famous geology walks. Phoebe and Ari Ofsevit will organize a trail running event also for that morning, The Hutcroo Hustle, geared toward everyone from serious runners to families with kids (Halloween theme?). Details to follow.
Doug Teschner nominated Laura and Guy (posthumously) Waterman for a Special OH Award and will write up a statement for consideration at the next meeting.
6) Secretary Vacancy (Stroker for Jenna Whitson)
Jenna Koloski Whitson has found it necessary to retire as secretary due to pressures of raising a new family and work-related travel. Her years of service are much appreciated. Carter Bascom has agreed to serve as Jenna’s replacement.
7) 2020 Joe Dodge Award Nomination (Stroker)
Bill Barrett is the OHA’s nominee for the 2020 Joe Dodge Award. Peter Benson has agreed to temporarily replace Bill on the AMC Joe Dodge Award Nominating Committee, as siting members can’t nominate themselves, and the Steering Committee felt strongly that Bill should be this year’s nominee.
8) Membership Outreach (Phoebe & Carter)
Following up on recent discussions of how to engage members living outside the Boston & New England area, the Committee agreed to continue “road trip” meetings to areas where OHA members are concentrated. Live-streaming broadcasts of meetings was also discussed, but these pose technical challenges unless meetings are held in facilities with wifi access, low background noise, suitable lighting and seating, and preferably no meal service—in short, not the kind of places that currently attract members to meetings. To be continued.
Phoebe and Carter will be recruiting OH for Hut Ambassador visits next summer, as well as other volunteer opportunities (Hut fill-on croo, AMC info vol and hut naturalist positions, etc.). We’re looking for people who want a free night in a hut for themselves and a friend in exchange for socializing with the croo, being helpful, and generally making connections between OH and current croo.
Phoebe and Carter are also encouraging OH to hold meet-ups on their own that involve other OH, possibly in celebration of personal anniversaries and other good excuses.
9) Website (Stroker for Schroeder)
The website is in need of upgrades and improvements to our bulk emailing capability, handling volunteer queries, streamlining data entry, etc. Facebook post for OH volunteers to follow. Y-OH Amanda Keohane has generously stepped forward to help with this. (As of this writing, 2/7, OH Brian Post has also taken up the cause. Brian is a professional website developer with 40 similar sites to his credit.)
Carter Bascom is still putting together an OHA FB Page, to compliment our FB Group. Carter is now an OHA FB Group admin. He’s also drafting Privacy Guidelines for all OHA social media sites.
10) Hut System Report (Phoebe for Whitney Brown & Emily Griffin)
Last season saw a high percentage of returning croo. 2020 hiring begins in January. Last year’s croo have been slow to commit. Spring Caretakers (for May) will be hired soon—send referrals to Emily. Requests for slots on summer fill-in croos also to Emily.
11) Trails Report (Bill Barrett & Stroker)
The Hutmen’s Trail has 27 blowdowns and a few hundred yards in need of pruning. The Committee discussed the possibility of developing an OHA Trail Crew to take this work forward (Bill, John Thompson, and Elizabeth Seabury have been the most active recent trail maintainers). Trail workers are entitled to a free annual parking pass in the WMNF in exchange for 16 hours of volunteer trail work. Many Y-OH have expressed interest in helping maintain trails. Next trail work event is scheduled for the Sunday morning of Spring Reunion, May 17. Bill Barrett to post info on the website and Facebook. Emily Benson volunteered that husband Peter has USFS certification to use a chainsaw. One or two saw operators and a crew of 3 or 4 swampers could probably clear all blowdowns on the Hutmen’s Trail in a day. Some blowdowns on the step ascent from Rt. 16 should probably be left in place to control erosion, at least until more permanent trail work can be installed.
12) Resuscitator (Stroker for Beth Weick)
Spring deadline is 4/15, with copy due out around 5/1. Beth is still looking for help with layout and proofing, which can be done remotely and in batches as large or as small as volunteers want to handle. Toben Traver agreed to help with this.
13) Photo Project (Stroker and others for Doug Hotchkiss)
Greenleaf croo photos are still not at the hut. Doug Hotchkiss has headed this project in the past. The Committee is looking to recruit additional help to manage and update photo collections now in the huts.
13) New & Other Bidness
PNC 100th anniversary coming up in October. OH Tom Deans is on the planning committee.
Location of future meetings (April 14, June 9)
14) Next Steering Committee Meeting: Apr. 14, 6:30 PM, Josh Alper’s House, 70 Clark St. Belmont, MA.
June 9th meeting in Portsmouth, NH (location TBD).
Stroker & Carter Bascom