President’s Column

The first edition of Freedom News for this year was despatched just a few days before Australia Day and we had achieved a strike rate of 50% in terms of Tuesday sailing days. Here we are with 10 weeks of the ‘2020 sailing year’ behind us and our strike rate is at 50% in terms of sailing days.

Fate deals a hand to each of us every day of our lives and it’s how we play that hand every day that becomes the narrative for our life. You will read about some of those hands and how they were dealt with in this newsletter and a couple more in the new web site released this week. I hope, like me you are inspired to deal with your own hand with renewed vigour, true commitment, mindfulness and resilience every day.

On another front mother nature, whilst proving inconvenient for SailabilityGC and our clients in the first 10 weeks of sailing, is nonetheless ultimately benevolent and has delivered much needed rain to many parts of QLD and Australia.

However, along with the weather has come another one of those ‘threats’ that I allude to in the SailabilityGC business plan for this year – Coronavirus aka COVID-19. The development of a business plan for a business or organisation usually demands due regard for the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) contained in or around that business. The strengths and weaknesses are typically found within a business whilst the opportunities and threats are found in the business environment in which the business operates. The impact of the COVID-19 virus, although unexpected, is one such threat and is yet to be fully experienced. The overriding message is that our volunteers, our clients and their carers, and all families and friends should heed the messages that currently permeate all media.

The decision has been made to suspend Sailability operations for the foreseeable future and although unfortunate on one level it is the right decision considering our duty of care and the genuine affection shared between volunteers, client, carers, families and friends.

The first social event for volunteers was Australia Day at SYC Hollywell. The weather was more than kind on this occasion coaxing about 60 Sailability family and friends to spend a glorious day at Hollywell. This is surely to become a regular event on the Sailability social calendar.

In the last newsletter I indicated that we had created a temporary website and that work was underway with a more comprehensive version. With a respect for (digitally) recording the history and heritage of Sailability Gold Coast more time than originally anticipated has been committed to talking to long-serving members as well as unearthing existing records (thanks to Greg Knight for finding the box and to Tony Matthews for finding the thumb drive) . The site is now live. There is more to be done and the site will continue to be updated over coming months.

In researching the web site content, I have come to recognise and understand even more what makes SailabilityGC such a wonderful and vibrant organisation. It is the enormous amount of dedication shown by people at the very beginning like Wyn Treasure, Stan Phillips, Cathy Post, Bob and Margaret Chapel, Kevin Garcia, Bob Kahl, Charles Csabi, Bob Curtis Anne Fleming, Bill French, Nola Goode, Pamela Rowney, John Stevens and many more in their wake who have built upon that legacy and continue the great work to the present – and that means you. It’s about the courage, resilience and commitment that our clients showcase every week. In some cases, those clients have become committed volunteers and sailors. Look no further than ‘Neil’s story’ and ‘Ben’s story’ on the web site or ‘Kevin’s story’ in this newsletter. And again, there are many more stories to be told.

One of the reasons for getting the web site live at this point is related to the plans to get a formal sponsorship program in place. Sponsorship is different to philanthropy where the latter is a genuine ‘gift’ from the donor to organisations like Sailability because the donor wants to give, to help and to assist in achieving outcomes expecting little in return.

Sponsorship, on the other hand, is a ‘quid pro qou’ (something for something) transaction. If you would like to read more about how important ‘quid pro quo’ is to Sailability have a read of the unedited version of the Sailability column in the latest InSYnC (Southport Yacht Club) magazine here.

Sponsors genuinely want to help and see organisations like Sailability achieve their objectives. However, for commercial reasons, sponsors want to be able to immerse themselves more fully in the experience and in their investment and they proudly share the message with their own clients and stakeholders. Both sponsors and philanthropists are vital to SailabilityGC and we need to grow a group of committed sponsors and a group of committed philanthropists and make sure we are committed to them. They are all vital to our ability to secure the outcomes we deliver every week of the year.

There are more outcomes to achieve this year and some of them are very exciting – more to come in the coming months.

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