Promoting WCHA


The WCHA's web site is now running the current version (7.69) of Drupal 7. Drupal 7 will cease to be supported in November, 2021. Therefore, we will need a new web site before the end of next year to keep getting updates which help keep the hackers out. Things change over time so it is not unusual to refresh a web site every few years. See for some details about how the WCHA's web site has evolved since the first one appeared in 1996. I believe that there is general agreement between the WCHA's board, Dan Miller, myself, and others that it is time to consider another update to the web site. However, there are some very difficult questions to be resolved about how sophisticated a web site does the organization really need, what can it afford, and how to best manage it all?

I believe that a web site is critical to the survival of the WCHA. Most of our new members find out about the organization from the web site (and forums). We are fortunate that if you type "wooden canoe" into nearly all of the major search engines (,, and others) then a reference usually appears on the first few pages. This is how most people research things like old canoes today. I could be wrong about all of this but it doesn't seem likely.

There are many ways to skin a cat.
Check your PM's.

Dave Osborn

I just received and read the current issue.
I’m impressed with the changes. Loved the layout and “feel” of the magazine.
I wear bifocals. I read the old journal with bifocals, too. Font size did not cause me a problem.


Wooden Canoes are in the Blood
Dan L.,
I've worn glasses since I was 11 years old, I'm now 65 and have had progressive bi-focals for the last 10. I can see and read just fine. The only thing I have trouble with is counting the minutes until cocktail hour!

I just got a new seed catalog in the mail - I think I'll have a look while I eat lunch and dream of Spring. Have a good weekend everyone - signing off here.



Chestnut Canoe fan
I'm sorry that this thread wandered off onto a discussion of font size and optical enhancement because there were a number of good points made earlier by Rob, MGC, Shari and a number of others.

I read with interest the Presidents message in each Wooden Canoe detailing the Boards activity but agree with MGC that there could be more timely outreach and communication through this forum.

Rob Stevens regularly reaches out and keeps us abreast of Assembly plans, but beyond that from the Board? Not much.
Definitely Benson and Michael are active answering canoe related questions- (BTW I laughed when I read "Canoe Dating Service" I imagined a real creepy version of Tinder for cedarstrips...)- but there is little if any information about issues or concerns being discussed. I think there is an opportunity there. What about minutes of Board meetings- or a summary- online?

My two cents Canadian.

Colleen Hovey

Curious about Wooden Canoes
My name is Colleen Hovey and I am currently a member of the WCHA Board of Directors. I have a few things I’d like to say on this discussion.

First of all, I have read all of the posts in this thread. There are some excellent suggestions and constructive criticism from several of you and I really appreciate your input. I’ve put together a list of items I think we could address at our next board meeting.

Secondly, I want you all to know that this is my first post on the forum. Let me explain why, as this seems to be raising some concern. I am absolutely smitten with wooden canoes, and most especially wood canvas canoes. My sweetheart introduced them to me several years ago before either of us had ever heard of the WCHA. He is a reader and a researcher, so in his internet travels he came across the forum. He is very involved in reading (and sometimes posting, although he’s shy) on the forum. I sometimes refer to it and his canoes as his “other woman”. (Jokingly of course).

I, on the other hand, have very little interest in the forum. I love to paddle. I love to gather with our canoe friends that we’ve met through the Northwest Chapter. I love to join him in the wood shop when he is so very excited about his latest canoe project and wants someone to share it with.

This does not make me any less valuable as a member (or board member for that matter). I decided to join the board because I felt I had a skill set that could help the organization I have become so fond of. I have a background in marketing, e-commerce, and have worked extensively on boards of various non-profit organizations. I also felt it was a good idea to help diversify the board by bringing a perspective from not only the West, but from Canada.

There are a few things from this thread that I’d like to address…

1. There is a proper channel with which to air grievances. Every one of the board members have their name and contact information published in every copy of the journal, which goes to every member. This is so the membership can let the board know what they are thinking. The forum is public and you do not need to be a member to access it.

2. Discussing HR matters in a public forum, or even in the journal for that matter, is highly inappropriate. Our former webmaster/journal editor is greatly respected and did a lot of work for this organization over the past many years (and continues to help out now). The how and why he is no longer in that role is between he and the board.

3. The board are VOLUNTEERS. We attend meetings regularly, some of us taking time off work to do so. We attend the annual Assembly (in my case this was only due to the generosity of several people, many of whom are in NW Chapter, who felt it was important I attend, as I certainly do not have the financial means to travel across the country and leave work for a week). We work between meetings to complete our assigned tasks.

4. We do listen. I attended the Assembly and spent a lot of time there listening to the members. I wanted to know what they thought the organization needed, what changes need to be made, how we can do things better. All you have to do to be heard is reach out.

5. We have absolutely no interest in hiding things from the membership. I don’t know where that idea came from and I’m deeply hurt that you would think that’s what is happening. It’s quite the opposite, but again we inform members through the Journal, not the forum, because the forum is public.

I know the rest of the board also has the best interests of the organization in mind. We all work hard to hash out thoughtful solutions to the problems that have arisen.

I can’t hide the fact that I am offended by some of the discussion. I feel like all of us on the board have put so much time and effort into making improvements, and our small staff and other volunteers are obviously extremely dedicated to the organization because they do their part without much compensation. Please know that no matter what we do it will not please everyone, but we will always do it with the best of intentions.

Michael Grace

Lifetime Member
Posting on behalf of the full WCHA Board of Directors:

After allowing this discussion to play out for a while, it is time to respond, set the record straight, and correct some grossly inaccurate information and unfounded and derogatory insinuations. In a nutshell:

· The Board of Directors is composed solely of volunteer members plus our Executive Director
· The Board is elected by the membership to make decisions on behalf of the WCHA
· The Board is diverse, regularly changing, and as representative of the full membership as possible
· Anyone and everyone is welcome to run for a seat on the Board
· No Board member's vote counts more than any other
· All actions are preceded by deep discussion, followed by votes of the Board which are almost always unanimous
· The journal, Wooden Canoe, is the official communication arm of the WCHA
· Board activities are not kept secret; they are published in Wooden Canoe, which every member receives
· Board activities are also presented in the official WCHA Business Meeting each summer, which everyone is encouraged to attend
· This website is maintained by the WCHA but it is not an official mechanism of communication
· The website forums are public, and viewable by more than just the membership, so official business is not and has never been presented here

Some details:

First, today's Board members, just like those of the past (and future) volunteered to run for office because they truly care for the health and well-being of our organization. Not content to sit idly by or simply complain, the many who have offered and do offer to serve on the Board do so with goodness of heart for the betterment of our organization. During our tenure on the Board, we have never met an elected Board member or even a candidate who wasn't truly committed to the WCHA. The service of our Board members is done without compensation, and sometimes their roles require considerable time and effort. Their work has always been done (in our experience) without complaint or divisiveness, but rather with enthusiasm and commitment to common purpose. Publicly questioning the service and motives of our Board members and the Executive Director is harmful and counterproductive.

Our Board of Directors is not a monolith. It, including the Executive Director, represents a broad cross section of the WCHA's membership; in recent years it is probably more diverse than it has ever been. Geographic diversity and diversity of age, gender, and other qualities ensures the best representation of the full membership. What's more, the Board regularly changes. We hold elections every year for open positions on the board so new thoughts and perspectives come to the fore. Unfortunately, sometimes few (or no) people choose to run for these open positions. Despite sometimes harsh and unwarranted criticism, those who step up in service to the WCHA continue to work to make this an outstanding organization that serves its members the best way possible within our means.

Board activities are not kept secret, nor do Board activities "come out in dribs and drabs". The Board holds two extensive meetings per year as it has long done: once at the annual Assembly in July, and once in Winter. Recently, because of the heavier workload required, the Board began even greater service by holding monthly e-meetings to maintain momentum on action items generated at the two major official meetings. None of the time and travel required to attend these meetings is compensated, yet Board members continue to serve selflessly for the good of the WCHA. The notion that nothing "escapes the confines of the board room" is sadly conspiratorial thinking; it is unfounded and unreasonable (see below). The notion that the Board is "comfortably running the organization outside of the view of the membership and without engaging member participation" is flatly false. The current and past Boards are members themselves, and they have always valued member participation (in fact, it is often begged for). Just because the Board doesn't enact or react to all (often conflicting) suggestions immediately doesn't mean that member input is unappreciated.

It should be noted that everything undertaken by our diverse and dedicated board is done with careful consideration. Data is gathered and deep discussions precede any and all votes. Most important, every member of the Board has equal opportunity to contribute, to present his or her own perspective, and to lobby for the interests of the wider WCHA membership. Only after careful deliberation are votes held and actions taken.

Members have the opportunity to contact Board members at any time. We are all invited to contribute to our official publication and the calendar, and we are all welcome to participate actively in the planning and activities of Assembly and regional gatherings and chapters. As well, all members are informed of Board activities through two official means (the WCHA's only official communication mechanisms): in the pages of Wooden Canoe and at the annual Business Meeting. Board activities of the recent past, current and near future were discussed at the Business meeting in July, 2019, at Paul Smiths College. Activities of the Board meetings, the annual financial balance sheet, and the annual profit and loss statement are published in Wooden Canoe (see for example, issue 206, Vol. 41, no. 2, April 2018; and issue 212, Vol. 42, no. 2, April 2019). Activities and financials for the calendar year 2019 will be published in the upcoming issue of Wooden Canoe (vol. 43, no. 2).

This website and these forums are maintained by the WCHA for the benefit of its members and the public. The WCHA Board of Directors has never held the website forums as an official means of communication - they are not. Yes, there is a section titled "WCHA Business", but it is not recognized in the WCHA bylaws as an official means of WCHA communication. These forums are open to the public for public discussion; activities of the WCHA may be discussed here, but there is no requirement that official business be discussed and/or disseminated here (nor should it necessarily be).

Finally, it is a gross mischaracterization of fact to state that the Board “drove away” the previous webmaster. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Necessary changes were coming for the WCHA including its website over the past several years. Some of these changes required very serious consideration, and none were taken lightly. Out of deep and continuing respect for the positive efforts of our immediate past webmaster (and journal editor), the Board will not discuss this matter publicly. His service remains deeply appreciated, as has been stated in a variety of forums over time. That has not changed and will not change.

In a large organization such as this there are always a variety of opinions on issues that affect us, and no solution to any problem will be satisfactory to all members. The nature of the WCHA should always include engagement in reasonable discussion, volunteerism, and careful consideration of issues to find solutions that are in the best interests of the WCHA. This is certainly what happens among the Boards of Directors of today and the past.

There is no effective way for our elected board to make progress for the WCHA by communicating every nuance from board meetings at the moment those meetings happen. Public battles over everything from big issues to minutia would absolutely kill progress. This is not the way any successful organization works. On the contrary, our large and diverse Board of Directors is elected by the membership to weigh issues and options, to make collective decisions that best serve the WCHA, and to publicize those actions through official channels. This is what has always been done, and this is what is done still.

And remember, as always you are welcome to serve.

The 2020 WCHA Board of Directors
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chris pearson

Michigan Canoe Nut
The ONLY WAY you are going to get a "younger" crowd into wooden canoes is one at a time and hope it stays with them!! Period. We've been through this time and time again, believe me! I have since '83 as a member and a board member. I helped an 18 year old restore an Old Town, gave him the boat, got stuff donated to the cause, but in the end, he's not as into the club as I thought he would be. Perhaps someday he will come back around. My point is this, ya cant force this passion of ours on anybody. The journal in my opinion is top notch now and as Michael said, its our main source of communication, focus on that! Keep promoting locally, the rest, forget it!!!!! T shirts and new logos aint gunna fix this problem folks!!!!!!!

chris pearson

Michigan Canoe Nut
Norm, I mean no offense to you at all, you are asking the right questions and its commendable that you are trying to better the club.
Norm Hein

Norm Hein

Canoe Codger
Hey Chris, none taken. I’m not the best wordsmith so I was just clarifying. I hope to spread the word about us next weekend at an event down here if it’s not shut down. I’ll post the response.
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