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The Community of Flying

Steve Blonstein, General Manager WVFC

The Board

Most members either know or have some idea about how our club is run.  It’s classified as a 501(c)(7) California Corporation.  Such a corporation has to be run by a board or directors, and in the case of West Valley, the board consists of 7 members.  6 members are elected by the membership (3 at a time during June of each year), and the 7th, the GM position is ex-officio i.e. automatically on the board for as long as he or she is GM. 

Historically, interest in serving on the board has varied greatly depending upon the state of the club i.e. during difficult times where the membership is looking for change there will be significant interest in serving on the board, and at other times when the membership feels the club is moving along in a reasonably good direction, there are less people interested in stepping up and serving.  But either way, the club needs motivated, interested, and willing volunteers to serve a term (two years) so that we can keep the club moving in a direction that the membership wants, which after all, is what our club is all about.  My perception is that many members like the idea of serving on the board, but are fearful that it’s a ton of work, not much fun, and is full of political pitfalls.  Thus, many members just assume/hope that the other members will run and everyone looks to everyone else to take care of the situation.  That doesn’t work very well and we end up scrambling trying to get members to run.

So let me first cover what the actual commitment is, and then talk about some of the benefits of serving on the board.

On the commitment side of the equation:  The Board meets on the third Wednesday of each month at 7 PM for about 90 minutes to 2 hours depending upon the agenda.  This probably represents the biggest time commitment you would be making.  My experience is that these open meetings are informative and often have good dialog about either specific issues affecting the club or more strategic discussions about where we are heading.  They’re not boring meetings and, these days, there’s little or no politics at play.  Additional commitments might include the occasional ad hoc meeting (usually via phone) to discuss a certain urgent matter that cannot wait until the next full board meeting.  Board members are free to volunteer for other roles in the club but it’s not an expectation.

On the benefit side of the equation:  First, you get to actually set the direction of the club.  How cool is that?  This is one of the largest non-profit flying clubs in the world and you get to have a significant say on where we should go next.

Second, you get board experience.  Sitting on a board is both a privilege, carries responsibility, and enables you to work with other similar and perhaps dissimilar thought processes.  If you’ve never sat on a board before and want firsthand experience, this is a great resume builder in that respect.

Third, you get to give back to the flying community.  West Valley has always prided itself on giving back to the aviation community in so many ways.  One of board members was recently heavily involved in assisting with the Women of Aviation event at San Carlos.  West Valley members, owners, CFIs, and board members probably donated more time and money to that event than the rest of the clubs combined – something to be really proud of.

Finally, you get your membership dues waived for your term, i.e. 24 months of saving $55 per month ($1320 over 2 years).  It’s not a huge amount of money, but every little bit helps these days.

So I hope I have motivated just a few more members to step up and run for a board seat in the upcoming June election.  There are no minimum requirements, so just because you might be a student pilot doesn’t mean you’re not eligible to run for a board spot.  I’ll look forward to working with some of you in the future, both on and off the board.