Monthly club meetings – In person or on Zoom?

  • Creator
  • #23268
    George Prevost

    Members of the executive sometimes hear requests that the club return to holding monthly meetings in person rather than on Zoom.  What are your thoughts?  Do you have a preference?  If so, what are your reasons?

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 37 total)
  • Author
  • #23525
    Nick Heath

    Perhaps this topic is a bit stale, but I’m sure it is still relevant.

    One gets a glimpse at how some other clubs have dealt with this issue in the following message taken from the Bluewater Cruising Assn, who have traditionally charged admission to their in-person meetings. This is what they say about hybrid meetings and how they cover the additional costs of that format. Note that they acknowledge that the dual format has reduced the in-person attendance.

    Hybrid Meeting Format

    In-Person Attendees: For those attending in-person, the format will be very much the same as “normal”. Doors open at 7:00 and meeting starts at 7:30. (held at a rented cultural centre in Vancouver)

    Cost: $5/Members, $10/Non-Members, payable at the door only.

    Virtual Attendees: Virtual club nights (via Zoom) have enabled BCA to continue our monthly meetings and presentations throughout the pandemic, with an added bonus of expanding our community to members and non-members across the globe.  With the return to in-person meetings BCA has continued to provide a virtual component to our club nights as it has significant benefits to our membership. This however comes at a cost for the purchase of cameras, audio equipment and the lost revenue due to a decrease of in-person attendance used to off-set venue costs.

    Cost: Members – $5.00 per connected device; Non-Members, $10 per connected device, payable online (see link below).  Note: Due to the small cost of virtual tickets, and an equal or greater cost to BCA of issuing refunds, no refunds will be issued unless Vancouver Chapter is unable to deliver the Club Night via Zoom.

    Zoom meeting invitation:  Click here to  register for and purchase your virtual meeting ticket and receive the Zoom meeting invitation.  Please note that you must be signed in to the BCA website to get the member price.

    Dawn Lessoway

    As an elementary teacher I see how sick the kids are this year (and have watched two of my colleagues fall quite ill with long term effects. While I’m doing my best not to get sick myself, I really don’t want to spread it to anyone else either.  I’m so appreciative of people like Nick and George and Bob and so many others who have kept things going and want to support them but am so involved in so many other executive positions myself that I can’t help or attend much at all.  I am only doing things outdoors myself so I have zero commitment to indoor activities.  I also have Monday events already so am double booked but love that I can zoom.  Thanks everyone!

    Susan Servos-Sept

    I really appreciate being a member of SKABC. Because I do not live in Vancouver it is pretty much impossibe to attend a meeting or necessary to pay for a ferry and a hotel room to do so. I have LOVED the zoom meetings. I hope you will be able to continue with them. I actually felt a part of the club with them taking place. Thank you!

    Nick Heath

    Others have already made valid points that I might be repeating.

    Monthly in-person meetings suit some members better than others, but tend to exclude those who live in the suburbs or more distant locations, those who, for environmental reasons, eschew driving unless they really need to, and people whose lives are already busy enough that the extra 2 hrs spent commuting and/or setting up chairs is not an efficient use of their precious time.

    Attendance at our in-person meetings was mostly quite sparse, but so are most of our social events.  When we held in-person monthly meetings, social interaction time was limited – people were often rushing to clear up and get away.

    The monthly meetings are better (and cheaper) if held via Zoom.

    Members complained about Sunrise Hall acoustics and toilets. Previous to that location there were complaints about Vancouver Museum’s Kitsilano location, awkward storage and pay parking.

    Finding affordable meeting space with storage has long been a challenge. The current storage is altogether unsatisfactory if we were to resume in-person meetings – library, A/V and possible tea/coffee service equipment would need trucking across town twice in a day – a major effort.

    Hybrid meetings will create their own, additional problems (connectivity, A/V setup, awkwardness of socializing between a member at the meeting and a member on a remote connection without broadcasting to all).

    A dedicated in-person Spring trip planning session and possibly a Fall/Winter review session with trip reports seems to offer the most opportunity for members to discuss plans and become acquainted.  These events could be held at weekends. Adding social events onto workshops also seems valid, as was done in Jan 2023.

    In my experience, most socializing has occurred on trips and training courses, not at monthly meetings.

    Times have changed. We need social events, but we have to find ways to attract more attendees and to encourage dialogue.

    Kathy Romses

    I have really enjoyed the Zoom meetings but miss the face to face interactions when we met in person.

    I agree with Thom Kline’s comments – “I also agree that maybe some form of hybrid meetings maybe the way to go. Maybe look at having only two in-person meetings a year, late fall and early spring. (after and before the kayaking season). Maybe meetings to be held on a Saturday or Sunday with a larger agenda (4 hours in the morning )? This would help with our younger working members, avoid the growing Vancouver traffic tangle plus time to mingle after. Then have monthly Zoom meetings with a shorter agenda but major speakers that can be on-line from anywhere in the world?”

    I also liked Andrea’s comment – “I also like the idea of a social event to discuss and plan trips. Anyone willing to book their gathering space in their condo could host the event. And why not make it a potluck?”

    Big thanks to all of those who are volunteering. I have volunteered in the past with the club and continue to help when I am able to attend events. Unfortunately, I have some family members who are in need of my help on a regular basis, which limits my ability to volunteer more.

    Libby Covernton

    I am in favour of continuing the Zoom meetings. I have been very grateful for this format as I could not otherwise attend meetings as I live on the Sunshine Coast. But even when I lived and worked in the Lower Mainland (Port Moody and Langley) I did not attend meetings as the drive was long, hard and late. Too late, considering my alarm went off at 4:45 am.

    Another reason that I have been grateful for the Zoom meetings is the  excellent quality of presentations. Kudos to Kevin Hall for organizing speakers and kudos to John Leung for setting up and running the technical parts. I also enjoy talking to different people in the Breakout rooms.

    Some members have suggested hybrid meetings-both in person and on zoom. I think that this is not a good idea. The in person meetings, even though less frequent  would require lots of organization and volunteer commitment as Susan described so well. Perhaps that volunteer energy would be better spent continuing to set up social events such as the Fall and Spring Fling, day paddles, training workshops with a social component like the Deck Rigging workshop that we had last year. Perhaps some of those social events could include an agenda for discussing possible trips and exchange of ideas.

    Bob Maher

    Cynthia, I share your thoughts on In-Person meetings 100%. Thank you

    Cynthia Materi

    I wonder about the sentiment that the social needs of the club can be met by social events which one assumes take volunteers but there is concern that the volunteer demands of holding in person meetings are too much. Personally I enjoyed coming to hear speakers, and the icing on the cake was to see other paddlers.  To get together just for the sake of getting together, does not appeal to me.

    Karin Hartner

    While I prefer in-person meetings, I certainly understand the concerns re the work and commitment required in setting up or cleaning up having been involved in helping to organise meetings for several years and would be happy to assist with same again if it were so decided. I would be for a compromise of one or two mid-afternoon weekend social/business meetings during the months when most of us do not paddle. these could be done as one-of events in different locations. I’d be interested in scouting venues. The club surely has the funds to spend on occasional rentals.

    Finally–I am not comfortable socialising on Zoom, hence the preference for connecting with others in person.

    Andrea Kovits

    So many great comments!

    I would like to compliment the team who have been attracting speakers from around the world and running our top quality Zoom meetings. I appreciate the opportunity to be home, especially on dark rainy nights, and yet be able to keep up with the business side of the club, and learn and connect with fellow kayakers.

    The Zoom breakout rooms I’ve found to be just like chatting in person. I encourage anyone who hasn’t tried it to give it a go. The random draw for break-out rooms is delightful as you can find yourself speaking with people you’ve never spoken with before. I do feel like this meets some of my desire for a little socializing with club members quite well.

    My opinion to continue with the monthly Zoom meetings. But this is just one facet of our club. I agree that the social side of our club is really important. I have a couple of thoughts around increasing our opportunities to socialize…

    We can tack on lunch or dinner meetups following any day paddle or training event and open these up to anyone, not just the attendees of the event. The benefit is we’d significantly increase our social gatherings and they would be decentralized – not always in Vancouver or the North Shore. For example, the Strokes & Rescues course was at Sasamat Lake. We could have organized a gathering afterwards at one of the breweries or restaurants in Port Moody and attracted people who live in the Tri-Cities area to attend.

    I also like the idea of a social event to discuss and plan trips. Anyone willing to book their gathering space in their condo could host the event. And why not make it a potluck?

    In my opinion, we have a great club and we can add more social fun without making changes to our monthly Zoom meetings. We are only limited by the number of people who choose to volunteer. We cannot implement new ideas unless we have help.

    So here’s my plug… In my experience, the way to meet more people in a group is to volunteer. It’s  fun and many hands make light work.


    Theresa Davies

    A dilemma- many things to consider. My experience is that the meetings and presentations are marginally conducive to socializing as the focus is on the meeting or the presenter, not much time before or after the meeting to socialize, so to me, meetings on zoom make sense. Saves time, money, no hassle with setting up, driving.
    I do find the social events very conducive to meeting new members, enjoying time catching up with friends, making plans, doing something together- kayaking, picnic, hanging out. I often miss the summer and fall events because I’m away. I suggest we have a few unstructured winter socials where we can discuss the next season. A opportunity to find out who wants to go where, when, to meet new members, and get to know who are like minded paddlers. By the time it’s spring, plans are already made. For example, I have a lounge in my Community Centre we could rent for informal monthly socials for members interested in getting to know other paddlers and connecting with friends.




    Thom Kline

    I like what Susan Jensen said. She outlines what is required to set up an in-person meeting. As Susan Johnson and I did a lot of these items in the past, I for one enjoyed the time well spent.

    But things have changed. I also agree that maybe some form of hybrid meetings maybe the way to go. Maybe look at having only two in-person meetings a year, late fall and early spring. (after and before the kayaking season). Maybe meetings to be held on a Saturday or Sunday with a larger agenda (4 hours in the morning )? This would help with our younger working members, avoid the growing Vancouver traffic tangle plus time to mingle after. Then have monthly Zoom meetings with a shorter agenda but major speakers that can be on-line from anywhere in the world? Maybe the two summer Locarno picnic could contain an agenda as to talks on trips and/or safety as well as pot luck food? Food for thought, pun intended.

    Sue Johnson

    When we held our monthly meetings at the Sunrise Hall we were lucky to be able to rent storage space to house our audio-visual equipment and other supplies in the same location. When the decision was made to discontinue the Sunrise location, we moved our belongings to a North Vancouver storage unit. It would take a committee to find a location that provided both a meeting venue and storage all in one. Picking up the AV equipment from North Vancouver, transporting it to a designated Vancouver venue, then returning it would not be practicable on a monthly basis.

    Kevin has expertly solicited the most interesting of presenters, some of which would have been impossible had it not been for Zoom. I feel it appropriate to stay on the Zoom path and have one-off get-togethers for, say, viewing kayak films together, picnics, evening paddles, workshops, all of which could be intermingled with food.

    Ken Bigelow

    I also see the value of in person meetings.

    However as a few have mentioned above the need for volunteers who want the meetings to be in person need to step up and make it a reality.

    The costs associated with in person meetings as well out of town travel is prohibitive compared to before the pandemic.

    I would like to see the meetings continue on Zoom and we should champion this effort as the least damaging to our environment and climate by not traveling in person for every social.

    We have a number of in person socials that do already happen every year. Lets push for a higher attendance on the in person socials / club events we already have.

    Simone Avram

    Simone Avram.

    I completely prefer in person meetings.

    In the past, meetings benefitted members by creating a platform for spontaneous planning of activities, building community, promoting activities, promoting and nurturing friendships and providing education.

    By contrast, the only value of zoom meetings is education, in my opinion. I do not attend zoom meetings while I would certainly attend in person meetings.

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 37 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.