Dear Pleon Community,
With our season about to begin, I want to introduce myself and share with you some of the exciting things that we have in store for our sailors and their families this season. My name is David Romagnoli and like many of you and your families, I spent my summers growing up sailing at Pleon.
Parker Dwyer, our Executive Director will be transitioning out of his current role at the end of our spring season. We cannot thank Parker enough for his transformative efforts over the past 4 years. Under his stewardship, Pleon has grown, by adding the spring and fall programs and expanding its reach to more junior sailors than at any point in our history. We look forward to Parker's continued involvement with the program going forward as a lifelong member of the Pleon Community.
Planning for the Summer 2016 season is nearing completion. As part of this effort, we are excited to welcome Frank Pizzo as the summer program director. Frank is the Bowdoin College sailing coach during the colder months. Along with a staff of 13 coaches and 10 JIs Frank will lead instruction for our 13 classes.
So far, the summer program is 90% full, with half of our classes having gone to a wait list. We are nearly done with our annual hiring process and are looking forward to introducing this season's qualified and enthusiastic instructors. We cannot wait for another great summer to begin.
Past, Present and Future
Looking back over the last several seasons, Pleon has expanded its offerings in nearly every dimension. Owing to the dedication and initiative of our committed volunteers and staff we now offer access to sailing across more seasons, skill levels, class types and boats than nearly any point in our 129-year history. Our program remains one of the strongest in the country, and last year saw 278 sailors, participating across three seasons. Our 12 coaches taught sailors from 8 to 19 years old in 5 one-design classes. With the addition of the spring season in 2013 and fall season in 2012, our program now runs from March through October.
Along with the increased breadth of offerings has come depth, with record attendance and constant refinement to our classes and curriculum. Just over the last 5 years, participation has risen by 22%.
With our success has come a renewed awareness of our shortcomings. The expansion, described above, has markedly increased the utilization of our grounds, facilities, boats and equipment. We have the benefit of a new clubhouse (which has quickly become familiar, filling the footsteps of its hulking, green predecessor) but must increasingly rely upon an aging and patchwork fleet. Despite the late average age of our boats, the sailing fleet is better prepared for Summer 2016 than it has been over the last several years. We performed a significant amount of maintenance on all the boats this winter. This work was part of a new capital plan for Summer 2016. While these efforts have addressed immediate needs, ongoing maintenance at these levels is not sustainable or optimal, and we must find a long-term solution to lower the average age of our fleet.
Pleon is a 501(c)3 non-profit tasked with perpetuating and preserving the club and carrying on its mission. Our organization embodies the nonprofit ideal, both in its capitalization and governance. We have been able to sustain our program and its enduring vision over the last 129 years directly though the contributions of countless volunteers and the financial generosity of our benefactors. While the Board has achieved recent milestones, we are just getting started. I am optimistic about the organization's bright future and the work to come. Going forward the Board is focused on several key initiatives, including increasing access to and awareness of Pleon in the greater community, broadening class offerings and installing a sustainable capital plan for our equipment to ensure that we are able to reliably provide a safe and fulfilling experience to our sailors. Beyond the annual program itself, we also aim to better engage our alumni and friends in an effort to better endow the organization for the future.
I look forward to seeing many of you over the coming summer months in Marblehead and on the water. Feel free to reach out to any of the Board or Program Committee members if you want to learn about ways to become involved.
President, Board of Directors
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