To All With Interest In MARA,
Last year at this time the club faced an uncertain future.
The club had run at a yearly deficit of $10,000 the previous four years and was facing the final year of its existence without a radical change in the club’s business model. We spent months gathering data about other ski clubs, trying to learn not only what was typical, but what was allowing them to be sustainable. We were faced with the reality that fundraising a large amount of the budget was something not seen in any other clubs, but was no longer possible for us. It was a noble concept that met its demise with the poor economy. The Board made a decision to have the bulk of the operating budget paid for by the membership and raised fees. It was an unpopular decision. Who after all wants to pay more? Some unfortunately couldn’t pay more. Without having 2012 be MARA’s last year in existence, it was a change that had to be made.
This season our enrollment was right at 100 athletes. The snow year was terrible, yet with that hanging over our heads, the season was an amazing success! The general consensus is that MARA continues to be an outstanding program and a superb value.
In further restructuring the finances of the club, the Board decided to move away from a model headed by a Director who manages both on snow activities, but also the business aspects, to one where those duties are split. The on snow leadership will be the responsibility of the lead coaches of the EVO program, the Freeride program and the Race program. The remainder of the workload previously done by the Director will now be within the purview of an Operations Manager. By functionally splitting the Director duties, we will be able to increase the empowerment of the staff while rightfully paying them more, without increasing the overall cost burden to the membership.
The contribution of Jean Schneider, our interim Director, can not be overstated. We owe him a great debt of gratitude. As he steps down, it is with great pleasure that we introduce MARA’s first Operations Manager, Troy McCrae. Troy has coached with MARA for many seasons, and was most recently an employee of Mt. Ashland’s race department. After an exhaustive search, Troy was selected based on his knowledge of and experience with MARA, our coaches and many of our athletes and parents. Along with superb skiing, coaching and managerial skills, Troy also has an excellent relationship with Mt. Ashland. He will bring a great deal of energy and enthusiasm to our club; we are very excited to have him back as a vital part of the MARA family.
Finally, the board transitioned to a full working board where each member, not only participates in the oversight of the club, but each member has a portion of the job that was previously done by Mary Rogan, our past administrator. By having those duties now performed by volunteers, the board was able to save the club nearly $6000 yearly.
Instead of ending 2011/2012 on tenuous financial grounds, the club ended up on very sound financial footing. With an adjustment in the fee structure and a structural change in management, and transitioning to a working board, we’ve set the club back onto a viable path well into the future, a path that will allow us to pay better wages, update equipment and not worry on a seasonal basis about our solvency.
Lastly, I want all members to know that we are always available and we aim for transparency in all of our activities. It isn’t practical to update everyone on all of the minutiae, but there are no secrets about finances or any other club matter. If you ever have a question or need clarification regarding any aspect of MARA business, any decision we make, or any course we take, you should feel free to reach out to any board member at any time. If you want to give us input or feedback, or if you have an idea, call or email.
We have a new e-mail address specifically for that purpose, firstname.lastname@example.org. If you e-mail or call, one of the Parent Coaches, either Dave Spear or Mike Hoyt will answer your question or forward your issue to the whole Board.
Several of you have expressed enthusiasm for becoming members of the Board. There is a process for entering your name into consideration. If you are intrigued and can commit the time to serve as a Board member, please send a letter of interest to the e-mail address above.
Thanks you for both a great season and doing your part to get MARA back onto solid footing. We want a club that your children’s children can enjoy.
President of the Board