September 2008

Minutes from Board Meeting on September 4, 2008

Bonnie Strittmatter, Chuck Katter, Ronald Wimer, Mary Cooperman, Jeanne Bowles, Jill Nadel, David Blansfield, Ellen Johnston, Jay Chu, Steph Belleveau, Kathy Santarella, Tony Delise, Robert Kennedy, Martin Slattery, Holly Mesavage, Adrienne Williams.

Head Coach Announcement

Martin began the meeting by announcing our new head coach, Jeremy Howard. Jeremy comes to us from Darien and will serve as WRAT Head Coach and Age Group Coach. Martin was particularly impressed with Jeremy’s energy and enthusiasm and he predicts a very bright future for the team. Martin also announced that Ellen would continue as Sr. Coach and the 8/Under Coach still needed to be hired. The Parents Club thanked Martin for his hard work and diligence through this lengthy process.

Approval of Minutes

The minutes from the previous meeting on July 9, 2008, were unanimously approved.

USA Swimming Report

Both Barbara and Chris were unable to attend the meeting but Ron reported on Barbara’s behalf. The bank balance is healthy with a balance of nearly $22,000. Barbara will invoice those families that owe additional fees for last year and those can be paid at Expo. These invoices total $2947 which is more than last year, largely because the AG team had more meets this year. Chris Gannon is getting up to speed on the job and will be attending Expo.


Steph began her report by reviewing the points-system changes the board agreed on at the last meeting, namely the institution of mandatory timing. Each family is responsible for timing at least once during both the short and long-course seasons. There will be no points available to families until they’ve completed their requirement. Luckily for us Steph has agreed to be the volunteer coordinator as well (thank you, Steph! ).

Timing slots will be available initially to everyone on a first come first served basis but Steph will assign slots if necessary. In addition, if a family signs up to time and doesn’t show up their child will be unable to swim in the next meet. For more details on these changes you can look at the revised volunteer rules online. Steph then reported that overall this year we had more fines than last (therefore lower refunds). She was still trying to collect fines from 46 people—nearly 1/3 of the team. Hopefully the new volunteer rules will help minimize this problem next year.

Coaches’ Report

Ellen’s monthly summary was as follows:

Rowdy Gaines and Mel Stewart are coming to the Y! These two Olympic Gold Medalists will hold two clinics on Sat. Sept. 13. One will be for 11/unders and one for 12/older swimmers. Ellen was finalizing the details.

Registration forms were still coming in. Ellen anticipated that we would have a full team of about 220 children. If there were a few slots open she planned to bring in kids from the waiting list for an evaluation rather than hold formal tryouts. She had already accepted 3 for the 8/Unders and thought she might need to take more.

Apparel forms would be ready for Expo. Ellen had spoken to Metro about changing the AG sweatshirts and sweatpants and was waiting on prices.

The paperwork was about to be submitted for the WRAT-hosted meets. The rest of the meet schedule should be ready for Expo.

Although Ellen anticipated starting Senior practices the week of Sept. 15 (although perhaps on a modified schedule), the start date for the AG and 8/unders would depend on when the remaining staffing is finalized.

Treasurer’s Report

Jay Chu presented the July/August Treasurer’s report: During the past two months we expensed $33,233. This was largely due to coaches expenses, coupon expenses, PET-WRAT refunds and a YMCA payment.

Overall we are in great shape and currently at nearly break even. The 2008 financials are largely completed with minimal bank, USA Swimming and inventory reconciliation still outstanding. However, Jay noted the large variance compared to the previous year. This is due to the following:

  • Banquet expenses
  • Coupon sales that were lower than last year (by approximately $19,000)
  • Inventory write offs
  • One less meet than last year
  • Extra coaches compensation payment.

Everyone agreed that we would have a fire sale with any extra inventory at Expo. Shirts and flip flops would be free and the bags will be $10.

At the end of Jay’s presentation Bonnie made a motion to contribute $1000 to this year’s Strong Kid’s Campaign. It was passed unanimously (and Jay had already budgeted for this in advance.)

Ron then presented Bonnie with a card thanking her for her many (MANY!!) hours of service and her refusal to accept her PET-WRAT refund this year. Thank you, Bonnie!

Co-President’s Report

Ron had several issues to bring up this month:

Detailed Budgets in Advance of Travel Meets: There were additional expenses this year for more than the usual number of out-of-state swim meets. Because the board had not budgeted for this we were over our travel budget by nearly 50% and very close to running a deficit. It was suggested that the coaches submit budgets in advance so that we as a board can decide whether we should fund them. There are instances when we bring only 1-2 swimmers to a meet and perhaps in such cases the parents need to pay an increased percentage of the costs.

Financial Assistance: The presidents also brought up the question of hardship. We are a charitable organization and given the economy we may find a growing number of families who are facing financial trouble. The board agreed to tell the Y that we will cover USA Swimming, CT Swimming and Parent Club costs for those swimmers who also have been given financial relief from the Y. We cannot budget for this however because it is unforeseen.

Ron also thought we should consider some sort of scholarship program in conjunction with USA swimming which has been making a concerted effort to bring minorities into the sport. He suggested a pilot program that would attract 2 or 3 kids a year from Norwalk or Bridgeport. We would pay their fees. A committee will be formed to investigate this further and possibly launch the program by the end of the year.

Parent/Senior Socials: The Sr. Reps will plan a party this fall for that group. A host has not yet been found for the Parent Social. The tentative date is Nov. 7 and we hope to have an AG parent host this year.

Nominating: There are very few positions left to be filled but there are a few important one, namely parent social host, the 8/Under Meet managers and a co-meet manager for the Pentathlon. The team will put out a blast email announcing available jobs and try to recruit at Expo. There was also discussion of the concessions job. Because we agreed at the last meeting that much of the work (shopping, managing the workers) would be done by the individual meet concessions chairs the board agreed that those jobs should receive more points (20) than they did last year. Helen Poliner, the overall Concessions Chair who will just be doing the paperwork and keeping track of inventory will receive fewer points (20).

Steph brought up the fact that many board members have two jobs and perhaps we could solicit for new volunteers. Looking through the list, however, there were very few jobs (except perhaps Awards) where we could easily replace people at this point. However, it is certainly important as we go forward to make sure we have a broad parent representation across all job levels.

Car Wash: All set for Sept. 21 with Barbara Wiederecht and Maura Marden in charge. They hope all Seniors will participate. It’s an especially nice bonding activity for the younger, newer Seniors. The team will send out an email blast and there’s a flyer on the website.

The Website: Everyone agreed that the website hasn’t been as effective a communications tool as it used to be. Bill was quite proficient but the current coaches are not. Ron is trying to rework it so that it’s easier to maintain. He’d like to incorporate it into the Y site with the same look and feel. He asked the board to consider hiring a web designer if he’s unable to do it himself. David Blansfield suggested we hire someone to update and maintain the site but Ron thought that would be extremely expensive and not needed. If the site is designed correctly, the coaches and board could easily access it and update it. Ron plans to pursue this further and also solicit the coaches opinions. The Board earmarked $3,000 for the update.

SMS Messaging: The Y is doing a trial program for cell phone SMS messages and it was suggested that the team provide these alerts as well. This could prove essential if there’s a meet delay. The Y and Team are testing a system operated by Message Media. Ron estimated that the system would not be used often and would cost a couple hundred dollars a year to subscribe. The board approved the funds needed to set it up and Ron will teach the coaches how to use it.

Erin’s Departure: Bonnie suggested that the board give a gift card of $250 to Erin at her going away party. The board approved.

The next meeting was scheduled for Oct. 2.

Respectfully Submitted,
Mary Cooperman