I have had the honour and privilege of serving the SLA as President for the past two years. While I will remain on the SLA Board as immediate past president for a final two-year term, this will be my last message to the Stewart Lake Community as President. This has given me pause to look back on the short history of the SLA and recall the incredible achievements we as an association have made in such a short time. The message I both take and offer from this reflection is the concept of volunteerism and what a difference each of us can make for the benefit of the community as a whole, in this case, the Stewart Lake community – our community.
On June 9, 2009, Andrea Dale, who was to become our first president, sent me and others an email asking whether we would like to become involved in “designing and developing a Stewart Lake Cottager’s Association”. On June 17, 2009 we met at the house of Peter Konidis, who was to become our second president. The SLA was formed that evening and later incorporated. Under Andrea’s untiring leadership we worked hard in that first year developing a mission statement for the SLA as well as a constitution by which we would govern ourselves. On July 10, 2010, we held the inaugural annual general meeting at which time the Stewart Lake Cottagers Association Constitution was ratified by a vote of the membership.
Since that first meeting, we have had an incredible strong membership. Today, we have 54 members out of a lake community of about 114 cottagers. This 47% membership statistic is the envy of cottage associations. I can’t tell you how much the SLA Board appreciates each and every member who has signaled through a small contribution of $25 that they too value the SLA community and support its mission statement and efforts to fulfil the SLA mandate. For the members that pay their membership fees each year but otherwise are content to enjoy the lake in their own private way, you are volunteers and your contribution is greatly appreciated. There are some members who quietly do things to support the SLA objectives, such as protecting or remediating their shoreline. You are volunteers and stewards of the lake. There are many more who are members and donate their time to various SLA initiatives. This is the ultimate in volunteerism as people donate their most valuable asset – their personal time. Some of these volunteers have been and are SLA board members but many are not. The point of all of this is to say that everyone has an opportunity to volunteer in their own way and all forms of volunteerism are appreciated since the synergy created by the sum of the individuals is what makes our SLA community what it is today, and that is simply the best lake community that one could hope to be part of. Think about it; a lake with 114 cottages had 155 people attend the SLA BBQ this year at the historic Buckeye camp hosted by Laurie Harada and Victor D’Souza!
In only 8 years, the SLA has galvanized a lake community into a vibrant, committed group of individuals who share the common goal of protecting our lake for the enjoyment of ourselves and all future generations to come. This was only achieved through the volunteer efforts of everyone in the community. So no matter how small your contribution, take pride that you played a role in creating the best lake community in Muskoka/Georgian Bay!
Which brings me full circle back to my term ending as President. Whatever has been achieved in the past two years, it is because of the volunteer efforts of everyone involved over the past two years and all the efforts of past volunteers. But I need to make special recognition and thanks to the SLA Board over the past two years who have been unfailing in their initiative and dedication. We have a fantastic and very professional looking newsletter, we have online payment of membership fees, we have had the most successful SLA BBQ event ever, we have an incredibly strong membership, and we have great relations with our local and district politicians and key administrative people. And the future is looking bright. And that future will be overseen by, Margarete Cameron, elected president at our most recent Board meeting. Margarete is one of the most organized and hard-working people I know so the SLA community is in good hands. Lucinda Becker was elected to fill the role of Secretary vacated by Margarete and Trish Thornton is the newest Board member elected at this year’s AGM. This means that there is for the first time the full complement of 9 Board members. Another sign of strong volunteerism!
In closing, I present your SLA Board of volunteers:
Margarete Cameron • President
Rudolph Kurz • Vice-President
Bob Love • Immediate Past President
Dan McGrath • Treasurer
Lucinda Becker • Secretary
Scott Sjoholm • Communications
Susan Pulfer • Communications
Roch Beaulieu • Membership
Trish Thornton • Director
Wishing everyone a wonderful and safe second half of the summer!