Sebago’s Season in Review
Happy Sebago New Year!
October 1 marks the beginning of the new calendar and fiscal year for Sebago. And year end means it’s time to tally up the work hours. Thankfully no longer have to work with a hand-scrawled, messy, falling-apart binder! The workbook is now a well-ordered Excel grid that shows at glance the hundreds of entries that detail the contributions of so many members!
Rather than being a tedious task to review, it’s inspirational and concretely captures the myriad sometimes behind-the-scenes fixes, repairs, and maintenance efforts that keep our grounds in shape; the commitment to administrative tasks that ensure things run smoothly; the many hours that members put into planning, training, teaching and maintaining equipment to support our on-water programs; as well as the collective efforts that sustain our community outreach, from the new membership committee volunteers who so ably welcome our new members to the weekend ambassadors who greet our visitors to the dedicated teams of on-land and on-water volunteers who have made our open houses so successful. Whew! Thank you all!!!
As a completely self-managed, member-run organization, celebrating our 90th year, it’s only through the efforts of all our volunteer members that we have been able to continue so successfully year after year. Our continued success is made possible by each of your varied and generous contributions.
The end of the year also means the election of a new board. We would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge John Decker’s contribution, not just in 2023 but over the last decade or so as a director. John, who has also been serving as the sailing chair, has decided to step down from the board, allowing the opportunity for others to move into leadership positions.
John, we thank you for your years of service and your many contributions to the club. Those include (but are not limited to) your stewardship of the sailing and rowing programs, your gentle levelheadedness in all situations, your engineer’s ingenuity and attention to detail, and your all-around good nature and good humor. You’ve left a big hole to fill on the board, but we’re very happy you’re staying on as the sailing chair.
- MEMBERSHIP: Approximately 45 new members joined at the beginning of our on-water season at three different new member orientation days and were offered multiple opportunities for training and guided paddles, as well as chances to sail throughout the season. New members continue to be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis with priority given to residents (11236). While we continue to have a waiting list, wait time is significantly less.
- CABIN: It has been a robust season for members and their guests for both day visits and overnight stays at our Lake Sebago cabin. This year for our member’s comfort and enjoyment the cabin floor received a fresh coat of paint, some new furniture and lighting has been added, and board games are now available for those quiet evenings or rainy day.
- COMMUNITY SERVICE: Once again, at three open houses, several hundred community members had the opportunity to get on the water. Our partnership with Senator Persaud’s office continues to grow. Her office staff attends and manages their network of local groups, including Police Explorers and active adults from senior centers. We also hosted two very successful events with Outdoor Afro, both in Brooklyn and at the Lake. We continue to make our grounds available to organizations such as BOP, as well as support local college engineering students from NYU and Brooklyn College with their concrete canoe building programs.
- GROUNDS: Highlights on the gardens and grounds front include the successful introduction of native species to several of our planting beds (thank you Garden Committee for their stewardship), a new rack for club kayaks, new washstands and a hose station, and the emergence of a robust corps of mowing and weed whacking volunteers. Also a repaired and much improved front gate (big shout out to Mark Mikinberg for designing and fabricating a new latch — no more wrestling with the lock on a chain!
Activity Committee Highlights
In addition to all the work hours logged, our members got plenty of time on the water as well.
- KAYAKING: There was strong trip leader support for three open houses, as well as all-level paddles every weekend, instruction for newer members, and full moon paddles. The kayak committee also welcomed their newest ACA-certified instructor: Gianni Lopez. Thanks to the efforts of the dedicated (and tireless) trip leaders and instructors, more than 500 people launched from our dock this season — and all returned!
- SAILING: We welcomed 15-plus new members, offered the always in-demand sailing class, had sailing outings and racing almost every weekend, and finished the season off with the Sebago Cup races. And we have three sailors ambitious enough to build their own boats!
- CANOEING: Once again the Canoe Committee provided essential support at the open houses and ramped up training efforts that have resulted in more members being able to offer a much-needed assist on-water with our community programs. We had two great trips this year: one on the Great Swamp of New York and our annual Family-friendly two-night canoe camping trip. Canoes are ideally suited for these kinds of trips, and we hope to have more of them this coming year. Canoes are also available at Lake Sebago for members’ use — and if you catch J.T. at the lake, canoe sailing is also available.
- ROWING: Sebago’s fleet of rowing vessels remains underutilized, but the Annapolis wherry — which can be rowed as a single or a double — saw a good amount of use this year. And Bird, the Whitehall gig on indefinite loan from the Village Community Boathouse, continued its role as a useful vessel for group outings at our Open House events.