First of all I wish to congratulate the executive officers of all the branches for a year of accomplishments. It’s taken hard work to get where we are today and you all deserve a sincere ‘well done, you’.
The year opened with the inaugural AGM of the shiny new South Fraser branch. I was privileged to receive an invitation to enjoy the hospitality of the new branch at Central City. Thank you Megan and thank you Adam for shepherding the new kids around the block.
2014 was a year of consolidating our expansion efforts and continuing to keep the name CAMRA forefront in the minds of the public as the craft beer consumer’s voice. We sat at the table with government and industry on an equal footing. We challenged industry with an on-the-ground campaign (FUSS) to raise awareness of your right to a proper pour.
One of the main expenditures of provincial dues is making sure the society is properly insured and indemnified. Under advisement, the Directors and Officers insurance was brought up to date to ensure all branch executives are fully protected. We also added a second Commercial and General policy to protect the society’s resources when providing classes and cask events. It may not be as sexy as beer and government lobbying but it is vital that all branches are able to operate in safety and confidence.
Much of our business is conducted by email but nothing beats sitting down at a table, breaking bread and sharing a jar to keep the lines of communication open. This year each branch, except South Fraser, took a turn hosting a meeting where other branch presidents and the elected provincial BC Executive came to town.
The culmination of 2014 occurred at the Powell River meeting in October. Coinciding with what can only be the first of many festivals of craft beer there, the Inaugural CAMRA BC awards were presented to individuals who have pioneered craft beer appreciation and consumer education in BC. Each branch sponsored one category but the nominations came from the entire membership.
Powell River branch presented the Community Award to Township Brewing.
South Fraser branch presented the Innovations Award to James Walton of StormBrewing.
Vancouver branch presented the Volunteer of the Year award to Monica Frost, communications guru.
Victoria branch presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to Carol and John Rowling, founding members of CAMRA BC, the Great Canadian Beer Festival and pioneering evangelists of the Craft Beer gospel.
The Volunteer of the Year award also recognizes a few of those beloved members of CAMRA who are no longer with us. On the obverse of the plaque the names of Suzanne Shaw, Pia Lohin, Dan Small and James Cline are inscribed. They all set a high standard in participation for the rest of us and will be missed.
At the October meeting, Vancouver president Adam Chatburn presented a motion that puts in writing the long standing policy of CAMRA BC to maintain an arm’s length relationship with industry. It has proved a controversial move and Adam is to be applauded for finally putting in writing what executives have always understood in the past, that the rights of the consumer are paramount to CAMRA BC’s mission.
A project started in 2014 and carrying forward to 2015 is the consolidation of all branch memberships into one master database to be administered at the provincial level. The day-to-day work in the trenches of sending out billings and renewals is the hardest, least rewarding task faced by every branch. It makes sense to administer the paperwork from a central position while each branch maintains control of their portion of dues. The remaining work in this area is focused on perfecting the database platform and delineating the role of an appointed provincial chair of memberships.
As you read this, the New Year is well underway and 2015 promises to build on the accomplishments of 2014. I am sure the new provincial executive of CAMRA BC will enjoy the same enthusiastic support I experienced during my year as your president.
Good luck and cheers,