Disappointed to see 2020 in the rearview mirror?
None of us are, I’m sure. It was a terrible year filled with awfulness. It is good to be rid of 2020. May we never see its like again. However, despite the temptation, let’s try to avoid over-focusing on the past and let’s all agree it is best to look forward, forward to a much much brighter horizon.
What determines success for this club and how could we measure success? These could be aligned along multiple dimensions: programming, this journal, the Collectors Club Philatelist (CCP), our library, outreach to our members, and the ambience at our Club house. Each of these must be excellent. I would submit that excellence will be self-evident and that must be our goal.
Programming: Clearly, our virtual programs have resonated across the philatelic community. It is typical for us to have more than 350 people register for each program and somewhere around 275 of those are with us on the day. These numbers and the notice we have gained, have placed us at the forefront of the hobby. We also believe that this has led to significant gains in members during a period that could otherwise be best described as bleak and miserable. We will not be leaving this virtual venue so long as the audience is there. Elsewhere in this journal you will see the calendar for the coming year. We are sure that you will agree that the depth, breadth and quality of our speakers and their topics is extraordinary. You will note that our speakers will be coming to us from across the globe and their topics will reflect this diversity. We have little doubt that cumulatively our programs for 2021 will be the best that the Club has ever hosted.
We will also be striving to go beyond our usual program format. We are currently working on arranging for special presentations that we will host in conjunction with five leading philatelic groups. This effort will be very special and as soon as we have the details worked out, we will announce this new series which no one would want to miss.
At this time it is very difficult to prognosticate on the date at which we will be able to resume running programs from 22 East 35th Street. Considering the availability of vaccines and timing considerations, one guess might be in the Fall. But whenever that date comes, and it surely will come, when are able to resume running programs in the Club house, these will be in addition to the current schedule we have announced, and we will strive to be innovative in our physical programs. We are committed to live streaming all our programs delivered from the Club house.
CCP: Content in this journal is critical to our success and our goal is that this journal will be without peer. We are in the process of assembling a first-rate team of philatelists who will work with our editor, Wayne Youngblood, in sourcing articles and strive to ensure that this becomes the place to publish. They will be deployed across geographic criteria. It will be our aim that they will help to proactively source articles and add to the already rich content we currently have.
Library: It is not easy breaking through the physical boundaries that define a library, but we are committed to bringing the library closer to you, our members. We’ve introduced a lending by mail program and will shortly be able to provide members with a light scan service so as to facilitate your research efforts.
Outreach: When life eventually returns to a newer normal, we want to be there. Being there means being at shows, in the field, not tied just to the New York metropolitan area. There has been a provision in our bylaws for regional representatives. By this time next year, you will know that this provision will no longer be dormant. Our goal will be to have a meaningful presence at at least 4 major shows a year. Being there to greet members, meet new members, run impactful programs and extend our reach beyond the Hudson River.
Club ambience: We will return to New York, but more importantly, you will return to New York. It is just a matter of time. If you are visiting the city, we want to you to be comfortable coming by, saying hello, resting your feet and maybe even have a cup of coffee. Pick up a book and journal, sit down and have a read. If you live outside the metropolitan area and are visiting the area on business or pleasure, even more so, we want to you stop by the Club. And, once there, we want you to feel like you’re at home.
Lastly, we want to thank all of you, our members, for your support and confidence. We hope that by laying out these criteria for success that you will hold the leadership of this Club to account and ensure we strive to fulfill these promises. From this point forward, our focus will be to emerge from the darkness of COVID and head to a brighter and clearer future, together.