Thank you, Peggy Benton, for your kind words, but also for the leadership you have provided this year as our President, Executive Director, and Events Planner.
Vision Statement – Wow! That sounds very lofty, however, if you Google vision statement you will find that “a vision statement is a sentence or short paragraph that succinctly describes goals”.
Some of us remember Joan Rivers. Others of you are saying, “Joan who?”. She was a comedian and talk show host who coined the catchphrase, “Can we talk?” I’m not Joan Rivers, but can we talk for a few minutes this afternoon? I want to see some body language and prefer that it be positive, but want it to be honest expressions of how you feel.
My vision for Pilot has not changed since I was first elected to the Executive Committee. Simply stated, my goal as Pilot President is to increase our membership.
This is certainly not new or very creative, but it is the very most important thing we can and must do in order to accomplish Pilot’s mission and to ensure that Pilot will exist for another 100 years.
We talk about it all the time, but we are lacking in transferring our talk into action.
I have had the most wonderful experience this year getting to know and communicate with the District Governors in monthly Zoom meetings. They are an incredible group who want what is best for Pilot.
Early last year we started discussing the need to grow Pilot. I shared with them what my goal is and how I hoped to achieve it.
First, we need to have net gains in members of individual clubs. The more members we have, the more we can accomplish for Pilot. Also, many hands make light work. Can we talk? If you know anyone in your own world who is not a Pilot, please raise your hand. I do not think it is impossible that everyone in this room could sponsor a Pilot next year, but it may not be realistic. However, some of us can. I have asked the Governors to strive for a net gain of three to five members in each of their District’s clubs. I believe that is a very possible, very realistic, and very modest goal. Can we talk? If each club has a 3–5 member net gain, this time next year we would have approximately 1,000 more members than we do today! I have already read in a Governor’s Bulletin plans to add younger members. Can we talk? It’s no secret, we get older ever year! If we don’t attract younger members, we will age out!
Second, I have asked each Governor to work to a charter a club in her District, and hopefully not lose any of the existing Clubs. Yes, if that goal is achieved, we can add 19 Clubs this year. Some of you, I hope not many, are sitting there thinking, “Well, that won’t happen!” or “I’d like to see that!”. Don’t underestimate Pilots! If you look through your Through the Years book there were several years when 17-20 Clubs were chartered in one year. Look what resources we have today that they didn’t have.
We need to help each other with this one. I think we concentrate on our own clubs and fail to think about individuals we know in other locations who would be excellent Pilot members.
I am sharing contact information for three former Pilots who live in Tennessee, Alabama, and Kentucky. I am also sharing contact information for individuals who have never been a Pilot who live in South Carolina, New Mexico, Texas, Tennessee, and Florida. I tell you this to be accountable to you. Can we talk? Are you willing to share contact information for potential Pilots?
I have changed my thinking about chartering smaller clubs. It sure worked for the Lake Houston, Texas and Franklin Parish, Louisiana. However, that’s a conversation for another time.
I have selected Forward Together ~ Believe in the Possibilities as the focus for 2021-2022.
It is critical that Together we focus on moving Pilot International Forward by increasing the number of members in our existing Pilot, Compass, and Anchor Clubs and by chartering clubs.
More members and more Clubs will increase our opportunities to promote brain safety and health through our BrainMinders and Helmet projects, to support those who care for others with our Pick Me Up program, to award grants and scholarships that will influence positive change in the lives of individuals and communities.
In order for these goals to be accomplished, we must Believe that we can do it and put our beliefs into action! We accomplish only what we believe we can accomplish and commit ourselves to doing. I think that might be called “walking the talk”. Can we talk? Remember the story, “The Little Engine That Could”?
This past year many Clubs and Districts challenged the pandemic through creative and innovative thinking. When “doing business as usual” was not an option, Pilots explored doing things differently or doing different things. We are only limited by our own thoughts and actions!
In 1901, a Minnesota newspaper reported that President Theodore Roosevelt wanted his warships on the move, and that they would rust and rot if left in the harbor. Twenty-seven years later, a professor by the name of John A. Shedd solidified Roosevelt’s sentiment into a pithy, memorable quote to share with the world, reminding us that great experiences are sometimes found over the horizon. Just as ships are meant to sail the seas, so too are we meant to explore new ideas and experiences.
A ship is safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for.
Pilots, please join me this year and move out of the harbor to grow Pilot, Anchor, and Compass.
We don’t need to be a reservoir; we need to be a river.
Thank you for your trust and confidence in me and the 2021-2022 Leadership Team. It is time for us to go to work and make the Pilot difference in the lives of those around us!