One of the topics that came up was the renewal of the Torrey Hawks. Joe Greblo commented that he thought our renewal was denied due to some kind of membership counting shennanigans.
Let me start by saying that a club only needs 5 members to be a USHPA Chapter. By anyone's accounting, the Torrey Hawks has 10 times that many USHPA pilots. So if we just wanted to meet USHPA's membership requirements we could have done that standing on our heads without having to play games with membership numbers. But I'll address Joe's comments just the same.
For starter's, here's the link to our club's current bylaws:
Here's the full quote from our Membership section (three whole sentences):
You might wonder about the "whose applications for membership have been accepted by the Association" part. Guess where that first sentence came from? It was from USHPA's own document on how to form a Chapter!! Here's the Membership section from that USHPA document back in 2007 (when we founded the Torrey Hawks):Article III - Membership
The membership of the Torrey Hawks Hang Gliding Club shall consist of individuals whose applications for membership have been accepted by the Association. Voting members must hold a USHPA rating of H4 or above and have flown a hang glider at the Torrey Pines Gliderport within the previous three years. Expired USHPA members may be placed on inactive status as needed to maintain compliance with USHPA membership requirements
Yup, they're pretty much identical. So much for that first sentence.Section 1. The membership of the Association shall consist of the Chapter Members and individuals whose applications for membership have been accepted by the Association.
We added the voting membership rule (second sentence) to be able to preserve our club as a hang gliding club. We're not anti-paragliding (I'm a P4 pilot), but hang gliding has been an endangered species at Torrey for decades and we wanted a club to support hang gliding interests. We also saw how the SDHGPA was taken over by the Torrey PG students in a swarm when the Torrey business owners sent them to join and vote for Gabe Jebb. That's why we added that restriction, and that phrase had been in our bylaws since our founding in 2007. In all those years, USHPA never said a word about it because they know there are other hang gliding and paragliding specific clubs.
The last sentence in our membership requirements is this one:
USHPA demands that all clubs maintain a minimum 70% USHPA membership. When we founded the Torrey Hawks, we had a 100% USHPA membership. But over time a number of our members dropped their USHPA status and we began to approach the limit. So we added that sentence to our membership bylaws so that we could appropriately inactivate members without having to completely kick them out of the club. Inactive members can still get our newsletter, and we feel that helps keep them connected to the hang gliding community. You never know when one newsletter might bring someone back into the sport. It's a very reasonable approach, and we implement it in a "last-in / first-out" manner. In other words, when we reach the 70% mark, those non-USHPA pilots with the least seniority in the club are the first to be placed on the inactive role. I think that's about the most sensible thing that could be done, and I challenge anyone to come up with a better approach.Expired USHPA members may be placed on inactive status as needed to maintain compliance with USHPA membership requirements.
So there you go Joe. That's how we handle memberships. Do you have any problem with that? Should USHPA have refused to renew our Chapter over that? What about you Ken? You've known this throughout your term as Regional Director, yet you can go down in history as having watched us lose our Chapter Status while you did nothing.
If anyone wants to read more about this topic, here's a good place to start: