Archive for August, 2016

The 2016 Annual Dinner is coming up…can you help?

August 8, 2016

Greetings to all members of the Boulder Colorado Mountain Club, from the chair of the Boulder Group. I hope you have been able to get outside to enjoy this wonderful Colorado summer.

As another sublime summer slips by, we have been blessed with enough snow for a good spring ski season, a wet enough spring to fill the resevoirs, and a benign forest fire season (at least from most naturally caused fires, the Walden fire being an exception) …life is good for outdoor trips in Colorado this summer! So there may be little reason to think of the fall season just yet; but fall always bring a special event for the Boulder group: namely, the Club’s Annual Dinner. The 2016 Annual Dinner will be held Saturday, November 12, 2016 at St John’s Episcopal Church in Boulder.

This is an important annual event, because it serves as the “fiscal year” for the Boulder Group, is when Council members for the coming year are voted on, when other significant announcements are communicated, and offers one of the few times during the year when Boulder members can gather and meet in person as a group. There are many long time CMC members whom I only see at this annual, and can well understand how much it must mean to them.

Some Dinner History

In times past, when the Boulder group was a much larger organization and had more of a profile in the community, the annual dinner was quite special — in ways we can scarcely imagine today. It was a ‘black tie event’, meaning tuxedos for the men, evening gowns for the women, and was catered for ease of service, and took place in no less a venue than the Glenn Miller Ballroom on the CU Boulder campus, accompanied by a prominent speaker. Can you imagine how different the event must have been back then? I have really wondered about that, so I am trying to find surviving Boulder CMC members who remember those days, and get them to share their stories and photographs of those times. It is an ongoing search, and our current Compass editor, Sarah Nelson, has been helping me in this effort. Sarah has had some success in making contact with some of those past members, so look for those results in a future issue.

But the decline in membership and popularity of the CMC due to the increase in social networking on the Internet during the early 2000’s, the Annual Dinner could no longer be a catered affair. Around 2003, I believe, the Boulder Council decided to go with a pot luck approach, and rent the Avalon ballroom as the venue. I assisted with that for several years,   which met considerable success.

However, our membership, and the attendance of the Annual Dinner, continued to decline. It was evident by 2013 that the cavernous Avalon was much larger, and much more expensive, than what was needed for what had become a rather modest event. So it was in 2014 that it was suggested that we approach St John’s Episcopal Church in downtown Boulder, because they rented out their Parish Hall. This turned out beautifully, as it was more economical, the size was just right, it had wonderful kitchen, and we found a great speaker: Gary Neptune! (To see more pictures from the 2014 dinner, see this gallery of photos taken by professional photographer and past Council chair, Janine Fugere.)



Gary Neptune speaking at the “2014” Annual Dinner

However, the event was bittersweet, because it had to be held January 17, 2015, which was due to the fact that the Boulder Council did not plan sufficiently ahead during the summer of 2015 and were not ready by November 2014.

Then, the story of the 2015 Annual Dinner is a saga I am rather embarrassed to recall; but it must be done, as it was a lesson in reality that the Boulder Council learned the hard way.  For those interested, I wrote a full story on our Compass blog in the article, The 2015 Annual Dinner that almost wasn’t. Basically, we got locked out of the St John’s Parish Hall, and held the dinner in our comparatively tiny CMC Clubroom (with no kitchen!). Again, the lesson here was two-fold: plan ahead, get enough volunteers, and, in particular, have an Annual Dinner committee chair — in other words, someone needs to be in charge.

Though somewhat embarrassing, that night was still a remarkable display of resourcefulness and pluck by both the Council members who pulled together to make it happen, as well as all the CMC members who attended, and did not complain about the mixup, but kept up a good cheer through the night:

2015-11-07 18.00.31

Though it was a little crowded, everybody squeezed in to the Boulder Clubroom, and made the best of it!


The Need for Volunteers

But to get back to the matter at hand: as the above lessons imply, the annual dinner requires a significant amount of preparation in order for event to transpire on the appointed day, at the appointed hour, in a smooth and orderly fashion.

So I am writing this little essay in this special newsletter article to solicit volunteers from the entire Boulder CMC volunteer community — a new direction for how the Annual Dinner is conducted which we have never tried before. Basically, the Boulder Council is asking for help from all Boulder Group CMC members who would like to volunteer for any they are willing to provide, but in particular the following roles need to be filled:

The Annual Dinner Chair, who directs the overall coordination, assigns tasks to other volunteers on the day of the event beyond the co-ordinators below.  The Annual Dinner chair will also work closely with Council members in the search for a compelling and appropriate speaker that will serve as an attraction. Gary Johnston, current Vice-Chair of the Boulder Council has volunteered to take this role.

Servers co-ordinator, who directs the servers who assist with the serving of food and handling of the dishes used to serve the food. This role also needs to find the servers. In the past, we have had success in paying young people wishing to earn some money for a few hours of work.

Greetings co-ordinator, who greets and meets at the door, handling any walk-in’s, issuing pre-printed name labels.

Waste & Recycle co-ordinator, who manages the waste and recycle bins, rented from Eco-Cycle.

Audio-visual co-ordinator, who manages the set up and testing of the sound and projection systems prior to the day of the dinner, and then assists the day of the dinner.

Finally, there is simply manual labor help needed in setting up the tables and chairs before hand, and then storing them away afterwards.

Rest assured, anyone who volunteers will be receive abundant directions and training. We have been diligent in maintaining documentation of how to plan and execute the dinner, and have spreadsheets and detailed descriptions of how to do the Annual Dinner; we just need volunteers willing to help!

Of course, there will be some of the Boulder Council members who will attend the dinner, and working alongside you. I intend to be there myself, but do not have sufficient time to attend to my other CMC volunteer duties to be the Dinner Chair as well. If you are curious as to who is on the Council, please see this webpage on our website.

How You Can Help

If you would like to help the Boulder Council in putting on the 2016 Annual Dinner, please send an email to: You can also call the Clubroom and leave a message at 303-554-7688.  If you have a confidential question that you need to ask, you can send it to me, Rick Casey, the Council chair, at, or Gary Johnston at We look forward to working with you!