Northwest Blacksmith Association

President’s Message 1st Quarter 2016

NWBA President Lee CordochoreaA Word from What’s His Name by NWBA President Lee Cordochorea

Hello, Everyone

Your ballots have been counted. New Directors and new Officers are now settling in. Our contact information is listed inside the front cover of this newsletter. As always, call or write if you have a question, a comment, or a complaint. (Especially contact us if you have a complaint! We can’t fix a problem we don’t know about!)

With the passing of the torch completed, it may surprise that I’m going to ask for nominees for 2017’s election. Why so soon? Well, it’s not really all that soon…

There’s been discussion of increasing the Board from 9 Directors to 11. If that comes to fruition, we’ll want at least two more nominees for next time. Regardless of quantity, we’ve solicited nominees at the Fall Conference in years past. Now, we’ll be soliciting at the Spring Conference. We hope to get some good response. Especially, we hope to avoid some familiar reasons for folk declining. There are two reasons which seem most common when someone declines to run for the Board. One is a misperception that we fight amongst ourselves. Second objection is the road trip to attend quarterly meetings. Let’s take those one at a time.

Of the ten board meetings I’ve been to (nine as a Director) I’ve seen neither guns nor knives pulled out. Voices were raised only once, and we learned from that event. Yes, there are occasional differences of opinion, but we resolve them in a civil manner. Usually, we don’t even get to disagreeing – we just try to work out what will be best for the Association. When we keep that goal in mind, it’s a lot easier to work harmoniously. And generally we do work together quite harmoniously. So please consider serving on the Board if you’ve avoided it for fear of infighting.

We’ve also been working the bugs out of a system enabling Directors (and anyone from the General Membership, if so inclined) to attend electronically. Very soon, distance won’t get in the way of anyone attending. These modern electronic marvels might not respond well to hammer-blows, but they do respond to perseverance. We’ll have this new tool working soon.

What kind of folk do we need on the Board? We need folk who love this Association and want to see it continue. We need folk who can listen, ask questions, and make suggestions. We most especially need a couple folk who can handle either numbers & accounts, or who can handle notes and correspondence. (We always have trouble finding a Treasurer and/or a Secretary. We’ve taken steps to make those jobs less challenging.)

If you think you or the folk you know lack “what it takes” to be on the Board, please reconsider. ALL of us are volunteers. The NWBA has been an all-volunteer outfit for more than thirty years! Volunteers go to the mailbox, write the rent checks, find the demonstrators, and sweep the floors. Everything done by our Association is accomplished by volunteers.

While I’m on the subject of volunteers, I’d like to thank the folk who have stepped forward to assist with running our Mentoring Center. We have five Stewards now who will insure the place is safely, properly, and timely opened up, safely run, and safely & properly closed down. More Stewards would be even better.

We also need volunteers to act as Registrars for the Mentoring Center. These folk will greet participants, collect fees, and coordinate with the Treasurer. If you can help out with this, please contact any Director using the information inside the front cover of this newsletter.

Our Librarian, Anne Bujold will be taking graduate classes out of the region soon. We’ll miss her! We’ll need someone to step into her shoes when she leaves to pursue her M.A.

The Spring Conference (May 13, 14, & 15 – save the date) will need your help as well. We need folk who can help acclimate new members, act as a fire-watch (especially later in the evenings) and help keep everyone safe. It’s easy work and you get to wear a spiffy high-visibility arm-band! We’ll also need some volunteers to keep an eye on the Gallery & Library. I know some of you hang out there for hours at a time anyway. (I know that because I do so myself and I’ve seen you!)

As for what’s planned for the Conference, it’s gonna be good! There will be a shower on site this year. (We’re still working on hot water – one thing at a time…) Black Smoke Alley will be smokin’. (Bring your solid-fuel kit and join in!) A friendly competition is being planned. Friday night will see a potluck social round the fire-pit. Saturday there will be the Banquet, the General Membership Meeting and, of course the awesome entertainment of our Auction. Auction proceeds support our NWBA Outreach, including our Mentoring Center, the Al Bart Grant, and a new grant for youth which I dearly hope to announce soon.

In order to make that new youth program work, we need (you see this coming, right?) VOLUNTEERS! Specifically, we need Mentors for the Mentoring Center. These Mentors will teach young people safety and very basic skills on a semi-formal 1-on-1 basis. If you can help out with this during the Mentoring Center’s open forge sessions, please contact any Director. Our Mentoring Center is an ongoing success, and we’d like to expand on that.

Here are just a few examples of that success: Young recipients of the Al Bart grant have been teaching other young folk (and old farts) what they’ve learned. Several people are now certified to use the tire-hammer, fly-press, and other tools. And look at all those poppies produced for the big memorial monument in Ypres! Rashelle has scheduled demonstrators for February, March, April, June, and July. It’s gonna be great! (Check the website or your monthly NWBA email announcements for the schedule.

I am very proud of the work that all of us in the NWBA are doing, and both excited and humbled to be a part of it.

Stay Inspired!

-Lee Cordochorea

(You pronounce that just like it’s spelled.)