I wish you all a prosperous, healthy and happy New Year!
Our lives go in chapters, and here we have a new year with new resolutions, hopes and challenges. My last year's resolution was to keep a diary, looking back, I never missed a day, dutifully filled 365 chapters. Well, you never know, by keeping a diary, one day my diary will keep me.
An old British institution is the Club. As all of you know me already realize, that "if it wasn't for Skal", my life would have been less eventful. Skal opened a wealth of opportunities of which the obvious ones are travel and making friends with an astonishing number of diverse people. Even those that you originally disliked and feared as troublesome opposition and competition.
Skal is still a worldwide movement that links travel and tourism decision makers. The objective of Skal is still the same as it was 80 years ago, to promote global friendship through the promotion of international tourism. It provides the means of networking with like-minded travel industry colleagues all over the world, summed up by its strapline "doing business amongst friends". Skal has remained the only truly international organisation that can claim to represent these aims.
Having written all that, there is a degree of discomfort amongst the older members that Skal International has lost its direction. Some of us veteran members bemoan the "Good old days" when Skal membership was the envy of the travel trade. Unfortunately nothing does remain as it once was. This goes for every aspect including institutions like the EU, and Brexit, the demise of Communism and Empires. Skal is not immune from changes and is struggling to keep up with the quickly changing world of travel.
I received news of the resignation of one of Skal's stallward, a long serving member who is disillusioned with the administration at International level, (not with our local club). I know, that unless you are closely involved in the politics and backstabbing power struggle at the top-end of skal leadership, as a purely local member you are most likely totally detached from the international theatre. You are unlikely to lose sleep over a dispute on what is the correct qualification for Director nor will it matter if airfreight managers are a valid Skal membership category, nor are local members too particular about statutes and by-laws. In my very basic knowledge of skal rules and the understanding of how to run things, I rely on the help and direction of my secretary Brian and fellow Oldtimer John. In the absence of any challenger I am happy to keep the show on the road, to keep things running as smoothly as possible, even if it means to ignore some of the rules for the sake of the good of the club and our Skal movement.
In case there are some purists amongst our members, you will have a chance to put me into my place, or even take over my place as President at our next event, the Annual General Meeting to be held on Sunday the 5th of February 2017. I leave you who resigned with the words of Winston Churchill who quoted: "Democracy is not a perfect system, but it is better than the alternatives", this sentiment goes for Skal as well. I beg you to reconsider your decision of resigning.
Looking back to our Skal Christmas Party, here is a Report... preparing a Skal Family Christmas Party takes a lot of planning. Achieving a consistently large number of people attending this liveliest and most enjoyable event can be a daunting task. To achieve the wow factor for our members and their family and guests needs some creative skills. John Bright had no problems to once again organise a memorable event for 78 adults plus 16 children. Everything was ready for us on the 11th of December with a festively decorated function room at East Horton Golf Clubhouse. A table plan directed people to their table and place cards to their seats. Little golden boxes at every place held novelties such as the ever popular rocket balloons, Carl provided festive background music during the meal and the Pressly family arranged the raffle which lived-up to its name, "Grand". The Chandler's Ford Brass Band played better and louder than ever, and our Secretary Brian is still in top form, playing for the band now for 45 years. I can't wait for next December when we will have hopefully more of the same.
We are now in January, the month after Christmas... and when I got on the scales there arose such a number that I don't eat anymore. I am hungry, I am without social life and this month is a bore, but isn't that what January is for? If I rephrase the above a little: But isn't that what Skal events are for? As it so happened Skal will come to the rescue with a long weekend at Cricket St Thomas, in Somerset. Here a group of us will join a much larger crowd from ANGELA HOLIDAYS for a 3 night event under the heading of "To The Manor Born". A full programme includes excursions by bus, a masked ball and a Grand Raffle.
Sunday the 5th of February will be the beginning of our Skal New Year when we will hold our AGM. This the only business meeting for all members which only lasts 45 minutes and includes coffee and cakes, it is followed by pre lunch drinks and a lunch and should be a matter of honour be attend by every member. Attending the meeting shows respect for the Council members who readily give up their time to organise and run our club's affairs on behalf of others. I am happy to report that all the sitting council members have agreed to continue in their roles unless someone else would like to join our little happy band of movers and shakers on the 5th of February 2017 at 11.30 am, at Southwick Park Golf Club, followed by lunch at 12.45pm
The lunch is open to all members, friends and guests and will cost £12.50 per person for a two-course Carvery and coffee. Attached please find a booking form, all members should already have received AGM Notifications which included full details of the meeting and the lunch.
Other News: Have you been on the new Skal UK website recently? There you can find UK news stories, our Southampton and other club’s newsletters as well as member’s offers. One of the events advertised there is the Skal UK Annual General Meeting, to be held on Thursday the 25th of February, at 2.00pm, at a venue near Gatwick airport. This meeting will be decisive for the future of Skal UK Executive Committee. It is therefore important that as many members are in attendance as possible.
WARNING e-mails are being sent to people in my name, requesting payments, but do not come from me. It reads: “Morning John, I’ll need you to progress payment to a vendor as soon as possible, let me know if you are available so I can have the beneficiary details sent to you”. Best Regards, Dieter Schlieben.
Do you remember Jo Pitt? She remembers you, and Jo who receives our newsletter writes:”So pleased to receive latest newsletter with all the lovely plans for Christmas. Well done to still be able to have such a wonderful number attending. A Happy New year to all of you!” John Watts (Guernsey) writes: “Excellent newsletter Dieter, and personal thanks from me to you for your passionate commitment to the Skal movement.