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End of 2015 news: meetings, staff additions and changes.


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Howdy folks. Coming to the end of 2015 there's some club business we need to attend to. We'll hit upcoming meetings, the Christmas party, and staff changes.

I'd like to start by thanking the ARC staff. These people are all volunteers, devoting their time and effort to making the club a place that you want to participate in. Without them the club would just be a website. That said, over time we all have changes to our schedules that affect how involved we can be. This is a hobby, with life and work taking priority, so we must respect those other commitments when they encroach.

I'd like to start by thanking Jake Mendoza (Photodude) who served as our Club Photographer. In a social organization and hobby like ours pictures truly do speak a thousand words, if not more. Jake served through numerous meetings and the first two C4s and we appreciate all the time he put into it. Moving into 2016, Brian Srock has kindly volunteered not only to take over this role, but to continue to help us with other media (Facebook, Twitter, etc). In the last year he has helped me at several meetings and events, and is working with me on improved facilities for next years events like C4 (more on that later). Thanks to Jake for his time, and for Brian for all that he'll be doing in the upcoming year.

I'd be remiss if I also didn't take a moment to thank JamesL for the time he served us as a Moderator. James and his family relocated to California earlier this year, but despite that James has continued to guest moderate, and will do so as long as he's interested. For years he lead the moderation efforts here and we can't thank him enough for his time and participation.

Dave and Robin Pettit have long been the bedrock of our meetings and events, deeply involved years before I came along. Jointly serving as meeting coordinators, you've seen them at almost every meeting and event we've had. Dave has frequently hosted and lead the January meeting discussing tank photography. They have handled the registration and merchandise tables at all of the C4 events, scheduled and coordinated our monthly meetings, and handled mailing out membership cards and helping members behind the scenes. This doesn't even start to describe how hard they have worked and how much support they have provided just keeping the day to day operations of the club running. Recently they have had children and grandchildren return to Texas and to Austin. With only so much spare time, they've been pulled to spending more of it with family, as it should be. Few have done as much for this club as they have. We're definitely not letting them go (Nice try!), but we recognized that we needed someone else to step up and shoulder some of those duties. You'll now see the "Benefactor" badge under their name, our way of recognizing their unique status and all they've done for the club.

In light of these changes, I'm happy to announce that Dan H has agreed to assume the role of Meeting Coordinator. If you've been involved with our events this year then you know Dan and his wife Meg. If you haven't met yet, you're in for a treat. They're one of those great couples who both share a love of the hobby and of providing a gathering place for people to get together and talk fish. They've hosted meetings, both formal and informal, and have quickly established themselves as great ambassadors of the club. They're both intelligent, super friendly and energized to help get our meeting schedule back on track.

Meetings in 2015 continued to be a challenge. Between busy schedules during the summer months and fall football and school conflicts, it's been hard to schedule times that work for everybody. I received feedback from several members and we'll be implementing several things to try to help out. First, the return of a monthly schedule. By January we'll have the full 2016 schedule available. With a few exceptions we'll stick to the 3rd Saturday of each month. If you're interested in being a meeting host, please PM Dan and we'll add you to the list. Second, meeting topics. As done in the January 2016 meeting thread, Dan will be proposing meeting topics ahead of time. Vote on the topic you want and we'll take the winner and have a presentation or focus of the meeting on that topic. Third, frag auctions! In Dan's old club they had monthly frag auctions at the monthly meeting. We think that's a great idea, so we'll start by trying it out at the Nov meeting this weekend. Have frags you want to sell? Bring them. Want frags? Show up and bid. You never know what new goodie you can take home! All that plus the door prize drawings you've come to expect.

Additionally we'll be adding some non-weekend informal meetings for those of you who can't attend on weekends. These could be at a member's house (hosts can also PM Dan), at one of our sponsor Local Fish Stores, or a happy hour at a restaurant or bar. As big as the town is and as many members as we have, there's no reason not to meet up in smaller groups when there's interest to do so.

Finally I'd like to announce our 2015 Christmas Party on Dec 12, 2015, at Just Reef in South Austin (6800 Westgate Blvd. Suite 110). Party time and details will be going up in the meeting thread shortly, but we'd love to see you all there to round out the year.

If you are interested in helping out in some way, please reach out to me via PM. Several of you have done so in the past when we didn't have a specific need, but with the changes going on we can always use help for those unexpected occasions.

So please take a moment to thank all of our staff, past and present, for their time and efforts. We've got a great bunch of people here, ones I constantly get compliments on and that I can't take credit for. When good people come together to share and learn it's amazing the community that they create. I'm incredibly blessed to get to work with you and the staff and hope that we can continue to grow and improve through the years to come.


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Thank you Jake, James, Dave, Robin, and Mike for all the hard work you have put in over the years to make the Austin Reef Club the amazing forum it is.

I was blessed to be a part of the club in its heyday at the start and with such a devoted and involved staff! I am also very excited about the new energy that the new additions to the staff will bring. I look forward to all the exciting events and new ideas that Dan and Brian will bring to the table. 2016 is already shaping up to be an amazing year!

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All I know is those who did attend had excellent odds of taking home a significant doorprize, the best of which was a 3' Custom BML fixture (won by Jolt). Thanks to everyone who attended, and to Dan and Brian for the coordination and photos.

For those who couldn't make it, put the January meeting on your calendar now!

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Lest us not forget to give a huge "Thank you" to the guy who keeps the lights on in the place, our fabulous Admin Mike Frame! Thanks for all the hard you work you put into the site and club in between your busy life :)

It was great having the club there when I had my tanks, and people came though in aces when I needed to break down the tanks at a moments notice. It has been over a year now salt-less, but now that we are settled into a house, I am starting to get that familiar itch... so who knows... as my states former governor somewhat said: "I might be back" (read in your mind with Arnold's voice).

Miss y'all (yes, even you Robb)!

- James


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