Each year as August comes to a close I begin to notice the signs: the bedroom window begins to close at night, my trusted fleece jacket makes common appearances at evening campfires, fewer boats sway in the anchorage with each passing day, and the morning dew lies heavy on my windshield - Fall is upon us. As we put yet another magical Anacortes summer behind us, we take a moment to look back at our accomplishments and begin to gear our efforts toward the next season of growth.
Our season started off with some significant organizational changes. As you may be aware, our organization has undergone a full rebranding. This includes name (Anacortes Waterfront Alliance), web presence, mission statement, comp plan and executive leadership. Our new mission statement is a direct reminder of our three core values: Access, Community and Advocacy and can be found online. The launch of our new website in early May has led to an dramatic increase in web traffic and has been an aid in communicating our objectives to the public. The organizational comp plan is now specifically dedicated to youth and adult boating, waterfront access, and the creation of Anacortes’ first community boating center. As a result of these efforts we have seen a 100% increase in paid membership, and a 100% increase in affordable storage usage for small boats in Fidalgo Bay. This combined with multiple local news features has stirred great optimism toward the organization's future.
After taking direct responsibility for summer learn to sail programs, the AWA has seen incredible growth in just one season of operation. For the summer of 2018 we were able to successfully partner with Anacortes Parks and Recreation to offer six weeks of youth learn to sail program, seven weeks of high school summer sailing practice, and three weeks of adult learn to sail program. These offerings run five days a week and range from beginner to advanced in skill level. This season represents an 80% increase in overall offering compared to recent years and amounts to only half of what we have our eyes set on for future seasons. In addition, we are already engaged in efforts to begin replacing and increasing sailing program assets. This includes a brand new safety RIB (rigid inflatable boat), new youth learn to sail fleets and additional high school racing boats.
We continue to take steps to advance our relationship with the Port of Anacortes in regard to our boating needs at Seafarers’ Memorial Park. Through petition of the executive director we have been able to reserve the facilities for community boating related events throughout the 2019 and 2020 seasons. As a result of this effort we will have a guaranteed home for all summer programs, high school sailing practices and regattas, and meeting spaces for boating related organizations. This is a strong step toward our end goal of housing the waterfront program at Seafarers’ Park through a symbiotic relationship with the Port. Discussions and planning will continue into the fall as to what next steps might look like toward this end.
As is often true in life, one brave action makes way for a slew of great accomplishments. When the board of the Anacortes Small Boat Center (AWA) made the decision to hire the first director in April of this year, they effectively flicked over the first domino in the chain. We are honored to have you with us as we continue to watch them fall. Please know that your membership with the AWA is integral to our efforts and we are deeply appreciative. Past and future accomplishments do come with some cost, therefore our fundraising efforts will continue and ramp up into the fall as we seek the finances necessary to enhance the journey. We will commit to keeping you updated with future goals, and opportunities to get involved.
All the best