April 16, 2020
Dear Independence Squares Members and Friends,
Our first all-club videoconference was a great success! It was wonderful to see everyone and I encourage everyone to attend our next one (to be scheduled). It is a nice way to remain connected with others during this time of “mandatory relaxation.”
For those who were unable to attend, I wanted to provide a summary of the club’s current status as presented during the videoconference. As you all know, we suspended all club activities on March 16 until further notice. In the meantime, your board is continuing to meet (virtually) and plan for resumption of club events as soon as it appears safe for us to do so. We have cancelled our upcoming events through June and will continue to monitor and make appropriate decisions on future events. Please be sure to check our club webpage as it is updated to reflect any new cancellations. At present, we do not know if the Philadelphia Pride Celebration (June 14) will be cancelled, but we are not making arrangements for the club to participate officially in either the parade or festival. Plans for summer open houses are on hold, but we have not yet made decisions on dances scheduled for July 18 and beyond.
The suspension of club activities applies to our Annual Meeting (traditionally scheduled during the first two weeks of June). The board feels that under the current health crisis, our options to schedule an official club meeting are limited and would present undue risks to our members. We have considered electronic approaches, but realize that some of our members have limited access to online services and we do not wish to exclude anyone from participation. With those considerations, the board has agreed to schedule our Annual Meeting for one month after we are able to resume regular club activities.
Payment of dues is mandated by June 1. However, again under current conditions, the board feels it would be an undue financial hardship on some of our members to collect dues during this time. Consequently, we will also defer payment of membership dues until one month after we are able to resume regular club activities.
Under our current bylaws, we believe that the board has the authority to postpone both the Annual Meeting and collection of dues. More importantly, we believe this delay is in the best interests of the health and financial well-being of our members.
Our club finances remain in good shape. Thanks to the great relationship our Fly-in Committee had established with our host hotel (Exton Clarion), the hotel worked with us and we were able to rollover all payments we had made to them for 2020 to apply to 2021! Our fly-in committee did a marvelous job in planning for the “fly-in that almost was” and handled the cancellation in an equally efficient manner. All dancers who had registered were offered the options to rollover their registration to 2021, request a refund, or convert their registration into a donation to the club. Ten dancers converted their registrations to donations, 77 dancers rolled their registrations over to 2021 and 6 requested refunds. Although cancellation of the fly-in meant we lost a major fundraising opportunity that traditionally has provided us with a significant source of income, the club remains in good financial health due to the successes of previous fly-ins and the foresight of prior boards in establishing a cash reserve to see the club through unexpected financial difficulties.
None of us can predict the future course of the current health crisis. Even experts in epidemiology and infectious diseases have differing projections since the available data remain limited and much depends on the behavior of individual humans. The board acknowledges the possibility that a return to dancing may be a long way off. At the same time, we do believe that we will return and want to be prepared to do so as soon as it is safe to resume dancing. The board is currently making plans for our fall schedule and our Fly-in Committee is already planning for the most fabulous ever fly-in for spring 2021!
Please be safe!
Independence Squares President