This weekend, the SLSA posted a call for candidates to the upcoming elections on September 1st. Two of these positions are for Directors who are finishing their terms and must step aside; the third is a by-election for someone who cannot complete their term. I personally cannot emphasize enough the importance of people standing for election to these positions.
The SLSA is a group that boasts over 1,000 members in its rolls. And yet, according to current and former members who recently took part in a 20-question survey for Surfwatch, one of the largest criticisms has been in spite of the size of the membership rolls, there appear to only be about 20 active participants. Not just surfers, but people who are willing to stand for election and make sure the SLSA continues to grow and thrive. In the past season, we have introduced the non-SSi surfboard to competition, and in the upcoming season we have three new venues wanting to host an event. That means there is new blood out there, and we need to see that new blood take the reins and start working toward the continuation of the surf culture in SL.
By no means am I casting any doubts on previous SLSA Directors who may wish to stand for election again–your past experiences are greatly appreciated and wanted on the board. But here’s the deal: if you only get the same candidates running for office over and over and over again, you pretty much end up with the situation we’re currently seeing in the election campaigns for President of the United States in November–Same Old Stuff, Different Day. Having multiple candidates for only a couple of positions allows for choices to be made by the membership instead of having to vote on two or three people by default.
No, this is not an easy job in SL. And more than once I have questioned whether I am going to do something that results in the destruction of the entire surf community. But when I started out surfing I ran into a member named Robbin Ember. Robbin won the Angel Award a couple of seasons ago because she is willing to bend over backwards to help a new surfer out, however she can, and her only price is for you to ‘pay it forward’. This is the best way I could think of for paying it forward. Now my call to you is this, and it’s a personal opinion–if you are a longtime member of the SLSA and you have never stood for election as a Director, and you’re only content to surf and party on the surf sims and occasionally put lindens in the black boxes, while that is generally a good thing, it’s also sorta like having your neighbor drive you around everywhere because you don’t have a car and not offering to give any money for gas, or at least reward your neighbor’s generosity by baking them a batch of brownies or something. The SLSA does not require you pay for a membership, the SLSA does not demand an admission fee to a surf sim, and they don’t even require that you be a member of the SLSA to surf at Solace Estates. Members asking ‘How can I help?’ and then helping is the only pay-to-play we request. And sometimes pay-to-play is to serve.
So please, consider standing for election for these three positions, if for no other reason that to fulfill your spiritual obligation to pay it foward and keep the surf community in SL moving foward.