The Duluth Squadron has four General Meetings each year as appropriated by our By-Laws. Normally meetings are held in non boating months which also helps us keep in touch with members throughout the year. The official installation of a Commander and the Bridge comes after a vote is taken at the Annual Meeting and Election which is held in February. The intent of the annual meeting is to review the accomplishments from the past Squadron year along with membership’s support to vote in new Bridge officers. Meetings are held at local restaurants which have meeting rooms that can accompany up to 100 people. Dinner is usually served, followed by the short General Meeting and a guest speaker. The speakers may be Duluth Squadron members or may be local government officials, Coast Guard members, heads of museums, or other people of interest to the membership of our Squadron.
During the annual Duluth Boat, Sports and Camping Show and occasionally the Northern Sportsman’s Show in Superior, WI the Duluth Squadron attends with a booth promoting our club. The booth not only shows what our organization is about, but promotes safe boating through education. Our public boating courses are promoted during these events as well as explaining the benefits of membership in the Duluth Squadron. We encourage Squadron members to volunteer their time in the booth during the event.
District and National Functions
All Duluth Squadron members are invited to attend the district and national functions. District 10, of which we are a member, is comprised of 12 other squadrons. There are two weekends a year in which one of the squadrons hosts the three-day event, which helps train squadron officers in current national activities and new techniques. An annual summer weekend is called the D/10 Rendezvous and is a fun time for members to get to know one another and visit the area of the hosting squadron. National Meetings are also held in the fall and spring. These are called Governing Board Meetings. These meetings are held over a five-day period and usually have five to seven hundred members in attendance. Much of the information collected at these meetings are passed on to the members at the fall and spring conferences. There is also the national annual meeting which is usually held in January. Many of the awards squadrons receive for their participation throughout the boating season are handed out at this meeting.
Change of Watch
Each Squadron has a yearly formal dinner honoring the incoming new Commander and their Bridge. This dinner and installation is usually held the first week in March. The dinner and program are called the Change of Watch. There is a formal installation of the new Commander and Bridge. The term of the Commander and Bridge Officers is generally for one year, although the Duluth Squadron has had some Commanders serving two and three years. General membership has been healthy in the Duluth Squadron; however, we need all positions to be filled on our Bridge in order for our organization to run smoothly. Another highlight at the Change of Watch ceremony is the Sacred Calabash. The award is presented to the unlucky boater who has made the biggest blunder of the past boating season. This is usually a fun event. Members who have had some type of boating-related problem are asked to explain their mishap before the entire group. The member with the biggest blunder or “learning experience” receives the annual award. You need not be present to win!!
Fitting Out Party
Each year, the Squadron has an annual fundraiser in which monies are raised to provide operating capital for the coming year. The event is normally held in April, just before the boating season begins. It has, at times, been a good way to outfit your boat for the upcoming season and this is one of our major fundraisers of the year. Members are asked to bring boating, fishing or water activity-related items to be auctioned off. The support of many local businesses is reflected by the gifts which are donated to the auction as well. The event is usually held at a facility which can host up to 150 guests and have space available for auction items. There is usually a theme involved, and a meal is provided, cooked by squadron members or catered by an outside vendor. We have a live auction as well as a silent auction and many other activities to peak the interest of everyone.
Each spring, we schedule our first Dock Cleanup Day at the Squadron Dock. We take care of the lawn by mowing, trimming and picking up debris from the long winter. All the picnic tables are taken out of the pavilion and pressure washed. The pavilion is also pressure washed inside and out. The dock is cleared of pine needles and all evidence of the goose population. Our Squadron members are asked to sign up via the Facebook page and we are always looking for more volunteers. This is a great way to contribute to keeping our beautiful dock facility in tip-top shape!
4th of July
A fun-filled day or weekend is usually planned at our dock facility with games, socializing, and a boat decorating contest. Members gather at the Squadron Dock in boats, campers, tents or RV’s. There may be a shared meal and possibly a parade of boats in the harbor to the front of the DECC, before participants proceed to their respective marinas or anchor in the harbor to watch the fireworks.
Safe Boating Week
In May each year, we help promote National Safe Boating Week by passing out bags filled with information regarding safety on the water, rules and regulations, and federal requirements for Minnesota and Wisconsin. This information is handed out at local retail outlets and launching ramps around the area. We try to promote Safe Boating through Education. Our public boating classes held in the winter months are a good example.
The Duluth Squadron Christmas Party is usually held the first weekend of December, consisting of a delicious dinner, music, a silent auction and possibly a game or two. We take time to remember those less fortunate in our community by asking all members to bring an unwrapped new toy to donate to the Salvation Army. After dinner, ice cream sundaes are served by the youth in our club.