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Hello all,

I am new to sea kayaking and looking to join a 2nd club. I have a sincere question about membership dues. Membership to NSPN is 2-3x versus the other area clubs (BSKC,RICKA,ConnYAk). I believe you get what you pay for, but I cannot find any obvious differences-e.g. 2-3x the trips or practive sessions-for a beginner. Thus, I turn to the members. I am not looking to start a "my club is better than that club" argument. I am just a tightwad looking to get value for my money.

Thanks in advance, Vin

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or a troll?

well vincent, that's up for you to decide. what do you want out of a club? that's about what folks get out of a club. that may sound like a bs answer, but it's true.

there are skill sessions, trips and a host of experienced paddlers. only you can decide if you would like the community or be a part of it.

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The main reason for the difference in membership dues is the fact that NSPN has chosen to affiliate with the ACA (American Canoe Association) which provides additional benefits (such as a subscription to Paddler magazine and some discounts) and protections (mainly liability insurance for the club, officers and trip leaders). Someone on the board can give you the exact dollars, but I believe that most of the dues goes to ACA and not NSPN. If NSPN charged only the part we keep, our dues would be similar to other area clubs which have chosen not to affiliate.

I recently joined a club in the San Francisco area that is also ACA affiliated: the dues structure is similar ($35) and has the same difference in cost compared with non-ACA clubs in the Bay Area.

NSPN is a club of volunteers who give back to a sport that has given so much to them. We do not provide services for the dues. Members of the club who volunteer to lead trips, teach workshops or serve behind the scenes as committee or board members receive no money for their efforts. The ACA affiliation is invisible to most members, but the ACA liability insurance is important to those who volunteer to lead the trips and organize the events that are visible to members.

Area sea kayaking clubs such as NSPN, BSKC, ConnYak and RICKA each have their own history based on the philosophy and personalities of those who built the respective clubs. While there are some differences in style, activities and approach to managing risks, the similarities outweigh the differences. Each is a postive, welcoming community of people who like to paddle and to share that with others. Each is based on the volunteers efforts of its members.

Many of us who are active in NSPN value the friendships (old and new) as much as the paddling opportunities. Some of us belong to the other clubs as well as NSPN. Some who were active in NSPN have migrated to other clubs or paddle on their own now that they have paddle partners. We even have some who are active with us on the website and on the water who are not dues paying members for reasons of personal philosophy or the cost. These options are a natural evolution for some. If the time members have spent with NSPN have taught them something about paddling, safety and the sea, or enriched their lives in some intangible way, then the club has served its purpose whether or not they stay as members and pay dues.

We have always taken a relaxed view of this, offering much to the public (such as full use of our message boards to get advice or set up private trips) without worrying about whether you are a paying member. Of course, club trips and events are for members, so you'd have to join to participate. We believe that people will join as members because they want to support the club and its mission. It's not a business, it's an opportunity to get involved and contribute. For many of us, the circle of giving is the biggest benefit of all.

So, what do you get for your NSPN dues? If you are looking for a community of paddlers who share knowledge, passion and fun, it may be the place for you. If you are looking for services for your money, that's not really the mindset around here. We're more likely to suggest you organize something for the rest of us. ;-)

Scott Camlin

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I consider $35/yr an incredible bargain to get expert Dee Hall's (et al) tutelage at the weekly Mystic Lakes Sessions...not to mention the NSPN's other benefits. Ranks right up there with $50/yr for supporting your favorite NPR FM Radio station right?

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The training I have received from NSPN would have cost hundreds of dollars from private outfitters. The $35 is well worth it if you actually intend to participate in on water events. Scott's answer more than sums up what the club offers. The other clubs are fine clubs and I'm a member of one of them also. I think if you like group paddling and want to gain experience, you may end up joining several clubs. The kayaking community in general are a good bunch of people...it doesn't matter what club you come from.

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