YSC Member Survey – 2024. This is what we heard…

Post-survey report (long read ahead!)

Thanks to board member and activity director Aaron Zorndorf for setting up our second member survey. As last year’s survey was the first in many years (or ever?), we wanted to do a second one to see if our response and actions on the 2023 survey had paid off.

The feedback we received is great, and serves us as our compass in navigating how we plan events and handle our operations in 2024. Out of 780 emails sent out, we got 69 responses. This means only 9% answered the survey this year, and we need to keep that in mind when analyzing the data. The demographic charts and other statistics may be skewed, but the real treasure is in the comment fields. This is where we get new ideas and inspiration, where we find items we may need to act upon, and the guidelines for our work in the coming year.

Below you will find the results from the survey, as well as our action points for each section. We are not including the hundreds of individual comments we received, but will address the trends that have emerged from them.

One thing we have to point out, in response to one comment: The YSC is not about a certain ethnicity. If you are bothered with the fact that members or their guests may be of non-Scandinavian heritage, you are in the wrong club. Read our bylaws, and read our code of conduct.

Let’s start with the demographics. Just like last year, predominantly male long-timers over 40 years of age.



General satisfaction with the club: 67% of respondents rated overall satisfaction 8/10 or greater


77% of respondents rated BOD performance 8/10 or greater

83% of respondents rated communication means 8/10 or greater. This is a major improvement from last year, which saw 59%.

Conclusions on first part:

We were happy to see that most members like us and appreciate the club and the work the board puts in. Many people feel that communication has improved, but there were also many useful suggestions on how we can kick it up a notch.

We want to clarify that the website is always the #1 go-to to find out about events and news. We post all events to our social media channels as well, but the website is the main information source for our members, and this is also where you purchase tickets and sign up for events.

Some people complained about not getting our emailed newsletters. There is not much we can do from our end (although the webtech team IS looking into this), but want to encourage everyone to take a thorough look at their spam filters, as the YSC emails may get stuck there.

The most negative comments were about our website. This is still a work in progress, and got side-tracked last year when we had an attack on our payment system and had to go back to the drawing board and eventually get a new provider for that functionality.

We have implemented a “subscribe to newsletter” option. This is primarily for spouses who are on a family membership but don’t get the newsletters. Or just anyone who is interested in the club!

Finally, some people complained that the booking system for Tahoe is tricky. Some feel that it is difficult to get the dates you want, and we want to again clarify that the same booking rules apply to all members. Reservations open up 45 days ahead of time, but weekends do book out quickly. Sometimes you have to stay on top of it, and make your reservation as soon as that day opens up, even if it means getting on the website at midnight.

This brings us to our cabins…

The Tahoe cabin

In general, people are very happy with our Tahoe cabin and how it’s being managed.

Some of the feedback we received in the comments we have already touched on in this report, that people feel it’s difficult to book the dates they want. During winter, the cabin is extremely popular for weekend reservations. Anyone who wants a room for a weekend needs to be ready to make their booking as soon as the 45-day reservation window opens up.

There were again some complaints about the heating system, but that is being worked on now.

The parking is always an issue, but there is not much we can do about it, unfortunately. Building out a larger parking deck would be very expensive.

There were some requests for organized weekends at the cabin (hiking, biking, etc). This is something we would need to look at, since we only have 7 rooms, and it depends on the number of people in each room.

The Clear Lake cabin

This one had really improved since last year. We believe it’s a combination of better water quality/lake levels, and a higher number of events offered in 2023.

People really want to continue the dock repair project

Complaints about interior of cabin – which will this spring see a new floor installed!

Someone mentioned “a la carte” weekends. These are the weekends in between the big themed event weekends. You pay the lower, non-event booking fee, fix your own food, and just hang out.

Maybe fix up the porch area?

Requests for more family event weekends

Cultural weekends, perhaps a Nordic cook-off?

Boating weekend

Events, and general comments

We received many suggestions for additional events. These are the ones that very clearly trended, and we are actively working to implement as many of these as possible:

  • More family events
  • More camping/outdoorsy activities
  • More joint events with other Nordic organizations
  • More hikes
  • More events outside of SF
  • More cultural events (movie nights, fika, potluck, etc)
  • Bring back the Yosemite weekends

Longer notice for overnight events, such as camping

Several comments to make events less focused on alcohol, and hints that there is too much drinking going on. We will absolutely do our best to change this. The days of the drinking culture seem to be winding down in many other places too. Also, we want our events to be fun and safe for everyone who join.

We get several requests to bring back the Yosemite weekends. This is unfortunately near-impossible, due to the major changes in the reservation system for the park. That, in combination with the much higher fees, would make it a huge challenge to book. If someone volunteers to give it a try, let us know!

Another BIG item for us to look into is how to attract/retain younger members. There has been a shift in the demographic, and we need to find ways to adapt to that, and recruit new members to join. This is another area where we would love to find volunteers to help out. Considering the age of some of us on the board, we’re not really the people to go out and talk about the club with 20-somethings. 🙂

A big challenge in 2023 was to get people to actually commit and sign up for events. We noticed a clear trend of people waiting longer to sign up and buy tickets for our events. This is troublesome, but again not isolated to just our club. It’s a general trend, which seems to have ballooned after the pandemic. The board is looking at implementing early bird pricing and clear cut-off dates, and incentivize early commitment.

Comments about the website. This is still high on the priority list for 2024, and the webtech team are working on it.

Easter Lunch at the Swedish American Hall, April 8

easter lunch guests around the table

We are so happy that we were able to bring back the traditional YSC Easter lunch indoors this year. The Swedish American Hall had us booked in another room, and despite some last-minute shuffling to get everything together, we had a delightful Saturday lunch together.

President Jeanette, along with Erde, Ramesh, Lotti, Jo and Henrik hosted, and we had around 35 guests.

On the buffet table you found a (mostly Swedish) Easter meal, all home-cooked. Meatballs, potatoes, salmon, spring quiches, herring, smoked salmon spread, salad, “kladdkaka” (sticky chocolate cake), and a fruity Easter punch.

The sun beamed through the large windows, there was some singing, and everyone left the party full of food.

YSC Member Survey – 2023. This is what we heard…

Post-survey report (long read ahead!)

Thanks to board member and activity director Aaron Zorndorf and his brilliant initiative, we were able to send out the first YSC member survey in a long time (I am not sure I have seen one in my 14 years as a member!).

The feedback we received is amazing, and will truly serve as our guiding star when making decisions this coming year. We had 100 responses, out of 1000 emailed, so a 10% response ratio, which we feel gives us a statistically significant foundation.

Below you will find the results from the survey, as well as our action points for each section. We are not including the hundreds of individual comments we received, but will address the trends that have emerged from them.

Let’s start with the demographics. Maybe we should do a new survey about keeping the word “young” in our club name… 😉

79% of our members are over 40!

General satisfaction with the club:

Conclusions on first part:

We were happy to see that most members like us and appreciate the club and the work the board puts in. Many people feel that communication has improved, but there were also many useful suggestions on how we can kick it up a notch.

We want to clarify that the website is always the #1 go-to to find out about events and news. We post all events to our social media channels as well, but the website is the main information source for our members, and this is also where you purchase tickets and sign up for events.

Some people complained about not getting our emailed newsletters. There is not much we can do from our end (although the webtech team IS looking into this), but want to encourage everyone to take a thorough look at their spam filters, as the YSC emails may get stuck there.
The newsletters include summarized information about all upcoming events, plus a link to the specific event page on the website, which is where the detailed information can be found.

The most negative comments were about our website. Last year the website and the functionality behind the curtains saw a major overhaul, with automated booking systems for our cabins etc. The bulk of the work has been done, but there is a lot more we can do to improve user friendliness for our members.
Upcoming improvements/tweaks will be to add a page where we post all newsletters and board meeting minutes, just to make club information easily available and searchable for all. We will be adding a donation page for the Clear Lake dock repairs (more info on that further down), and we will merge some of the cabin info pages.

We are also hoping to implement a function that can register both adults on a family membership, so both receive newsletters and information emails, as that was something people asked for in the survey.

Finally, some people complained that the booking system for Tahoe is tricky. Some had missed that we have gone back to pre-pandemic bookings, i.e. separate rooms instead of full cabin buy-out, even though it had been communicated. Some feel that it is difficult to get the dates you want, and we want to again clarify that the same booking rules apply to all members. Reservations open up 45 days ahead of time, but weekends do book out quickly. Sometimes you have to stay on top of it, and make your reservation as soon as that day opens up.

This brings us to our cabins…

The Tahoe cabin

In general, people are very happy with our Tahoe cabin and how it’s being managed.

Some of the feedback we received in the comments we have already touched on in this report, that people feel it’s difficult to book the dates they want. During winter, especially of the kind we’re seeing now, the cabin is extremely popular for weekend reservations. Anyone who wants a room for a weekend needs to be ready to make their booking as soon as the 45-day reservation window opens up.

We will take a closer look at the heating system at the cabin, as it warms up the house very unevenly, something people have pointed out. And speaking of heating, others commented that the sauna is really slow and doesn’t go all the way up to Viking level heat.

The parking is always an issue, but there is not much we can do about it, unfortunately. Building out a larger parking deck would be very expensive.

There were some requests for organized weekends at the cabin (hiking, biking, etc). We will look into this, especially since 2023 is the cabin’s 30th anniversary! Space is the limiting factor, with only 7 rooms, but maybe we could rent a neighboring cabin and make a fun and active weekend out of it!

The Clear Lake cabin

Of all the sections in the survey, Clear Lake was the most commented on. And it was obvious people’s opinions on it span across the entire spectrum.

Many members have fond memories of the place, with decades of fun events in the history books. In the past couple of years, the lake water quality has deteriorated due to the drought and pollution flowing into the lake, and some of the California wildfires have affected the area. Several events have had to be canceled, and the Clear Lake season has been cut short for a couple of years now. We are hoping that the excessive amounts of precipitation we’re currently getting will refresh the lake and raise the water level a few feet. The county also have long-term plans on making the lake healthier, and cabinmaster Dave Conroy showed some slides on this during the annual meeting.

Our biggest and most urgent problem now lies in the fact that the dock was severely damaged in the January storms. The board has voted to approve an initial $5000 to repair one critical section of the dock, as soon as the storms taper off this spring. We will also start fundraising, hoping to raise additional funds to repair more of the dock.

The most common comments in the survey had to do with the water quality in the lake, and many members avoid CL completely because of this. A late summer weekend often means very high temperatures, and if you can’t swim, what else do you do?

People also commented on the cabin’s interior, especially the kitchen and the flooring. A kitchen renovation was in the plan, but the damage to the dock takes priority, as it is a serious safety problem if not solved quickly.

Several comments asking for old-timer events! And many comments asking for more family-oriented weekends. We are looking into both!

Events, and general comments

We received many suggestions for additional events. These are the ones that very clearly trended, and we are actively working to implement as many of these as possible:

  • More family events
  • More camping/outdoorsy activities
  • More joint events with other Nordic organizations
  • More hikes
  • More events for the older crowd
  • More events that are not centered around alcohol
  • More events outside of SF
  • More cultural events (movie nights, fika, potluck, etc)
  • Bring back the Yosemite weekends

Another BIG item for us to look into is how to attract/retain younger members. There has been a shift in the demographic, and we need to find ways to adapt to that, and recruit new members to join. Efforts are already underway!

Gløgg Hygge in the Park

Scandinavians enjoying warm glögg in the park

The annual Gløgg Hygge reception at the Presidio parade grounds was another resounding success.
To help us into the holiday season the skies broke and blue sky prevailed after some serious rain just hours before. It was chilly but the YSC Gløgg made being outside with fellow members a fun and memorable occasion. About 37 members came to share the holiday spirit. The Gløgg and hot chocolate lasted til just before dark. Kringle from Copenhagen bakery made the hygge complete.
As a reminder for any YSC event , it is super important to sign up so proper provisions are on hand. Our barrel of Gløgg was just enough, but not enough…

Cheers to the season and may all your families find the Hygge!
Jesper

2022 – Annual General Meeting Recap

YSC Board

On Sunday February 27, the 9 member board of the YSC and about 35 members met at the Swedish American Hall for our annual general meeting. It was wonderful to have a chance to mingle and reconnect in person with our new and old members in our traditional location again.

The board reported on the current state of the club, including 2021 financial status, the condition and maintenance performed at our two properties and the events and activities we hosted during the year.

We were disappointed to report that we were unable to reschedule our delayed 70th Anniversary party in 2021 and asked the membership present whether we should continue to try and reschedule in 2022. The consensus and vote was to concentrate on moving forward and plan for a spectacular 75th anniversary celebration in 2025 instead. We will plan to do so!

There was good discussion about the future direction and longevity of the YSC. There was agreement and much excitement about the plans to focus on maintaining a full social calendar and get our membership engaged and positioned for growth in 2022.

For those of you unable to join us in person, the full board 2022 financials report, the ‘State of the Club’ presentation deck and meetings minutes can be found on our website at https://ysc.org/financials/.

The club thanked the board members who’s terms were ending, Erdman Rogge, Alan West, Henrik Thorenfeldt, Lars Gunnilstam and Laura Flink, for their years of service to the club.

In anticipation of increased 2022 activities, the directors had decided to increase the size of the 2022 board to 10 members and opened the nomination process with 5 seats to fill. After lively nominations and voting the following 5 new board members were elected to 3 year terms:

  • Lars Gunnilstam
  • Laura Flink
  • Jeanette Flodell
  • Aaron Zorndorf
  • Marthe Nyborg

Congratulations and thank you for your commitment to the YSC! You can learn more about the 2022 board of directors by reading their brief bio’s at https://ysc.org/about/

We look forward to an exciting 2022 and hope to see you all at many traditional, familiar events and new activities and occasions to celebrate our Scandinavian traditions and heritage.

Skål!

Ulrika Lidström
YSC President