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!

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