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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've dug around here for a while looking for some exact answer to my concerns, but I haven't yet found them. So, here it is -

I'm a member of camp in Sullivan county. There are 15 membership positions with 13 filled right now. The camp has been around for about 26 years and all and all, runs pretty well. It was purchased by ~8 guys, many of who are still active. Currently to become a new member there is a buy in fee and yearly dues for each member.

The members mainly consist of guys from a specific area, all know each other whether it be through another member or through life around town.

We have what I consider a good set of cabin rules & bylaws, They're mostly followed but with a few exceptions. One of which that has come to light is voting in new members. Traditionally a current member would propose someone for membership. The candidate would show up to a work party or two and get to know those who they were unfamiliar with. The cabin would then make an out-loud vote at the next meeting. This vote needed to be unanimous. The bylaws however state that the vote needs to be taken by secret ballot & be unanimous. Each member must cast a vote, those not able to be present at the meeting need to submit a vote on paper to the secretary which will remain secret.

Our last vote we followed the rules for the most part, mainly the secret ballot. Turns out for the first time in the organization, a member was cast out by a single vote. Needless to say the proposing member was not happy. Now there are efforts being made to change the bylaws, removing the secret ballot.

My question to those of you who have a cabin with a number of different people, how do you handle the voting in of new members?

Also, if anyone has bylaws they wish to share, it'd be much appreciated. Shoot me a PM and I'll follow up with my e-mail where they can be sent.
 

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We had the same problem years ago, one dissenting vote kept the guy out. Well you can imagine the politics that took place, the vindictiveness, etc. You didnt vote for my guy so I will never vote for your son, blah,blah. We got together and proposed a change to our by-laws requiring 80% of the memberships yes vote for a new member instead of 100%. It has worked out great. There may be sour grapes for a few weeks, but then all is well. We also added that members sons get first consideration, that ended that arguement.
 

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According to our by-laws, a new member requires unanimous approval (he must hunt at the camp for 2 years before becoming eligible for membership). The vote can be by voice vote or any member can request that a secret written ballot be taken. I will always request a secret ballot. If it’s a secret ballot and the outcome is not favorable to the prospective member, no one knows who threw the black ball(s). There may still be hard feelings in general, but it cannot be directed at any one individual(s)

As a footnote: we’ve had guests that were not invited back, but we’ve never had a prospective member turned down. Nevertheless, I will still ask for a secret ballot.
 

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To apply for membership, applicant must hunt one day of deer season with us, than they have 2 years to put a letter of intent to join. Must be sponsored by a member, address etc...Than the application must be voted on at one of two cabin meetings a year(nov and march) at that point if application is accepted they become a prospective member. They can attend all camp functions (which is reccomended) about one a month. They cant use cabin otherwise unless with a member. Then at next meeting they can be voted on or not(must be 2/3 vote) on a secret ballot. If the motion to vote is ayed and seconded. Gives you time to find out if ok, sometimes they don't make it, most do. Only had one in last 7 years voted down due to not being liked, just wanted a cheap drunk! Others dropped intent and just come up as guests still, cheaper than a member but don't go besides buck or bear. They wouldn't use it any other time. Made no sense to join.
 

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We have 16 members at our camp. our prospective pay 100 dollars to get their names on our waiting list (which is refundable at anytime and will go towards your initiation fee upon getting in). We need a 2/3rd's vote to get initiated. each prospective member must be seen by the membership at least once within a 5 year period prior to getting initiated so people that have sat on the waiting list for 15/20 years can't get in without other members having remembered who the [censored] they are and what they are all about...all votes are done on a secret ballot. We have one family that has 3 current members with 5 additional members of the same family on our waiting list. We were pondering doing something so that 1 family cannot theoretically have a controlling interest in the club and be able to control any vote that occurs on the house/etc. This has proposal has been met with much opposition from that family as expected. we were proposing allowing the prospective members of the club to get in but restrict voting rights to one family to no more than 5. We will see what happens if this ever comes to fruition.
 

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clearfield12 & outofstater,
You bet, owning your own place is the best way to go, avoid the problems, if you can afford it.
Pine Creek/Dave
 

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It's wonderful that you guys have your own camps and can be the boss. That wasn't exactly the question. And I own my own camp and am a member of another. Each has its benefits.

To answer the question: we have a 12 member camp that has existed for 60 years. The bylaws require notification that a new member is to be voted on. 50%+1 need to be present for the vote to be valid. Vote is secret ballot and has to be unanimous. Preference is given to sons of members.
 

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G2CDeer said:
Our way of voting is similar, but maybe you guys should think about 2/3 majority, instead of total of Yes vs total on No.
Unanimous or a strong majority is a topic ripe for discussion. On one side why should a long standing member have to tolerate a new member whom he may have a significant personal issue with?
Of equal weight is why should a legitimate potential candidate by black balled by someone whom he may have a personlaity conflict stemming from an incident in second grade?
When my brother was brought up for nomination he received a nay vote. Wasn't a personlaity issue. It was a concern about him being the third member of a family. My father was livid. Over the next few months there was some work done to address the concern by the entire membership and he was voted in at the next meeting. In that way, the topic was fully vetted and and a satisfactory conclusion was reached.
If it had merely been a strong majority requirement, then the long standing member's concern would not have been discussed openly. Being unanimous in an ideal scenario fosters conversation. If the nominating member can't address the concerns, then maybe it would be best not to allow the new member. Who wants to add membership that creates unresolved stresses.
Where people are involved communication is the key. Requiring only a strong majority allows a new member where there clearly are unresolved issues, at least from someon's perspective.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
HomeintheWoods said:
G2CDeer said:
Our way of voting is similar, but maybe you guys should think about 2/3 majority, instead of total of Yes vs total on No.
Unanimous or a strong majority is a topic ripe for discussion. On one side why should a long standing member have to tolerate a new member whom he may have a significant personal issue with?
I'm a major proponent of a secret ballot and unanimous vote. For reasons HomeintheWoods mentioned.

Each member is financially vested in the Cabin Membership, The buy in isn't cheap, and the dues along with the time and effort put forth through the years shouldn't be overlooked.

I feel that if there is a candidate that is proposed, I'd rather see one disgrunted member than perhaps 3 or 4 members upset over a guy gettin in they were not fond of. It's been said that at an open vote people should address issue with the proposed candidate, but for the sake of not causing problems, they may not say anything...and if that happens once, it may be tolerable, but it might not stop there.

Secret ballot seems the logical way to go.

To address the "Own your own personal cabin is the only way to go debate" I beg to differ. Personally I couldn't afford the ammenities I have in my current place shared among others. We have a decent set of bylaws and enforce them. If you dont run a tight ship, no doubt problems will mount and ultimately get out of hand, perhaps leading to the dimise of the organization. I use the camp now, with 12 members, just as often as I would if I owned it alone; so in my case it makes sense to go the group route. Of course there are draw backs, but I can live with the politics and the few decisions that I disagree with once in a while.
 
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