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Last night was the first official meeting of the North Side Chain Gang. The meeting was started promptly @ 8 pm, and lasted until 9:15 pm. The meeting was attended by 8 people, and was extremely productive.
The meeting was called to order, and we gave a synopsis of what the club was for and about. This discussion brought up the latest status on the club. Mr. Ed, in attendance, offered some extremely valuable experience as he is an officer for HFDS. He stressed the importance of procedure and proper establishment of a club. I assured him that these measures were in the works and that the club blossomed a little sooner than we anticipated due to a need that arose as a result of Hurricane Ike.
Covered in the meeting was the topic of the current fundraising that is going on for our first stated project of improving Bear Branch Park. The decided upon main goals of the club for that course were as follows:
1. replacement of the practice basket
2. improvement of tee boxes
3. replacing of trash cans
4. cleaning of fairways
5. redesign of a few holes
6. establishment of a good relationship with The Woodlands Parks and Rec. Department
Additionally, Justin Ellsworth was voted on for a position as Course Steward of Bear Branch Park. The duties of which include recruitment of local players for additional membership in the Chain Gang, assesments and reports on course conditions at meetings, and the organization of projects and manpower for that course. This position was meritted as Justin performed work in the name of the club on the course post Ike, and claims Bear Branch as his home course. Thank you for volunteering your time and efforts Justin.
Goals were discussed, but a recurring issue seemed to be popping up that I feel should be addressed here. As an officer of HFDS, Mr. Ed did indeed represent HFDS at this meeting. He expressed concerns regarding the direction of the North Side Chain Gang that seemed to speak to confussion of where we stood as far as HFDS. The conclusion that we all came to, Mr. Ed included, was as follows.
North Side Chain Gang recognizes and appreciates all the past, present, and future goals and efforts of HFDS. It understands the time and resources that have contributed to the success of HFDS. However, North Side Chain Gang also realizes that Houston and the surrounding area are too large for any one club to "control" or effectively maintain. Seeing as most of HFDS members reside in parts of Houston that are distant from courses on the North side of town, North Side Chain Gang came to exist in an effort to lessen the load for HFDS. In this capacity, players from this side of town and others can organize people within this community to achieve goals that have been expressed BY players from this side of town. Let us be clear in the understanding that we wish to work WITH HFDS, not against HFDS. This club hopes to be the answer to the concerns that have surfaced over the last few years from north siders. Through our club, and its local courses sub chapters, we hope to provide a new pool of talent, volunteers, and funding to more adequately meet the needs of a sport stuck in stagnation in North Houston. This also answers the cry of many HFDS people who feel that they have been the sole carriers of the message for far too long. We as a club could not agree more, and this club is our answer.
Recruit more people, NEWER players who are interested in becomming more involved with the sport so we can groom a future set of players and courses to carry the sport into a prosperous future in this area. Remember that meetings will be held the first Thursday of every month, as this one was.
There will be a work day @ Bear Branch for debris removal and improvements. Due to scheduling, we will also be running a mini @ River Plantation @ 10 am as part 3 of our fundraising series. We hope to see you all there, or at Bear Branch, and certainly at our next meeting.

Matt Stillwagon
President
North Side Chain Gang

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Thanks for this post keeping us informed of the gang's activities.

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