Sharing the latest information and our response to the request from ADK to cancel the settlement conference.
Another letter of support, this one from Kate Walker.
A letter from one of our newest Nawakwans, Edie Green Blum. She and her husband Brian were just voted in as keyholders at our last meeting.
Date: Sat, Aug 28, 2021, 2:07 PM
Subject: Thank you and Letter in Support of the New York chapter
Dear Membership Committee,
Thank you for allowing me and my husband to participate in the future of Camp Nawakwa. We are happy to have become members.
To say thank you, we wanted to express our support of our chapter in light of the current happenings.
We composed a letter that, while unsolicited by you, you may use however you wish. We have noticed that you do not ask anyone for support, so we volunteer to lend it. This letter has not and will not be sent to anyone else, and if you do not need it that’s okay, too.
But if a new member perspective can assist you, we are happy to help. The letter is both attached and pasted below.
Brian and Edie Blum
August 27th, 2021
To Whom it May Concern:
This letter is in response to assertions that Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) president Tom Andrews set forth in emails dated July 7, 2021 and August 27, 2021 to excuse his recent attempt to seize the assets and control of the long-incorporated New York chapter in order to eliminate it so-called “exclusivity” practices that he states is outside the norm for local ADK chapters.
This response documents a new member’s actual experience in becoming a member of the New York chapter.
The NYC Metro area is a large area that is referred to as the “Tri-state area.” The Tri-state area includes all five boroughs of New York City, two counties in Long Island (Nassau and Suffolk), Westchester County, Putnam County, Duchess County, Rockland County, Orange County, southern Connecticut, and northern New Jersey.
There are three chapters of the ADK that serve the NYC Metro area: 1.) the Long Island chapter, 2.) the North Jersey – Ramapo chapter, and 3.) the New York chapter.
According to the ADK’s own publicly available documents and its website, no one, single chapter services the NYC Metro area any more or any less than the other.
The three NYC Metro area chapters listed above all allow its chapter members to be residents from any part of the Tri-state area (aka the “NYC Metro area”).
The following points are supported by the ADK’s own publicly available documents and its website:
1.) No ADK literature exists that specifies that one particular NYC Metro area chapter is more or less responsible for growing the base ADK membership.
2.) No ADK literature indicates that it is the responsibility of the New York chapter to lead the growth of the ADK membership within the NYC Metro area.
3.) No ADK literature exists that indicates that any one chapter must use more or less of its financial resources than another chapter to grow either the base ADK membership.
The following excerpts are from the website of the Appalachian Mountain Club (aka AMC), a club similar to the ADK:
“Since its opening […], AMC’s first outdoor center in New York’s Harriman State Park, […], has been in high demand. With the success of this location, AMC has now signed another 40-year lease with New York State Parks and Palisades Interstate Parks Commission to completely renovate and redevelop the old Baker Camp as a second, much larger outdoor center to serve the greater New York area. […]”
“Your contribution will help to create a comfortable and welcoming center that will provide a broad set of easy-to-access activities and overnight options for diverse audiences from the greater New York region and beyond. […]”
“Gifts of all sizes qualify and will help us unlock these funds and bring us closer to opening Harriman Sebago Outdoor Center. Through this special opportunity, you can double the impact of your gift today. Naming opportunities are available from $25,000 to $5 million. Contact us to learn more about the project and discuss options.” [End excerpts.]
Fact: The property that AMC is referring to is a camp that is adjacent to the ADK’s New York Chapter’s Camp Nawakwa. The new AMC camp is admittedly being used by the AMC as a driving force in expanding its fundraising efforts and membership expansion campaign.
The Member Experience
Any ADK member (like me) in the NYC Metro area was able to choose to join any chapter of the ADK, whether a local or a distant chapter. There are no restrictions. While it wouldn’t make sense, I was free to choose a chapter four hours away. I chose not to. But any ADK member from upstate New York to the southern tip of New Jersey is free to be a New York chapter member. This is a fact. The New York chapter application has no listed residency restrictions.
I chose to apply to the New York chapter because it made sense for my location and, in addition to hiking with them, I wanted to join their community-run camp called Camp Nawakwa.
Members work to maintain the entire camp through volunteer labor, cooperation and dues. There is no staff or camp superintendent. There is no property manager or maintenance company. There is no management company. The facility is open to all the chapter members and their accompanied non-member guests with no restrictions designed to funnel the core of access to a select few chapter members.
In two years, Camp Nawakwa will be 100 successful years old. However, despite the century of hard work by ADK-loyal Nawakwans, after all these years, the only threat to the existence of this chapter is one: the unsupported allegations of Mr. Andrews and his attempt to seize the assets of the chapter.
Mr. Andrews states, “[the] ADK does not support programs or offerings that exclude other ADK members or even the public.”
To refute the claim that the New York Chapter is exclusionary, note the following:
In May of 2021, I joined the ADK.
In specifying my chapter, I was free to choose not just any one of my the three local chapters, but literally any chapter in the ADK organization.
I chose the New York chapter.
I was immediately informed of the specific chapter requirements to become a New York chapter member and a member of its facility, Camp Nawakwa.
In addition to being required to participate in a couple hikes (I am an ADK member after all), my other requirements were simply to attend events which would provide me with the knowledge a New York chapter member needs to contribute to the running of a communal camping facility and community dining/gathering center. For example, I had to attend a mandatory orientation to learn about the camp facilities basic infrastructure, security, and safety requirements. Simply put, I was shown how to, among other things, lock and unlock the doors, where the electrical service (i.e., fuse box) and other basic utility infrastructure was located, and how to properly use the major kitchen appliances. I was also trained on water front safety and use to be in compliance with Health Department requirements.
The current members of Camp Nawakwa gave clear directions on how to complete my requirements for membership and answered any questions I had regarding the application form. I didn’t have an inside connection to any current member or even know a current member.
Current members bent over backwards to create the opportunities applicants like me needed to fulfill their requirements. Never once was even the most minor road block set up in front of my path to membership.
From May to August 2021, I completed my application requirements, and I was informed that I had become a member on August 24, 2021.
I studied the programming listed for the other two NYC Metro area chapters. Their program offerings have restrictions that for all intents and purposes limits their offerings to their chapter members and more importantly, they do not possess a community facility that requires members to perform necessary chores to maintain and run a camp.
But even more important than these facts are to rebut Mr. Andrew’s assertions is the history of how the ADK has treated the New York Chapter—and that was with its approval.
The New York chapter was always unique, and until Mr. Andrew’s attempts to exploit it through a hostile legal seizure, the New York chapter was appreciated by the ADK for the differently-faceted nature of its devotion to the nature surrounding its facility called Camp Nawakwa.
When Mr. Andrews states that “[the] ADK does not support programs or offerings that exclude other ADK members or even the public,” he is withholding information by reframing the issue of how this unique 100 year old chapter was born and thrived with the stewardship of original ADK members.
The New York chapter has not breached any ADK code, or reduced access to hopeful applicants in its 100 year history. The only change that has occurred is by Mr. Andrew’s reframing of our unique chapter’s character.
And that is why his emails fail to admit that the ADK did historically support the New York chapter’s justifiable requirement of having a membership comprised of people willing to work to maintain a community camp experience. The ADK naturally has always approved of the structure of our unique chapter.
Out of context, Camp Nawakwa is not open to “all” because opening up the camp to all, without the due process of the basic membership orientation requirements, is akin to giving a stranger a key to your home without them having any knowledge whatsoever as to how the home is safely operated! So in a common sense manner, the New York chapter requires that those who wish to become members are oriented with how the camp is intended to operate safely and in compliance with applicable state safety requirements. Those who wish to join the New York chapter of ADK simply need to learn and abide by common sense “housekeeping” practices warranted in a water front camp with cabins and basic utility services. This is a far cry from exclusivity!
There was never anything wrong with Camp Nawakwa’s common sense orientation to membership until Mr. Andrews’ reframed approach (or ambitions as new president to prevent a competing club from gaining more donations and prestige?).
The problem is not that the New York chapter is acting unlike all the other chapters (because it was never required to for good reason). The problem is that Mr. Andrews is acting unlike all the prior ADK leaders.
Mr. Andrews seeks to “eliminate the exclusive benefit of Camp Nawakwa for a select few.” As I have outlined, this is not an issue that actually exists in the path to membership or its aftermath. Yes, the New York chapter is a unique local chapter of the ADK, and there is not or was not ever anything wrong with that until the AMC commenced building a club next door.
If you or anyone from anywhere is an ADK member, you are free to join the New York chapter, complete the application process, and become a member. The process is transparent and aboveboard. Like my recent experience, if you so desire, your smooth admission to chapter membership shall be a fait accompli. I never once felt, saw or noticed a whiff of exclusivity.
Mrs. Edie Green Blum
(address and telephone number removed by Webmaster)
Good afternoon, in the interest of keeping the Chapter members informed of the latest developments with ADK Main Club, the NY Chapter BOD is providing this correspondence.
Thank you for the well wishes and support we have received from numerous NY Chapter members.
For access to the documents in the first letter below, please click —> Court papers
July 6, 2021
Greetings to all New York Chapter–ADK Members,
The Board of Directors of the New York Chapter is taking this opportunity to inform you of some troubling recent developments relating to the Chapter and the Main Club.
The New York Chapter was one of the first two chapters formed by ADK in 1922-23 and was incorporated in 1931 as a 501(c )7 not-for-profit organization. The New York Chapter has a long history of an amicable association with ADK. Chapter members have long served on Main Club committees and on the Main Club’s Board of Directors, including our member serving as President of ADK. The current New York Chapter BOD, as well as past BODs, have operated to the best of their ability, in good faith, and with dedication to ADK, the Chapter and all its members.
Despite our long history of working well with the Main Club, without notice, a hearing or an explanation, after a recent leadership change, the Main Club’s Board of Directors at their meeting of June 26, 2021, “voted to dissolve the New York Chapter as it is currently constituted and establish a new unincorporated chapter.” This purported dissolution would have terminated your ability to apply for or use and enjoy access to Camp Nawakwa and other Chapter events and services and would have prevented the Chapter from taking any action, even communicating such message to you.
The New York Chapter Board members received this notification in a letter dated June 29, 2021. While the basis for this purported action is unstated, circumstances suggest that it is part of an attempt to seize the Chapter’s assets for the Main Club and control Camp Nawakwa.
In response to ADK’s actions, the BOD retained an attorney to represent the Chapter and sought and was granted a Temporary Restraining Order by the Supreme Court State of New York on July 2, 2021. Thus, the New York Chapter continues to operate as usualpending a further determination by the Court.
The BOD will continue to work to prevent the dissolution of the New York Chapter so we may continue to thrive and prosper as we have for almost a hundred years. The Board will continue to keep you informed as additional information becomes available.
New York Chapter ADK Board of Directors