HMFS President: Sept, 2002 - April, 2006
The Harvest Moon Folk Society, Inc., (HMFS) has sponsored contra dances in northwestern South Carolina since 1989. Our group is a successful one that attracts local and regional dancers. Chris Bueker, group founder and leader, fostered the environment that has allowed this community to flourish. Because Chris and others wanted us to prosper long after he was an active organizer, he oversaw the effort to formalize our organizational structure. As a result, we are now a non-profit organization, lead by a Board of Directors (Board). The following is an update of our history, mission, accomplishments, and plans.
Harvest Moon Folk Society, Inc., was granted a charter as a South Carolina not-for-profit corporation in July, 2002. The Incorporators, a six-member committee, formed a Board of Directors, which held its initial meeting in September, 2002. We wrote by-laws and formed committees to carry out the organization's activities. In August, 2005, we were granted tax-exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service. Tax-exempt status allows our financial supporters to claim donations to HMFS as charitable contributions. This gives us access to services that may not otherwise be available.
The Harvest Moon Folk Society's mission is to promote, sponsor, and encourage folk dance and music participation in Upstate South Carolina. We execute our mission by organizing dances and festivals at River Falls Lodge (Lodge) and Table Rock State Park. The Board has explored a number of options to further our mission. We have determined that local dancers have strong positive associations with the Lodge, and wish to continue to dance there. HMFS is working with Leon Chapman, River Falls Lodge owner, to make it our permanent home.
To that end, we have repaired the building. We recently added a patio cover, a wheelchair ramp, and made bathroom repairs. In 2005, we replaced the roof. These improvements have made the Lodge more sound and user-friendly. Yet, we have more improvements to make. We need to finish some trim and tie the patio cover into the roof. We know of two bad places in floor sills and sub floor that need repair. The floor surface needs repair, maybe replacement. We'd like to add awnings to the bathroom landings. Other tasks loom.
Because of building maintenance and structural issues, the Board recently decided to return the admission fee to $8 per person. We raised $21,000 to replace the Lodge roof. To do so, we increased the admission fee, held benefit dances, and accepted donations. We will use a similar approach to make more repairs to the Lodge. With additional income from the door and other activities, we will accumulate funds for these projects.
In addition to fixing the Lodge, the Board of Directors has managed our money and revised administrative guidelines. Our dances have grown as well. We have welcomed many new dancers! In 2003, the average dance had just under 140 dancers. In 2005, the average dance admitted nearly 160 people. We have encouraged you with beginner's sessions, a reduced youth admission fee, and an introduction to traditional dances. To accommodate more dancers, we have increased the number of dances from an average of two, to almost three per month. We have upgraded our sound equipment, bought a new compressor, and, with Weogo Reed's guidance, continue to improve our sound quality. In addition, we host the Moon Dance and Monster Mash, our hugely popular annual festivals.
These activities require volunteers who help us host dances. We have expanded the Board from 12, to as many as 15 members. Our volunteer committee is organizing to give our volunteers well-defined opportunities. We need folks to help with building repairs, dance organization, and festival committee work.
If you want to meet cool people before a dance, find out what they do when not dancing, help with building repairs, or volunteer for any dance-related activity, please contact a Board member. (A roster of current Board members is posted at the Lodge.) If you are interested in serving on the Board, please contact the Nominating Committee for an application form. Board meeting minutes will be posted at the Lodge and made available on our HMFS website at http://www.harvestmoonfolk.org/Minutes.htm. We will update you on our activities during announcements at dances.
Thank you for supporting the Harvest Moon Folk Society. You have made River Falls Lodge, our wonderful home, a dance destination. Your enthusiasm, exuberance, and energy have made our dances exciting events. By attending dances, suggesting improvements, and participating where you can, you have made our community a vibrant one. We hope you will contribute to our organization's continued success.