President’s Message 16 May 2021

Aloha Shed Members and Friends,

I wish to begin my term as your new President by first thanking the outgoing Board and Board members. You carried us through some very challenging times beginning with the onset of COVID-19, the shutting down of the Shed on several different occasions, extending your terms to carry us through, and the unexpected death of our President, Michael Trojan. Throughout it all, you held steadfast to uphold the Mission of the Shed by ensuring people had a safe environment to return to and to provide the much-needed social interaction to curb the loneliness and isolation, something COVID had exacerbated. You dealt with ever escalating challenges around policies, operational protocol, and just dealing with the tensions caused by a yearlong period of social isolation. For this, we (your members’) Thank You, it was not an easy run for any of you.

I want to remind everyone the Shed was organized in Nov. 2016 and Operational since January 2017. This means the Shed passed the 5-year milestone without any fanfare, However, I hope we can exercise some form of recognition in the not too distant future. The first US Shed is still operational but we have work to do ensure it becomes a permanent fixture long into the future. Our focus in 2021 will be to move the Shed closer to becoming a permanent organization so the many who follow will have a Shed to rely upon.

As we forge ahead, I want to remind everyone COVID seems to be waning, but it has not yet become a thing of the past. We will continue to exercise the safety protocols put in place by the City and County of Honolulu. I would like to appeal to you, if you have not done so already, please get the COVID shot. It has been proven to prevent serious illness should you contract the virus. It also has been said to reduce the spread of the virus. In these times of conflicting messages, I ask that you maintain exercising safe COVID practices. I know being vaccinated is a personal choice so that decision is yours alone, I only ask that if you have not received it already, please consider doing so for your health and to protect other shed members. Thank you.

I am not a history major and have little interest in revisiting things that happened in the past. We must consider the geopolitical environment of today and look toward the future. It is certain; the things accomplished to get us where we are today will not be the same things that moves the Shed forward. We need to think in terms of five years in the future, what we want the Shed(s) to be, and layout some plans to get us there.

In the coming days I will be hosting a two-day strategy session with the new Board. It is during this time we will clarify the Vision for the Shed’s Future, clarify the Mission (why we exist), and identify the top 5-7 goals that we will pursue for 2021. We will deep dive the budget and develop one that will bring these goals to fruition. This includes the board agreeing to the objectives, laying out the tactics (steps for achieving them), and developing measures (metrics) to know how we are doing at achieve the stated goals. We will communicate our efforts after concluding the session, that is, and after we have digested the information into a presentable form. Transparency is key to our success.

We cannot accomplish anything without the support of you our members and friends. So I ask that you trust the process and offer your support however and whenever you can. Doing so will ensure the organization achieves greater overall success. Not everything this new board does will match your perception of what and how to do things but again, I ask that you trust the process; it works. We will provide surveys in the future to gather your thoughts on our choices and on our performance, as well as, to learn what else we can be doing to make a great Shed experience even better.

Point to mention: Whenever you put so many people of varying backgrounds and experiences together there will be differences. However, we cannot let the difference of a few bleed over to taint the relationships being developed of the many. The Shed was founded to give senior men a place to go, to forge new beginnings and relationships after retirement. To do this, it requires adapting to the human environment, Working Together, Collaborating, and building relationships based on Integrity, Trust, and Respect. COVID exacerbated several issues where it seems as some have forgotten these basic human tenets. Foul language, focused anger, division among the members is not a tolerable behavior. Many find this behavior to be unacceptable and want the foul language, focused anger, talking behind people’s back, and those airing their grievances on line to stop. The Board cannot change the behavior of the members nor do we plan to waste any of our limited energy on the misbehavior of a few. So please stop, forgive, and let us all move forward to strengthen our relationships. We cannot become a strong organization if we have members working to tear the organization apart.

The Shed distribution lists/email system is not made available for people to air or to resolve their grievances. It is provided to communicate positive activities, seek member support, and to build a community working together to gain Shed stability. So if you are not in alignment with these principles, please stop.

It is impossible for this volunteer board to spend full time on anything and therefore will be relying on the support of the members. We will try to develop a schedule of activities that we can post on the web page for members to learn about what is happening with enough advanced notice to volunteer their time and efforts, to be involved with training, and to support community activities.

I wish to see more group and member projects that supports the community. I envision this board encouraging you, our members, to take on challenges and get involved with events in your immediate neighborhood(s). Senior projects that are one/two days in length where we can do good for your community. I am asking you now for such suggestions but realize along with your suggestion it is expected you will take on a leadership role and be involved with yours and others projects.

As you might have seen, our financial condition dictates our organization needs a better plan to Market our services and raise financial supporters. We need to build a community organization that is recognized by the City, County, and State to increase our likelihood of securing a sizeable operating grant or grants. Being successful will ensure the Shed survives long into the future. I believe we can accomplish this with your support, your networks, and your voice. This board will provide you the tools to champion our efforts that will carry the Shed long into the future.

Finally, our future may look a bit different but know you will find the old Shed is still encapsulated within the new. We need to once again find that high road and follow it in everything we do. As we strengthen this community, we will come together and make HMS a solid contributor to Honolulu so that we can ensure a long-term success for all those who will come behind us.

In closing, I wish to thank the new board members for their dedication and the time it will take to shift the framework of the first ever US Men’s Shed into a stable entity for years to come. It is within us to lead into the future with empathy, compassion, and Aloha. Thank you for your ideas and continued support.