In 1991, I visited the Santa Cruz Fly Fishermen for the first time. I was new to fly fishing and found the club to be an awesome resource for learning about fly fishing. Everyone was super friendly and the resources for everything from casting improvements, where to fish, what to use, fly-tying classes. SCFF published a newsletter. It was a few pages, one color, stapled together and mailed to the members.
About that same time in 1991, Pat Steele became interested in our newsletter and began collecting more information, newsworthy items, a calendar of events, a New Members section, a place where members could advertise. She put our newsletter into a magazine format, sort of, and we went "color"-two colors, to be exact-green and black! Back then the NCFFF (Northern California Council of the Federation of Fly Fishers International) gave out awards for the best newsletter. SCFF received that award so many times, the NCFFF had to stop giving it out. Many in California and around the country knew about SCFF because of that newsletter and heard how good it was. I can tell you that I personally loved getting that newsletter in the mail every month, and can attest to having many of those older copies, to this day. Each month, Pat and her newsletter helpers, Elaine, Kirk and others, methodically collected your letters, notes, schedules, fish outs, photos, and other fly-fishing related tidbits and put them in their respective places so you could get that award-winning newsletter every month. I would venture to say that even today, our newsletter contains more good content than any other club publication-every month.
When I was first president in 1997, Pat was so supportive and encouraging. She made my President's Messages better and always came up with a great photo to go with it. I still have a letter she wrote to me after my first three years as President because those words meant more to me than anything-still do.
Then came the internet. By then Pat was already "coding" and took the reins putting the Santa Cruz Fly Fishermen on the world-wide web. It was now a full-color version of our newsletter, on the internet, and a couple of years' worth of back issues available, with additional static information you'd find in a website. But we were such a club devoted to each other and our events, far away from technology, the website was a great way to get our newsletter out. It didn't seem cost-effective to mail the print newsletter anymore. With an e-mail and a .pdf, you could print your own, in full color and cheaper than we could mail it to you, no waiting!
Then came smart phones, cameras on your phone, and things like Facebook, Instagram and a much broader presence in the world. SCFF was maturing and entering the 21st century. Our membership coordinator now uses "Square" to take your membership dues, and others have been asking if they can join online, make a donation to our scholarship fund-I guess to make ourselves more relevant, despite having a nice Facebook page, it seems we now need to have our own Instagram account.
For the last 29 years, Pat Steele has flawlessly delivered our newsletter and subsequent web content to all of you, every month, on time. With her husband John Steele, they have contributed to SCFF generously, managed to travel almost every month, to some location in the world in pursuit of fly fishing, hunting and the great outdoors and host the board meetings at their house. But it's time to pass the torch and to that I suppose these last two President's messages will be Pat's final contribution as Webmaster, Newsletter Publisher. With that will bring opportunities for SCFF to move into the 21st Century sooner rather than later. Not sure what that will bring, but we're excited and grateful for Pat and John, and for the club.
Whole heartedly and gratefully yours. Thank you, Pat. I'm all else, otherwise-without words. - Tom