In 2015 the Oceanside Photographers Club had a banner year. Membership in the camera club rose to over one hundred, the club hosted an outstanding day long workshop with mainland photographer Rick Hulbert attracting about one hundred attendees, and the club placed third overall in the Lions Gate Club nature competition. Not bad for a club that almost wasn’t!
Back in 2003, Qualicum Beach resident Bert Speck forgot to cancel a free ad in the local paper inviting people to form a camera club in this small Vancouver Island community. As a result people kept phoning him to organize at least one more meeting. Earlier attempts by Bert to attract people to the Civic Centre were not successful. So Bert gave it one more try, people came and the Oceanside Photographers Club that included nearby Parksville was formed.
While informal, the early club structure was sufficiently developed to allow the club to continue when Bert left. He was followed by Richard Sillery as president and then Dave Graham. Early activities included field trips, a newsletter and monthly club challenges when members brought in printed photos and laid them out for judging at coffee break. Members armed with gambling chips voted for their favourites.
Overall the club has thrived. There was a bump in 2009 when the club ran out of money, the president resigned and there were no meetings or activities from October 2009 to January 2010. The club was heading into oblivion except one member, Ed Mosier, said it was too much of a good thing to let die. He convinced fellow member Dave Courtice to organize and to head the club. With some assistance, Dave drafted a constitution that expanded club activities with director positions identified to share responsibilities. They organized club meetings at a local church for $10 a month. They organized fundraising through garage sales, equipment was purchased, and a new club website began in September 2010. Meetings moved back to the Civic Centre, education meetings became an important part of the club, and exhibitions began in local galleries and establishments. A reinvigorated newsletter became a key tool for communication with members. Club members responded and membership grew to sixty five by January 2011.
Over the years, the club has been fortunate to have a number of members step forward to guide the club, past presidents include, Randy Hall, Kim Greig, Shelley Harynuk, Vivienne Bearder, Richard Peeke Vout, Ed Dunnett and Kathy Desjardins. Each has contributed time and energy to bring about successful activities.
In late 2016, the club became a BC provincial society, Oceanside Photography Society, and adopted the standard not-for-profit bylaws for the new organization. Not surprisingly, the framework originally conceived by Dave Courtice with the building of our original constitution is consistent with the framework that we currently operate under with the new bylaws.
One common theme in the history of the club is the need for volunteers to participate with the organization our various activities. This is an ongoing struggle for most volunteer organizations and continues to be our challenge.