Reflections on Ten Years of JCCV
by Doug Ingram
published in the Island Growler, Issue #110, May 2013, p. 15
In some ways and at some times, it seems like it was just a very short time ago that we were having the first discussions about starting a club about Jaguars in Victoria. In other ways and more often, I’m very aware of how much time has passed and how many miles have been travelled on that particular road.The “we” above refers to myself and the other four people who started this club, we who have the distinction of having the word “founding” in the member type field of the club’s database. An exclusive group; no one else can ever be included. The first time that Malcolm Taylor, Bob Bowen, Dave Cooke, Gregory Andrachuk and I were in the same place at the same time was at the Vancouver All British Field Meet in Van Dusen Gardens on the Saturday of the May long weekend in 2003. We discovered that Malcolm and Bob had been having casual conversations about forming a club, as had Gregory and I. I’m not sure how Dave came in, but it’s possible that he was just another Jag guy from Victoria who happened to be nearby and was induced into the discussion while we were standing around in the cold rain at the ABFM. (An aside: what is the statistical likelihood of it not raining at least a little on a Vancouver ABFM? Very low, I expect.)
At any rate, we all decided that we should meet again to talk more, preferably somewhere warmer, drier, and more comfortable. This turned out to be a couple of weeks later on the deck of Bob’s home in Victoria, where there was the added bonus of having several varieties of beer to choose from. Everyone seemed to think that having a club was a good idea and that we should get on with it. I distinctly remember asking if we were talking about a “real” club, one with scheduled meetings, officers, a constitution, a newsletter, membership dues, and all that stuff, and the answer was a clear affirmative. I also recall asking the others if they had any idea how much work that would be. I’m a bit fuzzy about what the answer was, but looking back it’s quite obvious that some of us had no notion… We decided that we would do some preliminary work such as creating a membership enrollment form, setting up a membership roster, and having some windscreen stickers printed. Three things about this last item: with their permission we borrowed the oval design used by the other Jaguar Car Club of Victoria, in Australia, modifying it only slightly by adding “Canada”.
And, we had to decide how many to print. We settled on fifty, perhaps because that was the minimum order, but certainly we thought that many would last for a long time, as we didn’t think that too many other people would actually want to join our club. Fast forward to today, and the club has by now printed hundreds of windscreen stickers, but those first fifty are still special, as the design of the leaper in subsequent printings was changed to a more modern one acceptable to Jaguar Canada. If you see one of the original fifty, you’ll know that particular Jaguar has been around since the beginning.
We were doing all this at a good time, just ahead of the annual Fathers’ Day British Car picnic in Beacon Hill Park, so we decided that occasion would be our official kick-off. That’s why the anniversary of the club is celebrated at that event each year. Back then, Bob was working in the parts department of Jaguar Victoria, which put him in contact with many Jaguar owners. He worked hard to promote the club in those very early days, and especially in getting owners to bring their Jaguars to the event on Fathers’ Day. We still weren’t sure if anyone would care, so we were pleased on that bright sunny morning to see Jaguar after Jaguar drive onto the field and join us in the area we had claimed by arriving at the crack of dawn.
One little thing about that particular spot in the park: Gregory had assured us that the best idea was to be under the trees on the north edge of the area, shade for the Jaguars being good, and exposure to full sun not so good. Not considered was that put us right next to the cricket pitch, and we spent the day worrying about strong batters sending airborne projectiles our way.
As it turned out, the only balls that came near were rolling harmlessly on the ground, but since that day we have always selected a spot away from the action and in the full sun, that being the lesser of the two evils, I suppose. We signed up several, maybe eight or ten, new members that day, each of them forking over the twenty bucks we asked for. Afterwards, we thought about people giving us actual money, and the faith it must have taken for them to do that, and the expectations that created among them. This was the point at which the club became a reality, as we now had responsibilities to others, some of whom we didn’t know before. Besides ongoing recruitment activities (many Jaguar owners around town came back to their car to find a card or brochure under their windscreen wiper blade. Apparently, there were more than a few who got more than one of these – we were enthusiastic to say the least). there was a whole lot of boring stuff to register the club as an association, set up the administration, and other details.
A major glitch occurred when Dave submitted the paper-work to register the club as a British Columbia society. We were informed that the use of the word “Jaguar” in Canada when related to anything automotive was exclusively owned by Ford Canada (this was pre-Tata, remember) and that we would have to get permission from them to register the name. We also learned that years before Jaguar had delegated club matters to the Jaguar Clubs of North America, and to get the needed permission from Ford Canada our club would first have to be an affiliate of JCNA.
This was all a pretty big deal for a fledgling organization, and we had to grow up quickly to make it all happen. Eventually it did, but plenty of work and time was required. (Anyone interested in more detail about the early history of the club should read The Island Growler, Issue No. 1, October 2003 and also Steve Koerner’s summary in Issue No. 44, July 2007 [The Early Days – the Founding of JCCV, page 5]. Over the next several years, and not really ending until the beginning of 2010, I became immersed in the affairs of the club. I never served as president, but at one time or another I did virtually everything else. Let’s see… I was the secretary, the treasurer, the newsletter editor, the organizer of many prowls, arranged for many of the speakers at meetings, did all of the organization and most of the work to put on Jaguars on the Island, managed the acquisition and sales of club regalia, and a lot of other things that just seemed to need doing, and all this at the same time. It was a huge amount of work, and luckily I had both the time and the inclination to do it. There were many times in those early years that the survival of the club seemed to hang by a thread. Certainly there was some conflict, some significant differences of opinion amongst the founders as to the direction the club should take, but we muddled along and the continued efforts of a very few kept things going.
With some notable exceptions, it took a long while for members who came along later to step up and contribute their time and efforts. This is a problem in all volunteer driven organizations, but it was especially acute in the first few years. Looking back, I think that the club had needed to mature to the point where there was a greater level of comfort for new members and a feeling of belonging. I knew the club was at that point when I no longer personally knew every member and what Jaguars they owned.
Today, I participate only occasionally, and many members have no idea of the early days of the club and the parts I played in it, and that is a good thing. Organizations like our club have to change and adapt according to the wishes of those who take part, and it’s gratifying to see the club thriving into its second decade. Here’s to many more years of JCCV!