Winchester Royals Board Meeting
Tuesday, March 14, 2023 – 6:30 PM
Henkel Hall, Shenandoah University
Board Members in Attendance: Nate Crandell, Meghan Ford, Kaylie Potter, Mitch Rode, Trae Vickers, Chantal Aeschbach-Powell, Nathan Stalvey, Mike Smith, Scott Jenkins, Joe Harman
Guests in Attendance: Wyatt Potter, Lia Poole, Kristin Klutz
Mitch Rode called meeting to order at 6:34 PM. He welcomed everyone and asked for everyone to sign in.
First item on the Agenda is to review February Meeting Minutes. Mitch asks for questions, comments, concerns, amendments, subtractions, etc. Meghan Ford motions to approve February Meeting Minutes, Joe Harman seconds, all in favor, motion carries.
Meghan shares that there’s money coming in now with sponsorships. She reviews the Finance Report, Balance Sheet, and Profit & Loss Statement.
Mitch confirms that future payments and reimbursements can be paid online with in-person confirmation.
Joe states that the Transportation Committee will figure out how to relinquish the bus and what needs to happen with it so we don’t keep needing to pay taxes on it.
Meghan mentions that we need to get with Roy from Zephyr – the invoice looks like we only paid for half of our hats.
Mitch welcomes any questions for Meghan.
In regards to the payment owed to Mitch on his credit card that he used to pay for uniforms, it’s due this week and he will pay it. The Royals can pay him back via check. He would like to be paid sooner than later, but does not want to empty the Royals Checking Account for that to get done. He’d like to wait until the Royals accounts are closer to $12k-$14k.
Meghan questions if we should vote on repayment or if there should be a specific amount we have in the Royals accounts for that to happen. Mitch reminds that we’ve approved the payment, let’s write the check when the Royals organization has a cushion of funds.
Two returning Host Families came to the information session and are going to house again. Fifteen Host Families have been secured and a couple have said they’re not interested this year. The Housing Committee is continuing to work on it and spread the word.
Mitch asks if there’s any specific way we can help spread the word?
Chantal Aeschbach-Powell suggests sharing information in online neighborhood groups or further communities. Kristin Klutz shared the Host Family link on the Winchester Baseball page – thinking to have something about being a Host Family advertised during Winchester Baseball Opening Day on April 1st. Mike Smith asks how many host families we are trying to lock down, as some players have told him they don’t want to be separated from their buddies. Chantal ensures that the Housing Committee will try their best to keep friends together.
Wyatt Potter asks if we have “Home of a Winchester Royal” stakes/flags like families do with schools and Nate confirms that we do. Mitch shares that the Royals have dabbled with those in the past.
Chantal answers Mike’s previous question, stating that the Housing Committee is looking to have 40 families if possible. 5 local players are housed with their families.
Nathan Stalvey recommends sharing information about hosting players on the Clarke County Facebook Page because it’s incredibly active. Nate reminds that we don’t want to get too far away. Lia Poole will work on posting something through the Royals social media as well.
Meghan asks if the Housing Committee wants to do another information session. Chantal says yes and Laura White would be willing to host that. She also shares the reminder to keep the link to website for Host Families on Royals Host Family post(s).
Scott Jenkins suggests connecting with local PTOs and setting up a booth/table at local baseball games.
Mitch asks for any further questions regarding Housing. Meghan asks how late we were still placing players in homes last year and multiple Board Members answer that we were still placing players while going into the season.
Kaylie Potter asks if there were there specific reasons that people don’t want to host.
Trae Vickers explains that the reasonings were nothing player-wise, but more based on how they felt about the Royals organization as a whole. The Housing Committee encouraged and shared that the Board has made a change this year and what we’re working on. It seems that some people may want to take a year to see what happens.
Mitch shares the thought that without speaking ill of previous Boards, we’re seeing reactions from our Royals community to previous Boards and it may take a bit to regain that trust and community.
Joe shares that there’s bad news and worse news. We still have an offer from Varsity Travel for $30,000 and some other leads were upwards of $40,000. A Goff from Ruckersville, VA is working with the Harrisonburg Turks and some other teams. This company would charge per trip and it would be upwards of $40,000 as well. The Owner of A Goff would like to sell us a bus, a 15 passenger motor coach. He has 2 and the cheaper one is about $18,000. He wouldn’t provide Joe with an exact year or mileage. Logistically, it would take a lot to make this happen (CDL licensing, parking title, insurance, taxes). The Owner of A Goff said if we went this route, we could bring the bus back at the end of the season for a percentage.
The Transportation Committee is also looking at Classy Cowboy Chauffeur. Chantal shared that Owner and CEO, Jason Powell is looking at insurance and pricing. He’s not wanting a one-year deal. Joseph Powell provided our schedule and inquired if we can solidify an agreement for $20,000.
Scott asks if we’ve asked Varsity about a multi-year deal. Joe answers that the Transportation Committee has not, but can.
Mitch and Scott both see benefit in perhaps working with Classy Cowboy Chauffeur for shorter trips and Varsity for longer trips. However, we could still look at multi-year deals.
Mitch shares that the Valley Baseball League (VBL) is still looking at splitting the league into divisions again in the future.
Meghan questions how much a bus costs. Mitch was looking at auctions and trying to bid on buses when they were at $8,000. Meghan wonders if it makes sense to continue entering into contracts at $30,000 if we’re able to purchase around there. Several Board Members share the thought that we should keep in mind that there’s other additional expenses with owning a bus. Nathan reminds that in order for us to purchase a bus that will be what we need, it will probably exceed the pricing of contracts. Mitch reiterates that utilizing Varsity for longer trips and Classy Cowboy Chauffeur for shorter trips may work budget-wise.
Nate shared via email last week that he would be keen on chairing the Marketing & Branding committee.
Mitch suggests populating committees quickly and asks for volunteers to serve on Finance Committee with Meghan. Nathan and Mitch volunteer.
Mitch appoints Nate as Chair of the Marketing & Branding Committee and asks for other volunteers. Nate mentions Chantal, Meghan, and Lia. Chantal shares that this Committee would piggyback off of the Sponsorship Committee for her, and Meghan shares that the same thing would happen for her with the Finance Committee.
Mitch notes that the Housing Committee is pretty set with Trae Vickers as Chair and Chantal and Kristen as supporting volunteers.
Mitch notes that the Sponsorship Committee holds Chantal as Chair with Nate, Kristin, and Kaylie as supporting volunteers.
Mitch appoints Brian Burke as Chair of the Operations Committee and asks if anyone else interested. Joe and Nate volunteer.
Mitch notes we will probably receive assistance from Bill Kerns too. Scott offers to assist where needed as well.
Mitch asks if anyone is interested in serving as Chair for the Nominations Committee. Nathan volunteers. Mitch asks if anyone else is interested in serving on this Committee? Nate volunteers and Meghan offers to serve as a third volunteer.
Marketing & Branding
Nate explains that the main focus has been the website, with Google & Facebook being the two biggest drivers to the website. He shares that Lia has been doing a great job on social media, and there’s been good feedback on both the website and social media. Kyle Gutshaw from Strasburg reached out to see who created the Royals overlays for the livestream. The Marketing & Branding Committee is looking to share more content as we grow closer to the season.
Nate says any Monday or Wednesday in June or July works for Library Days. The Clarke County Library has asked us to come back, but Library Days there did not turn out in the past. Nate suggests focusing on Handley and Bowman Libraries that have been more successful.
Nate shares that this Committee is trying to set up Chester being back in the Apple Blossom parades. He says we need volunteers to be Chester – would like to get Chester out to sponsors before the season starts. Chester can wear Royals colors for now until jerseys come in.
Nate spoke with the Chamber about the possibility of broadcasting the games. He would like to figure out the livestream – Facebook kicks out due to monetization, but we could look into YouTube. Chantal adds that a bonus for YouTube is we would then have a Winchester Royals YouTube channel and there’s more room for opportunities with a channel. Nate would like to use YouTube – viewers don’t need an account to watch and we don’t need to worry about monetization. He also thinks we could find more ways for sponsorships with banner ads and such. Mitch agrees that this is worth looking into.
Nate wants to talk with Janet Michaels about getting back on air with her. He also mentions supporting our sponsors how we can sharing our approved logos with them so they can use those for their own marketing purposes as well.
Mitch asks for questions, concerns, etc.
Meghan doesn’t feel we should cut out the Clarke County Library. We have current Board Members from Clarke County and we could try to market better. Nathan agrees that we could try something different and things have changed at the Clarke County Library that may work better now too.
Nate, Meghan, and Kaylie explain how Library Days operated in the past along with the pros and cons.
Nathan shares there’s a new Library Director at the Clarke County Library and feels Library Days there are worth a conversation.
Nate is willing to go to all 3 locations for Library Days and scheduling that if the Board feels it’s worth it. Lia shares that she made a connection lately with Book It that could be helpful.
Mitch welcomes any questions, concerns, additional comments, etc. for Marketing & Branding.
Chantal shares that we have $22,750 in sponsorships with $15,500 in Game Sponsors and the remaining $7,250 in Banners and Other Sponsorships. There are 9 games left to have sponsored. Chantal and Nate met with the Chamber to look into working together to provide opportunities for previous sponsors. Many previous sponsors that Chantal has contacted haven’t bitten because they aren’t seeing their old deal, but she’s offering other options that fit in their budget. Chantal and Nate feel good about the meeting with the Chamber. Nate also set up each Board Member with the Chamber, meaning they can attend any Chamber Event to connect and network – may lead to sponsorships or other help.
Mitch asks to save a Banner Sponsorship spot – the VBL is buying a space at each team’s location. He welcomes additional questions, comments, concerns, etc. for the Sponsorship Committee.
Mitch shares that this topic was requested to be on the Agenda for this meeting and asks if anybody has any comments they’d like to make.
Nate mentions that his understanding is that the Concession Manager is responsible for the menu, but he’s not sure if that’s changed or not.
Meghan asks if there’s any feedback we want to provide Caitlyn Brown, the Concession Manager. We’ve gone through changes with gum, shells, etc. Meghan mentions pizza slices comes up a lot, but knows it can be hard to make possible. Nate says the most feasible thing is making pizza a special item that we market leading up to the game when we’ll have it. Pizza cannot be controlled like hamburgers, hotdogs, etc. can. Meghan thinks this is a good idea. Kristin shares that her son’s school has used a Google Doc to take a poll from people planning on having pizza at events so the school knew how much to order. Kaylie feels having pizza as a special for a night at least once is a good idea because we’re showing that we’re making an effort to hear out our community. Mitch states that there are 4 Friday night games and 4 Saturday night games – why not try to have 4 pizza nights and market those? Several Board Members agree and mention that Fridays are a pizza night in many households anyway. We can use the first night to gauge how much should be ordered for the remaining nights.
Mitch asks if there’s anything else relative to concessions and thinks Friday night pizza night is a good idea.
Chantal asks if shelled items the only thing that cannot be on the menu? Nate explains that the only reason gum was taken from the menu was due to a previous Board Member that stepped in gum. Mitch clarifies that gum is not allowed on the field, but does not believe there’s an issue elsewhere.
Meghan shares that in regards to concessions, she probably just needs to meet with Caitlyn to discuss documenting her hours and payments. Chantal mentions that there are services will deliver items to you. Nate says Schenck’s will deliver if you let them know ahead of time, but here has been an issue with paying them on time in the past.
Mitch asks for any other comments relative to concessions.
Scott notes that she understands concessions a hard job and doesn’t want to step on toes, but wonders if there is a way to have more condiments for items. Nate explains that there’s not a space for those. Scott offers to provide an extra fridge he has, but Nate says there’s no space inside the Concession Stand for it. Chantal suggests putting condiments/toppings in ziploc baggies and providing that to the consumer. The Board agrees that this is a question geared more for the Concession Stand Manager. Nate could see us being able to add in chili and cheese sooner than produce. Mitch suggests in addition to telling Caitlyn we want to do Friday Night Pizza Night, letting her know we want to use Saturdays for special menu items too.
Mitch covers that the remaining Old Business item we have for discussion is Wyatt Potter’s offer with his business, the Shenandoah Valley Baseball Ranch (SVBR). Wyatt explains that SVBR is local and wants to partner with the Royals to allow the players to come into the facility and use the weights for baseball specific things and training programs they may have from their college programs. He reminds that the weight area is not large enough to discontinue with Warrior Fitness. The facility will be offered to players in the morning to mid-afternoon so they may train before they have to be at Kevin Anderson Field or meet the bus. SVBR would like to purchase a Banner Sponsorship and hang a Winchester Royals flag in their facility as well.
Nathan shares he has a couple of questions, first being what the expense of this partnership would be. Wyatt says the total expense would be $750 for the full summer. Nathan asks if this can this be used as a recruiting tool – Wyatt shares that this cam absolutely be used as a recruiting tool and in addition, an Assistant Coach with Shenandoah University has offered to come to Kevin Anderson Field and run the TrackMan System for players so they can share out their stats too. Scott voices that his only concerns are the size of the facility and if there are time constraints. Kaylie notes that maybe the space constraint won’t be as much of a concern due to the time range that Wyatt is offering to be in there and the variety of spaces for the players to use (2 nets, weight area, open space, etc.). Wyatt shares that the most amount of players in facility at one time last year was maybe 10.
Nathan asks what discussion the Board needs to have – Mitch answers that expenditures will need to be discussed and confirms the cost with Wyatt.
Chantal makes motion to approve this proposal, Nathan seconds the $750 expenditure.
Scott makes a subordinate motion to table until other Coaching Staff is present. Wyatt adds that we can continue to discuss his proposal and a decision does not need to be made right now. Trae seconds tabling further discussion until all Coaches not present can be involved. Mitch mentions we can have further discussion online and share a query, but not vote until the next monthly meeting. All in favor, motion carries.
*Kaylie Potter abstains from this vote per Conflict of Interest*
Mike shares that he just signed a local player from Millbrook and is currently talking to another player – these players should 2 be additions to the roster. We have good players and the Coaching Staff is keeping track of the players anytime they play – it’s looking good.
Nate asks Mike to share with him where these new players are playing when he has a moment so Nate can add it to the roster because this information is not on Pointstreak. Mike will do that.
Chantal asks Mike for player email addresses so she can share the payment link out to them. Mike will do that too.
Mike adds that hats, sweatshirts, and game pants are in. Batting practice shirts, shorts, and backpacks/travel bags need to be ordered. We are pretty much covered once those orders arrive.
Mitch welcomes any other questions for Mike.
Mitch spoke with Amanda and metal spikes are still not allowed anywhere. Nate asks when we think the Contract will be signed and finalize, as he wants to finalize plans for baseball camps. Mitch is planning to sign the Contract and share it back to Amanda in the next day or two. Other questions that arose last meeting have been clarified and are non-issues or resolved. With those in mind, we did not actually vote on accepting the Shenandoah University Contract last meeting.
Joe moves to adopt the Contract from Shenandoah University to rent Kevin Anderson Field for the 2023 season, Scott seconds, all in favor, motion carries.
Joe moves to name Karen Shipp, Jim Shipp, and Betty Phillips to the Board of Directors as Directors Emeritus, Meghan seconds.
Multiple current Board Members share that they are unsure of the of the benefit of this aside from the memories. There is also hesitation because while there’s an understanding that there’s importance in preserving history, multiple parties feel that the Royals organization has lost support as a whole due to the actions of the specified former Board Members.
Nathan shares that as someone that grew involvement with the Royals at the end of the experience with the mentioned former Board Members, he feels this is a discussion to be tabled for another time or look at another way to honor them. He suggests looking into providing a different, but similar distinction. Chantal also feels this is a good idea.
Meghan reminds that we looked at recognizing Karen, Jim, and Betty at the beginning of this season and asks if this new idea is a discussion that Joe has had with them. Joe shares he has not had a discussion with them regarding this topic. He knows that these particular former Board Members were at every game for many years – he feels that level of dedication is hard to come by and they deserve the honor of being Directors Emeritus and it’s the right thing to do.
The Board expresses thoughts and concerns with the presented motion and discusses several avenues as to how to appropriately recognize the specifically mentioned former Board Members for their time and service with the Royals.
Nathan suggests that a “Laureate” title could be more appropriate.
Nate motions to table this topic until the next meeting, Nathan seconds, all in favor, motion passes.
Mitch reminds Board Members to feel free to make discussion and share descriptions online.
Nate asks if there is a Royals Hall of Fame of any sort and Mitch answers that this does not exist at the moment, but the VBL is restructuring theirs. Nate feels it could be beneficial to establish a Royals Hall of Fame and enter Karen, Jim, and Betty as the first to be there. Mitch likes this idea and shares that he’s also thought to make them Charter Members. This would give these 3 initial Charter Members plus anyone else we choose to the Royals Hall of Fame the ability form a committee to nominate others to be entered.
Mitch makes a motion to adjourn, Meghan seconds, all in favor, motion passes.
Meeting adjourned by Mitch Rode (President) at 8:44 PM.
Next meeting will be on Tuesday, April 11, 2023 (second Tuesday of the month) in Henkel Hall.