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Sailing Between The Clearwater And The October Fund Drive

I recently sailed on the Sloop Clearwater for the first time. It was all thanks to the Osborne Foundation, who generously donated the sail to WAMC so fast-pledging listeners could sail. From my perspective as the Fund Drive Manager, it was the official wrap-up of the June Fund Drive. But for me personally, it was a privilege. A privilege made all the better from lousy weather.

The constant pelting rain wasn’t a nautical danger, but it did discourage about half of us from coming. Understandable, but unfortunate. Because for those of us who gathered at the dock that day, it was an adventure. After voting unanimously to sail in the rain, sail we did. And wouldn’t you know, as soon as we pushed off the dock, the rain stopped! I drained the lake of water that had gathered in my hat’s brim and turned my face to the wind.

We hoisted the main sail in unison and traversed the mighty Hudson a few hundred feet and back, chatting and singing with the Clearwater’s international crew. This is a song by the Clearwater’s resident educator, Jacinda Early, inspired by her experiences aboard.

This beautiful experience that had gathered some fascinating people together for a single purpose, struck me as a metaphor for WAMC. It’s the station’s supporters who keep us afloat. Whether you’re donating wares from your business or pledging during a fund drive, you have this one thing in common. WAMC would be like a ship without a crew, and going nowhere fast, without the people who pitch in to help.

And what fascinating, engaged, and interesting people WAMC listeners are! I chatted with Nicola that day on the Clearwater, about her career as an editor in England. I talked to Jeanne and her son Nathan that day, too, about their town’s lawnmower races and what antics their cats have been up to since I saw them last. Some of these folks have been volunteering at WAMC for years, sharing a love of public radio and sometimes nothing else. So I’m looking forward to October Monday at 6 a.m., when we’ll join together to keep WAMC sailing ahead.

I would never know so many generous, thoughtful, kind people as I’ve met through WAMC. And I would never have been on the Clearwater that Saturday, in the rain, with Wanda Fischer and Sarah LaDuke, the genial Clearwater crew, and the very heartiest - and soggiest - WAMC supporters.

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