As with so many other things at U.Y.C., it is a privilege to have been asked to participate in the writing of this history.  As I read what my friends John Raine and John Farmer have written before me, I am reminded of what a unique and special Club we have; and, I note that the challenge for me will be to write truly, because if I don't everyone in the Club will know it, given my current time frame, unlike my friends who enjoy writing from the shelter of a more historical perspective.  Excluding this introduction, I have chosen to write my portion in the third person, more or less.  Additionally, rather than follow a strict chronological order, I will render my account by subject matter and in summary form.  Having said all of this, I hereby submit (and with apologies to literary critics) the following as my humble contribution to the Official University Yacht Club History.


                        U.Y.C. is first of all a Yacht Club.  The common tie that binds all of its members together is their love for boats and boating.  It is also, however, very much a social organization.  During the eighties and early nineties, the Clubs entertainment and social calendar has undergone an incredible expansion.

                        For example: for many years the social format of the Club consisted primarily of four major functions, to wit: Deep Freeze Party (in February), Annual Club Opening (April), Fourth of July weekend and Labor Day weekend.  At the present time, in addition to those four traditional functions, the Club has added another ten to twelve functions, most of which have become "annual" and "traditional"; so that the club now has a major function at least once a month. The 1992 "Entertainment Schedule" as published in the Club Roster well demonstrates the number and nature of these functions.

                        Giving credit where credit is due, it should be noted that this expansion of the social calendar began approximately in 1980 when then Entertainment Committee Chairman Frances "Bud" Kelsey and his successor in office Don Fairchild began to add such things as a Pig Roast, Square Dance, and the annual Vagabonds Marionette Christmas Party.

                        In keeping with the club's character as a "family organization," children of all ages are welcome at almost all of the social functions.  That's not to say that the members don't enjoy an occasional "adult only" cocktail party -- they do; and they enjoy it very much!  Most of the social functions are such that everyone in the family is welcome.

                        As another example of how the Club's entertainment and social functions have expanded, it should be noted that prior to Bud Kelsey's administration as Entertainment Committee Chairman the committee typically consisted of a Chairman and one or two members at the most.  At the present time, since Paul Ebbs became Chairman, the Entertainment Committee is the Club's largest standing committee.  Again referring to the Club's 1992 Roster, there are forty-nine members listed on that committee.  The Entertainment Committee has become the primary area where new members could "get involved" in a hurry and with a lot of fun.

                        In addition to Sunday buffets on Easter and Mother's Day, the Club has also added a St. Patrick's Day Party, Rotating Dock Party, Octoberfest and Halloween Party, Fall Leaf Cruise, New Year's Eve Party, and other similarly festive functions.


                        U.Y.C. completed construction of its "new" clubhouse in 1978.  It was not long thereafter, however, that it became apparent that something more would be needed.  As originally designed, approximately 2/3 of the floor space towards the northern end was allocated for seated dining, with the other 1/3 of the space toward the southern end being divided off for a bar and cocktail area.  This design layout quickly proved to be a severe limitation when the club had larger social functions.  Additionally, the kitchen and food service portion of the clubhouse facility as originally designed were very limited in terms of space and capacity.

                        Over the past ten years, the clubhouse has undergone two substantial renovations and a major redecoration; as well as two additions to the kitchen and food service area.  Most recently, the closing in of the porch on three sides of the building has given the clubhouse approximately twice the seating capacity it originally had, with food service equipment and capacity equal to if not greater than the seating capacity.  Under the watchful eye of Commodore Buddy Browne, it was beautifully redecorated.

                        Members and friends who generously donated their services and expertise throughout these various expansions, and to whom credit should be given, includes John Vaught, Roger Dodson and Jack Frye for architectural services, Bob Smith for interior design work, Kelly Yarbrough for interior decorating, and Andy Sparks and Dal Rasmussen for their help with the kitchen and food service area.

                        Another change that should be noted: In the late seventies and early eighties, the Club had food service six or seven days a week.  Currently the Club's restaurant operates only on weekends; but this is considered much more cost efficient and additionally, the menu has expanded from "short order" items such as hamburgers, french fries, hot-dogs, etc. to a full and complete gourmet style menu.

                        U.Y.C.  has for the past several years extended reciprocal dining privileges to other private clubs on the lake.  Most particularly, U.Y.C. encourages and solicits Atlanta Athletic Yacht Club members to come over and enjoy the U.Y.C. facilities during the winter months when their club does not operate its food service.

                        U.Y.C. now also has a "resident" chef who can actually live on the premises in a very nice A-Frame type chalet house built in 1991 for that purpose.  The chef has direct responsibility for all food service operations, including purchasing and supervision of a four to six person staff; and he reports directly to the Club Manager.


                        The old A-Frame clubhouse located on the point burned to the ground in February 1977; and as a result club members were left without a place for gathering, meetings and food service.  The only other facility available at the time was the old beach house, located on the shore of the north cove, which at the time was a very modest and somewhat run down building, consisting primarily of restrooms and a place to shower and change clothes in conjunction with swimming in the lake.

                        After the fire, this old beach house became an interim clubhouse.  It was cold that winter, so an old-fashioned potbelly type stove was installed with its flu extending through a hole in the roof.  The food service equipment including grills and refrigeration were set up, literally in the restrooms. For about a year, members met, socialized and dined in the old beach house.  It was crowded and cold but it was all that was available and the members enjoyed it.

                        When construction of the new clubhouse was completed in 1978, the beach house once again reverted to its former use but not for long.

                        In 1987 the decision was made to renovate the beach house and make a larger, cleaner and better facility out of it.  Rooms were expanded, modern plumbing and drainage was installed and thermapane storm windows and doors were added.  Also the exterior was painted and redesigned with a new roof and siding to conform to profiles of the clubhouse and the gazebo to create a very attractive facility when viewed from the water.  At about the same time, the beautiful cedar deck was installed overlooking the lake.

                        Today the beach house represents a much larger and more attractive multi-purpose facility.  Monthly board meetings are held there, as are other meetings.  On many occasions when weather permits, cocktail parties and meals are enjoyed on the deck.


                        Beginning in the early eighties, U.Y.C. adopted as part of its official long-range policy the priority of dock construction and maintenance.  Prior to that time, all of the clubs docks were relatively old, having been built in the fifties.  Because of their age, they have presented a continuing and ongoing maintenance expense.  Also, with the increased need for additional dock space, it became apparent during the eighties that a better and more efficient configuration of docks relative to the shoreline was possible and desirable which would maximize available space on the water to accommodate more vessels.

                        Over the past seven years, and under the guidance of Club Manager Howard Giddens, U.Y.C. has embarked upon a long-range project whereby old docks have been systematically replaced/rebuilt on a prioritized basis depending upon condition and need.  These docks are being built "in house" at a substantial savings to the Club as compared to having an independent contractor build them.  They are being constructed with modern, more lightweight materials, and more sophisticated floatation.  Also, "dead men" are replacing the older pole type moorings.

                        Of particular note is K Dock, which was completed in 1988 under the guidance of Commodore Chuck Murphy.  This was the first major dock building project undertaken by club personnel.  K Dock was patterned after docks that the Atlanta Athletic Yacht Club had, with long, wide slips and a very high roof, to accommodate larger cruisers and houseboats.  K Dock may be the largest (and finest) dock of its kind on the lake.  In addition to improved structural members, roofing materials and floatation, K Dock also has the finest in utility (electricity and water) placement.

                        In 1991 U.Y.C. completed another houseboat/large cruiser dock, F Dock, which while not having as many slips as K Dock, is every bit its equal in terms of quality, materials and workmanship.  In 1992 U.Y.C. completed yet another large boat dock, G Dock, which is also first class in every way.

                        U.Y.C. still has a considerable number of the older docks with their massive I-Beam structural members and bare Styrofoam or steel canister floatation.  Eventually, however, the Club hopes to replace all of these with docks that are newer and better and more efficiently placed.  It hopes to continue to do it with in-house labor.


                        Church services on Sunday mornings during the summer months have been a part of U.Y.C. activities since it’s beginning.  There have been very few Sundays between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend over the last thirty years when there was not a group meeting somewhere on the premises on Sunday morning for fellowship and worship service.

                        During the eighties these services developed into a fairly consistent format, consisting of hymn singing, scripture or other inspirational readings, and a sermon or other "message" from a volunteer member or visiting minister.

                        In the mid seventies, the Rev. Frank Bulloch, retired associate priest at St. Phillip Cathedral in Atlanta, began to assume the unofficial role of Chaplin for the Sunday morning services.  Frank's genial ways and spiritual presence quickly endeared him to everyone, and he was repeatedly asked to conduct services, which he generously did.  This relationship between Frank and the Club continued to develop, and in approximately 1977 Frank was made the official "Club Chaplin."  During the eighties and into the early nineties Frank's presence has been seen and felt not only at the Sunday morning church services during the summer, but also in times of grief and in joy, when he has officiated at funerals, weddings, christenings and other similar functions.

                        During the eighties, a tradition has also developed at U.Y.C. whereby Commodore Browne would ask his own personal church minister to serve as Assistant Chaplin for the year of his administration.  This has worked out very nicely, and has given U.Y.C. additional spiritual guidance and support for its church services.

                        Notwithstanding, the Rev. Frank Bulloch continues to be U.Y.C.'s Fleet Chaplin, and his presence and the high regard in which he is held by all members were evidenced and celebrated in 1991 with the completion of the new and beautiful Bulloch Chapel.  This structure was erected on an outstanding promontory overlooking the clubhouse with a beautiful view of Lake Lanier down Big Creek.  It has expanded seating capacity, altars and pulpits; and is a wonderful place to conduct worship services.  Upon completion, U.Y.C. members immediately began using the Chapel for personal and family functions such as weddings; and it is anticipated that this will continue and become a tradition at U.Y.C.

                        The idea for the Chapel was conceived by member Sam Robinson; and it was almost exclusively due to Sam's energy and organizational efforts that this worthwhile project was begun and completed.  It should also be noted that member Jack Frye, architect, provided the architectural design services.  The Chapel was financed exclusively by donations from approximately 60% of U.Y.C. Club membership.

                        The Bulloch Chapel has become as much a part of the U.Y.C. facilities and functions as the Clubhouse, Beach house and the docks; and it will continue to enjoy prominence in the future.


                        Tornadoes are not strangers to Atlanta and environs; there have been several over the years.  However, only one has qualified, as "The Tornado" at U.Y.C. and this history would not be complete without mentioning it.

                        It happened on the afternoon of April 4, 1989.  It was a weekday and very few members were present at the Club.  Club Manager Howard Giddens was in his office, and most of the other club staff was around.  At approximately 3:30pm a fairly substantial commotion was detected in the south cove, specifically high winds and attendant loud noise coming up the cove from the Southwest, straight toward the brand new K-Dock that extended considerably out into the south cove.  No one ever really saw a funnel or heard the "freight train;" but those who were there say that when it reached K Dock it lifted the dock out of the water and the only thing that kept it from flipping over and blowing away was the weight of the many boats tied up in the slips.  In a matter of seconds, the western side of K Dock was lifted approximately twelve feet off the water, the roof was peeled back like a banana skin; and then the whole thing came crashing back down on the water.  Debris was everywhere and several boats had instantly sustained serious damage.  The dock was in shambles.  Locker boxes were seen on the roof and on the shoreline.  Electrical wiring was torn loose.  In general, it was a big mess!  There was little that the club staff could do at the time other than to watch in horror.  In less than a minute, it was all over.  Not knowing what else to do, Howard and his wife Eleanor immediately got on the telephone and started calling members at their office and homes to tell them that they needed to come up and check their boats.

                        That night members could be seen standing around in amazement trying to figure out how to get to their boats.  The walkway to the dock had been ripped out and the only way to get over to the boats was by another boat.  Several members provided ferry service late into the night for as long as there were other members who wanted to go and come.

                        The task of repairing the dock began immediately.  Rainwater Construction Co. was engaged to begin assessment of the damage and repair, and club member and owner Cecil Rainwater and his wife Sally were on the premises that next day with their crew overseeing the operation.  Members' boats were quickly and carefully moved to another location as the work progressed so that they would not be in the way or suffer further damage.  Also, the task of documenting and photographing for insurance purposes was undertaken.  It took approximately six weeks but by mid-May--K Dock was rebuilt and members' boats were back in place.

                        In a historical perspective, the tornado was a relatively minor inconvenience; but at the time it seemed like a major disaster.


                        Lake Lanier is one of the really beautiful lakes anywhere in the country.  Thanks largely to the constant flow of water from the northern end to the southern end generated by the Chattahoochee River and the numerous other smaller rivers, streams and creeks that feed into it.  It is also one of the cleanest, in spite of heavy boat traffic and substantial shoreline developments.  There are very few places where one would not readily jump in for a swim.  U.Y.C. members enjoy this great facility on a year round basis.

                        However, off-lake cruises have long been a tradition for U.Y.C. members; and in the past ten years this activity has been enjoyed even more than before.

                        An off-lake cruise consists of a group of interested members selecting some other body of water on which they would like to go boating and then organizing and carrying out a trip for that purpose.  The motivations are strong.  These are great social functions where friends can spend several days together enjoying their common hobby in a beautiful and different environment.  There is the challenge of testing and improving one's boating and navigational skills, as well as the challenge of logistical problems associated with getting boats and people from one place to another and back home safely.  To many U.Y.C. members, the off-lake cruises have proved to be the most satisfying of their boating experiences.

                        Typically, the location in question is chosen based on its geographical proximity, the scenery and new and different waters, the availability of lodging and dockage, as well as the number and quality of local restaurants.  Once the location is selected, the group will make reservations at a local motel or hotel, trailer their boats in and launch at a local marina or public ramp, and then spend a long weekend or even a week or more cruising the local water and sightseeing during the day, while enjoying the hospitality and ambiance of the local area during the evenings.  These are always "family" trips with many young people along.

                        Trailer-boaters are certainly in the forefront of off-lake cruising; but U.Y.C. has also had off-lake cruises where one or more members chartered vessels locally.

                        In the early years of the Club, most of the off-lake boating was done on the Tennessee River system.  In the last fifteen years, U.Y.C. off-lake cruises have included in addition to the many Tennessee river trips, the following: Lake Hartwell and Clark Hill; the St. Johns River north and south from Welaka, the St. Petersburg/Tampa Bay area; the Intercoastal Waterway from Charleston north to Georgetown, South Carolina; the Intercoastal Waterway from Buford, South Carolina south to Hilton Head and Savannah; the Florida Keys; the Suwannee River and the Gulf of Mexico to Cedar Key, Florida; the St. Mary's River and Intercoastal Waterway, Cumberland Island, Fernandina area; the Chattahoochee River from Eufala, Alabama to Apalachicola, Florida and Westerly to the Panama City area; Pensacola, Florida and Mobile Bay, Alabama; The "New" Tom Bigbie Waterway from its confluence with the Tennessee River south to Mobile Bay; the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay and the Bahamas from the east coast of Florida around to Marsh Harbor via the "northern" route over the Lesser Bahamas Banks.


                        Over the years if a new member was interested in being involved in U.Y.C. Club management, he or she would become active on one or more committees and would eventually have the opportunity to serve on the Board of Governors or as a Committee Chair.  If their interest continues, the flag ranks of Rear Commodore, Vice Commodore and even Commodore are available.

                        Moving up through the ranks in this fashion is a rewarding experience, as many can attest; particularly those who "go all the way" and enjoy the prestige and bear the responsibility of the club's highest office, that of "Commodore."

                        Once a member has served as Commodore, he is afforded the continuing privilege of status as an ex-officio member of the Board of Governors, and while he is not allowed to vote, he can make and second motions and voice opinions regarding pending matters.

                        There has thus grown-up over the years a cadre of faithful and loyal former Commodores who are generally referred to by the membership as "Past Commodores" but in some circles are often also referred to as "the old farts."

                        These past commodores have over the years provided an invaluable service to the Club and to the current Officers, Governors and Committee Chairs, providing knowledge, experience and guidance.

                        Beginning in the early eighties, Past Commodore George Kennedy and several others conceived of and organized the idea of having a Past Commodores Party.  Originally it was a Christmas Party held in December, usually at one of the in-town clubs such as Piedmont Driving Club or Cherokee Town and Country Club.  The Past Commodores Party is not an official club function, nor is it financed or otherwise aided or abetted by U.Y.C. management or resources.  It has, however, become a regular part of the U.Y.C. social scene and a wonderful and traditional function enjoyed by all Past Commodores and their spouses.

                        In more recent years, the decision has been made to move the party to January because of problems competing for time and space around Christmas.  The Past Commodores Party continues to be a gala function.  As an aside and a bit of frivolity, it has become an opportunity to initiate the most recent "ex-commodore," thereby elevating him to the exalted position of Past Commodore.


                        U.Y.C. membership has traditionally included many individuals from the business, professional and financial communities.  The Club has, therefore, been operated on a sound financial basis.  Revenues have come primarily from dues and dockage, and over the years a great deal of services and materials have been donated by members.  However, members like Past Commodore Andy Andrews will quickly tell you that there were times when it was not as sound as others.

                        Beginning in 1980, financial matters began to undergo substantial improvement under the leadership of then Finance Committee Chairman John Fish, ably assisted by Treasurer Jerry LeCroy.  John and Jerry brought discipline and general accounting procedures into play at the Club; and as a result of their hard work and efforts, U.Y.C. today stands on a very firm financial foundation.  The Club annually undergoes a very elaborate and detailed budget process taking into account all anticipated revenues and expenditures.  Appropriate departmental accounting is conducted, and adequate reserves are maintained, depreciation is properly booked; and tight controls including independent audit are in place.

                        Members can be comfortable with and proud of the stewardship that is brought to bear on the club's resources and facilities by the officers and governors.

                        Of course, a part of any sound financial plan has entailed maintaining adequate levels of revenue including dues, dockage and initiation fees.  It is interesting that in the late seventies, the initiation fee for active membership was at $540.00.  Over the years, this has increased substantially.  In 1992, the initiation fee for active membership reached $7,500.00.  Monthly dues and dockage have also increased over the years, although not nearly so dramatically as the initiation fee.  Operating a club like U.Y.C. with its many physical facilities, services and expanded staff does not come cheap.  No resource is wasted or frivolously used, however; any member who is unhappy about any aspect of club financial matters will be encouraged to get involved in club management to do something about it.



                        It is an unfortunate fact, that in some circles boating is viewed as a frivolous if not down right degenerate activity.  To many people who do not know better, a day of boating "at the lake" consist of "sand, sunburn, booze and babes."  U.Y.C. members do not deny that some of that is evident on Lake Lanier.

                        However, U.Y.C. members have traditionally been serious in their approach to boating, placing great emphasis on safety and the competent and efficient operation of their vessels.  Boating is and can be a hazardous activity if approached carelessly; but at U.Y.C. this is not the case.  Virtually all of the skippers and their mates make it a point to know and understand all aspect of boating including marlinespike, mechanical, safety, rules of the road, aids to navigation and related matters, nautical and maritime history and lore, as well as offshore navigational skills from dead reckoning to celestial.

                        In recent years, almost all U.Y.C. members have taken and successfully passed one or more public education boating courses; including the US Power Squadron course and US Coast Guard Auxiliary Public Education courses.  Many U.Y.C. members remain active in those organizations and teach course themselves.  All of this plus an occasional visiting lecturer on subjects such as fire hazard safety, carbon monoxide and toxic fumes' hazards, CPR and first aid help make U.Y.C. members safe and competent boaters.


                        In the sixties it was not uncommon to have motor boat races at U.Y.C.  As the Club moved into the seventies and given the increased traffic on the lake as well as the increased power and speed of motorboats, motorboat racing was discontinued.  As a true "Yacht Club" and a reciprocating member of USYRU, U.Y.C. has always maintained a relatively high profile in the sailing community.

                        Prior to the mid eighties sailing activities at U.Y.C. were almost exclusively "open" functions, with interested sailors whether U.Y.C. members or not, being invited to participate.  Beginning in the mid eighties under the enthusiastic leadership of sailors such as Hal Christopher, John Weyand and Buck Kinsey, U. Y. C. has established and developed a substantial intra-club sailing calendar.  The 1992 club roster shows no less than eight intra-club races scheduled throughout the year.  These intra-club races have become a very popular and exciting pastime; and not just for sailors as they also afford power boaters an opportunity to participate in and enjoy sailing.



                        As of this writing, it appears that a great "new" tradition is developing at U.Y.C. in the form of the annual softball game played over the Fourth of July weekend between the power boaters and the sailors.  This is a great fun event enjoyed by everyone.  Those who do not play provide a cheer leading section, serve beer and perform other valuable services.

                        A casual observer might recognize this function as a softball game; but quite honestly, the rules are very lax.  There is a bat, a ball and four bases.  The object is to hit the ball and get around the bases.  However, depending upon how many show up, either team might field as many as fifteen to twenty players at a time.

                        Since its beginning in 1987 (sponsored by the Entertainment Committee), the softball game has been won by the power boaters most of the time.  It would appear that this is due more to the sheer number of players they field than it is to the quality of their softball skills.  It is very difficult for a batter to get on base when he is hitting into a fifteen or twenty man infield/outfield.  That may be changing, however, because in 1991, the sailors finally won a game; and won again in 1993.

                        In 1992, Past Commodore Bart Miller was appointed U.Y.C. Commissioner of Softball -- for life.


                        In the early years, U.Y.C. was primarily a weekend retreat for its members, almost all of whom lived in Atlanta.  As Atlanta grew, its population expanded, the demographics began to change.  Beginning in the late seventies and continuing through the eighties, more and more members have located their permanent residence in Gwinnett, Hall and Forsyth Counties; and a trend has developed whereby a significant number of members have purchased or built their permanent homes or second homes adjacent to or very close to the club.  The Club facilities are being used more, not just on weekends, but also throughout the entire week.


                        For historical purposes, some accounting of the Alexander Cemetery needs to be made.  While it would probably not be regarded as "recent history," it should be told somewhere, and this appears to be as good a place as any.

                        The crumbling remains of this old family cemetery are evident among the trees on the north side of A-Bed-We-Go Lane south of the club manager's house.  Interested members who take the time will find what at first glance appears to be an old stone BBQ pit; but which upon closer examination is in fact a family burial crypt surrounded by numerous weather worn headstones.

                        This portion of the U.Y.C. grounds was at one time the site of the William Alexander (1778-1852) plantation.  William Alexander came from Virginia through the Carolinas into Georgia searching for gold.  He fought in the war of 1812.  He and his wife Sara Alexander (1782-1851) had a plantation of approximately 650 acres at this site, which at one time was a part of Franklin County and subsequently became a part of Jackson County before it became Hall County.

                        William and Sara are buried in this cemetery with both burial sites being located under the large stone crypt that still stands.  John Black (1756-1825), a revolutionary war soldier and his wife Mary Black (1768-1840) are buried here.  William and Sara Alexander had four children, John, Sara, Temperence and Elizabeth.  John and Mary Black had a son, James.  James Black and Temperence Alexander were married and Mrs. Cornelia Cain of Flowery Branch, Georgia as well as Carolyn W. Bledsoe of Stone Mountain, Georgia and Mrs. Clarence Dodson of Plains, Georgia (the sources of our information) are direct descendants of these families.

                        Probate records in Hall County indicate that the stone to erect the crypt and gravesites were probably hauled from Gainesville.


                        Howard Giddens, along with his wife Eleanor, came on board as General Manager in 1980.  No account of the decade of the eighties and early nineties would be complete without mentioning the great contribution that they have made to U.Y.C.

                        Howard has served as general manager for over twelve years.  During that time, the club has undergone considerable growth and change.  Throughout it all, Howard has proved to be a great club manager.  His personal involvement is virtually every aspect of the club has made him a valuable asset; and his congenial disposition, personality, character and integrity have endeared him to all members.

                        Howard's contribution to U.Y.C. was recognized at the annual meeting in 1990 with a special presentation to Howard and Eleanor for their hard work and their many contributions over the years.

                        U.Y.C. has been a great place to be during the eighties.  A large part of the credit goes to Howard and Eleanor who have done their jobs so well.


                        There is so much more that could and arguably should be said, but such accounts must eventually come to an end and this one is no exception.  Before closing, however, there are a few items that simply must be mentioned without any significant explanation because time and space do not permit.  If the following don't mean anything to you, don't worry about it, as everyone wasn't involved.  It is anticipated that some members will smile, chuckle, laugh out loud, groan, cry or even curse at the mention of one or more of the following: the sanitary pump out facility; low lake levels; the demise of honorary memberships; rump meetings of the new board after annual meeting; past commodores' pictures on the wall; the buoys in the north cove; busted water pipes in the clubhouse ceiling; the fleet of sailing dinghies; speed breakers; the restaurant minimum; typos in newsletters; long words in minutes (hyper polysyllabic!); etc., etc.

                        I would like to close with the theme that I stated early on in this account: U.Y.C. is truly a unique organization.  There is nothing quite like it anywhere else and membership is a privilege.

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