A new vision for a venerable trail club

Brewster Thackeray, 2018 PATC Candidate for President

PATC at a Crossroads

Brewster Thackeray was the PATC Staff Director for several years, overseeing daily operations and working to ensure the Club's members received quality service during a uniquely turbulent era for the Club. 

In early 2017, less than six months after defeating the incumbent President, the Club's new President abruptly resigned. The following fall, his appointed successor also suddenly left. So did the Vice President for Volunteerism and several other officers. Only six of the officers we elected in 2016 are still serving on ExCom. We can do better!

PATC is a strong Club -- it has a devoted membership, a committed and talented staff, it owns its headquarters and many cabins and much land, and it has a substantial endowment. 

Now this Club deserves focused leadership, working for the good of the membership rather than in pursuit of personal agendas. Just as we see a peak rise above us and say "I want that challenge!"; just as we see a blowdown on a trail and say "It can be moved"; so we as PATC members will rise to the challenge to secure such leadership and to hold it accountable. 

The inspiring visionaries who founded PATC more than 90 years ago would expect no less

The Paths We Travel

Being Staff Director gave Brewster the chance to work with all areas of PATC and to learn how they fit together into one amazing Club. 

He worked with the Membership department to turn the Annual Banquet from a budgeted Club expense, into a money maker that sells out and features a silent auction to benefit the Club's finances.

He worked with the Grants & Donations team to develop and implement the highly successful Blackburn21 and PATC90 campaigns, which raised more than $60,000 -- helping to turn years budgeted to run in the red, into ones that finished in the black.

He worked with the Communications team and the Potomac Appalachian editors to redesign the newsletter and make it a consistent, concise member benefit -- transitioning to full color this spring to share the colorful stories of PATC in all their glory. (Brewster and his wife Kate Day took on the layout and production of the PA to support the transition to its new format, and Brewster continued as the volunteer layout editor -- an intense 15+ hour monthly effort -- after concluding his employment with the Club.)

Brewster also petitioned for and supervised the launch of a staff-moderated social media presence that has dramatically expanded the Club's 21st-century outreach.

Brewster says he is most proud of having had the opportunity to hire several talented new staff members and integrate them with the dedicated and committed long-time staff to build a team that serves the needs of the volunteer-led Club, and having done that even in tumultuous times for PATC leadership.

In addition to his work at PATC, Brewster brings relatable experience from the other nonprofit organizations. He was executive director of another regional nonprofit group, vice president of a national one, and a senior portfolio director for the largest nonprofit of them all, AARP. He has served on a number of boards, and been on the board of one national Club for 13 years -- including two terms as its President. Brewster says: "I've confronted issues like the ones PATC faces elsewhere, and I know how to work with others to resolve them."

Join Me On The Trail

Brewster was a government major at Hamilton College. He has worked on local and national political campaigns. Now he invites you to join him on the campaign trail that will establish new, focused leadership for the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club.

"While I wasn't studying politics, I took advantage of being near the Adirondack and Berkshire mountains to do what I've always loved -- get out into nature," says Brewster. "I've hiked and camped in more than a dozen states and on three continents. My parents taught me the joys of the outdoors -- and let me bring along friends who still remember those trips 40 years later! They taught me the joys of nature, and the importance of working to preserve it and of leaving no trace."

As co-founder of the volunteer clearinghouse organization Capital Action, Brewster steered the 1,600-member group's activities to include park cleanups in Rock Creek Park, in Anacostia, and beyond.

Being affiliated with PATC has heightened Brewster's love of the outdoors in our region. As staff director for the past several years he got to know the Club and its programs extensively. Now, with your support, he would like to help the Club chart its trail for the final decade of its first century.

Please encourage other PATC members to visit www.TrailVote2018.com. We hope to see you at the election booth at the Annual Awards Dinner in Vienna on Wednesday, November 28. If you won't be there, please be sure to contact the PATC staff director (administration@patc.net, or 703/242-0315 x 105) to request an absentee ballot. You'll want to do this today since all ballots must be received back before 5:00 PM on November 28.

Every vote counts and every member deserves a voice!


If you think that it is strange that PATC members have to proactively request an absentee ballot -- we agree! 

Did you know that the majority of votes cast are traditionally by the 160 people at the banquet? That is barely two percent of PATC's membership! A relatively small number of members requesting and casting absentee ballots can notably impact results. 

"If elected, I will make it a top priority to revise PATC's election process so that members will be encouraged, not discouraged, from exercising their right to vote for Club officers. My proposal will be that we move to a system akin to that of another similar nonprofit on whose board I serve, whereby all members can vote online or by a ballot that each receives. Some will say it's too difficult -- but I know from experience it is quite possible." -- Brewster Thackeray

Brewster's Blog


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