Nov 7, 2009, 1:56 PM
Post #19 of 27
There's an old joke about university faculty politics: the reason it gets so bitter and fractious is because there is so little at stake. I worked in volunteer-based non-profit organizations all my working life and fights over "organizational structure" and constitutions and bylaws were always the most rancorous and divisive of any issues that came up. I found it amusing because most people never bothered to read the documents involved in the years between the great battles over them.
That said, as a member for the last 2 1/2 years, I believe the LCS is of great value to the expat community and to the Mexican communities of the North Shore. The 25,000 book English language library is not duplicated anywhere in the area, and few other areas anywhere in Mexico have anything comparable. Ditto for the video library. My wife and I have studied Spanish at the Wilkes Center since we arrived. I would grant that the Spanish instruction program has suffered recently from apparent management incompetence, but it has been run better before and will be again, if the members demand it. The grounds are gorgeous, and the facilities offer space to a huge variety of clubs, classes, and formal or informal groups. I know of nowhere else providing a comparable set of facilities to expats. The American Legion in Chapala (and this is NOT meant critically) is much smaller and has much less extensive facilities than the LCS.
In addition to all this, the LCS gives a lot back to the community. It provides a regular table for the Red Cross and holds various fundraisers for it and for other non-profits in the area which benefit the poor Mexican community. The LCS' Wilkes Center provides English language and computer instruction to the Mexican community, skills which can raise a Mexican's pay and standard of living more than almost anything else. When the landslide devastated San Juan Cosala 2 years ago, the LCS leadership swung into action and became one of the main funnels through which expat generosity was channeled to help the Mexican families who lost literally everything. At one point, the LCS was collecting more than 10,000 pesos a week for relief.
Some folks who are uninvolved in the LCS for whatever reason, or who seem to enjoy internecine squabbles and the opportunity to trash the LCS, perhaps need to look a little closer at what the LCS does and represents here in the Lake Chapala.
A final note: I have no axes to grind here. I am not, nor have I ever been an elected LCS leader. I have not been involved, except as an observer, in the recent leadershp/constitutional squabbles. I just think credit should be given where credit is due, and the LCS provides a lot of value to me and a lot of other expats who flock to it every day.