Brothers and friends,
Every two years the Fraternity hosts its premier event, Grand Chapter, which is our principal legislative and electoral affair. In 2009, we will meet at the historic Francis Marion Hotel in Charleston, S.C., in an effort to have a “Quintessentially Southern Grand Chapter.” The hotel is named after Revolutionary War hero General Francis “Swamp Fox” Marion, who was among the first to use what we now recognize as modern guerilla tactics. (Interestingly, Mel Gibson portrayed a character based on Marion in the movie The Patriot, which was partially shot in Charleston.)
We have chosen to hold Grand Chapter at a hotel that is financially reasonable AND where we can take over the entire facility so we are not competing with other groups for facilities. We are also providing a second tier list of alternative hotels that are within walking distance of the Francis Marion. In recognition of the prior expressions of the members of the Grand Council to reduce the personal costs of the event, we have done two things:
First, we have scheduled the event over the July 4 weekend, which will allow brothers to center their family holiday time around this occasion. We have deliberately selected a family-oriented location for Grand Chapter, so that we may encourage family participation. With venues for ALL ages, the Charleston area provides an ideal opportunity to combine Sig business with family pleasure. This weekend choice allows us to save significantly on hotel costs.
We fully realize that the selection of this weekend will not suit everyone, but we also hear the Grand Council’s desire to economize. We have already heard from some of you that it is a brilliant idea, and from others that it is the end of civilization. Oh well, as I am fond of saying, “Put three Sigs in a room and you are assured of at least five opinions!”
Second, we have shortened the event by one day, returning to the schedules more similar to those of the late 1990s. The Executive Committee and various other boards will meet on Thursday, July 2, and the welcoming reception will be on that evening. The first business session will start on Friday morning, and the final event will find us celebrating the Fourth of July with fireworks and our families on Saturday night at the South Carolina Aquarium.
We will showcase numerous parallel activities for sweethearts and families, from plantation visitations to excursions to nearby museums and historic attractions, such as: Fort Sumter (where the Civil War began), CSS HL Hunley (the first submarine to successfully sink a ship in combat), the USS Yorktown carrier (used by the Navy during World War II), and the Old Exchange Provost Dungeon, which was constructed from 1771-1772 (and where George Washington ACTUALLY stayed, REALLY!). Then there is the perennially favorite family location, Myrtle Beach, which is only 100 miles north of Charleston, as well as the local Folly Beach.
By reducing your time away from work, selecting a discounted weekend, and concentrating Grand Chapter on business while mixing in pleasure and family fun we are doing our best to make Charleston an attractive venue for all members.
Please make your travel plans accordingly. We hope to have reservation up on the Grand Chapter Web site on Nov. 1. Here are a number of Web links for your perusal:
Grand Chapter site: http://grandchapter.sigmachi.org
Francis Marion Hotel: http://www.francismarioncharleston.com
The Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon: http://www.oldexchange.com
CSS HL Hunley: http://www.hunley.org
USS Yorktown Carrier: http://www.patriotspoint.org
Myrtle Beach: http://www.myrtlebeachinfo.com
Charleston Aquarium: http://www.scaquarium.org
Ft. Sumter: http://www.nps.gov/fosu
Other points of interest: http://www.segetaway.com/Charleston/PointsOfInterest.html
Charleston Visitor Bureau: http://charlestoncvb.com
See you there!
In hoc signo vinces,
Bob Jones, 65th Grand Consul