The Chippewa Yacht Club is a members only website Incorporated 1895

Interviews by Averell


CYC Commodore Interviews

Summer 2020

John Hans Kunz, CYC Commodore, August 2020 to 2022

Interviewer: Averell Manes, Heartsease/Ojibway Islands

 Q: What island(s) are you associated with in Chippewa Bay?  

      Oak Island

Q: What are your thoughts about becoming the next CYC Commodore?

It is a huge honor for me to be Commodore, in my great great uncle’s club. You know we are six generations with my grandson Lawrence.

I want to focus on boats. I want to see us doing more things with boats, racing, sailing, as we are a yacht club. I feel that we sometimes forget that.

Q: What parts of the job do you think will be the least fun/the most difficult, and the most fun/the easiest?

Business operation of the shore property, unfortunately, is an inconvenient necessity. Kelly feels that the parking lot is over run with people who should not be there. That is maddening. We have to do a better job with our identification of our member vehicles. I counted only 17 vehicles that identified as CYC.

I want to grow some of these events like the Thousand Island’s Cup (TI Cup) and regular sailing but that is going to take time.

How I see shore property is probably different from many other people. We have to have it but it is a nuisance. It is a lot to worry about when you are trying to come out here to enjoy the River. It is an inconvenient necessity.

Q: What do you like most about our community, and about the River?

Its family, tradition, generations. For example, the people I remember from the beginning of my memory, your dad for example. That is special. Through your lifetime, back through the generations. Your parents, your grandparents. All my best friends are members of the CYC without exception. It is a generational community; it is just so special. I have the good fortune to travel all over the world with my parents who were travel agents and there is not one other place in the world as special as this!

The River, it is fantastic, everything I love to do, boat, swim, hike, rock climb, skiing with our dog (skijoring), four seasons of all that I love. I can be out here in 10 minutes with the dogs. Pristine. Everything we still love is still here. The restorative power of this river is amazing.

Q: What are your biggest concerns about our community, and about the River?

I think that the CYC and our community have a great future because of the people who are part of it. I really do. The times we live in right now are ridiculous. But I think we will turn a corner and the CYC will be the same as it has been for generations. That is my hope anyway.

Q: What are the community’s best assets, aside from the beauty of the River?

      Generational friendships are a major glue for our community. Generational family connections.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish in your role, and what do you hope will be your legacy as Commodore?

I would like to see boating-focused things take on a bigger part in our agenda. The triathlon. Those are the types of things that bring people together.

Q: Overall, what trends, themes, and general observations about the CYC can you share?

I think during my lifetime one of the things that have happened is people tend to spend shorter periods of time here, shorter increments. That’s just the nature of the crazy foot-on-the-gas economy that we are all running with. For folks who are able to work up here, that is great but not for those who can’t, it makes for a lot of coming and going.

Q: What else would you like to add, and what other questions?

Great questions. It is not about my answers, I told it like it is. It is all about the boats! Even my dogs love boat rides. If I do not secure my dogs when I leave, they will follow me.

Q: What is your favorite aspect of river life?

            Boats. And the generations.



CYC Commodore Interviews

Summer 2020

Sandy Wood Forand, CYC Commodore, August 2018 to 2020

Interviewer: Averell Manes, Heartsease/Ojibway Islands

 Q: What island(s) are you associated with in Chippewa Bay?

            Owatonna, but I spent my first 12 years on Rob Roy.

Q: How would you describe the job of CYC Commodore, and how time consuming is it?

I would describe the job itself as one of supporting the community, and making sure that the financial structure is sound and that the social relations are strong. You have to be ready to respond to Mother Nature and other external circumstances, like the high water and the pandemic. The amount of time it takes depends on what is going on. I would say that I have averaged two to five hours a week, although it mostly happens in bigger blocks. For example, writing the state grant for the docks took a week or two.

Q: What parts of the job are the least fun/the most difficult, and what parts are the most fun/the easiest?

I would say the most strenuous was figuring out the new fee structure, following along with the task force every step of the way. The challenging part was communicating the process, options, and decisions to the community, and answering their questions and concerns.

The most fun part is being in touch with people from the River 12 months of the year. I have gotten to know a whole lot more members of the Club too.

In addition, while figuring out and communicating the fee structure revision was challenging, it was also deeply satisfying to get the Club on a stronger financial footing, and to ensure that while the shore property is supported, the fees are fair to all of the membership, even those who do not use the shore property.

Q: What do you like most about our community, and about the River?

I would say what I like most about the River is the connection to nature, living so much more closely to nature, and the friendships. What I like most about our community is that we are a true community, we help each other, play together, and support each other. The fact that it binds so many generations together is special in our culture.

Q: What are your biggest concerns about our community, and about the River?

How we are going to keep ourselves resilient to changes from climate change, and how the human community will adapt to the inevitable changes in people’s work-life balance.

Q: What are the community’s best assets, aside from the beauty of the River?

Our human connections because we are living on islands we do actually have to depend on each other. We are both independent and we also need each other. You can live in a city and not know any of your neighbors, but here, if your boat breaks down, a neighbor will rescue you.

Q: How would you describe your legacy as Commodore? What are you the most proud of among your accomplishments?

I am most proud of the new fee structure, the new docks, and the plans for the 125th celebration (or should I say the 126th celebration). The new CYC roster is great, and the book and the dance are going to be great too! In addition, the things I am proud of are the way the board and the community handled the high water of 2019, the 125th CYC anniversary preparations, and how we have managed during the pandemic.

Q: Overall, what trends, themes, and general observations about the CYC can you share?

Moving us into the digital age, by making the website truly functional and moving our financial transactions to a digital platform will make things much more convenient and accessible for our members and the volunteers who manage our operations. I am not sure how long we can continue to be an all-volunteer club. That will be a question for future boards.

Q: What else would you like to add, and what other questions should I have asked?

I am very encouraged by the spirit of cooperation and collaboration in our community. We need and are beginning to get new voices and a new generation of volunteers to keep our club vibrant and forward moving.

Q: What is your favorite aspect of river life?

Sitting on the porch of Owatonna watching a calm sunset.






Interview with MacKenzie and Tavish (Quarrier-Beekley) Wardell,

CYC Members

August 2019

Interviewer: Averell Manes, Heartsease/Ojibway Islands

N.B.       Brackets [ ] indicate interviewer input, otherwise the content is in their own words. 

MacKenzie (Quarrier-Beekley) Wardell:

(MacKenzie graduated from Bard University, Studio Art, in 2018.  She has spent part of every summer on Scow Island.)

Q: What is your earliest memory of your time on the river in Chippewa Bay?

Fishing and pulling up a sunfish and a pike jumping out of the water, grabbing the sunfish and my rod and almost me with it. 

Q: Have you attended any CYC events in the last ten years? If so, which ones and which ones did you like the best and the least, and why?

Yes, I went to Dark Island three or four years ago for a CYC party. My favorite parts about it were meeting new people and dancing like a wild woman, because I love dancing!

Q: How can the CYC do a better job of serving and attracting younger members to the club, and its resources and activities?

Having more events during the summer, I know there’s always the big party, but maybe one more event. Maybe also connecting us through a big email sent in the summer.

Q: Have you ever visited the CYC website? Facebook page? Instagram page?

Sadly, no, I haven’t, but now I’m going to check it out.

Q: To what extent do you feel connected to the CYC community, and what if anything would help you feel a stronger connection?

I feel a connection to the area and most of the people I’ve met, very strongly. But I think I’ve met only a small portion of the larger CYC community. I think being put in contact with everyone would be helpful, through a newsletter or something but that’s also a lot of effort. My mom is also the main contact for our family so she probably gets the majority of the information, opposed to me.

Q: Do you have any ideas for new activities or events, especially ones that you feel would be of interest to young people such as yourself?

Boat race, kayak, canoe, paddle board or sail boat! Tennis event, swimming event, perhaps a board game night? I realize that sometimes it’s difficult to have events because there’s the question of where to have them, this I am unsure of. Maybe meet at [some island]? Or a public island?

Q: What is your favorite aspect of river life in Chippewa Bay?

Being on the water and just going with the flow of river life.

Q: Is there anything else I should have asked you for this interview?

Not that I can think of, but I’ll let you know if I have any in the future! 

Tavish (Quarrier-Beekley) Wardell:  

(Tavish, St. Lawrence University, Political Science, May 2020, has spent part of every summer on Scow Island, along with his sister MacKenzie.)

Q: What is your earliest memory of your time on the river in Chippewa Bay?

My earliest memory is fishing off the dock of Scow with my whole family and my cousins. Dexter [Cheney] suddenly had a bite on the line and seconds later an enormous pike rose to the surface. This was the first pike I ever saw. It was shaped like a torpedo, with menacing eyes and deadly teeth. Ever since that experience catching big pike has been my goal while casting.

Q: Have you attended any CYC events in the last ten years? If so, which ones and which ones did you like the best and the least, and why?

In 2018, I went to a CYC cocktail party with my mom. I got a chance to meet some of the other river rats and exchange stories, which was really a fun experience. 

Q: How can the CYC do a better job of serving and attracting younger members to the club, and its resources and activities?

More frequent cocktail parties and tennis tournaments throughout the summer. I find it’s a matter of luck if I get a chance to play in the tournament or attend a cocktail party because we go up at different times each summer and if I’m not mistaken there is only one tennis tournament and one cocktail party each summer. 

Q: Have you ever visited the CYC website? Facebook page? Instagram page?


Q: To what extent do you feel connected to the CYC community, and what if anything would help you feel a stronger connection?

Much of the connection (which really isn’t that much) I feel to CYC derives from my family’s history with the club, and the merchandise. 

Q: Do you have any ideas for new activities or events, especially ones that you feel would be of interest to young people such as yourself?

Tennis comes to mind. [It would be great] to orchestrate tournaments with other members.  

Perhaps also we could have a “field day” sort of event on the river. With water games like water polo, tug of war in canoes, swimming races or canoe races etcetera. Could be family versus family or people could organize teams.  

Q: What is your favorite aspect of river life in Chippewa Bay?

River life is a huge disconnect from the regular world for me. Simple differences such as traveling by boat rather than car make the experience all that much better, going grocery shopping by boat up to A-Bay is always very fun. Not to mention the fishing in Chippewa Bay is some of the best in North America. Lastly, I do feel a sense of camaraderie between the islands. Everyone knows each other’s islands and its occupants, most families have a long history of experiences together on the river. 

Thank you MacKenzie and Tavish!




Interview with Susie Wood,

CYC Former Corresponding Secretary and Assistant Treasurer

Monday, June 17, 2019

Interview Location:   Heartsease Island

Interviewer:  Averell Manes, Heartsease/Ojibway Islands

N.B.  Brackets [ ] indicate interviewer input, otherwise the content is in Susie’s own words. 

  • What island(s) are you associated with in Chippewa Bay?

Owatonna Island

  • Would you describe your day job(s) (paid or unpaid) for our readers?

I work for the [Thousand Islands] Land Trust part-time, as database manager. Originally [I was] their Membership Coordinator and de facto Office Manager, but now [I serve] part-time as the database manager, processing donations. Now that I am part-time, I am at home helping David with the farm more, and spending time with him. On the farm, we have a garden and a couple of “estate geese,” (for entertainment, to make us laugh) and chickens, and we will raise a couple of pigs this summer. In addition, this summer, I will help with my mum a bit. 

  • How many years did you serve the CYC as Corresponding Secretary and Assistant Treasurer, beginning when?

I have no idea. Perhaps about 1992, it started with helping Susan Manes, as Treasurer, with the roster. [That is twenty-seven years of volunteer service!]

  • What were your duties?

Initially, working on the roster. Then it expanded to bookkeeping for part of it, processing dues, bills, running the checkbook, and as we were increasingly technological, I pulled the CYC emailing list together, and did correspondence with the members, made reports from the River, or [passed along] interesting information and it gradually expanded from that into the position of Corresponding Secretary. My mother was Secretary at the time, and she recognized that it made sense to split that role into two positions, Recording/Corporate Secretary and Corresponding Secretary. The Recording Secretary would document meeting minutes and process stock sales and the Corresponding Secretary would handle matters related to correspondence and membership: bills, member communications etc.  Meanwhile, the Treasurer performed tasks related to membership too, mailing dues bills, processing checks, as well as balancing accounts, assessing the finances and making reports to the board.  Susan Manes did all of that. When Dick Wright became Treasurer, that role was also split and the Assistant Treasurer position was born.

  • What made you decide to retire, though after so many years of service, that may be self-evident?

I decided to retire because I realized that I was getting a little tired, but most importantly, I loved my job.  It was my connection to the community, and I wanted others to have that opportunity because I loved it so much. In recent years, it allowed me to increase the amount of time I have to spend on the River and with people in the community. 

  • What parts of the job(s) was/were the least fun/rewarding/the most difficult? The most fun/rewarding/the easiest?

Most fun was communicating with the membership, sending out e-blasts, and connecting with the membership through all sorts of communications.

Least, was tracking people down to get their addresses for the roster.

  • Overall, what trends, themes, and general observations can you share based on your vast CYC experience?

The community is changing and the days of families coming up for the whole summer are gone. It will be interesting to see into what we will evolve. Folks seem eager to have more activities that are social and it will be harder when people are here for shorter stays, and so, are more focused on time with their own families and islands. One trend is that peoples’ relationship with the CYC is changing and people are perhaps less connected to it, but there are opportunities for people to reinvent it and to have new ways to interact and connect with it. We need to get more people involved in all aspects of the Club. Right now, there seems to be a new group of children coming up, but they are a bit too little yet to have them get involved in broader social activities. As different age groups grow up the dynamics shift.

  • How is the transition going to CJ and Chrystine Shepard?

Unbelievably smoothly and efficiently! CJ and Chrys are so capable and eager, they are so competent there is virtually no training involved. It has been easier than I expected.

  • What will you miss the most and the least about your CYC position?

As answered in the earlier question, I will miss working with the Board and knowing the inner workings, but also will be glad to have a break from that.

  • What else would you like to add, and what other questions should I have asked?

I have truly loved doing this job, and I will miss it the special connection it gave me to our community.

  • What is your favorite aspect of river life?

Family – I see and connect to my family here. And of course, Nature. Water wildlife, woods, rocks. It is different here when the people are not here, and I miss the folks when they are not here but at the same time, I have a different relationship with the River when they are not here. For example, at the end of the year, in November,  there are still some beautiful warm days, but more and more often it is cloudy and miserable,. There is a clear message from the river, “Get out of here, get off the water, and go away. Leave me alone for a while.” That is poignant. In November, I am actually happy to leave.








June 1, 2019  Interview with:

Chrystine Shepard, CYC Assistant Treasurer and

 CJ Gorius, CYC Corresponding Secretary and Webmaster

Interview Location:   Cedar Island: Thelema Point and Little Thelema

(Native American, pronounced Te ‘leema)

Interviewer:               Averell Manes, Heartsease/Ojibway Island

N.B. Brackets [ ] indicate interviewer input, otherwise the content is in Chry and CJ’s own words. 

Would you describe your day job(s) (paid or unpaid) for our readers?

Chrys: I am retired.

CJ: I manage four different websites: Christ Church Clayton NY, The Chippewa Yacht Club, The Sheridan Wyoming Museum, and an Asheville NC Homeowners Assn Website. I volunteer for Loving Food Resources, and Room In The Inn (a shelter for homeless women) in Asheville, as well. 

As you move to taking over as the Corresponding Secretary and Assistant Treasurer, what will each of your duties be?


Assistant Treasurer: Billing, check writing, receiving dues, CYC store deposits, and dock fees. [I will be] in charge of all the money: getting, billing, depositing, and collections. [I plan to work on] getting the board to hop on the train to getting these kids over 21 to join because they are the next generation. [I will reconcile the books, present the balance sheet to the Treasurer, [and work with our] accountant [who completes] sales tax reports and corporate taxes. [I will be the] membership manager, with Susie [Wood’s] help.


Corresponding Secretary: All correspondence to the membership, from the board and others, in the form of newsletters and the website. [Membership management with Chrys.]

Webmaster: Maintain website security, managing content, keeping it up to date, current, and interesting to the membership.

[There is] a complete section for membership photos. [For CYC business, we have information on] water level updates, communications from the Commodore, CYC bylaws, policies and minutes, the social calendar and itinerary, a bulletin board where people can post their own pictures and text, and [information on the shore property docks].

[Members can] pay their dues and dockage fees, buy stock, and [find updated information on] the capital campaign.

[There is a] downloadable membership roster, [with addresses and telephone numbers (but no emails for security purposes) which is updateable by members (Chrys says please update your information regularly).

We already have one book on the website in full text, “Who’s Up,” involving several people’s efforts, [in our new History section, and a section on river] Flora and Fauna.

[Finally, in an exciting new initiative resulting from CYC member input, CJ researched, and will install, a live year-round webcam feed of the lower bay, with a weather station. It will include a cell phone application for people to check minute-by-minute. The CYC Board approved this initiative, which is being funded as a pilot program by membership fees.]

CJ, in your role as Webmaster, what would assist you the most and what would you like to convey to the membership about this work?


[What would] assist the most is having more members accessing the website, volunteering information that would be of value to their fellow members, like photos, history, etcetera. [I hope that] if more people were aware of the website, more people would post things of interest.

If anyone has any trouble at all with the website,, and CJ would be happy to help.

The website is an important hub for our community and a link for all generations, and it is a space that gives us all access to our way of life. The bottom line: encourage more people to use it, add to it, and participate in it and in the club and events. 

What made you decide to take on these positions?


I am retired, and I like the work, I am up for the challenge. I enjoy the bookkeeping very much. It fell in our laps at the right time.


Last year at a Comm Comm [CYC Communications Committee] meeting I heard that Susie was going to retire, and when Hans [Kunz] sent out his letter to request volunteers, I realized that the two of us had the skills and the time to do it. And since we are here all summer, and are next door to each other it’s convenient. Chrys’ ease with bookkeeping and my ease with communications and webwork [made it a good fit for us].  

What parts of the job(s) do you think will be the least fun/rewarding/the most difficult? The most fun/rewarding/the easiest? 


Like least: getting people to pay their dues and dock fees, which is difficult, time consuming and costly and I do not like applying the late fees.

Like most: getting this all finalized where it comes together and working well for the good of our membership. It is coming along really well, the transition, I think there will be many bits of information still to be gained from Susie, but so far, it is well underway. I think within the next month things will be more settled.


The semi-official hand off/transition date is Monday, June 3, so as of that date, we ask the membership to begin communicating with us thereafter. Susie will be a consultant until August when she is officially retired.

Most rewarding: membership use of the website as the information hub of the CYC

Least: nothing, all is great.

How is the transition from Susie Wood going so far?


Susie Wood has done not only a superlative, super super tremendous outstanding job, it now takes two people to fill her shoes. She has been extremely helpful and very responsive and we could not have done it without her. She has offered to be there for us as long as we need her. She is a font of knowledge for our community and will be for years to come. There is no way to thank her adequately for her contributions to our community. She is just … indescribable.

What else would you like to add, and what other questions should I have asked?

CJ: It might be of interest to the membership that I became associated with the Club six years ago when I reunited with Margo after 50 years, and married her on June 1. We had been high school sweethearts.

What is your favorite aspect of river life?


I just like being here, there is no place like it, to me it is my own little heaven. To me it is the family history, my family had been here over 100 years. I love the storms.


I enjoy the comradery of meeting fellow members on shore, shooting the breeze with them and learning about river life, and I love being outside a lot all summer. I love doing chores and am well suited to island life. The weather is phenomenal.

Chrysie just loves putzing around with bookkeeping, she can do it at her leisure, totally immersed in the enjoyment of doing something productive. I [CJ] put in about two hours a day [WOW that is a lot of time.] on the website, and I just love it. I usually work early in the morning. I just love it. And Chrys says she just loves bookkeeping!

[Our heartfelt thanks to Crys and CJ for their sizeable and ongoing, present and future, contributions to our community. And there will never be an adequate way to appreciate Susie Wood’s role in our community.]


June 4, 2018 – Interview with

Ms. Lu Anne Yvonne Vadnais Brown

Chippewa Store, Chippewa Bay, New York

Our dear and hardworking Chippewa Store proprietor, affectionately known as Lu, was born on 8 September 1966 to French Canadian-German-Irish parents, along with her two sisters and one brother. She’s the youngest child in her family, as is her husband Jadd Carl Brown, but more on him later. She was born in Corpus Christy Texas, where her grandfather had a Mobil gas station. Her father, Franklin Eugene Vadnais, was a career Navy man, and her mother, Elizabeth Louise Purcell Vadnais, was an electrical inspector for airplanes, which is likely how her parents met. Eventually, Lu ended up in Upstate New York.

In 1999, Lu Anne met her husband Jadd in what she calls a fairy tale. When they met, she was a waitress in a little diner in Chittenango, New York, birth place of L. Frank Baum (author of The Wizard of Oz). Jadd was working on paving the local public school’s parking lot area. Lu was looking at the personal ads in the newspaper when Jadd asked, “Do you have an ad in there?” as a come-on line but Lu didn’t catch on, and responded, “No!! Who would do that??” The rest is history. Lu moved to Rossi, where Jadd lived (he commuted to work wherever he was assigned, and lucky for us, to Chittenango in 1999), and they were married in August of 2001. They have a daughter together, Jessica Elizabeth Brown who has her driver’s license already, and a cool Jeep. She is working in Alexandria Bay this summer. Also, Lu Anne has two step children, Jordie, who works with his father, and Corrin.

In 2002, Jadd and Lu Anne moved to Chippewa where they remain today. In 2006, Jadd started his business, Chippewa Power and Repair (CPR), which provides snowmobile, ATV and boat parts, repair, and storage. This past winter, he and Lu built a brand new 1,700 square foot facility for the business, and they are very excited about the future!

What’s new and good at the Chippewa Store this year?

As usual, the Chippewa Store provides a wide array of beverages, snacks, candy, and basic necessities, including fresh baked good (including divine donuts, also available by preorder), maple syrup, River Rat cheeses, cold cuts, dairy products, a new line of delicious Bear Creek soup mixes, and of course, gasoline without ethanol, and motor oil, bait, and lots of other miscellaneous items, including Chippewa clothing with some great new appliqués.

This season, Lu Anne provides a fresh produce service whereby orders can be placed by Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. and be delivered on Fridays. Also, she will stock fresh meat, including hamburger and patties, and sausages, and Delmonico steaks and pork chops by preorder. Coffee, sandwiches (including her homemade meatball subs), and fresh hotdogs with all the fixings are also available. Please remember, Lu Anne is happy to special order anything so ask her about that anytime!

We are lucky to have Lu Anne Brown, and her family, in our corner! She works tirelessly to provide us with an essential service, or more accurately, an array of services, and we would be lost without her! Thank you Lu, for everything you do, and for your bright smile and kindness.