Tinsley Island Chair Greg Wettersten recently sat down with Tinsley Island Manager Ross Schiveley. Says Greg: “My hope is that after reading this, our members have a greater understanding of Tinsley Island through Ross’s eyes so that they might enjoy our Island a little more.”
Greg Wettersten: First, the parties you and your wife, Sharon, throw are legendary and truly enjoyed by the membership. What is your secret?
Ross Schiveley: Thank you! My first secret is Sharon, and my second secret is my daughter Amy. Sharon helps to provide the vision and the themes, and Amy does miracles with decorations. Both are critical to a good party—they really take the member to another place. Other important aspects include the use of local talent—highly skilled musicians and food service employees. We try to “wow” the members with everything we do. Finally, we keep the evening moving: dinner, then quick transition to a musical group on the stage, then quick transition to a DJ at the bar. This allows us to clean up the Lanai while the party is still going so that members and guests wake up to a fresh, beautiful Island.
Greg: In your eight years at Tinsley, what do you consider your greatest accomplishments?
Ross: Now you are asking a tough one. I would say:
- Focusing the staff on member experience; meeting and knowing as many members as possible.
- Training and retaining incredible Island staff.
- Creating 17 or so summer jobs for young people just starting their work lives.
- Expanding services for members, especially food and an open bar. I used to see members arrive from the city at 6:00pm, too tired to cook but lacking in options. Or, I would see parents leave leisure activities to cook for their kids. So, we conceived of the Island’s food service. I understand the sailor mentality of self-reliance, but I also know the value of amenities. I think that in ten years members will not be able to believe there ever was not food service at Tinsley.
Greg: What are your biggest concerns as you look ahead to 2018?
Ross: I’m concerned about a lack of accommodations for members. Paradise Point is closing down and exiting the houseboat rental business. I know our T.I. Committee is looking at short- and long-term fixes and I appreciate the concern.
Greg: What is new for 2018?
Ross: I recently made a presentation to the Tinsley Island Committee about the quality of the water in the lagoon. We have an independent testing service that measures coliform and fecal coliform bacteria in the lagoon and the river (for a control sample) every month during our busiest five months. We have always been under state-mandated limits of both types of bacterium, but we are not at zero. To try to decrease the amount and improve the water that some of us swim and boat in, we are instituting a Vessel Sanitation Plan. When you dock for the first time in a season, our dockmaster, Stephen, or another staff member will give you a single sheet of paper asking a few questions about how you plan to manage your holding tanks that summer. With this program, we hope to keep sanitation top-of-mind for our whole community.
We also will be making an effort to make certain that everyone on the Island is entered into our registration process. It is extremely important in an emergency that we know our headcount as accurately as possible. It is also a matter of fairness that all members are paying for their guests.
Greg: What do you suggest for a first-time visitor?
Ross: First, do your research: read the Rules & Regulations in the Club’s Directory and read the Tinsley section of stfyc.com in its entirety. Second, if you are a skipper, call me, Stephen, or our Port Captain Ross McDonald and discuss docking options so you have a plan for docking before you start upriver. Then, when you’re 30 minutes away, call one of us again. We will arrange to have someone there to catch your lines.
Greg: What have you wanted to do at Tinsley but haven’t?
Ross: We have a top-grade sushi refrigeration and presentation case. I would like to have a sushi and sashimi cocktail hour with specialty cocktails, Japanese beer and a sake tasting. I think that would be killer.
Greg: Any last words for our members?
Ross: Come to the Island and stay for a week or two! You will be refreshed and reinvigorated when you head home. It is true that In All the World There Is Only One. Come and take advantage of it.