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2023 Letter from the HBCA President

Dear HBCA Members and Huntington Beach Residents,

I am excited to be writing to you all as the new President of HBCA. While I know many of you, many of you I do not, although I hope to get to know you over the course of the next year. For those who don’t know me, I have lived in the neighborhood for just over 10 years with my wife and two children, having grown up just across the harbor in Northport. 

I have served on the HBCA board for the past five years and am excited to now step into the President’s role. I will try my best to fill the big shoes left by all our former Presidents and, along with the entire Board of Directors and our many community volunteers, continue their great work to ensure HBCA remains a wonderful place to live and raise a family. I am fortunate to be joined by Vice Presidents, Chris Forstbauer and Luella Semmes, who have both been very active in the beach for many years and who I thank for being willing to continue that great service.

A big shout out to Alex Borg for his dedication to HBCA as President over the past two years, in addition to his many prior years on the board. Alex spent countless hours over the years helping to make sure the operation and maintenance of the beach ran smoothly, so please join me in giving him a big thank you. Lucky for me, he is not going anywhere and I am sure will continue to be an active presence at the beach.

We are already off to a great start, with a big turnout for the annual New Year’s Day Polar Bear Plunge. About 60 people took the plunge this year, with many more coming down to the beach to watch the fun. Thank you to Bob Caffine, the Centerport Fire Department and Huntington Harbor Master, who are always on hand to support us and make this a fun and safe, albeit quick event! This was followed up a few weeks later with our inaugural Adult Paint Night, hosted by our very own resident artist, Melissa Johnides.

While the winter months are unsurprisingly slow for the beach, we have many more fun events planned throughout the year, starting up again on March 4th with Pasta Night. Pasta Night serves as an early kickoff to the season and is a great way to meet and mingle with fellow members. I encourage you all to join in the fun and attend either the earlier family/children seating or the later adult seating.

As noted in our membership appeal, beach membership remains strong. We had 459 active members in 2022, up from 444 in 2021. Participation in our events continued to demonstrate the strong community spirit we have. Participation in these events – from Lobsterfest and the Family Campout, to Summer Rec and the Family Halloween Party, among many others – continued to grow and rebound to pre-pandemic levels.

As we head into 2023, the Board and I are committed to making sure we continue to maintain and improve the Beach for all to enjoy. While we are a relatively small organization, there is never a lack of projects or matters to address throughout the year. For this, I thank the entire Board, including Alex and our former Presidents, many of who remain involved; Buildings and Grounds Director, Jeff Robinson, who along with Boating Director, Rich Wrede; Chris and Cindy Forstbauer; and the Beautification Committee, led by Janet Gritzka and Janette Newell; constantly strive to keep HBCA a desirable place to live. As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you ever have any questions or would like to get involved in any capacity – we are always in need of volunteers!


Colin Walsh

HBCA President, 2023

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