CONSTITUTION OF KESWICK HUNT CLUB
Revised March 2020
ARTICLE I: NAME
1. The name of this organization shall be the Keswick Hunt Club.
ARTICLE II: PURPOSES
1. The purposes of the Club shall be to promote the interests of fox hunting and such other sports and amusements as may be practical, and to establish and maintain a Club House for the use and enjoyment of the members.
ARTICLE III: MEMBERSHIP
1. Eligibility for membership in the Club shall be determined by the classifications and the regulations and qualifications provided in this Constitution or in the By-laws of the Club.
2. A candidate for membership may become a member upon election by the Board of Governors of the Club and compliance with all pertinent provisions of the By-laws of the Club then in effect.
3. Each candidate for membership shall be proposed by one member of the Club and seconded by another. There shall be supplied for each candidate such particulars and recommendations as the Board of Governors in their sole discretion may require.
4. Candidates for membership shall be balloted upon by the Board of Governors of the Club only at regular meetings and election shall be by a majority vote in each instance.
5. The Board of Governors of the Club shall have authority to transfer from one membership classification to another any member whose status necessitates such change.
6. Preference for membership will be given to those who reside in or are landowners within the Keswick Hunt Club hunting country.
ARTICLE IV: MANAGEMENT By Board Of Governors
1. The government of the Club shall be vested in a Board of twelve Governors who shall have general charge, control and management of the affairs, funds, and property of the Club. It shall have full power and it shall be its duty to carry out the purposes of the Club according to law and as provided in this Constitution and in the By-laws of the Club, and specifically, the Board shall have power to authorize the borrowing or investment of money on behalf of and for the purposes of the Club, and to authorize and direct the mortgaging or pledging of the property of the Club, and to authorize and direct the execution of such documents as may be necessary to that end.
2. The real estate of the Club may not be mortgaged, leased or conveyed except by the vote of not less than seven members of the Board of Governors at a meeting specially called for that purpose, of which meeting ten day’s notice in writing shall be given to each member of the Board of Governors.
3. The Board of Governors shall be divided into three classes of four voting members each, and the term of office of one class shall expire at each annual meeting of the Club of when their successors are elected. At each such annual meeting, four Governors shall be elected for a term of five years to succeed the Governors whose terms of office then expire.
4. Any vacancy occurring in the Board of Governors other than by expiration of a term may be filled by the remaining members of the Board for the unexpired portion of the term of said vacancy.
5. The Master of Hounds or Joint Masters of Hounds of the Club shall be ex-officio member or members of the Board.
6. On or before the 15th day of February in each year the Board of Governors shall appoint a nominating committee composed of three voting members who shall present two weeks prior to the Annual Meeting a list of candidates for vacancies on the Board, but voting members make additional nominations from the floor.
7. Voting for Governors shall be by ballot and the four candidates to fill the places in the incoming class receiving the largest number of votes shall be deemed elected.
8. A quorum of the Board of Governors shall consist of not less than seven members.
9. Regular meetings of the Board of Governors shall be held at such time and place as may be fixed by the Board.
10. Special meetings of the Board of Governors may be called by the President, or in his absence, by the Vice-President, and shall be called by either on the request of two Governors.
11. At no meeting of the Board of Governors shall voting by proxy be permitted. All voting must be done in person at a regular or specially called meeting.
12. The Board of Governors shall from time to time make such By-laws and regulations as it may deem necessary.
ARTICLE V: OFFICERS
1. The officers of the Club shall be a President, a Vice-President, a Secretary and a Treasurer; provided, however, the same person may hold the office of Secretary and Treasurer. They shall be elected to 5-year terms by the voting members at the annual meeting from the Board of Governors following the election of the incoming Governors.
2. In addition to the officers of the Club, the voting members shall elect for a term of 5 years at the annual meeting from the voting members a Master of Hounds or Joint Masters of Hounds.
3. The President shall preside at all meetings of the Club and of the Board of Governors. The President shall, with the Secretary or Treasurer, sign all contracts with written obligations of the Club and perform such other duties as may be required by the By-laws of the Club or by the Board of Governors. The President shall at each annual meeting present on behalf of the Board of Governors a written report covering the activities of the Club since the last annual meeting. The President shall be ex-officio a member of all committees.
4. The Vice-President shall act for the President in his absence.
5. The Secretary shall keep the records of the Club which shall be open to the inspection of members. The Secretary shall give notice of all meetings of the Club and of the Board of Governors, shall keep minutes of all such meetings, shall notify persons elected to membership of their election, and shall conduct all correspondence of the Club. The Secretary shall send to each member of the Club such fixture cards as may be specified by the Board of Governors giving advance notice of all hunts and other activities of the Club.
6. The Treasurer shall collect all monies payable to the Club, shall keep the accounts of the Club and shall make such reports thereon to the Board of Governors as the Board may require. The Treasurer shall submit statements of dues to members annually. The Treasurer shall pay all bills incurred in the operation of the Club subject to such controls as the Board of Governors may designate. The Treasurer shall submit a written financial report at the annual meeting showing receipts and disbursements covering the period of his office which shall constitute the Treasurer’s fiscal year.
7. The Master of Hounds, or Joint Masters of Hounds, shall manage the Club’s pack of hounds and kennels, shall enforce order in the hunting field, and control the hunting of the hounds. The Master may cancel hunting on days that the Master judges unfit. The Master shall also control the huntsman and whippers-in in the performance of their duties and shall have the right to appoint a hunt committee of two active members of the Club to assume authority in the field in the Master’s absence. The Master shall appoint from the members of the Club such whippers-in and honorary whippers-in as the Master may wish. The Master shall fix hunting days, place, hour of meeting and give to the Secretary ample notice thereof to enable the Secretary to prepare fixture cards to be sent to members. The Master shall also have jurisdiction over the care and feeding of the Club’s horses and hounds and shall see that efficiency is maintained in any necessary purchases and sales and by the breeding of hounds, all of which shall be subject to a financial review by the Board of Governors.
ARTICLE VI: MEETINGS
1. The annual meeting of the Club shall be held at the Club House on such date between March 15th and May 1st as may be determined by the Board of Governors.
2. Twenty voting members in good standing shall constitute a quorum at all meetings of the Club.
3. Notice of all meetings of the Club shall be mailed ten days in advance to all members by the Secretary.
4. A special meeting of the Club to consider a specific subject shall be called promptly by the Secretary at the request of the President, or upon the written request of two members of the Board of Governors or twenty voting members of the Club.
5. At any meeting of the Club each voting member present in person shall be entitled to one vote. No vote by proxy shall be permitted.
ARTICLE VII: AMENDMENT TO CONSTITUTION
1. This Constitution may be amended at any meeting of the Club, annual or special, by a majority vote of those present and voting, if the proposed amendment shall have been approved and recommended by the Board of Governors. If not previously approved and recommended by the Board of Governors, a vote of two-thirds of the members present and voting shall be required.
2. Notices of proposed amendments to the Constitution shall be given to all members at least ten days before the date of meeting at which the proposed amendments are to be considered.
ARTICLE VIII: INTERPRETATION
1. The interpretation of this Constitution by the Board of Governors shall be final and conclusive.
BY-LAWS OF KESWICK HUNT CLUB
ARTICLE I: COLORS OF THE CLUB
1. The colors of the Club shall be scarlet with green collar and brass buttons inscribed with the letters K.H.C., to be worn with a hunter’s green vest. Ladies shall wear black or navy with green collar and black buttons inscribed with the letters K.H.C., to be worn with a hunter’s green vest.
ARTICLE II: CLASSES OF MEMBERSHIP & MEMBERSHIP PROCESS
1. Membership in the Club shall be of the following classes: Regular Voting, Junior, Associate, Young Adult Associate, Farmer, Honorary.
2. The Board of Governors shall have discretion to establish additional classes of memberships and to fix the entrance fee and dues for each of the present classes and for each additional class when established.
3. A Regular Voting membership shall include the husband, the wife, or the survivor, and all the members of the immediate family residing in the household except persons twenty-one years or over unless they be full-time college students. The husband, the wife, or the survivor shall each have one vote.
4. A Regular Voting single membership shall consist of an individual who is unmarried, widowed, or divorced. No dependents or relatives of this class may share the privileges of the Club other than dependent children twenty-one years or younger unless they be full-time college students. Members of this class shall have one vote each.
5. Junior members shall consist of those under twenty-one years of age, unless a full-time college student, in which case their age may exceed this limit. Junior members are entitled to unlimited hunting privileges only. They do not have the right to vote nor are they automatically included in all social activities.
6. Associate members shall be approved by a majority vote of the Board. They may remain an Associate member for a minimum of one year and a maximum of three years. Such members shall be entitled to hunting privileges and shall be entitled to attend all social functions of the Club. Such members may attend the annual meeting but have no vote.
a. An Associate Family membership shall include the husband, the wife, or the survivor, and all the members of their immediate family residing in their household except persons twenty-one years or over unless they be full time college students.
b. An Associate Single Membership shall consist of an individual. No dependents or relatives of this class may share the privileges of the Club other than dependent children twenty-one years or younger unless they be full-time college students.
c. A Young Adult Associate Membership shall consist of an individual (or family) who is between the ages of 21 to 35 years old regardless of marital status. If married the younger of the two individuals shall determine their qualifying status. Such members shall be entitled to hunting privileges and shall be entitled to attend all social functions of the Club. Such members may attend the annual meeting but have no vote. At age 36 the member will either be invited to Regular status and pay the initiation fee or resign.
7. Farmer members shall consist of those landowners or farm managers over whose property the Club hunts and who are not regular voting members of the Club. Elections of persons to this class shall be discretionary with the Board of Governors. Farmer members shall be entitled to all the privileges of the Club except the right to vote.
8. Honorary members shall consist of persons elected to this class by the Board of Governors. They shall be entitled to all the privileges of the Club except the right to vote.
9. New memberships in the club shall remain in the status of associate membership for a minimum of one year and a maximum of three years before being considered for a regular voting membership.
Note: In the case of a change of marital status of any member, the Board of Governors may require a reapplication for membership.
11. The process for each membership class is as follows:
a) Associate: Applicants are sponsored by a Regular Voting member who submits an Information Summary (received from the Secretary) and three Letters of Recommendation (1 from the Sponsoring member and 2 from other Regular Voting members).The application fee is waived for landowners on whose land Keswick hunts and for Young Adult Associate applications. The letters and Information Summary must be received by the Secretary one week prior to the Board meeting.
Once the Application and Application fee have been received, the applicant shall be elected by a majority vote of the Board to Associate Member status for a one-year term (renewable by a majority vote of the Board for up to a maximum of three years in Associate status). If the applicant fails to receive a majority vote the applicant will be declined membership.
b) Regular Voting: Annually the Board will review Associate members and by a majority vote invite those eligible to accept Regular Voting membership. At this point the new Regular Voting members will pay an Initiation Fee as set by the Board. If, after three years in Associate status, either the Board does not vote to offer Regular Voting status or the applicant declines Regular Voting status, then the membership is terminated.
c) Junior: Applicants are sponsored by a Regular Voting member by completing a Junior Application and submitting it to the Secretary one week prior to the Board meeting. Membership will be granted upon a majority vote of the Board.
d) Farmer and Honorary are elected to this membership by a majority vote of the Board.
ARTICLE III: COMMITTEES
1. The standing committees of the Club shall consist of the Auditing Committee, the House and Grounds Committee, and the Entertainment Committee. All committees shall be appointed by the Board of Governors.
2. The Auditing Committee shall consist of three voting members, one of whom may be a Board member, who shall audit the Treasurer’s book and accounts prior to the annual meeting at which time the Chairman of such committee shall submit a report.
3. The House and Grounds Committee shall be responsible for the maintenance and supervision of the house and grounds of the Club in cooperation with the Board of Governors.
4. The Entertainment Committee shall be responsible for promoting and managing all Club entertainments.
5. The Nominating Committee shall consist of three voting members, who shall submit two weeks prior to the annual meeting a list of candidates for election to the Board of Governors, a list of candidates for election as officers of the Club, and a list of candidates for election as Master of Hounds or Joint Masters of Hounds.
6. The Board of Governors may from time to time create additional committees to be constituted in the manner and for the purposes to be designated in the discretion of the Board of Governors, to act subject to the control of said Board.
7. No committee shall incur any indebtedness or other obligation on behalf of the Club unless the same be authorized in advance by the Board of Governors.
ARTICLE IV: FEES AND DUES
1. The Board of Governors may fix the initiation fee, if any, for any class of membership and may alter or waive the same at its’ discretion.
2. The annual dues for each class of membership shall be fixed from time to time by the Board of Governors, provided, however, any increase in such dues shall be approved by three-fourths of the whole Board of Governors.
3. The membership year shall be from September 1st through August 31st.
4. The capping fee shall be determined annually by the Board of Governors at the request of the Master of Hounds, but such fee may be waived by the Master of Hounds.
5. Dues and fees shall be payable upon receipt of a statement from the Treasurer.
ARTICLE V: HORSE SHOWS
The Club’s horse shows and special events shall be managed on behalf of the Club by a manager or managers appointed from time to time by the Board of Governors and such manager or managers shall incur no personal liability for any financial loss resulting from such activity.
ARTICLE VI: USE OF CLUB HOUSE AND PROPERTY
Use of the Club House, its furnishings and equipment, shall be restricted to Club members and their guests. All requests for use of the Club are subject to a review by the Board. No property may be removed from the Club House for any purpose without prior approval of the President or two members of the Board of Governors.
ARTICLE VII: EXPULSIONS AND SUSPENSIONS
1. The Board of Governors may expel any member whose conduct prejudices the welfare, interests or character of the Club.
2. Any member who fails to pay his dues within three months after the same become due may be suspended by the Board of Governors but such member may be reinstated by the Board of Governors upon payment of his indebtedness.
ARTICLE VIII: RESIGNATION AND LEAVE OF ABSENCE
1. Resignation of members must be made in writing to the Board of Governors before November 1st. Otherwise, the resigning member shall be held liable to pay annual dues for the ensuing year.
2. The purpose of a Leave of Absence should be to allow members in good standing relief from the expense of dues with circumstances that prohibit their ability to participate in the club’s functions. The circumstances should include relocation, major health problems or severe financial difficulty. Being without a horse should not be considered a reasonable circumstance as the member is able to participate in club activities as a social member until such time as they obtain a hunt horse.
A Leave of Absence is limited to one year beginning on July 1 when dues notices are forwarded to the membership and ending the following year on June 30. During their leave members have no voting rights and may not attend social events.
Reinstatement after a Leave of Absence requires Board of Governor’s approval, with all outstanding debts to the club paid in full. Dues for the new season must be paid prior to reentry or arrangements must be made with the Treasurer for a payment plan that is approved prior to Opening Meet of the year to be reinstated.
ARTICLE IX: REMOVAL OF GOVERNORS
Any member of the Board of Governors may be removed therefrom by the vote of three-fourths of the remaining members of the Board or by the vote of three-fourths of the voting members, but only at a meeting, in either instance, which has been duly called for that purpose.
ARTICLE X: RULES OF ORDER
Robert’s Rules of Order shall govern the Club in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with the Constitution and By-laws of the Club.
ARTICLE XI: AMENDMENTS TO BY-LAWS
These By-laws may be amended by the vote of three-fourths of the Board of Governors at any meeting, provided notice of intention to consider such amendment shall have been given at a previous meeting of the Board of Governors.