I think I should start by making it clear that what follows is not necessarily the official view of the Association but the thoughts of just one very, very Old Boy.
In trying to answer the question, my first instinct was to draw up a list of the benefits that any Old Bordenian can get from Membership of the Association, but in some ways to do this is to miss the point. I found myself returning to that old President John F. Kennedy exhortation : “Ask not what your Country can do for you. Ask instead what you can do for your Country”. The fact is that the tangible advantages are somewhat vague or insubstantial, and at the end of the day the Association exists as much for the benefit of the School as for its Members.
It may be too simplistic to say that the OBA is a kind of Borden Grammar School Fan Club, but for many of us that's exactly what it is. However much we liked or disliked the School while we there, my guess is that all, with the exception of just a few hard cases, have reasons to be grateful – for the quality of the total educational experience which we received, for the overall care and guidance of the Staff, for the friendships we made and the general way in which the School prepared us for what was to come. Pay-back time begins when we join the Association.
The importance of the OBA is recognised in the very constitution of the School's Governing Body. As you know, we are entitled to elect one Foundation Governor who broadly speaking reflects the views of former pupils in shaping the way the School is run now and in the future, and that seems quite important to me. Without the Old Bordenian Association, this would be impossible.
The Association's contribution, however, is much more tangible than this. The great majority of our annual subscription income goes towards satisfying School needs which are outside the scope of the School's own hard-pressed expenditure budget. Over the years, items funded by the Assocation have included things like a new franking machine, additional furniture for the Sixth Form Common Room, laboratory and IT equipment, contributions to capital expenditure projects, the creation of new Memorial Boards to remember those who died on active service, the maintenance of the turret clock – the list is really very long indeed. Without these, the School would be a great deal poorer in the widest sense of the word.
Members do enjoy less altruistic benefits, of course, including the chance to attend the Annual Dinners in Sittingbourne and Sheppey, to join the Football and Hockey Clubs, and access to the Website. This has taken the place of the annual magazine, The Maroon, as a vehicle for keeping Members in touch with each other and with news of what Old Bordenians have been doing or what they are thinking, as well as interesting archive material such as old exam papers, Bryan Short's history of the early years of the School, and so on.
Doesn't seem bad value for ten quid a year, does it? Go on – give it a go! For details of how to join, click here (OBA Membership link).