Valley Prospectors

Our History

Compiled and Written by Ray Graeber, VP Public Relations 1976-1983

As of 1983

Transcribed by Lorraine Frost on June 19, 2019

              In reaching back into the dark pages of history and searching old musty records and talking to survivors of this most trying of times and digging into the recesses of their fading memories, I am trying to put together a story of these hardy and sometimes, foolish people.  The times and places of a small segment of our society called, of all things GOLD MINIG.  And so, on a cold blustery day in the year of our Lord 1976 and if this fading memory is correct, it was in the early part of December.

              Into this city of San Bernardino came a group of people known as Gold Prospectors Association of America, namely one George Massie, one Woody Caldwell and one Doug Edwards, to start, of all things, a club.  Now hear ye all, this is no fairy tale but an attempt to compile a history of our club and the effort of a few people who were persistent enough to turn an idea into reality.  It all started with a seminar by G.P.A.A. the featured speaker being George Massie who was then and still is president of G.P.A.A.  Mr. Massie suggested a local chapter of G.P.A.A. be started here in our town.  About 100 people thought this a very good idea.  It became a reality on December 2, 1976.  When Woody Caldwell and Doug Edwards came to San Bernardino to help us get started, as we did not know each other at this time, it was suggested we accept volunteers for our first years officers.  The first to volunteer for president was Brent Rhoades, vice president, Jeff Curfman, secretary-treasurer, Mary Beth Winsel and Ray Graeber as reporter.

              It was decided at these early meetings by a majority vote how our club would function.  First, there would be our full support to the G.P.A.A., in all aspects.  Second, there would be no membership fee, that all functions would be by voluntary contribution and support.  Third, we would after the first year have a yearly election in December to take effect the first general meeting in January.  Fourth, we would have a constitution drawn up and that all major decisions would be by majority vote.

              The consensus being we wanted a non-profit, family oriented prospecting club with a very informal organization in which people from all walks of life could and would be welcome.  Therefore – no dues.  The feeling being those who could donate and those who could not being equally welcome.  The only stipulation being a G.P.A.A. membership in good standing.

              It was further decided we would try our very best to teach those members who were lacking in prospecting skills, all that our club members were capable of teaching in this area.  That we also would have a Christmas potluck each year, outings whenever feasible and to maintain at all time a true feeling of comradeship to help each other in order to enhance our abilities to prospect in a more professional manner.  This then being the agreed upon ideas, suggestions and principles laid down by the members in our first meetings is the principle aspect of our club.

              These ideas and principles we have maintained throughout the past years have helped our club grow, and gain in the prestige not only for our local chapter but in the G.P.A.A. national organization, the public image and equally important ourselves.

              Over the years we have changed, updated, and completely re-done our constitution until we have what we think is a very complete and fair set of rules and regulations.  A copy of our constitution is given by G.P.A.A. to new clubs to use as a guide or adapt for their own use.  In 1981 we voted to become a non-profit corporation in California.  Throughout this history of our club we have had a lot of dedicated members who put in a lot of time and effort into our organization, which had made it one of the most active, largest and best in the G.P.A.A.

              In a year, temporarily misplaces, many names were given for a club name.  Ray Graeber suggested “Valley Prospectors” which was voted on and approved.  Until this time we had been known as the San Bernardino Valley Chapter of G.P.A.A.

              In 1983, upon approval of the membership it was decided to charge all new members an initiation fee and all members yearly dues.

              In 1982 we bought our first mining claims, Burrow #1 and Burrow #2 (these were 10 acres each).