Why join a club?

I swiped this almost verbatim from a beekeeping magazine that I subscribe to. Why put it here? it says a lot about why people join clubs in general, and beekeeping or beermaking clubs in particular. Therefore, I think that it's important to say, and therefore important that it be published where beekeepers or beermakers can see it. If you are in any sort of club, and it's not beekeeping, then replace the word "bee" with "beer" (it's simple: just add 'r'!), or whatever hobby winds your clock...

On club membership

What makes a beekeeping club click? Or any club for that matter? Lots of things play a role, and every club, every group is different. Tradition is important. Maybe most important. A once-a-month mindset may be as strong as a three-times-a-year mindset somewhere else. Maybe that can't be changed. Maybe it shouldn't be. Maybe it should. Basic demographics are a key. What's the population you can draw from? A rule of thumb is that only a certain percent of any group will actually belong - whether beekeepers, gardeners, stamp collectors or ... well, whatever. Ten percent? Twenty-five percent? Only some will join. Only some will be there. Some percent of a couple hundred is greater than the same percent of 40. Simple math. Simple results. Leadership is always mentioned. Dynamic. Lots of ideas. Willing to work, go the extra mile. Able to inspire. Command. Not there because no one else is, or because no one else wants the job. But there because there's a reason, a goal, things to do. The rest of the leaders are there for the same reason. There's a job to do, and they want to do it, know what to do, and when to do it. They go the extra mile, too. Spend some of their money, lots of their time, lots of their energy. Because it's the thing to do. Communication is critical. Maybe people just can't get together, can't all be there at the same place at the same time. Can't, or won't - doesn't make a difference. But still, they want to be part of the action. They want to know what others know. Want to be, even if they can't or won't, or maybe only sometimes will. So they get the mail and that's what they need. The 'newsletter' fills the need. Tells all they need, all they want. This is worth the dues. The rest is more than they can handle. Is this bad? Is this not belonging? Perhaps this is the best you can get. Perhaps. A viable, active association has all of these, in some degree, in some fashion. Leaders, members, and good communication. There's more of course. More than I can put here. A trite platitude, way too often over used is that you get out what you put in. It's still true.

On club newsletters

Well, most Newsletters from beekeeping associations tend not to be selling things, although the more progressive usually have ads. Rather, they give things - mostly informative things. Really well-funded Newsletters have articles on how-to, what-to and when-to regarding beekeeping in the area served; messages from officers; national news, and other this and thats. Smaller scale publications tend toward meeting announcements and how to reach the people you need to reach - officers, inspectors and the like. The smallest scale tend toward postcards with the time and place of the next meeting, and maybe the speaker. All of these get the message across, and, depending on funding, and the good luck of having a willing and talented editor in the group, usually meet the expectations of the members. Well, this is a straight-forward request. Since newsletters are sent to dues-paying members, I don't get to see most of those published. I do see a lot of them though, sent due to the kindness of some, and my advertising expenses of others. But I don't see nearly enough of them, and they do provide me with what's happening, in a local, personal way, and with the kind of information you can't get anywhere else. My request? If your group puts out a newsletter, could you put me on your mailing list? What you do at meetings, who your officers and contact people are, and what's happening that's important in your part of the world are all important. And, the more we know here, the better able we are to see trends, to see the everyday things that are really important to everyday real people who keep bees. The cost, and I realize there is a real cost here, is more than made up in the fact that you will get, in return, a better, and bigger picture of the whole world o-'beekeeping. Your input will be part of that picture. We'll all gain from the total input. So, can you send me your newsletter, if you don't already? I'd appreciate it. And we'll all gain from it.

This page is authored and maintained by Rich Webb. You can send E-mail to me by following this link to the contact page. And feel free to contact me if you have any comments, criticisms, or suggestions. I remain, however, perfectly capable of ignoring your useless opinion... 

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This document was placed here on January 13, 1997, and has been viewed countless times.