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Local Chapter Manager Ed Brown (ed4copies) is the IAP Local Chapter Manager

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Old 04-22-2013, 04:40 PM   #21 (permalink)
OLDMAN5050's Avatar
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Unionville, tn, USA.
Posts: 2,092
Photos: 108


I would like to see some of the casters or even Semus come to our local and give a demo. long ways to drive but the info and direction would be very educational. More need to get involved with the local chapter meetings. A lot of turners that are close by never know we are having a meeting. a zip code list of our area would be ever so helpful
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Old 04-23-2013, 11:52 PM   #22 (permalink)
j_b_fischer's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Belleville, MI, 48111 USA.
Posts: 243
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Default My Thoughts about My Local Chater ...

Let me throw in a few comments about the history and operation of the Michigan Chapter …
I joined IAP 5 years ago (this month), right about the time Jeff and team were pushing the ‘new’ idea of local meetings. I raised my hand, became the chair of the local group, and set out to find local members. We’ve been meeting every three months (about) ever since.

The win for me personally, it was my local meetings that taught me about pen making (I was new to IAP AND new to pen turning). This same group taught about bowl making as well!

The largest group we ever had was 26 people. If everyone showed up all at the same meeting, we would have close to 40, but generally, our attendance is about 16, with 10 of these being what I would call the ‘core team’.

Early on, at each meeting we would decide on the date for the next. For a while, in an attempt to accommodate various people’s schedules (including my own), we would adjust dates, sometimes with as little as 2 weeks’ notice. This was bad because it confused people. In the summer of 2011, we change our approach; at the start of the year, we now layout 5 meetings (4 meetings for the current year, and the 1st meeting of the next year). We pick the dates, and then hold the schedule firm. If someone can’t make it … well, we get over it. By having the meetings scheduled for the year people are able to schedule craft shows (or vacations) accordingly. A consistent, published, and reliable schedule is, I think, a key element to having sustained attendance.

We have a couple of wood turner clubs (AAW, etc.) in the area, and we have adjusted our schedule to not conflict with them since several of our members are also members of those groups. We meet on the 4th Sunday of every third month (January, April, July, October). This avoids meeting conflicts with other groups and the Holidays.

Even though we are the “Michigan” chapter, we’re really the “Southeast Michigan” chapter, which really means the greater Detroit area. Everyone is welcome, but distance is a factor. We do, however, have some regular attendees that drive better than 3 hours … they come from Ohio. We also, on occasion, have visitors from Windsor, Canada, which is about 4 minutes south of downtown Detroit.

Although we have fallen into the pattern of meeting at two places (east side of Detroit, and the far west side), officially we are always looking for people to volunteer there shops. It’s a chance for people to show off their shops, and I think it helps for building better relationships if we know each other’s home locations, etc. Several people, however, feel they can’t accommodate 15 (or more) people.
The meeting themselves have a consistent format. We do not use “Robert’s Rules of Order”; instead we use “Bob’s Suggestions for Meeting Management” … in other words we keep as informal as possible.

We always start at 1:30, but are always, always ready at 1:00 to give free tutorials to newbies. This is especially true if there’s a parent bringing a son or daughter (we also make a point to have an extra give-away for the young person). The IAP members taught me, so I make sure we continue to teach others.

We require (with no enforcement) that everyone bring at least one show-and-tell piece (and it doesn’t have to be a pen!).
We ask for volunteers to bring snacks, soft drinks, etc. To help people plan, we generally ask people to confirm (via IAP, Michigan Forum, meeting threads) their attendance about a week before the meeting.
We have three tables (or work benches, etc.) set up … one as a swap-n-trade table, one is a for-sale table … these are for tools, jigs, or other things shop-related.

The 3rd table is for the ‘raffle’. We sell tickets for $5 each. We draw tickets to establish the order in which the participants will pick something from the table. We then repeat the sequence until the raffle table is empty. Buying a ticket is optional. I then take the money and buy things for the raffle table at the next meeting (pen kits, bushings, pen tools, … or other things I find on sale). Several members also volunteer things for the raffle table. For example, LandfillLumber (Victor) sells bowl blanks (and other nice ‘hunks’ of wood) as part of his business, and he’ll often times donate several pieces. Similarly, several of the members like to cast blanks, and they donate as well. Usually, the store bought trinkets are less than 25% of what is found on the raffle table.
As for demonstrations, they are always put on by someone in the group. The struggle here is people seem to hesitate to ask for demonstrations. Once a request for a topic is known, I have no trouble finding someone willing to do the lesson/demo, but I have to beg people to ask for topics.

Somewhere in the middle I have a ‘business’ meeting where I give an update on the funds (which are always zero, because I spent it all on raffle trinkets), or other topics from IAP (or other sources). Usually, I get the topic started and the members contribute the most.
The local Woodcraft and Rockler stores support us by displaying informational flyers. I live just 8 miles from a Woodcraft store (and my wife says I spend too much money with them), so I have a better relationship with them (Rockler is about an hour from me). I’m working on getting more tangible support (which won’t be hard, I just need time to get over there). However, we do not use the classrooms in these stores … They have liability concerns, so there’s no demos (that involve turning on any equipment), and we have scheduling issues when we bump against their for-pay classroom time. I also (when I remember to do so) get support from some of the laser-blank people from IAP.

We then tell shop stories (kinda like fishing stories), ask questions, and just talk until it’s time to go. That’s generally around 5:30 to 6:00.

Hope this helps ... if I think of more I'll add another post.
There are no exceptions to the rules ... only complex rules.

Last edited by j_b_fischer; 04-23-2013 at 11:53 PM.
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