Discussion.......please

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SDB777

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All right, where to begin?

September meeting...cancelled. No one could either host, or even offer up a place to meet. Was really hoping some of the newer people to the group(and there is quite a few) would help out... The meeting(s) shouldn't continually be at just one or two places all the time.

December meeting...Bob hosted, and only ONE person came! I do not recall off the top of my head exactly how many folks are on the email roster that goes out....but ONE person? A lot goes into 'hosting' a meeting.


Feel free to help me figure out what needs to be done....because I do not know anymore?

Do we continue as a 'chapter' or just let it die off?

What do we need to do as an incentive to get folks to come, or better yet participate?




Scott (what a shame) B
 
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BSea

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All right, where to begin?

September meeting...cancelled. No one could either host, or even offer up a place to meet. Was really hoping some of the newer people to the group(and there is quite a few) would help out... The meeting(s) shouldn't continually be at just one or two places all the time.

December meeting...Bob hosted, and only ONE person came! I do not recall off the top of my head exactly how many folks are on the email roster that goes out....but ONE person? A lot goes into 'hosting' a meeting.


Feel free to help me figure out what needs to be done....because I do not know anymore?

Do we continue as a 'chapter' or just let it die off?

What do we need to do as an incentive to get folks to come, or better yet participate?




Scott (what a shame) B
Well, it was probably bad timing with Christmas and all, but I sure could have used the time I spent cleaning to making blanks.

EDIT: I'm not complaining. My shop "REALLY" needed cleaning.
 
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TDE

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Wow, I hated that I couldn't make it but I figured everyone else would be there. I hate to just let it die but we do have to have more involved than just three or four. I have been wanting to meet the new members also. I know you and Bob have hosted most of the meetings. I feel like I'm too far away to be able to host. I could probably get permission to meet at my brothers house in Jefferson. He lives in the country so it wouldn't be a problem as far as the number. We just need to get people to-come. I don't know what to do either. Ted
 

mark james

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Hi Scott and Bob:

I'll just offer a few random thoughts...

I have gone to a Michigan Chapter meeting (fall, 2015) (4 attended - no demos scheduled); I have been to the Indiana Chapter Meeting three times; attendance is going down each time. I went to the Wisconsin Chapter Meeting about 6-8 weeks ago (nice group 12-16, but they said it was small). I will go back to Wisconsin as I have 2 sons in Chicago. In Ohio where I am most active, we are a small but dedicated core group of 6-10 regulars with another 4-6 who stop in; but we are slowly adding members which is nice.

So basically, ALL the chapters I have gone to are having issues (attendance, demos, volunteers, etc...). This is not a critique - just an observation of what everyone is going through.

I have no solutions, but some suggestions for all of us (Ohio included).

1. Set the dates early (not 3 weeks prior), if at all possible, 3 months prior.
2. Get a list of possible demos/folks well in advance - like a year!!! Then schedule them, and if "life intervenes" someone else can step in.
3. Don't wait until 2-3-4 weeks ahead to work the attendees, try to start 2-3 months to pester them to put it on their schedule.

I realize that you both know all of this... Just my thoughts. And yes, the December holidays are a beast for adding events to schedules.

However... On a positive note (yea, every now and then I have one). I retired last Friday, so maybe in the future (2016 ???) I can take a road trip and bring the IAP Collection to the wonderful Central Arkansas Chapter! (and YES, I'm serious).

Best Regards, Mark
 

SDB777

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Hi Scott and Bob:

I'll just offer a few random thoughts...

I have gone to a Michigan Chapter meeting (fall, 2015) (4 attended - no demos scheduled); I have been to the Indiana Chapter Meeting three times; attendance is going down each time. I went to the Wisconsin Chapter Meeting about 6-8 weeks ago (nice group 12-16, but they said it was small). I will go back to Wisconsin as I have 2 sons in Chicago. In Ohio where I am most active, we are a small but dedicated core group of 6-10 regulars with another 4-6 who stop in; but we are slowly adding members which is nice.

So basically, ALL the chapters I have gone to are having issues (attendance, demos, volunteers, etc...). This is not a critique - just an observation of what everyone is going through.

I have no solutions, but some suggestions for all of us (Ohio included).

1. Set the dates early (not 3 weeks prior), if at all possible, 3 months prior.

Meeting are set-up at the previous meeting. The meeting in September was set-up 3 months prior by those in attendance. We never make meetings without at least three months....

2. Get a list of possible demos/folks well in advance - like a year!!! Then schedule them, and if "life intervenes" someone else can step in.

Demo's are generally done by those that come to the meeting. For instance, I gave a demo on duck call making during the July meeting...and then put the same call into a 'swap' during the meeting. We don't have a fund or anything that would allow us to pay for demo peoples to come....

3. Don't wait until 2-3-4 weeks ahead to work the attendees, try to start 2-3 months to pester them to put it on their schedule.

Yes....we do. A lot of folks commit to coming, but as the date gets closer...poof!

I realize that you both know all of this... Just my thoughts. And yes, the December holidays are a beast for adding events to schedules.

However... On a positive note (yea, every now and then I have one). I retired last Friday, so maybe in the future (2016 ???) I can take a road trip and bring the IAP Collection to the wonderful Central Arkansas Chapter! (and YES, I'm serious).

Best Regards, Mark

Thanks for the suggestion Mark. I did my best answering the 'bullets' you brought up. And I believe between Bob and myself, we cover pretty much all of it.




@mbroberg,

I didn't realize there was such a title for someone? Steering committee?

What does a 'steering committee' do?




Scott (got me a steering wheel, but it can't make people come) B
 

BSea

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I'll give a few observations:

Part of our problem is we are limited to having meetings at someones shop. There are no local woodcraft or similar woodworking store. Because there aren't many true local members, it sort of falls on the same people.

Many of our members have to travel 2 hours or more one way. We call ourselves a Central Arkansas Chapter, but really our members come from all over the state. Now, I don't have a problem going a few hours away for a meeting, but people in the south part of the state aren't going to drive 3 hours or more one way for a meeting in the North part of the state.

This meeting may have been more of a perfect storm. First off, the last meeting was cancelled. Because of that, the meeting date wasn't set 3 months in advance like we normally do it. 2nd, I had to change the date from the 5th to the 12th less than a week before the 5th. We've had this happen before due to weather, and it wasn't a big issue. But with it being 2 weekends before Christmas, I think family issues got in the way for some people.

I like the format of our meetings. They are very informal with more of a party atmosphere. We don't have set hours, and people come and go as their schedule allows. We've had some meetings last 5 & 6 hours just because we were having a good time. Normally we have lunch, but many times there are things to snack on all during the meeting.

One of our problems is the lack of participation for demos. In about 20 meetings, I can think of maybe 6 people who have done demos. And several of our meetings, we've had 2 demos. Now, I know it gets harder and harder to come up with ideas. One thing that might help is a Library article of demos that have been done. Just as a central place on this forum to research ideas for meetings and demos.

All in all, I'm not upset about the lack of attendance. But it's a little frustrating trying to grow this group. I think some people have been burnt out by turning. Some have moved away, and we don't seem to find new turners as often as we do someone leaving, or quitting the hobby.
 

wwneko

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OK... Here are some of my thoughts.

I was very intimidated to come to my first meeting. The lack of demo planned, exact time of meeting, plans during meeting, what's this swap all about, and location all played into that anxiety for me. I think for the new guys they want to know exactly what they are getting into before coming. At least it was that way for me. I probably wouldn't have come at all if I wasn't already in two other similar groups that I thoroughly enjoy, therefore I knew I would like it.

So how do we get some to get over the anxiety of the first meeting and keep old heads coming back? We have to think about why do people come to pen turning meetings instead of going to the barber shop, a book club, or any other social function? What I'm getting at is the demo's. The demo's I have seen were all good but some meetings didn't have demo's or the demo's weren't planned/advertised ahead of time.

Here's how it play's out.. It's Friday night and the wife asks me if I will go with her to do XYZ Saturday morning. It goes one of two ways "Honey, I told you last week I have the pen turning meeting tomorrow and we are going to talk about segmenting, I can't miss it" or "Well I was planning to go to the pen turning meeting tomorrow, but I guess I can skip it" Don't get me wrong, the social aspect of the meeting is WONDERFUL, but some folks won't make "hanging out with pen turners" a priority, as they would learning something new or seeing someone else's perspective on things. This is especially true of the new folks, they don't see the social aspect until after going to a meeting or two. There's no draw for them, without a demo planned. I think the idea with creating a library of "meeting topics" is a great idea. That's something I did with the woodworkers association, I went through a few years of fine woodworking and popular woodworking magazines and looked over some of the popular woodworking youtube channels. I wrote all of the topics down that I thought people would be interested in seeing. I had a list of 50 or more, I presented this to the board and asked what people would like to see, we settled on the topic, then it was "well who is qualified to teach that?" We would then corner the person we thought most qualified and ask them how they felt about doing a demo, 90% of the time they would be apprehensive but agree.

Recap, a solid start time stated in the announcement, knowing you will probably start a little late is ok... Have the plan for a demo set in pencil, doesn't mean it can't change if things fall apart the day of. Lastly, contact information and the address of the host needs to be clear in the announcement. Keep in mind a newbie to the group is going to have trouble following username's in a post, it can get quite confusing trying to figure where the meeting is.

A way forward... It's going to be tough with the 4 or 5 core people who, more often than not, attend the meetings. If the 4 or 5 hold solid meeting, wether 1 or 15 people show up, people will take note and start coming. Pictures or video of past meetings, are great for the newbie on the fence. IF YOU BUILD IT THEY WILL COME. I just wrote this long response just so I could say that...

Video the meeting and put it on youtube and I'll watch them all ;P
 

Dustygoose

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I was looking forward to going but, I have been laid off from work and have been looking.... From here to Alaska and beyond. LOL.

I like our meetings and all our members. Learnt a few things too...lol My shop is a disaster due to the boss saying we needed a yard sale...Inside. I think I can get to my lathe but if some shavings get on the stuff.....

I hope to make the next one or maybe host, if shop is cleaned up and reorganized
 

BSea

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I was looking forward to going but, I have been laid off from work and have been looking.... From here to Alaska and beyond. LOL.

I like our meetings and all our members. Learnt a few things too...lol My shop is a disaster due to the boss saying we needed a yard sale...Inside. I think I can get to my lathe but if some shavings get on the stuff.....

I hope to make the next one or maybe host, if shop is cleaned up and reorganized
Hey Joe, FWIW nothing cleans a shop better than having a meeting. Yesterday my wife asked " Can you host a meeting next month too? Even a small one?". :rolleyes: I told her that we only have them every 3 months, and they don't get much smaller. :biggrin:

And James, those are good thoughts. And as I mentioned a the DSWT meeting. You can always Skype. Of course our meetings start at 1 AM for you.:eek:


Back to subject at hand:

Here are things that could help. We could have a few people call everyone on our roster and find out if they plan to attend. That way, if it gets down to the last day, and only 1 person comes, we can cancel. Freddie drove in from Greenbriar. Now, we had a good visit, but I'm sure had he known, he'd have opted to stay home. We've asked people to let us know if they were coming in the past, and many people do. But there are always a few show up that we didn't hear from, and some who said they were planning to come, but didn't. This isn't a big deal one way or another unless it comes down to only 1 person or 2 attending. I have no problem with only a few, and I really didn't expect many for this last meeting. So I didn't prepare a lot of food. But for someone traveling any distance, it just isn't fair to them to be the only one who shows up.

Although I think our meeting are a lot of fun because they are somewhat unstructured, we do need some organization. So maybe a half hour devoted to planning the next meeting would help. And it's something that really needs to be shared. We need a person or two to arrange demos. As I mentioned above, a few to call people to get a more accurate count on attendance. And maybe someone to co-ordinate different ideas for a swap, so everyone knows what to expect. And all these things can be done anywhere in the state.


Now to change course a little. Some of the most fun I've had turning have been meeting at someones shop to do something. I know I've had people over at my house several times to do casting, kitless, or just to turn something with a new do-hicky. We could at least post what we planned on doing on a Saturday, and invite others to come. This may or may not make much of a difference on our scheduled meetings, but it couldn't hurt either.
 
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BJohn

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Ok I resisted putting my two cents in, mainly because as of yet I have not been able to make a meeting, and why is that you ask. We don't know far enough in advance when and where they will be.

Scott Bob can tell you how often I ask him WHEN AND WHERE?

If you schedule the next one far enough in advance Brenda and I will do our best to be there no mater were it is. But we need to know, Brenda is already scheduling her Saturdays off through February 2016. She pretty much get's one a month so if we know when the meeting is we can plan for it.

What does doing things consistently accomplish. 57 people being at our Christmas Dinner this Thursday Night.
 

BJohn

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Yes there is a Facebook page, but it is not kept up to date. Last and only event posted. Is for a Black Friday Ad. REALLY?

Some may resist organization but if ya"ll want regular attendance. It is a necessity.

Please let me know (with more notice then 2 weeks) when the next meeting is and Brenda and I will be there.
 

DLGunn

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My views:

This time of year can be very busy. I think I have one free Saturday in January (don't tell my wife :wink: ).

I was a little like James, at first, not knowing what to expect. I'm not shy, but it can be awkward walking into something you are not sure of. The way I see to remedy this is more planning, but more importantly making sure everyone knows the plans.

I don't think we need or should plan every minute of the meeting. But we should have a guideline to encourage new people, or ones that haven't attended much, so they will know what to expect.

I think different swaps would be good, maybe a nice blank swap, or pen kit with blank swap. Then maybe next meeting everyone bring their swap from the previous meeting for show and tell.

I will volunteer to call people to ask if they are attending. I would also volunteer for any of the other ideas like Bob had, organize the swaps or organize the demos.

Speaking of demos, I am not opposed to repeating some of them. A kitless demo, a casting demo, a duck call demo, those are all ones that I wouldn't mind seeing again. I'm sure everyone may have others too. We can share ideas, and use the demos to encourage people to come that didn't see them first time around.

I think something we could do is a door prize or two. Everyone throw in a few dollars and we buy something to give away.



Cliff notes version:

Better/more planning and organization
Put a few people in charge of reaching out for attendance and in charge of planning the swaps and demos
 

BSea

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Ok I resisted putting my two cents in, mainly because as of yet I have not been able to make a meeting, and why is that you ask. We don't know far enough in advance when and where they will be.

Scott Bob can tell you how often I ask him WHEN AND WHERE?

If you schedule the next one far enough in advance Brenda and I will do our best to be there no mater were it is. But we need to know, Brenda is already scheduling her Saturdays off through February 2016. She pretty much get's one a month so if we know when the meeting is we can plan for it.

What does doing things consistently accomplish. 57 people being at our Christmas Dinner this Thursday Night.
John, in all fairness, most of our meetings are scheduled 3 months in advance. With the exception of the last 2, we have had a place and a date with a minimum of a month in advance. We did have a date set for the meeting in September, but nobody stepped up to host. So it was cancelled. That was the 1st time since we started that a meeting was cancelled.

Yes there have been times where we didn't know 3 months in advance. But that was few and far between, and we took steps to change that. If you remember, the meeting in March was scheduled for Scott's house more than 2 months in advance, and I think there were 8 or 9 people (about our average crowd). I know you couldn't make that meeting, but not because we didn't plan it in advance.

The meeting in May was also scheduled 3 months in advance. I was set to host, but as you know, I had some family issues come up, but we had a new member step up to host even though he'd never been to a meeting. From what I understand that meeting was a good one.

Comparing our IAP local group to DSWT is really comparing apples to oranges. And while I've only been to a few DSWT meetings, I do like a lot of how things are done. But there is the advantage of having a meeting location that doesn't change. It is also a larger group with most of the members being located in Central Arkansas. At least that's the impression I have from my few meetings.

But the format for the meetings are entirely different. The IAP meetings are usually a half day or more depending on who wants or can stay longer. Generally the demos are open demos and allow people to be interactive. It's not always the case, but many times it is. And it's less structured with allows for people to discuss things away from the demo if they choose to do so. There is also always a shared meal. Sometimes the host prepares the main meal, but sometimes all that's furnished is a place to cook. To be a member, all you need to do is belong to IAP, and live in Arkansas.

The DSWT group has a formal meeting with an agenda. I think the meetings are about 2 hours or so. I really didn't pay close enough attention to the time though. And that's good in that it held my interest, and I wasn't looking at my watch. There are annual dues, and sometimes a raffle (maybe every time). There is a community lathe available for demos (a PM3520).

So the goals of the groups are entirely different, and any real comparison as far as meeting schedules are concerned is like comparing the beaches in Florida to those in New Mexico.

I've read a lot about what this group needs, and criticism of what people have or haven't done. What I haven't see is very much of "I'll do this." or "I'll help with that." Anyone can host. Anyone can volunteer to do a demo. Anyone can invite new people. Anyone can text, e-mail, post to our facebook page, or call others to let them know what's going on. The question is: Will they?
 
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wwneko

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People are apprehensive to volunteer to do demos because of their humbleness, but if you ask they would probably be honored and willing. My personality as it is, I would never volunteer to do a program with a bunch of strangers, but if asked I'm MORE than happy to. They will surely learn something preparing and it will make not only the audience but the presenter a better turner. It's hard to get someone to step up and say "I'll teach this" because they think "well everyone already knows how to do everything I know". This is part of the reason I think a semi structured leadership is important, need those folks coordinating everything and being a central point of contact. It could just be two people one in charge of demos and one in charge of outreach/advertiser as in post updates to iap and Facebook possibly taking pictures too.
 

wwneko

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Anyone up for being president and "actual worker"? We can have a vote, should I nominate people? I nominate anyone I've met at a meeting as I feel they could all do a stellar job!! Done now let's vote... Anyone volunteer their place as a meeting location for next year? Act folks. I volunteer to do a kitless demo if I'm ever in town at the right time, I guess that means I volunteer bobs garage as the meeting place since he has the tooling needed :)
 

bmwrider1

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Yes there is a Facebook page, but it is not kept up to date. Last and only event posted. Is for a Black Friday Ad. REALLY?

The Facebook page is as update as the people using it post. Anyone who has ask to be a part of the page, and we know they are in Arkansas, are on the page. It is not a web page so there is not a webmaster. It is there for anyone in the group to share whatever they thing is interesting in our group. So please add a post of what you have turned or you find interesting that you think our group might be interested in.
 

DLGunn

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I will also volunteer to update the Facebook page. I will put meeting place, time, and demos planned. I can also add a list of attendees planned as I get confirmation when I (or someone) calls.

I will add reminders to it as the meeting date draws closer too.

I want this to work. I have met some great folks through this and I want others to have the same opportunities.


Another word on demos. You don't have to be an expert to give a demo. Even if you think someone else at the meeting may be better than you at a given thing, you can still lead the demo.

Example, Scott is better at photography. But I would still do a photography and photo editing demo. That does a few things. It takes the heat off of Scott, who has done several other demos. It gives someone else (me in this case) an opportunity to help/feel like more of a part of the group. It also give the group a chance to get to know other members a little better.

And our demos are informal enough that input/opinions/questions can be given at any point. So in this example, Scott or someone could tell me a quicker/easier way to do a step and still let me "lead" the demo.

I hope that makes sense and I hope I have helped other see ways they can volunteer to help.
 
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nativewooder

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From past experience, it only takes a few dedicated people to start a woodturning club, therefore it only takes a few dedicated people to start and maintain a penturning club! The core members need to meet regularly and get procedures and programs set among themselves before trying to "grow" the club. Arkansas is not known as a heavily populated State and if you are in the middle of the State, then the majority of the members will have to do some traveling to get to the meeting. I wish you well, but don't be surprised if some of the members just can't afford to travel far distances more than every two or three months.
 

BJohn

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James you flying in from Japan NOW THAT'S DEDICATION! I nominate you for PRES!

And Bob I am not trying to be critical of any one just making an observation or 2. The main thing is being consistent. Set the dates for 2016 as soon as you can, Then someone work on a location.

I guarantee Brenda and I will be there if we know. Bob hope we'll see you tomorrow evening. Remember 6pm

AND BOB I WILL TALK WITH YOU TOMORROW NIGHT ABOUT THE "WHAT I CAN DO"
 
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wwneko

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Yeah flying is the easy part, the hard part is paying for it. I don't think the IAP chapter has the funds but maybe DSW has the money to fly me in for a demo? If I can go to a symposium the same week, I'll even pay half the airfare... :)

Dreaming someday someone will pay to fly me around and do demo's...
 

SDB777

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I've spent the better part of the morning reading, and then re-reading every ones responses and input. What I take from all of it......


* Meeting(s) need to be scheduled one year in advance, anything less equals an excuse not to come.

* The second highest response to this topic is from a person that has moved to JAPAN!(as of typing this response) And he gets nominated to be the President too.

* We need a structured 'club', with President, V.President, demo coordinator, treasurer, vendor coordinator, videographer, facebook coordinator, and a phone representative.(that's eight people.....)



I understand that everyone else is busy.....I do, really. I understand that everyone needs a schedule. The trouble with that is every wants 'their schedule', as seen in previous topics. (ie... someone "A" can only come on this day, someone else "B" can only come on a different day......and low-n-behold, the evening before the meeting 'person B' types a message saying 'something came up'----so all the shifting of the schedule by everyone else resulted in them not even coming, and person "A" didn't come either!)


Demos. As a small chapter, I don't think we can get 'featured demonstration type people'? I may be wrong, but if the three or four that generally attended were to chip in to pay the person coming, we might be able to come up with $30 and change.... So we are limited to 'member demos', I've volunteered for a few, as has Bob and some others, yes...even my wife Lyn did a casting demo. So those that want a detailed structure of events at a meeting, should stand up and say, "I'm going to do 'xxxx' demo for the fourth quarter meeting!"(and then do it)
Just a note: I have a 40hr/week 'real job', I typically spend at least 20-25hrs/week milling off-site logs, I spend about 45-60hrs/week to promote website or products in various locations around the web, filling orders, making product....and then I try to find time to sleep and do all the other daily chores. By coming to a meeting, I'll loose something like $750 by not running the sawmill....I'll do it though.



Vendors. Are there any vendors willing to pay to set-up at a meeting for 4 people? or less? I guess Bob and I are the 'vendors' at the meeting, but during the meetings the blanks we bring are sold at almost cost....I guess we could charge more for them and put the difference into a fund for the chapter? Not to mention the stuff we usually just give away.....


Video'ing. My only concern with offering a video of the demo at a meeting, there is no incentive to go to the meeting....especially if the demo is a 'paid demonstrator'. Or perhaps the video could be uploaded to the YouTube and a charge for viewing added to recoup cost?


Location. I have never minded hosting, although I am very limited on space in the shop(fancy name for my single car garage that is FULL). We were renting a place in downtown Little Rock, but there were only demos that were 'clean'...hard to turn something in a rented space and clean it perfectly(and it will usually fall on one person to become the cleaning crew at the end). And the place was NOT free, would all that are on the roster be willing to pay for each rental....even if they do not plan to attend?


I'm pretty sure, someone will take offense at things typed... Not what I intended at all. So I'll apologize for those reading.



Bob has already started another topic for people to try to come together and arrange a date to meet. Step forward, get involved....please.






Scott (meetings are supposed to be fun) B
 

wwneko

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How about holding a meeting at mark Walters shop over in fort smith? Just an idea, it's a trip but worth it, knocking out two birds with one stone.

The video thing was only for me scott and it was a joke... But you could video a short segment to get people interested, a commercial sort of...

The club does not need paid demonstrators... There is plenty of talent in the club.
 

SDB777

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How about holding a meeting at mark Walters shop over in fort smith? Just an idea, it's a trip but worth it, knocking out two birds with one stone.

The video thing was only for me scott and it was a joke... But you could video a short segment to get people interested, a commercial sort of...

The club does not need paid demonstrators... There is plenty of talent in the club.


Oh, okay....I'll send you some video:wink:

Talent....I sort of just 'wing-it', like the hollowform demo(should have definitely started out smaller on that one).



Scott (stand-up talent maybe) B
 
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