Friday, April 7, 2017

Building a Community : Part 4

Welcome to Part 4 of my "Building a Community" Series.  If you have missed Part 1, 2 or 3, please check them out in the links below.  Today I want to talk about how I will attempt to bring unity to my local club.

Later this month my local club, Ligonier Legions, will meet as we usually do.  However, instead of setting up immediately for a gaming event, I have set up an open forum to let members determine the future of the group.  After speaking with a few dedicated club members, I believe an open forum is my best option to bring us all together.

I see three major cliques that make up our club that I hope to have a meaningful discussion with at the meeting.  In previous articles, I spoke about a small subsection in my local community who were poisonous to the whole with how they wished the club to be run while not actively stepping up to run events themselves or thinking beyond their own short term goals.  On the opposite side, I have another small group dedicated to my vision.  The third group is the majority of the club.  They are made up of younger and newer players.  I wish to let everyone voice their opinions so they get their points across and let the group as a whole react.  My hope is that I can perhaps bring them around to my long view approach to growing our club.

The majority appear to be enjoying the current games that we conduct and do not seem to mind too much one way or another how things are run or handled.  This majority is just looking to show up and have a few games with some friends, but I hope this will give them ownership in the club and help get us all moving in the right direction.

My major concern is that the small group, who does not appear to be happy with the recent changes, speaks out in a negative non-constructive way.  What I predict is that they voice their displeasure without offering any positive ideas on how to improve on my ideas to grow the club.  I hope I am wrong, but I am preparing to lead the conversation away from negativity to be sure we come up with positive ways to enact any change members wish to see in the club.  While I am preparing for this inevitability, I have hopes that we will be able to clear the air and find the common ground that I am sure is there.

While it may seem that the point of the meeting is to get the grumblers on track with me, I am more focused on the younger members.  The younger players are the future and will one day take the wheel and lead this club.  I want to make sure I lay down a solid foundation for them to build off of when the burden is placed on their shoulders.  I need their input so I can try to set the club up for future success.  I want to see what they like and what they do not like.  Perhaps we are playing a game that is getting to much focus, while one they really want to play isn't getting enough attention.  Is gaming the only thing they want to do when we meet?  Would more hobby days be in order or more seminar-style events to teach better tactics?  Do they want a competitive or narrative focus?  This majority is my focus and I look forward to what they will have to offer.

After Adepticon, I have come to realize just how different my club’s mindset for this hobby is compared to me.  At Adepticon, I was surrounded by so many people who cared about every aspect of the hobby.  There were beautifully painted armies, strategically satisfying games, and opponents who want to have a fun game instead of focusing only on winning.  My local club is lacking in these philosophies and I have set my path to correct these failings.  It has to start somewhere and it needs to start with me.

I will be reporting back next month sometime to let you know how the first open forum club meeting went.  After that, I will be focusing on other articles besides the Building a Community series so I can put a light on different subjects.  If you have any tips, advice, or have done this within your own club please feel free to reach out to me on Twitter (@odiamh) as I would love to talk more about this before the meeting.

Until next week Happy Hobby!

Edited by Grudgegamer

Building a Community Series:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3