Friday, April 28, 2017

Building a Community : Part 5

Welcome to Part 5 of my "Building a Community" Series.  If you have not read Part 1, 2, 3 or 4 please check them out in the links below.  Today I will discuss the recent town meeting I held at my local club and the rather quick turnaround I have seen in members since. 

At our last club day, I felt it was best to hold a town meeting to get everyone together to discuss the future of the club.  I felt a lot of what I was trying to do wasn't being received properly or was being misinterpreted.  I was told that a few people felt I was going to ruin the club!  I needed to get everyone on the same page as me, and I needed to alleviate any fears while finding out what they wanted as well.  We took an hour at the beginning of our Club day and I lead the discussion.

I began by explaining what my views on where the club is at, what I feel we can be, and how I felt we could get there.  I think it shocked a few members when I told them where I felt the club was as a whole currently. Our poor tables and fractured philosophies made us unwelcoming and unattractive to gaining new members or having other clubs come visit.  After I a few minutes of explaining how our current environment was road blocking us it began to sink in and we started going around the room giving everyone a chance to voice their thoughts.  It became obvious that I wasn't the only person who felt our club was stagnant and needed to change as a whole to survive.

I am thankful that we had a fairly diverse group at the meeting albeit a smaller turnout than I would have liked, but it was also Easter weekend and the opening day of trout, so it wasn't entirely unexpected.  Competitive members, Narrative members, and Hobbyist members all offered advice on how to improve the aspect of the club they found themselves within.  As the ideas on how we can and should improve were discussed I challenged each of them to implement these action items themselves in order to help the club as a whole become more of what they would like to see.  Ideas such as going out to other FLGS's and clubs to play with them and discuss our local scene and what we wish to do.  Setting up monthly hobby days on Skype with one of our best painters discussing tips and just to work on projects together.  We discussed ways to improve our current table situation and committed to 12 Tables total, with 4 tables having quality terrain within a few months.  Some members offered to us their 3D printer to make nice centerpieces for tables and others generously offered to cast terrain themselves, they even brought in a few painted pieces they had cast they would exactly what we are looking to add to our tables!  The club is also dedicating its next meeting day to repair and create new terrain for our tables.

The biggest change we all agreed on was to remove the original change I had put in place when I began organizing the group.  Originally I felt that dedicating each day to one specific game would help each game grow, but over time it was obvious that people who played one game simply didn't show up if their game was not the focus.  After suggestions from a few of the members at the meeting, we will now be running all three of our main games, 40k, Age of Sigmar, and Flames of War at each club day.  We want to be more attractive to others coming in and what is better than a room full of gamers as opposed to the small groups we were getting with the focused days,

Afterward, I described the meeting as a Minor Victory.  I felt a lot of the misconstrued ideas and plans were streamlined and everyone began to take ownership in that their actions will make our break this club.  It was a week or so later that I saw it was closer to a Major Win.  I saw members going to the other local FLGS's to play games and gain interest in new players to come join us and see what we are doing in Ligonier.  Suddenly the Facebook group began having daily posts and discussions from everyone, not just the same few who were always posting.  I feel energized to put forth whatever more effort I can to improve the club because for the first time I don't feel like the only horse pulling this cart.  The younger gamers, the older gamers, and even those who I felt were poisonous gamers are all going the same way and I could not be more proud.

I will continue posting updates as the club continues to improve, but I feel this is a good place to wrap up this series, for now at least.  If you would like to check out what we are about please check out the clubs Facebook page here or follow me on Twitter.  Perhaps in the next year or two, you might see us at Adepticon or Nova wearing the club shirts we are creating or if you are within driving distance we would love for you to join us one day.  Until next week Happy Hobbying!

Edited by Grudgegamer

Building a Community: