Difficult problem to address [How to modify rules to retain/increase club membership]

Is this behavior being witnessed? If so, then a tap in offenders’ shoulders with a “knock it off” message would be a start, followed by ejection if it continues.

Good suggestion - dealing with the matter immediately is often better than trying to revisit it later. “That thing you did right there, is unacceptable” is a much clearer and stronger message than “Last week when you said X, I think someone was offended”.

If it’s men harrassing women, a strong female character delivering the ‘knock it off’ message may also help to hammer it home.

Are meetings just “Various officer reports”, or is there an educational/presentations aspect to it? Something that would put responsibility/tasks onto the members themselves? If people don’t have to put any effort/money into something, they tend to not value it quite as highly…

The meetings go like this. The board is appointed by the members to run the everyday operation of the club. They have no decision making authority. Each month the board comes before the membership to receive direction or approval on things they are asking for. A quorum requires 8 members to show up, we have not had a quorum in at least 8 years that I can remember. So basically the board runs the club on their own direction.

I am tending to agree with the guys who say just let it die and then wait for period of at least a year to bring back a new facility with new programs and environment that address some of the problems I spoke of.

I am currently putting together an exploratory committee to examine how this areas needs could best be met. Some people feel this committee is overstepping my bounds but seeing as how it has no official capacity I feel I can do anything I want.

One idea I see as a focal point that I plan to run by the committee is a theater group. This I think could create a lot of interest. ladies who like to sew could make costumes, men could build props, mothers and fathers could write and produce plays involving their kids if they chose to. So I will be pushing for a good sized main room with a stage.

Another important thing I will be pushing for is large enough common areas inside and patio where individual had room to get away from each other and settle into their own small groups.

Well, it was implied he resigned of his own volition. He didn’t. We asked him to leave the club.

I’m not happy we had to do it, but I don’t regret it. It made club meetings very uncomfortable when he would go off on some unrelated tangent.

Either now, with the current club, and definitely in the future with any new club, there need to be rules of conduct. These rules have to include some information about how members are expected to treat other members; how they are expected to behave. You also need to provide a way for members to complain about problems, so that they can be dealt with. Make sure all members now, and all new members, understand the rules and the procedures for rule-breaking. 2 warnings then out, or whatever it might be. Some infractions should probably earn immediate dismissal.

If you want this to be a meeting place for all ages, sexes and groups, you must make the rules of conduct accommodate that. It’s not a males-only drinking club, it’s a family-friendly community center (or whatever). Work from there.

If you can clean up the behavior, or the membership, you can probably move your club in the right direction without letting it die off. You just need to establish the new order. Once word gets around that the bad elements have been shown the door, and you start some of your new programs, I’ll bet you start getting new members again.

First step is setting up those club rules.

Um, wow. Maybe you should check your own attitude towards gender roles in the process?

I hope you mean well, but if I were interested in doing theater stuff and was told that my role as a woman was to sew, while the men get to play with power tools and the children get to actually be on stage, I would not participate in your group.

I wouldn’t rag on HoneyBadgerDC. He was just giving examples of what people could do. He wasn’t saying a woman couldn’t make props or act on stage if she wanted. I guess you could get that impression through assumption, but this was just an off the cuff statement and I don’t see anything wrong with these generalities. You can only get offended if you assume things he didn’t actually say. I think he’s doing good by trying to revitalize a community for the arts and he’s made it plain he wants to include women/men/families/children on an even playing field.

I’d put a vote down for let this old one die off and start a brand new one with more plainly laid out rules of behavior. That would be easier than trying to un-tarnish the current one’s name.

Yes and no? I agree that HoneyBadgerDC didn’t intend to offend, but my first comment anyway was going to be after the first post – to say that I’m not sure I would want to join a club that referred to me a “female.” Then reading the post about ladies having the opportunity to sew reinforced my impression: that it’s possible that the club isn’t intending to be off-putting to women who might potentially join, but it’s definitely not making a good impression in this area.

I guess that could be the case that he could use some self-reflection anyway just to be sure, but he used both the words “males” and “females” in reference to the flirters. Only when they were simply obnoxious were they people. Seems pretty even-handed to me.

Maybe. Or maybe interest has waned in steampunk cuddle parties for Otherkin LARPers.

I don’t really get into all that politically correct verbiage, I can’t keep up with it. I had a feeling it would pop up every time I used a sexual reference. Obviously all activities would be open to all sexes. I was mainly just trying to demonstrate that we would be making a greater effort toward inclusion with things that could cross all lines of social status.

When I talked about diversity I was talking anywhere from homeless, convicted felons to accomplished phd's and other professionals and everything in between. I think finding common ground and constructive outlets could off set a lot of the differences.

Look, I like what you’re trying to do, but you need to examine your own role here. When you’re trying to attract people of both gender, if you say “ladies can sew, men can build”, that is going to be a huge red flag to a lot of women (and men). If you’re trying to bring in “diverse” groups, one of the best things that you can do is pay the tiniest bit of attention to what people in those groups prefer to be called and show enough respect to use those terms. Particularly if you’re trying to differentiate yourself from the previous incarnation of this group.

As a suggestion, the easiest way to do this is just to not use restrictive terms at all: “We’re looking for people who can write, direct, make costumes, and build sets! Would you be interested in any of that?”

I will heed that advice. I actually do agree with you.

Good deal!

I’m trying to understand something - how many are the ‘some people’ who feel your committee is overstepping its bounds, and how many are on your committee? I’m confused how you’re getting significant opposition when you can’t even get eight people t show up to a meeting, and why you don’t just get eight people on your committee, call it a quorum, and make whatever you do official. The structure sounds really overcomplicated for a group with tiny turnout.

My experience with an organization that is bleeding members and clearly needs to change but has old members who oppose change is that you have to either overrule/ignore those people or just scrap the current organization and join or start another. If you try to win them over, you end up with just grudging changes that don’t really fix the problem, and the handful of new people you get from announcing a change leave when they find it’s really just the same thing as before.

You have meetings with a group membership of 100 and normally no more than 8 members show up other than the board? I’m not clear what’s going on here but it doesn’t really sound like much of a “club” at this point…

Service clubs in general are having huge problems attracting younger people these days.

You summed it up pretty well, The existing members are welcome to be a part of but I don’t plan to develop any plans around them. We have several hundred x members and several hundred more potential members that I plan to target. The reason I want a large committee is not only for more input but also to garner some support during the development stage and give us a better chance of hitting the ground running when we open the new doors. If everything goes perfectly I will be over shadowed about 3/4 of the way through and fade into the back ground. I would like to see a slightly younger generation take over. I really want to pass the torch but have no one to pass it to.

I guess I will be more direct, I was trying to avoid it in case some of the members read the posts here but it doesn’t make much difference at this point. This is an AA club. They hold several AA meeting a day and this is basically what keeps them afloat. The club itself is not part of AA but geared toward AA members. Most AA clubs are 1,000 sq ft facilities that close up between meetings. Some in larger metro areas such as mine are able to maintain active memberships and are self supporting from coffee bar sales and membership fees. -

I would like to think that as a club we could offer more than a place to sit down and have a cup of coffee. Knowing some good conversation is always available is a huge draw to places like this. This will only happen if people are there to start with. I am really hoping that we can gain enough interest to create a model club.

Since you’ve mentioned that it’s AA-related, something you may want to look at is how much of the existing membership are preachy religious types? I know some people who are in or have been through recovery who like aspects of AA but don’t like the people in it who turn meetings into virtual church sessions. The people I know will quietly avoid social events that include the preacher types and choose meetings where they don’t dominate if they have a chance. If that’s happening in your club, they wouldn’t make a big stink about it, they’d just not join the club or show up to be preached at. If you’re not bothered by religious talk, you might not notice how much of it is going on.