Organized hobby concerns

Q&A about Clubs and Events

Moderator: Pam Chin

Post Reply
Pam Chin
Site Admin
Posts: 1774
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2003 9:11 am
Location: California, USA
Contact:

Organized hobby concerns

Post by Pam Chin »

Dear Pam,

In your opinion what are the three greatest concerns for the organized hobby (Local and National clubs) in the short and long term.

Al Knowles

Pam Chin
Site Admin
Posts: 1774
Joined: Sat Nov 29, 2003 9:11 am
Location: California, USA
Contact:

Post by Pam Chin »

Dear Al,

1. The biggest concern for all clubs is turnover. In reality it is not a club problem, it is actually a hobby problem. The average hobbyists has one tank, and has never heard of a club. They get their only information from the clerk at their local store, which is not always the best. They end up loosing fish, getting discouraged and within one year they sell the tank at their garage sale for 10% of what they initially invested.

Others investigate a bit more and may join a local general aquarium society. The social aspect encourages them to gain more knowledge, more tanks and access to fish they never see in stores. All at once they become a potential big time breeder. They acquire multiple tanks, they become active in the Breeders Award Program. They join National clubs, and subscribe to all the magazines. Soon they become burned out and you never see them again. I really don't want to say how long I have been involved in the organized hobby, because I don't want you to figure out how old I am!! But let me say this, I can count on one hand the number of people who are still active in the PCCA when I joined back in the early 80's.

The hobby is 99% male dominated, and so I guess it is true that men have a short attention span *grin*!! Wives don't normally tolerate the fish infatuation and once the children come they don't have they time to invest in it anymore. It is rare to see a "couple" active in the hobby, and I have seen quite a few guys end up divorced. I am sure that it isn't all because of the fish, but it is a factor.

A lot of people think they are going to make a fast buck. They spawn a common species, and they are going to make a million. It just doesn't happen, it is more realistic to hope that maybe you can support your habit. It isn't long before they realize they can't compete with Florida trying to breed fish in their garage. They miss a few meetings, they forget to pay their dues, and before you know it they are gone.

2. Anyone who has been active in a club politics can tell you that it can be discouraging to be on the board, or hold an office. I don't care if it is a club for dogs, pigeons, or cars, there is always some type of conflict. Many clubs that look like they have it all together, are at each others throats. If you have an officer or committee person that isn't doing their own job, what can you do? How do you fire a volunteer? It is a very difficult situation and no matter how you handle it, someone gets their feelings hurt.

I have held nearly every office and board position available in local, regional and national fish clubs, until finally I just can't take the fighting and back stabbing that goes on in some clubs. When it works it is great, but when you feel like you are fighting an uphill battle, you are bound to get fed up with it.

3. Trying to get all members to participate is really hard. What usually happens is only a few end up doing all the work and it isn't long before they get burned out or tired of doing it. If everyone could do a little it takes the pressure off, and you don't have people that don't feel like they are the only ones who care. Maybe you don't have time to run for the board, but you could run at the Auction. There is always something that needs to be done at the meetings, and you don't have to spend the whole meeting working. Help sell raffle tickets, take a spell at the sales table, help straighten the auction bags, be an auctioneer, help make change, etc.

Geez, as I review what I have just written it sounds very negative, and I don't mean to be. There is no one who loves her fish clubs more than me! Clubs need to help new members to keep their interest going. They need to cater more to beginners by providing articles, speakers and access to members that are more advanced. My biggest complaint is that a lot of clubs, especially national ones don't send out renewal notices, this is critical. Men don't look at their mailing labels, if they get a separate postcard or flyer then it is put in the to pay pile.

Above all remember why you joined!! It is for the love of fish, the craving for more knowledge and for the fun of it!! The opportunity to make friends for a lifetime. It is just a club, not a matter of life and death!! My best advice is if you volunteer to do something, do it! If you find you can't do it then let somebody know as soon as possible, so someone else can take the task on. It is your club and you get out of it what you put in to it!
Cichlid Power!
Pam

Cichlid Room Companion
Best Cichlid Site Ever
http://www.cichlidae.com

Post Reply