As in all volunteer organizations - they are living organisms. They have life cycles – some rapid and some more subtle.
There is no doubt there is a national trend in all clubs to becoming older and less involved as the national demographic changes. Gen X and Y do things differently than the “Boomers”. They don’t do clubs – they have other forms of social connections – so far.
With that said I want to address our individual responsibilities (contributions) to any organization. Are we part of the solution or part of the problem?
Case in point. I belong to a tiny little yacht club (30 families) it is a very grass roots club and family friendly – mostly sailors but a few power boaters. We have one member who is openly talking trash about members, uses foul language often, complains that nothing ever happens in the club, the officers are incompetent and don’t know how to run a club, that this is a sailboat club not a powerboat club – the power boaters should find another club. This member hangs around the club often – rearranges the furniture, reorganizes already organized drawers, puts in receipts for unauthorized purchases and expects immediate reimbursement from the treasurer. Our events have less and less participation and I figure we will loose 40% of our members this next cycle – leaving the club insolvent. This member clearly wants change – to have a better club.
Part of the problem or part of the solution?
This next board has the unenviable job to decide what to do. Are they going to be part of the solution or the problem?
So – yes, Most Chapters are aging, many stuck in the 80s, have done a poor job of recruitment and retention, have not reached out into their communities, not open to other forms of flight, and perhaps even elitist where visitors feel unwelcome. [never to come back]
What are you going to do?
We all have a choice – individually – part of the problem or part of the solution.
Getting past the problem and being part of the solution takes effort – many of the chapters have negative momentum and will need commitment and vision to slow the progress and turn it around. It will be 2-5 years of work and finding, maybe from the outside, others who will join you.
National knows this….that’s why they have chapter leadership academy. Why there are grass root tours – chapter video magazines, why top leadership is involved daily with supporting the chapters….They have made a choice.
How are you going to be an instrument of support and change?
The glass is half full or half empty - YOUR choice.