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Clubs:  What Is working / What's not?

Discussion in 'TLCA- Discussion Forum' started by TRT2, Dec 26, 2002.

  1. TRT2

    TRT2

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    I strongly believe that Chapters help bring TLCA home to the member.

    What is working good in your Club/Chapter?

    What is not working so good?

    I know our Chapter club has implemented a few things we've garnered from other clubs and we've avoided doing some things that didn't work so well for others. Lets share our successes and failures in an effort to help each other.

    take care...
     
  2. TRT2

    TRT2

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    Re: Clubs:  What Is working / What's not?

    PMC - What's working:

    Each meeting, we hold a 50/50 raffle: we ask members to bring something to donate to the 50/50 raffle. We sell tickets a buck each and at the end of the meeting, right after the BoneHead award, we hold the raffle. The last item raffled is half the money made that night. The other half goes into the club kitty. This has worked very well, if fun, and helps our bank account. I garnered this idea from the local Harley Club.

    The BoneHead award. This idea was provided by MTA as one of their things that works. We have a rawhide dog chew toy with a leather band on it, each meeting, at the end, we nominate other members whom we've witnessed do something that was less than swift. We do not count trail breakage or flops unless it was pure ignorance. Each meeting the Bone is passed to a new winner and they join the Bone Club. Its been very fun and good for many laughs.

    The newsletter. I cannot think of any Club item or task that is more important to the success of our (or any) Club. It doesn't matter how your do it, but do it. I will provide copies of our newsletter to anyone who asks, to use as an example or whatever. Oh, many Clubs out there have far superior newsletters to ours, but the point is, any newsletter is better than none.

    Move the meetings around. For us, spread over a large area, having the meetings in different towns helps many folks attend. For instance, they may not be able to make a 2 hr drive, but perhaps next month, the meeting is actually in their town and they only have to drive 15 minutes. This also helps get some new faces involved. As with most clubs, you probably see the same active folks at each meeting.

    What didn't work??
    I tried a horseshoe tournament once... no one showed up except my friend Bud and Ron. Won't do that again.

    We have not had much luck with maintenance days. We did one, light turnout and no one wrenched, they just watched me repack my bearings... but at least I got my bearings repacked.

    Lets hear yours...
     
  3. woody

    woody Internet Fireman Staff Member

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    Re: Clubs:  What Is working / What's not?

    When LCL formed, it was largely for the social/casual aspect of the sport, and around Cruisers specifically. IMO, we are actually TOO informal....and that hurts us. However, most of our group likes it that way, so things remain. The interesting thing is, most of the individuals who were gung-ho about it's initial creation have maintained the casual approach, and some of the newer members are the ones who prefer a bit more formality (McGee, Niner, cruiserrg, etc). It's been interesting to see how things have migrated over the past couple years....and I'm pleased with the changes.

    I'm the President and Newsletter guy, and I agree that communication is critical. &nbsp:Do NOT rely on the internet to get information out - a newsletter in the mail each month, to ensure the entire family reads and stays involved, plus it is nice to keep handy for reference (mine stays in the bathroom rack at all times...heh)

    We just redid our meeting setup from a Sun night at a local establishment to a Fri evening and rotating homes. Gets things more personal, plus can help spread out the travel some. Should keep more people involved I think too, plus we can always go out afterwards.

    We haven't done any maintenance days or other stuff....

    We've had a hard time with participation in trail rides...hot and cold...we do have a core 3-4 rigs that are consistent and then a few that get out every 1-2 years. Our key this year is to get a bit more variety in types of rides and hopefully get a few more people to schedule them.
     
  4. PHAT MAX

    PHAT MAX

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    Re: Clubs:  What Is working / What's not?

    just wait till my cruiser is done! i will be at EVERYTHING....just borrow the truck and borrow my dads buds car trailer....man that will be SWEET.
     
  5. Green Lantern

    Green Lantern Have Truck, Will Travel SILVER Star

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    Lone Star has evolved a bit differently. Not to say, better. We just have patterns that work well for our membership. Lone Star (both DFW and Hill Country) has several competent, hard-core wheelers and a bunch of lite wheelers and lite wrenchers (like me).

    We are very inclusive and supportive of each other. We meet at the same place, at the same time each month. Our newsletter is occaisional, but the mailing list is very strong. There is a free flow of knowledge, parts, and tools among the members. If someone is working on their truck, it's announced and folks may or may not show up.

    "Club Events" are limited to special runs and charity events. Yet, members meet, wheel and wrench on their own all the time.

    All of us work hard to welcome everyone's family and friends into our activities. Most everyone started with cruisers as a personal hobby. Our lives now include family and business responsibilities. So LSLC wants your wife and kids to encourage you to take them "wheelin' with those neat guys at Lone Star."

    In some ways, I'm closer to my friends in LSLC tahn my own kin. But then... my brothers never understood the necessity of air tools.
    Happy Trails! N
     
  6. Niner

    Niner

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    Re: Clubs:  What Is working / What's not?

    I also am in LCL with Woody Cruiserrg and McGee It is true I like more structure to a meeting. I believe a structured meeting is shorter and then you can get to the BSing after. I also welcome the lack of events that aren't as fun (fund raisers). While the events of a fund raiser are fun the day of. Trying to get people to do the prelim. is difficult and strains the "core" membership. I am also in a non specific club (any 4X4) club and the work load in that club alone can turn the non hard cores away after a short time. I have been in this particular club for 20 years, And seen alot of good members loose interest due to the structure of clubs (Roberts Rules of Order) and our bylaws. But IMO our founders back in 1974 must have done something right because 5 differant clubs have formed from ours and have in some way used our bylaws to design there own.

    To make a short story long. What works depends on the membership. And only the squecky wheels get heard. IMO
     
  7. TRT2

    TRT2

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    Re: Clubs:  What Is working / What's not?

    Woody and Niner bring up a good point... finding a balance between business and fun. Often I think Club Business gets lumped into a category called Politics. Taking care of business should not be considered politics. If everyone is in agreement, the business usually goes very fast and everyone can then move on to fun stuff (BSing, reviewing trail rides, etc).

    I have noticed that our Club Business now takes about 15 to 25 minutes at Club Meetings, then its on to trip reviews, Bonehead awards, 50/50 raffle and out.

    Also, I don't know if you can have a large club that does many activities and events... without having some required business.

    and I think that politics comes into play when folks disagree about the direction of the club. For instance, if I bring up a land use issue, some folks, who could care less, consider that politics. I disagree. I feel ashamed if our club, at over 170 members, does not do something with regards to land use. In an effort to address land use and avoid politics, I'll include a letter to be signed and mailed by members in the newsletter... if they choose to do so, great, if not, no big deal, but at least we made the effort. Last year (OK, 2001 type last year), we donated $250 to Friends of the Rubicon... it was sorta tough to get Members to agree but once it was said and done, everyone felt good about it. I am hoping donating to off road organizations who work for pro-active land use issues will become the norm for us... but we also have members who feel like the $$ is theirs and do not want to part with it.

    anyhow, where I was going before i started to ramble was that large, active clubs will have related business and its not a bad thing. Politics get involved when folks disagree about the direction.
     
  8. TRT2

    TRT2

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    Re: Clubs:  What Is working / What's not?

    Club runs:

    We have two types, Club Sanctioned (all rules apply) and Club Non Sanctioned (no rules apply except common sense).

    The analogy or goal was to make family oriented runs available where a full set of rules exist to ensure everyone has a fun and safe time. But in an effort not to loose the spontanaity (spelling) of small informal runs, non sanctioned was created in case a group of folks just want to go out and perhaps shoot guns or run less than safe rigs, that type of stuff. It has worked well.

    We also offer runs irregardless of full club support. In other words, anyone can post a run. There is no need for full club support of a proposed run.

    We have the best turnout on single day runs. that is, a Club run on Saturday to a location within an hour or two will net many rigs and attendees. On the other hand, a mutiple day run (with overnight) to a location of some distance will pare the turnout way down. We also have great turnout for TLCA runs and consider that our way of supporting an event, by showing up and paying to participate, buying raffle tix, etc.

    And of course, we have the core folks who always show up.

    I often say 'we're the large club with the small club atmosphere' because at a run, there is maybe 4 to 8 rigs.

    It's all good!
     
  9. Box Rocket

    Box Rocket Supporting Vendor

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    Re: Clubs:  What Is working / What's not?

    Our club (Wasatch Cruisers) has it's ups and downs just like every other one out there but I think it's pretty unique and has been overall pretty successful over it's 4 year existence.

    We have found that our members, for the most part, aren't too interested in just getting together to BS and look at trucks in a parking lot for our monthly meetings. So our monthly get togethers are almost always trail runs, with a traditional BBQ in the spring and another in the summer. We also have a "maintenance" activity usually in January when many members have their trucks down for repairs or mods anyway. It turns into a BS for the most part but we get a decent turnout, and several people usually get some good stuff done. We have a member that owns and operates a very competent Cruiser shop and he generously donates his shop space for the "maintenance" activity. We also have a member who is a Master Tech at the local Toyota dealership that is on hand to assist with questions or tutorials on certain repairs. Most of the members don't really care about the "business" end of things a whole lot. So when "business" items come up they are kept VERY brief and are informative enough that members can't say they didn't know about it. Like LSLC we have a very active e-mail list among members. Several members are merely lurkers and rarely post anything, and others carry on in depth conversations about all sorts of things. The point is that its a way for the club to communicate with each other. That has been a very good thing for our club.

    We have a broad mix of trucks in the club from completely stock to pretty heavily modified so we have a broad mix of trail runs scheduled throughout the year to try to accomodate alll skill levels. Most of our runs in all actuallity end up being on the moderate end of the scale for difficulty since a larger number of trucks can do that as a group. There are a few "hardcore" runs that a smaller group shows up to, but we try to have most of the trail runs be ones that the entire family can come and have fun and not have to sit and watch most of the day. For those "hardcore" guys that want a bit more, we schedule "renegade runs" usually on more difficult trails so they can get their "fix" as well.

    Our club is not huge. We have about 40 active members right now. Gaining membership maybe isn't the easiest. To become a member, you must attend two activities, where at the second activity you are eligible to be voted into the club by the general membership after you have paid dues for the year. If for some reason the club does not approve your membership, the dues are refunded immediately. Some may call it an elitist approach but it has worked well for us. By asking prospective members to come to two activities it allows them to interact with a large percentage of the club and see how they "fit in." We have a club that is strongly family oriented and there are people that just don't have the same idea of what they want in a club so by coming out to a couple activities they see if they like it or not. In the history of our club there has only been one case of a prospective member not being voted into the club and I think both parties felt good about that. Taking this approach to our membership ensures that we have like-minded people with similar goals and interests building the club and maintaining what we set out to do when the club was founded.

    Our club takes an active role in TLCA events. Moab is basically in our back yard so we have many members volunteer to help during Cruise Moab. We have members help with Registration, acting as trail leaders and gunners, and other needs as they arise. That has built some good brotherhood not only within our own club but with Rising Sun who has really become like extended family to Wasatch Cruisers. We have had several trail runs where members of RS have come out to join our club and vise versa.

    One last thing that I think is a good thing our club does, is we organize one large wheeling trip as a club that is somewhere we usually aren't able to go. A couple years ago, we had a trip out to the Rubicon as a club. Committees were formed to organize everything from transportation to food, to tech inspections etc. It really brought the club together and gave us nearly a week of wheeling and camping together on an awesome trail. For these big activities, we charge a registration fee to help with food cost, we make t-shirts, stickers etc and use some of that money to fund the club throughout the year as a supplement to membership dues. That has been successful.

    I've been rambling, but these are a few things that I think have been good for Wasatch Cruisers. We are still learning and I'm grateful for the ideas I've been getting from many of you.