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Discussion Starter #1
How many people do you have in your club? And how many have meetings and set up at train shows?
Our club it's about 35 members, and about 6-8 have meetings and set up at shows.
Don
 

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100% no shows.
It's the old Groucho Conundrum; I wouldn't join a group that would have me for a member.
At least I have no resentments!
Happy Rails,
John
 

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I am with John on this. I enjoy our hobby, but not club dynamics and politics. Besides, I am not alone in my pursuit, I always have the voices inside my head to keep me company.

Fil
 

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I think your questions are mostly useful in the scenario where a large scale enthusiast lives in a major city, or near one. I'm out in the middle of nowhere, Kansas (if you drew an X through the state, the town where I live would be at the intersection) so there's no club here--not even a club for other, more common scales.

I consider MLS my "club" with its several thousand members. But we never actually "meet" :)
 

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Trains
We have around 30 in our club, we have monthly meetings, we set up at 4-7 shows a year.
we have a few clinics at meetings, the most important thing for successful meetings is to not allow politics
enter the club, Club wise or our gov. Have a meeting get the business done do the a clinic, then fellowship.
never allow one or two people to dominate meetings or business.
Successful clubs have good meetings and a very good and informative newsletter.
We have members that travel 2 hours to our clubs meetings.
Dennis
 

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We have 62 member families in the Orange County Garden Railway Society and keep growing.

We have monthly meetings that are potluck lunches or dinners at member's homes/railways. There can be and often are over 60 people in attendance.

Yearly membership is just $20 per family ($10 after July) and for an additional $5, you can get a new Club calendar of the member's railroads. Club cost is $11 and additional calendars can be had at that price if there are any left over. Basically all money paid in goes back out to the membership during the year and we carry no "profit" from year to year.

Starting in Jan, Club pays the month's host $50 to cover costs of plates, plasticware, and drinks (was $25 but we're getting too big for that).

We have large raffles at each club meeting. These are self-supporting with the proceeds from one month going toward the next month. In November when people renew and we reaffirm our Board for the next year, we always have a mega-raffle including several train engines and rail cars, buildings, complete starter sets, etc., etc., etc. Last week I won a "new" in box Sierra SD-40 sound card, and a Hillside Railways flickering firebox kit for just $10 worth of raffle tickets.

Because our Club is "supported" by BridgeMasters, the raffles get really good prices on stuff, especially from estate sales. We also have members who own Narrow Gauge Junction, Roecks, and run the Pomona Fairgrounds Fairplex Garden Railway.

In December some members have evening Christmas runs complete with a visit from the "Big Guy" and goodies.

We have a monthly newsletter that goes out to the membership.

We have some of the nicest garden railways around.

Our members set up a "garden railway display" for the Fullerton Railroad Days.

Sometimes we set up outings on the train to someplace.
 

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Our club has 60 members. Monthly meetings are held at members' homes with 30 to 35 people (members and family) attending. Getting volunteers to hold a meeting is more challenging each year with most meetings being hosted by the same 8 to 10 members.
Train Show participation is less of a problem with 20 to 25 members supporting the events.
 

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Our little club is presently struggling to stay active. We have about 6 people who come to meetings - when we can organize a meeting. 2014 only had one meeting - operating a display at the Virginia Museum of Transportation.

This year we did slightly better. We met in July and August. This was because my wife and I agreed with another couple from Wythville to hold meetings at our homes. We invited the other members, but only one extra person showed up at the August meeting.

We have lost members to job changes, ride on trains (1 inch and 1 and a half inch scales), and death, and have not had any new people express an interest. One former member is thinking of getting back into large scale, so I suppose there is some hope.

We don't have dues and are very loosely structured. Since everyone has email, there is no longer a need to send meeting notices via mail, so no need for dues. The Roanoke area just does not seem to be a "clubby" area. Even the HO club must have less than 50 members.

I don't have a layout, but set up track on our carport when my wife and I host a meeting. I run mostly live steam now, but still keep the track supplied with a 10 amp power pack for visiting electric locomotives.

I like running trains with friends and hope our little club will be able to continue its camaraderie.

David Meashey
 

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I think NHGRS is doing fairly well, despite the ls recession. We have 65 current members, and many of them are quite active. We like to have at least one NHGRS-hosted show each year and we particpiate in several other multi-scale shows/conventions (plus our open houses!). As if that wasnt enough, we have special sub-groups for live steam and machining.
 

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The Minnesota Garden Railroad Society has about 100 members. There is an open house at different garden railroads most weekends over the summer.
 

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Central Oklahoma Garden Railroad Society is a very loosely knit group of about fifteen people. About half have garden railroads, with a couple in the planning stages. Six people have joined within the last year. We have no dues or formal meetings, have a modular layout and set it up during two annual shows in OKC. We try to have an open house and train run at a members garden railroad every other month, that doesn't always happen. So far no one in our group has shown an interest in formality.
 

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Last year the Georgia Garden Railway Society had 7 meetings at member’s layouts, a ride on the C, ST. P. & P live steam RR, set up at 5 shows or events, opened layouts for the NMRA Piedmont Pilgrimage, published regular newsletters, and had several opportunities to ride 1:1 scale trains. In July 15 members attended the National Convention in Denver. Currently there are 64 families registered with the GGRS. Our future looks bright as we plan for the 2018 National Garden Railway Convention to be hosted by the Georgia Garden Railway Society right here in Atlanta.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I think most people in our club come for the free food and drinks. They come sit their and don't say any thing, don't participate in any thing, don't have a meeting.
I guess I'm trying to figure out why do they belong to a club.

Don
 

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I have to agree. Why show up and not participate.

For me, talking with other railroad and garden enthusiasts is half the fun of getting together. Of course running trains is the other half.
 

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For over 20 years I was a member of the TCA Florida division. That meant paying yearly dues for both the Florida division and the Main TCA club. When I was actively collecting American Flyer, I went to all their shows and even went to their York meet twice. But I haven't attended any of their shows in years and when I did after 2006, it was looking for G scale stuff which was pretty much non-existent. So finally last year, I didn't re-up my membership. To me, the interesting part was, no one ever contacted me as to why I wasn't attending any of the meets. Then when I dropped out, no one contacted me to ask why I dropped out after being a member for over 20 years. As a former President of a car club that in the late 90s had over 200 members and now has less than 50, I don't understand why clubs don't communicate with their members more. We all have email addresses and we are always asked to provide it every time we register for anything.
 

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I think most people in our club come for the free food and drinks. They come sit their and don't say any thing, don't participate in any thing, don't have a meeting.
I guess I'm trying to figure out why do they belong to a club.

Don
Don, I was thinking of your post this morning. The college I attend asked for some help moving antique cars (in various states of disrepair) out of a storage space that they can no longer lease. At least 30 student showed up--and most of them were there for the free pizza on offer. As for myself, I was there to enjoy the cars :)
 

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When I was getting started in G scale, I drove 75 miles each way on many weekends to see layouts at open houses. The club members held an open house most every weekend and listed them on their website. The local club doesn't list any open houses on their website, but apparently will invite me to one of their meetings if I ask. Whoopie.

I think most people in our club come for the free food and drinks. They come sit their and don't say any thing, don't participate in any thing, don't have a meeting.
I guess I'm trying to figure out why do they belong to a club.
Diff'rent strokes, I guess.

JackM
 

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Maybe your group should stop the food and drinks. When Nancy and I lived in the Denver area, 23 years ago, we were very active in the local club. I think that there was one meeting a year with food.

It was a very active , informative, show and tell, a speaker on an interesting topic or skill, and a very special group of friends. We became active as secretary and treasurer. During the warm weather, there were open houses and tours. A summer meeting might have been at a house, but refreshments were minimal.

We met in the evening at a central location, after dinner. No food was needed.

Chuck
 

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The train club we belong to has about 65 members. We have about seven or eight meetings a year at members homes and a Christmas party in mid January that is also a dinner. That members pay for also at the other meetings there is food and drinks served and yes to many people come for the food and sit there and do not get involved with the meeting. We pay dues $20.00 per family there trustees that tell us what we need to do to make the club strong and how to make money for the club. Like do displays around the holidays or other places. The trustees run the meeting and let us know what is going on. If it's money the trustees are all in other than that they do not listen to the members oh buy the way the club has about $10'300. We along with others are leaving this club because of the trustees attitudes. Sorry for the long winded response.
 
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