Please check http://ggrs.info/ for information about meetings, member layout photos, classified ads, membership info, and past meeting photos and reports. We always welcome new members and visitors to our functions!
The Southern California Garden RR club has a current family listing of 120 members. This is half the membership of two years ago. Have you seen an increase or decrease in your own membership? If eitherway, any suggestions in increasing or assuring retention of membership? We have regular open houses year-round. Unfortunately, the "repeats" outnumber the "first-time" open house displays. Usually, there we average 9 open houses per year. Also, each member receives a SoCalif.Garden RR newsletter monthly.
We have had a steady growth of membership over the last 3-4 years from about 30 families to about 75 or so. We do have regular monthly meetings, and a yearly 1:1 scale train ride. We help with the SELSTS and do a couple other shows per year. We do tend to see the same folks over and over at meetings and such, usually averaging about 30 at each one.
There was a question on the old web site about Garden Railway clubs in the area near Sioux City, IA. He was answered by a friend of mine from Minnesota who stated that there were clubs in the Des Moines, IA and Omaha, NE areas. We also have had a very active club in eastern Iowa based in Cedar Rapids. The club came into being after I built mine in 1994. The local newspaper gave us a Sunday article with photos of the new layout and I had 200 people through when I opened for the first time on Father's Day in 1995.
We now have over 37 families as members, with a growing number of Garden Railways numbering 14 now and with more under construction. We have many interest areas in the group with some into fine scale and others just running for fun. We have a yearly tour in the summer and this event is attended by hundreds. An added delight is a growing live steam group.
You would know how to get hold of the clubs if the groups were still listed in Garden Railways magazine but Kalmbach sadly decided to stop the listing last year.
The group in the Des Moines area is the Central Iowa Garden Railway Society and, like mine, has a president named Joe. Must be an Iowa thing. Theirs is also a very active group with more members than ours.
The group in the Omaha/Council Bluffs area is new and has as one of its leaders Marty Cozad! That, alone, shoud be enough to convince many to seek them out. Marty is one of most knowledgeable and able folks that I have ever met. His railway is legendary and his annual fall gathering is spectacular. BTW, that gathering is for battery and live steam power only. The track is not electrified.
I know that this missive is full of boasting but the truth is that G scale and Garden Railroading are alive and well in Iowa and nearby.
Joe Hall, President, Cedar Valley Garden Railway Society
I agree Ted that we fneed to see more of the newer members. Maybe this year we will be able to attact those folks as its all ways nice to see new layouts and get Ideas. At least we are still growing and by our club working and settinup our Railroad display at various RR shows sure helps the G scale hobby. Later RJD GGRS