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There has been a lot of discussion within our club on which direction we should go. We have a monthly dinner meeting at a restaurant and hash over various business. We also set up layouts at several shows during the year. On rare occasions we meet at a members house, but it is mostly a social event.

So, I was wondering what do other clubs do?
Do you have monthly or regular meetings?
Do you have clinics or how-to sessions?
Do you meet at members homes and run trains on their layout?
Do you have work parties at members homes?
Do you have a permanent meeting place?
Do you have a club layout?
What other things do you do as a club?

Thanks.
 

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Our club, the Lakeshore Garden Railway Club (southeastern Michigan) meets monthly at members homes. We also have three shows per year that we run our modular display. At Christmas, we get together at a selected restaurant as a group. We also have several outings available throughout the year that club members can sign up for. Most are regional and a couple are semi-long distance.

Our meetings arre loosely formatted with old business, new business, show and tell sessions, an occasional workshop, and in two weekends, we'll get together and upgrade the leg system on our modular display to give them both a more structurally sound footing as well as an aesthetically pleasing look. (the legs will look like trestle bents.

Mark
 

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Posted By barnmichael on 08/20/2008 9:25 PM
There has been a lot of discussion within our club on which direction we should go. We have a monthly dinner meeting at a restaurant and hash over various business. We also set up layouts at several shows during the year. On rare occasions we meet at a members house, but it is mostly a social event.

So, I was wondering what do other clubs do?
Do you have monthly or regular meetings?
Do you have clinics or how-to sessions?
Do you meet at members homes and run trains on their layout?
Do you have work parties at members homes?
Do you have a permanent meeting place?
Do you have a club layout?
What other things do you do as a club?

Thanks.




Do you have monthly or regular meetings? Yes

Do you have clinics or how-to sessions? Yes, monthly (more or less)

Do you meet at members homes and run trains on their layout? Yes, except for the December (Holiday party) and January (meet at a local train museum/station and set up trains to run for the public)

Do you have work parties at members homes? Yes. This can be combined with the clinics to get hands on experience.

Do you have a permanent meeting place? No.

Do you have a club layout? No, but I have been thinking about future plans for one.

What other things do you do as a club? We do a lot of display layouts of civic events and train shows. We also set up a six week holiday display at local botanical parks. Club members will also do group trips to railroads events (Strasburg, etc.)

more at http://www.wvmgrs.org/
-Brian
 

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The question of club activities is often an awkward one for clubs which do not have an agreed on purpose. And though one would think that setting the purpose would be straightforward, ask in any established club without a purpose and you will find a huge diversity of very strongly held opinion on the direction of the club.

The Ottawa Valley Garden Railway Society has had as its unwritten purpose for many many years, the conducting of model railroad operations sessions. These sessions are held weekly on saturday morning on the club's host railroad, the IPP&W. There are no dues and no formal officers - none are needed since there are really no ongoing expenses to meet and decisions on the ops are taken in group discussions after each ops session.

The club, just by getting together weekly in season, has forged some strong social relationships. These have led to the informally organized trips to the ECLSTS, regular visits to the Finger Lakes Live Steamers and other social events. The club also hosts the annual American Invasion where our American neighbours come north to join us in a weekend long stream of ops sessions and good cheer.

Ottawa is fortunate to have the Ottawa Valley Association of Railroaders (OVAR), an umbrella group which hosts a monthly dinner open to railroaders of all stripes and interests. Everyone from the Bytown Railway Society (the historical preservation group) to HOTrack (the HO modular group) attends. Several of the OVGRS members are among the regular 130-150 attendees at the monthly dinner and presentation. Otherwise, there are no regular club social activities planned.

In the distant past, some members wanted to push toward "advertising" large scale by participating in shows with a modular setup. This was very unsuccessful in terms of the results - the modular layout worked well but getting new interest in large scale was not achieved in a noticeable way. As a result, formal participation in shows was discontinued more than 15 years ago.

Most OVGRS members have no large scale railroad of there own. In fact, many would state their primary scale as HO. As a result, there are no organized work parties to work on member's railroads nor is there the sort of round robin visits some other groups undertake. Our focus is on operations and for that a sufficiently large railroad has to be available.

Each year, one or two members depart us but each year, we seem to gain more than we lose. The formula of an informal non bureaucratic organization coupled with a specific focus on operations in the garden seems to work pretty well.

Regards ... Doug
 

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Gateway Garden Railroad club:

1. Monthly meetings at member's homes.

2. Publishes a monthly newsletter.

3. Maintains a model railway at a Children's hospital.

4. Sets up a large modular railway at many shows each year.

5. Hosts a big get-together every February
 

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The Hudson Valley LS RR Club tries to meet monthly at different members homes. A few of us retired members do get together just about every Wednesday weather permitting to run, usually at my home layout. We do 3 to 4 local shows and have recently been going to local pre-schools to show off our trains. The kids get a real kick out of them as do the teachers, who get a few minutes of rest.lol.
We have no dues, no rules, no rivet counting, just plain fun running, and lots of laughter. We help eachother with layouts, repairs, whatever. We're blessed to have some members that know just about anything regarding large scale trains.
 

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I have been a member of two clubs. One was in CT when I was still in high school. The other was here in central PA after I was married. My experiences were so different, I'll answer your questions twice.

CT club
Do you have monthly or regular meetings? Yes, monthly at a members house to see trains running. Members were encouraged to bring equipment to operate.
Do you have clinics or how-to sessions? Sometimes. Mostly, it was just bull sessions.
Do you meet at members homes and run trains on their layout? Yes, see above.
Do you have work parties at members homes? Not that I was a part of. It is likely this happened later after I had left the area.
Do you have a permanent meeting place? No.
Do you have a club layout? No.
What other things do you do as a club? There were a few train shows we'd set up for. A couple of guys got together and built some modules. I think those guys formed the Central CT G gaugers group.

Central PA

Do you have monthly or regular meetings? No.
Do you have clinics or how-to sessions? No.
Do you meet at members homes and run trains on their layout? They tried to put together an open house circuit, but because it was a general area on the same day, I never got to see the local layouts nor meet the locals who had them.
Do you have work parties at members homes? Not that I was aware of.
Do you have a permanent meeting place? No.
Do you have a club layout? There were display layouts set up at the ECLSTS, PA garden show in Harrisburg, and at a Holdiay Display. If you were unable to help set up during normal business working hours, you were ostracised.
What other things do you do as a club? Eat. They apparently got together in the summer and December for official meetings and to eat.

I moved from CT which is why I left that club. Also, as the youngest member with a layout, I always felt at odds with the older members of the club. I hosted on open house/club meeting, and the day before everything ran great. Day of event, it poured down rain. We managed to run trains later in the afternoon, but overall, it was kind of disappointing. I also attempted to run live steam in December outside at a member's house. Not the best move. Managed to steam up but had a problem with the R/C.

The Central PA club has been a real disappointment. Like Doug says, if there is not a clear goal for the club, it can be frustrating to the membership. The straw that broke the camel's back for me was when members didn't seem to want to bring trains to run at the display track for the ECLSTS in 2006. Friends of mine (non club members) who had bought/brought equipment at/to the show were basically run off by the other members who didn't bring anything to run. Last year, I had a member stop me at the show and ask if I was going to join again. I said No. I guess they miss having the variety.

It would be great to have a 'club' layout to go work on, but the truth for me is that I don't have the time for my own layout, let alone a club layout.

While not an actual club, the RR Museum of PA is having Model RR days again this year. I was part of the initial tour last year, and they asked me to be part again this year. I was recently contacted by one of the other layout owners who wanted to see my RR, since we don't get a chance to go around day of the tour. I thought that was pretty cool, and look forward to meeting up with him. There are 8 of us within about 10 miles of each other. I have yet to meet any of them! It was fun to host and chat with over 600 people in a little over 4 hours. My initial figure of 350 was crushed when I got the official report from the RRMofPA indicating that 600 tickets had been sold. While it was overwhelming, and I didn't even run a single train (I had guest engineers), it was a lot of fun. Also, it forced me to ballast the railroad and make sure that everything was running well ahead of time.

Mark
 

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Posted By barnmichael on 08/20/2008 9:25 PM
There has been a lot of discussion within our club on which direction we should go. We have a monthly dinner meeting at a restaurant and hash over various business. We also set up layouts at several shows during the year. On rare occasions we meet at a members house, but it is mostly a social event.
So, I was wondering what do other clubs do?
Do you have monthly or regular meetings?
Do you have clinics or how-to sessions?
Do you meet at members homes and run trains on their layout?
Do you have work parties at members homes?
Do you have a permanent meeting place?
Do you have a club layout?
What other things do you do as a club?
Thanks.

At the Orange County Garden Railroad Society we:
Have a monthly potluck lunch or dinner meeting at a different member's home each month.
Discuss trends and anyone's project's, especially if they brought it along.
Watch the host run their trains pre- and post- potluck. Sometime people bring their own trains to run also. There is always a raffle at the meeting, typically with at least 6 (or more) prizes to be won. Raffle tickets are $1 each and proceeds go to the treasury to buy more raffle prizes.
Help out other members when requested.
We have no permament meeting place or layout.
We do set-ups for various charitable events 2-3 time a year.
We are in the process of obtaining a club rail bender (Train-Li) for any club member's use and to help bring new members into the fold.
 

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Rivercity Railroaders of Nebraska, Iowa,
Monthly meetings at member homes, display set up at Great American Train Show.
 

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RiverCity RRers also
have fun gettogthers at Bubbas and others,
spend weekends helping newer members,
helping at Laurenzine Garden,
visited other clubs and networking.
gone on trips to do clinics at shows.
ALWAYS INVITED NEW FOLKS TO MEETINGS.
reached out and had memebers join who live far away so they feel apart of a club.
I know there is more.
 

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River City RR also on occasion get together to show and convert people to battery power...so I guess that wuld qualify as an inservice/clinic.
AND being in a club sometimes lets you in on sales of items that are a bargain before it gets out to non-club members.
If someone sells name brand items they also get a disscount that non-club members would not get in on.
We also get together to work on our club layout. I know I am forgetting some things but it gives us a chance to meet with others that have our affliction! Who trully understand each other! Sounds like AA HUH???
Really if you are not in a club you are missing out on friendship fellowship and a wealth of knolledge..if you ARE in a club and do not get the info you are looking for....shame on you!/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/w00t.gif" border=0>/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/blink.gif" border=0>:rolleyes:" border=0>
I have learned a lot since the club started, and I am just scrapping the surface!

Forgot to add that we all help out not just each other but anyone who wants a helping hand or just info!
Bubba
 

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Utah Garden Railway Society...

My group-o-train nutz....


Do you have monthly or regular meetings?
Yes, the third Saturday of each month at a members home.

Do you have clinics or how-to sessions?
Sometimes, some months we'll have a clinic session at a monthly meeting.

Do you meet at members homes and run trains on their layout?
Oh sure you betcha..

Do you have work parties at members homes?
Yep, usually on our modular layout.

Do you have a permanent meeting place?
Unles you count Bob's house... no.

Do you have a club layout?
Yes, a modular layout that we can travel with.

What other things do you do as a club?
We try to set up the modular layout at train shows and public venues at least two or three times a year. We have a nice holliday party in the season. We have an end of summer social (cookout) coming up in September.
 

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Friends,
The Georgia Garden Railway Society has monthly meeting at members homes (often with a covered dish), a 1:1 scale train ride each year, set up for 2-3 local shows per year, host a Christmas Party, and set up and help in a number of ways with the SELSTS in Perry, GA. We also helped with the 2001 LGB Convention in Atlanta. While most members live in the metro Atlanta area, many are all over the SE (in several ajoining states). We do have a web site with a gallery of members layouts, a for sale section, a calendar, as well as photos from past shows and meetings. Check http://ggrs.info/ for more info. For my two cents worth, while nothing is perfect, Large Scale CLUBS ARE FANTASTIC!
 

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The Gold Coast Garden Railway Society is nominally based in Ventura County CA, although we have members from all over. We meet once or twice a month at member's homes. Sometimes three times, as we have a few members who get together to operate trains.

The meetings are scheduled at the convenience of whoever is hosting. People bring their own locomotives and cars to run. We sometimes have clinics. Work parties are held as side events, usually with much smaller groups.

We don't have a permanent meeting place or a club layout, and we don't have business meetings or any club, non-train oriented events. One of our members has a modular layout, and he gets a group of volunteers together to take it to and from shows when it fits his schedule.

Doesn't sound like much, does it? But, we have been around since 1984, and have 67 members.
 

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Vermont Garden Railway Society...

Do you have monthly or regular meetings?
Yes, monthly during the operating season May to October, in the winter we have one get together

Do you have clinics or how-to sessions?
Sometimes, we try to get together once in the winter to do a project of some sort. Built modules one year, built a club car, and such

Do you meet at members homes and run trains on their layout?
At the open houses we do. Sometimes there are informal gatherings for those without layouts to run trains at member layouts close by.

Do you have work parties at members homes?
Usually befor an open house members will gather to help the person do the final touch up necessary... ballast track, pull weeds, etc

Do you have a permanent meeting place?
No.

Do you have a club layout?
No

What other things do you do as a club?
We set up the modular layout at train shows usually 3 or 4 times during the year. We set up garden layouts on the ground 3 or 4 times a year. We have a nice newsletter that comes out before any meeting, usually about 8 issues per year. We have 2 sub groups, a modular group and a live steam group.

Our club has about 40+ members/families that pay dues of $10 per year. The club supplies paper goods, and beverages at gatherings.
 

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The Shore Line Garden Railroad Club covers a big part of the Maryland Delaware Eastern shore. We have about 44 paying members. We meet monthly at members homes, the second Sunday. We run trains at each meeting, and have a potluck feast. The business part of the meeting is usually under 30 minutes. We also have a catered Christmas dinner party at a local restaurant. We do several layouts during the year for various events, usually by invitation. We do not have a modular layout. We have a major effort on open houses during the month of June. We do have a layout that we built and maintain at a local garden center. We show up there about three times a year at their big events, and run trains and get a lot of attention. A number of new members have come from these events. We may have a 1:1 train ride each year. Our web site is www.trainweb.org/shoreline.
Paul
 

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I am the webmaster for the Sacramento Valley Garden Railway Society, Sacramento, California.

Do you have monthly or regular meetings? We meet once a month in member's homes, except in December and January. The Club Board of Directors meets every other month at a restaurant and goes over Club business, which is reported to the members at the general meetings. In December we hold a pot luck luncheon and swap meet at a recreation center in the area. In January we have an awards dinner at a local restaurant.

Do you have clinics or how-to sessions? We sometimes have show and tell sessions in the members homes. We've also done "clinic days" in lieu (or as the major feature) of a monthly meeting. We've had great success with those attracting our less active members, who it turns out, are mainly looking for ideas and direction.

Do you meet at members homes and run trains on their layout? Yes, and we've instituted a program of open house days, where three to six layouts in the same general area are open and on display.

Do you have work parties at members homes? Yes. Hard as it is to believe, some of our members are older than average, and maintaining a layout can be difficult for them. So the club helps out. Also, our new members often need some encouragement, and helping get them going is good therapy for the rest of us.


Do you have a permanent meeting place? No.

Do you have a club layout? Not now. For several years, we had a permanent layout in the center court of a local shopping mall. But the mall management changed their style, and we were out. We've been approached by some groups to set up a layout, but nothing developed from them, yet.

What other things do you do as a club? We go to conventions en masse. We'll sometimes have fifty members at a convention several hundred miles away. Several of us travel (sometimes as a group) to things like the Queen Mary Show. Several of us took the train home together!
We have a modular group, and set up several times a year at model railroad shows, live steamer set ups in Rancho Cordova, and at the State Railroad Museum on Thanksgiving weekend.
We've acquired tools, magazines, videos, etc., and we loan them out to members.
Oh, and twice we've hosted the National Garden Railroad Convention.

 
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