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AIS: REF: Anner's Bulletin Suggestion

In a message dated 2/13/2006 11:35:56 PM Eastern Standard Time,  
jbruce1@cinci.rr.com writes:

<<<Anyway, I guess my long winded post is saying maybe we have  to work 
harder to set the hook in new members, and since the Bulletin is the  main conduit, 
we need to make it a bit more  symbiotic.>>>

This seems a reasonable statement. Symbiotic is the right word all  right. My 
own path of development as regards the Bulletin contents more or  less 
mirrors John's, except that I read the first minutes and so forth  avidly, trying to 
learn everything I could about the group as fast as I  could.  No one 
recruited me to AIS, you see; I found my way  independently at a public library. I am 
still pretty  independent.
I am not convinced the Bulletin is a problem with regard to new members  
dropping, especially the business parts of same. Nor do I think it is  safe to 
assume that new members are novice Iris growers, or novice gardeners,  or flower 
society novices. I am getting the feeling, however, that some  old members are 
getting bored with the Bulletin. I've said  for years the rag needed a gossip 
But doing something special for new members would certainly not be  amiss, 
especially if it was also something which was not boring to  old timers. This is 
entirely feasible, and my suggestion won't cost one  red cent.
I think an ongoing column called Newcomer's Corner might be highly  useful 
and nice. If it were only one page it probably could be in every issue  and not 
freight the system overly. I see one, or  two pages occasionally, in which the 
columnist talks in an  informal conversational tone about or around an issue 
newcomers could  reasonably be expected to run into, always wrapping up with 
an invitation  for members to send in questions or comments.  
Topics? Maybe the sorts of stuff that would be a FAQ  here, labels; irises 
changing color; squirrels and crows; transporting  some stalks to the show; when 
and if to fertilize; spring weeds  in the bed and what to do about them; why 
color charts don't work;  organic controls of pests and whether they do work; 
manures and why all are  not considered equal; what to do when your order of 
new irises arrives;  the pros and cons of buying at a local sale...and then 
some Society stuff,  like what is the AIS Foundation, for whom were the various 
medals named, what  are Sections and how are they different from Cooperating 
Societies...the stuff  that folks seem confused or curious about. 
Conversational tone, as I said, like Mr. Rogers: no question is  stupid and 
you are among friends. Maybe a touch of humor? Lord knows there is  not much of 
that around and we could use it. " I was speaking with Mrs.  Figge the other 
day about slugs and the sorts of ways people fight  them in their iris bed and 
this is what we decided just before we drank a  beer....." 
Just having a column called Newcomers Corner would send a more welcoming  
message, to use the term favored by the loathsome politicos of our era.  Keeping 
it light but not simpleminded would be the way to go.
I think John Bruce should write this column. He writes very  well and 
interestingly and is very smart and sensitive to folks' feelings and  very concerned 
about this business of sinking the hook. I'm not volunteering  to do it, 
although I think it could actually be a lot of fun, because for  some reason people 
misunderstand things I write; or they think I am  putting on airs about 
membership; or they don't listen when I  speak to AIS membership woes, although I 
have spent some time in the  relevant trenches.
I am, however, volunteering to copy Filardi on  this note.
Happy Valentine's Day, dear loves. 
Anner Whitehead
Richmond VA USA 

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