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OT: AIS membership and lifestyle changes today

Think about other activities and see where interests have shifted.

In the 1950s most young people were not involved in numerous activities and they entertained themselves at home. 4H, Scouting, fraternal organizations, swimming in lakes and streams, horse back riding, back yard and sandlot ball games, sewing, preparing items for the County fairs, going camping and many more outdoor activities were very popular through the 1950s. Mothers were generally home with their families and they taught the youngsters to enjoy gardening and the beauty of flowers. Since that time televisions, ideos, computers, organized sports which often include competing in other towns or cities, increased need for additional family income to purchase boats, knee boards and other summer water sports equipment, cars for youngsters, moving from the country to the city to be closer to the jobs or long commutes from suburbs to city jobs have left little time for teaching children how to cook or to become gardeners. When parents come home they are preparing for the next day's needs and little time is spent in flower gardens. Someone still mows and edges the lawns but there is little time to just sit outside and enjoy the sights and sounds in their yards. Many families have a landscape service come in to spray for weeds and diseases, mow and fertilize the lawn and prune shrubs and trees. Who will teach the children to cherish plants? Values have changed, activities have changed and families have changed. Every town seemed to have at least one garden club and members spent countless hours preparing for their meetings and the "show and tell" time when they shared their flowers, ideas and knowledge with other members. Now many of the towns often have no garden clubs and garden clubs that do exist have to reach out farther and farther to gather enough members to continue. As most members get older they find traveling more difficult and many can not afford the expense of purchasing flowers so meetings are less well attended and the active workers have to assume more duties to keep the clubs going. In our iris club some members would have to travel nearly a hundred miles one way to visit other member's gardens. I live in town and we sacrificed a lawn to give us enouth room to raise my iris and my husband's vegetables. There are other members who have town lots and one is a hybridizer who does not have time to attend many meetings because he is still employed.
It seems that often beauty has been replaced by functionality and that is another reason why raising flowers is growing less popular. Many list members mentioned that they had large crowds who came to flower shows but none joined the clubs. Others enjoy seeing our flowers but they just cannot or do not want to assume the responsibility of raising their own. It is a changing world. It is not the fault of the club leaders or members that these things happen. In fact perhaps we are standing still and the world is rushing by. I have thought and thought about the problem and I do not have any solutions for it. What do you think?
Bill Burleson wrote

...Our membership [AIS] has declined from about 12,000
in the 70's to below 6,000 now (both these numbers are
from memory but are close)...
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