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Re: Soap Box


The infamous IrisBorer writes:

>This is all in response to an article published some time ago that was VERY
>much like what you said... person said she felt like she was invited to a
>party where she didn't know anyone.  We try our best in our club to make
>every member welcome  - without pressure.

 I won't "hog' the soapbox, but just add a few suggestions comments on the "Care
and
Growth of New Members".

1.  "Load'em up" - with irises.  There's no quicker way to encourage interest
than to
       give new members lots of different types of irises from the beginning.  
2.  Establish an Iris Lending Library.  Make info available to new members via
your
       library
3.  Assign an "Iris-Buddy".  Each new member should be assigned an "iris-buddy"
who
       becomes good friends with the new member; acts as a resource person to
answer
       questions or refer the question to other members; calls and reminds the
new member
       of upcoming meetings and activities; introduces the new member to
everyone in the
       club; encourages conversation  about a general iris topic to;  invites
the new member        to tour his garden and takes the new member to other
members' gardens.
4.  Make a "New Member Welcome Packet", which lists upcoming club activities,
officers
      and their telephone numbers; and a "a panic & help list" to call certain
members who           specialize in particlular iris varieties for help.
5.   Get the new member involved! Make the person a part of the organization by
assigning       him to a committee.  One excellent assignment is to help with
digging and dividing            irises.  You can't beat "hands-on" training.
Make sure he/she is included in all 
     discussions/decisions.  As a new member they should be asked for views from
a
     different perspective.  Develop a bonding with the group.  Nothing is a
uncomfortable
     as being somewhere where you're overlooked, made feel to be in the way, or
not
      made to feel  welcome.
6.  The less meetings your society has is time lost with individual members
"bonding"
     in the society.  Programs should be varied and not necessarily be all iris.
Most of
     us are gardeners first, and need other things growing to look at when we
don't have
     irises in full bloom.  Don't stray too far away on program topics though.
Also, it never
     hurts to "review" the basics.

     While all of these suggestions may help keep new members after the first
year we 
must remember that these societies are volunteer organizations and are only as
good
as the members push for and want  it to be.  

Bill Smoot - climbing down from the soap box!    






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