The radio club is an interesting social affiliation. Fellowship, mutual aid, local political presence, teamsmenship, special events, attraction & support of hobby newcomers, repeater support…. these are but a few of the reasons – the “existence purpose” – for a club to originally be formed, and if the good original reasons are sustained the reasons for the club’s continuance over time.
Some clubs come into existence for singular reasons – a repeater club, a DX club, and the local contesting club are typical focus groups.
Some came into existence for geographical reasons – the XYZ County or City radio club.
Some have a special event, or special site – the USS XYZ Museum Club, or the XYZ Special Event Club.
Many add reasons over time, becoming one of the “Big Tent” radio clubs where many activities are reasons for existence.
Locally our clubs are in flux. Sharp focuses and interests that have drifted over time have led to new centers of activity and temporary disarray.
This sort of Waxing & Waning I’ve been told by very old time radio amateurs is normal, and they have seen it over and over.
Embracing change as a chance to rejuvenate both personal and group radio activities is easier said than done, especially when emotions, egos and checkbooks get into the mix.
Doing that full embracement of the inevitable changes of time, personal interests and the complexion of the community has its rewards.
As just one example of the changes a club faces, Geographical limitations are so changed from even my childhood days – everything from improved inexpensive travel options to “virtual travel” through VoIP, Video Conferencing, Webinars, and other distance technology techniques. If things work out tomorrow I’ll participate in another of several Web-Lectures on Amateur Radio with fellow amateurs from around the world!
It seems the trick for a continuing small club is to keep its focus, or maintain an altered focus engaging to enough members to be sustainable.
And it is important to recognize when one’s own personal interests have moved to a different aspect of Amateur Radio. In my case I do not have all that much interest in Repeaters and Emcomm. Nor is my present interest in building projects like the Rb-Frequency Source or chasing DX a huge overlap in interest for many of the members. I imagine my describing chasing the Togo DXpedition waiting for a break in the pile-up doesn’t exactly sound a lot better than a description of “paint drying” to 2m repeater focused member.
When a club looses its focus, like a car that rusts out and blows its engine, it needs to be overhauled or scrapped. Which is more appropriate is a local situationally dependent evaluation with no pat answer.
The only “for sure” is that doing the same club things and somehow expecting a different result doesn’t seem to make much sense, especially when the “different result” is somehow always imagined as only a “positive different result.” The same routine will usually result in exactly the same results, at least until the last member leaves turning out the lights…..
For the record I belong to a few groups, whether they be waxing or waning. ARRL, Society of Midwestern Contesters, W9DK Mancorad, NEWDXA North East Wisconsin DX Association, NCDXF Northern California DX Foundation, Feld Hell Club, PODXS 070 CLub, OMISS, Century Club and so on….. though I have become pretty passive in most of these groups.