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AMERICAN CALLERS' ASSOC. VIEWPOINTS

By
Patrick Demerath

Realistic Recruiting Responsibilities

The American Callers’ Association in its attempt to be of service to all callers, dancers, and associations provided current, timely, and effective information on new dancer recruitment for most of the years 2000-2014. The American Callers Association appreciates the positive comments, encouragement to continue, and contributions from callers all over the country and from abroad to continue these initiatives. Americana Callers Association will continue to provide information that will help the square dance community recruit, retain and retrieve square dancers as well as encourage the dancers to speak out on the cumbersome dance programs.

Effective square dancing membership campaigns depend on the club members and club callers of every club in square dancing to proactively get out the word.

The history of country and western square dancing is long, honorable, and full of good people having fun. The roots of square dancing lie in folk dances from many other countries. Despite this rich history, many dancers, callers and clubs are hesitant to tell of the history and fun of square dancing. If we do not tell of the benefits of square dancing, the story will remain untold, and good people will not be attracted to join square dancing.

The National Caller Associations, National Dancer Associations’ and National Festival Associations are devoting significant time and resources to membership efforts on the national level. Despite their best efforts, square dancing can only grow when we as square dancers and square dance callers tell our non-dancing friends, acquaintances, and strangers about the benefits and fun of square dancing. No national advertisement campaign, no matter how well designed, can do more than supplement local square dancers, club callers and clubs’ personal efforts.

It is up to each one of us to inform non-dancers about the fun of square dancing and invite them to visit a dance or an open house. We as square dancers and callers have much in which to take pride. How many other social organizations have been providing fun, friendship, and exercise for the past 60 years? No other social organization has dedicated its efforts to such a global combination of fun, friendship, and health.

We have clubs in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and non-English speaking foreign countries: such as Taiwan, Republic of China, Japan, Germany, and Sweden as well as in the United Kingdom. Square dancing provides the fun and benefits to a worldwide population. Despite the efforts of national organizations like the American Callers’ Association to tell the world about square dancing and to assure square dancing’s place in the future, the real word must come from the “family” of square dancing, which is the club members and club callers. These are the people who made square dancing grow and can reverse the steep decline in the number of dancers, clubs and callers.

Square dancing offers a path of adding new quality life style benefits to each person who starts square dance lessons. Square dancers do this in a setting of fellowship, friendship and fun, filled with excellent exercise and health benefits. In a fragmented society, square dancing offers connectedness, friendship and fun.

Clearly we have much to be proud, but without arrogance. It is simply a matter of quiet pride in purpose and accomplishment. If you as dancers and callers do not share the story of square dancing with non-dancers, they will never know, and all of these wonderful benefits will be denied to them.

Take the time to show the banner and communicate the benefits of square dancing. You will find that they will want to join you in this marvelous and healthy activity.

Moral of the story: If you ask them, they will come. If you bond with someone’s head, you will enjoy them for a little while. If you bond with someone’s heart and enjoy them for a lifetime. If we want to recruit and retain square dancers, bond with them in friendship and make them feel wanted and welcome, and they will stay a lifetime.

Any individual, club, caller, or association who wishes to communicate his/her opinions on this subject is encouraged to contact the American Callers’ Association at Loulet@aol.com or Dr. Patrick Demerath at pdemerath@uwa.edu. Please visit our website and newsletters at AmericanCallers.com/news.

Until next time, Happy Dancing. .

Fun set to music!