The International Square Dance Magazine
AMERICAN CALLERS' ASSOC. VIEWPOINTS

By
Patrick Demerath

Successful Square Dance Recruiting
(American Callers Association Research)

The American Callers’ Association (ACA) 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 2001, 2002, and 2003. ACA really appreciates the positive comments, encouragement to continue, and contributions from callers all over the country and from abroad to continue these initiatives. ACA 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.

This month’s ACA Viewpoint is dedicated to help clubs recruit for their clubs. There are four solid programs, which have worked for various clubs throughout the world on succeeding occasions.

All of them are proven methods, but they have ONE SINGLE THREAD IN COMMON. THE CLUB MEMBERS AND CALLERS WANTED TO BRING IN NEW DANCERS. Without this intense desire, these are merely mechanisms or motions of trying to start a new class.

Several clubs pooled their resources and put signs in their cars and signs on their front lawns. They merely said “Square Dance 232-5345. The person answering the telephone explained the new square dance lessons and gave them directions to the dances. The result was a large new and enthusiastic class of 42 students.

Other clubs asked their members and friends if a club representative or even a square could visit Sunday school classes of the various churches. They explained square dancing and left flyers/brochures. The result was over 70 new dancers signed up for classes.

Several clubs began the use of a “Who Do You Know Form.” Club members invited people to visit their club and attend the free open houses for new dancers. The club members supplied the club President Information on each person. The club president put each person’s name on a database in his computer and contacted him or her by both telephone and written invitations. The Club president continued to follow up prior to and throughout the recruiting period. The result was 32 new dancers to the club over two years.

One club started a very innovative club. The club dances in a high rise business building. They dance one hour per day over the lunch hour four days a week. Why can’t we have clubs like this in our business districts? The answer is we can. The results are an almost endless supply of new dancers who want to join the fun.

Morals 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, you 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.

ACA’s international one floor program is an excellent method for teaching new dancers. It can be taught in as little as 14 weeks, reduces the stress on the dancers and callers alike and returns square dancing to fun. The purpose of the ACA International One-Floor program is KISS square dancing (Keep It Sweet and Simple) by simplifying the dance program and accentuating the fun, friendship, fellowship, and good health through exercise.

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 demerath@uwa.edu.

Until next time, Happy Dancing. 

Fun set to music!