|The International Square Dance Magazine|
By MIKE SEASTROM
For many years now, CALLERLAB has collected and shared the stories of clubs and associations having success in their new dancer programs and other activities. Yes, there have always been groups that have had better than average to phenomenal success with their classes and events because they found a way to do things right. This is especially true right now.
CALLERLAB realized long ago, that every time we turned around, we were hearing stories of big new dancer programs, fun club outings, terrific charity events, and clubs that were growing. We decided to start collecting these stories, so that other motivated groups could learn new ways to grow and enjoy the same success. “Winning Ways” is the collection of these stories and is still a work in progress with new submissions every year.
I personally believe that we would have quadrupled this collection had we been able to gather every success story out there. We also realize that not everyone knows about the “Winning Ways” project, and that it takes an effort to write down the information. Sometimes it takes such a big effort to be successful, that no ones has the time to write it down. There are also some that can’t verbalize or put into writing what transpired.
I’ve read through these submissions, that now total over forty, and know that it not only takes a new idea, it takes motivated, unselfish, passionate leaders to carry it out.
All too often, in our clubs, associations, churches, recreation groups, and service organizations, we see leaders and members in conflict over petty things. We have all seen groups that have disbanded, members that have left, and individuals that no longer speak to each other because of some disagreement that, in the big scheme of things, is relatively unimportant or just ego related.
On the other hand, we see groups that have been and continue to be successful because of a spirit of cooperation, a commitment to do what’s best for the group, and an attitude that promotes fun and friendship. The desire to include everyone in the group is also a huge element. Having a club that is dedicated to making everyone feel welcome and appreciated is a big contributing factor to initial and lasting success.
Another part of a successful project, event, or club is having one or more excited and passionate leaders working hard to make things happen. I call them “spark plugs” or “go getters”. Whatever you call them, they are an important part of every successful club and endeavor.
Imagine for a moment a scenario I’ve seen time and time again. Someone in your group has an idea that they’ve either heard about, or thought of all by themselves. They bring up this idea during a club or association meeting and immediately have people that say, “Oh that won’t work”, or “We’ve tried that before”. The naysayers and pessimists shoot the idea down and the club continues to struggle, without so much as an effort or an attempt to do anything. On the other hand, I’ve seen groups roll up their sleeves and work together to start a something they hope will succeed, and keep modifying it as they go, until it does. Sometimes the project doesn’t work the first or second time, but then it finally builds momentum and the “sparks fly”.
CALLERLAB applauds and congratulates those callers, dance leaders, and dancers that have gone and continue to go the extra mile. Most of these leaders are fun to be around, have a wonderful positive attitude, and try to include everyone in the club to help and join in the festivities. Many also have this amazing knack to get others to trust and follow them in whatever capacity is needed. They create this feeling of camaraderie and fellowship that is like a magnet to new people and to veteran members alike.
CALLERLAB invites everyone to go to their website at: www.callerlab.org and look up, read, download, and share each “Winning Way” with their own group. Not all ideas are right for everyone or every group, but sometimes just one part of an idea can really make the difference in something you are already doing or contemplating. Read these ideas with an open mind and even if one idea is really not the right thing for your club, read them all and I guarantee that you will find something that can work for you and improve your club.
We’d also like to invite any group or member of a group to put into writing what is working for your club and share this information so that others can prosper. Send these ideas by email to CALLERLAB at: firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to CALLERLAB, International Association of Square Dance Callers, 200 SW 30th Street, Suite 104, Topeka, KS 66611
Most of us know, in our hearts, that this activity is a terrific recreation and one of the best-kept secrets around. It’s healthy, keeps us thinking, gets us out from in front of our television sets and computers, and allows us to experience the joy of moving to music. Dancing gets our blood moving, keeps us young and active, and provides us a way to meet and enjoy the company of some of the finest people around. It’s an activity that all of us would like to pass on to future generations and share with our friends, neighbors, co-workers, and family members.
Let’s work together to share our ideas, celebrate each other’s success, and motivate some that need a little encouragement to try and to learn something new.
CALLERLAB is dedicated to serving square dancing and its associated dance forms by providing a full time staff and an annual convention. By fostering communication, cooperation and providing educational opportunities, we can all share in some of the magic and success that has always been (and continues to be), enjoyed by many of our groups in almost every corner of the world.
|Fun set to music!|