When I was a kid, we started flying independently of clubs, we of course found our way to them and subsequently joined. Later we formed our own around the charters of other clubs like ours. We were in school and needed a template for organization. A club had newsletters, officers, responsibilities and most of all members. There was usually one or two outspoken members that would drive the otherwise lethargic group in various directions as their vision saw it. One thing that was never quite clear to me was this, what is a club supposed to do? What is the advantage to join? In our case it was identity and t-shirts, for others it was to promote contest schedules which we later did as well.
One of the things that in my mind became a conflict was the idea of club dues. We charged some amount of money and that gave the Treasurer something to do, the President something to promote for the club to buy, a "war chest" for buying trophies for our next big contest and so on. The dues never quite covered all that we decided we wanted to do, but in order to be "in the club" you had to pay.
If you didn't pay or were late in payment, a list of people who owed was published in an attempt to shame them into paying and bringing their status "current". If that did not work they were dropped from the roster and were no longer a part of the club.
It was at this point that the club had taken on its own identity, and left out people who were our friends or acquaintances that simply did not pay money to it. I suppose to be fair, when a large number of people are involved, this structure would be a good thing and able to accomplish whatever the membership agreed on to support the values of the club.
If a group of like-minded people combine, is the same structure necessary to accomplish what it is they want to do? You still divide up the work, you still collect money from the members for expenses as needed for agreed on activities. So my question is this, are club dues necessary? How much are your dues and what do they pay for?
KennyB And The Bod Busters
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Ken is inviting comment here, and it will be interesting to hear the responses. Maybe a thread on this topic could be started on the Northwest message boards. As treasurer of the Eugene Prop Spinners, I can answer as to what the club dues pay for in this one local club: AMA charter and insurance fees, maintenance of our flying field (including mowers, weed killer, garden tools, wind sock, circle striping, and lots of little incidental expenses related to maintaining a facility), newsletter mailing, etc.)
This page was upated May 12, 2008