Thursday, January 18, 2018

About Regional Meetings, a Special Announcement

December 22, 2011 by  
Filed under Message from the Guildmaster

The Executive committee met this past November to discuss HCH business and a motion to sanction “official” HCH regional meetings was brought to vote. After much debate and discussion, the motion was defeated.  The following items were taken into consideration before coming to this decision:

Club Resources (both monetary and manpower) – Each year the HCH Annual meeting has grown to attract over 150 members and guests.  This requires monetary support from the HCH as well as several volunteers to step-up, plan, organize and successfully run the event.

Service to the largest group of our members – The executive committee looked at the demographic data on our approximate 400 members.  We found that almost 75 percent of our membership lives east of Illinois and north of South Carolina.  This makes central Pennsylvania within a 6-7 hour drive of the majority of our registered members.  To move the Annual Event even further south, or further west would significantly dilute this proximity to the majority of our members, thus potentially reducing the majorities’ ability to attend.  A decline in attendance supported this data when annual events were held further east in Massachusetts, and an even greater decline in attendance when held in Indiana and North Carolina.

Our Growth – As the HCH has grown, we have found that the type of venue necessary to hold the annual event has changed.  Attendance of 150 plus people requires larger exhibit locations with close proximity to lodging and food.  Event locations should also be close to some attraction that has a historic interest to the 18th century time period our members are most interested in and most 18th century locations are in the eastern part of our country.

However, we did recognize that the meeting should not have a “permanent” home, and that venues should potentially alternate between a Pennsylvania location, and locations to the west and south.  But meetings should remain in the eastern half of the country to reach the greatest number of attendees from the membership.  An event is being planned at the Museum of Appalachia in Tennessee within the next couple of years.

Consistency – We felt that the best way to have high quality HCH events is to focus our “official” efforts on the two events we currently conduct.  The annual meeting in early March and the summer meeting in conjunction with Dixon’s Gunmakers Fair, as long as volunteers step up to operate these events.  Our Awards committee currently provides judges trained to “jury” member’s work for advancement at both of these events.  We felt that before we expand to additional events, we must assure we have sufficient trained members who can apply the same judging standards to future “jurying” procedures.

None of this precludes individual HCH members from planning and holding their own regional event.  A group from the south held a successful event in January with another scheduled for 2012.  A second member held an event, which attracted good attendance as well as new members on the west coast and is planning another event next year.  In fact, we agreed that the HCH would provide access to mailing lists and would promote the dates of any such events in the Horn Book for members who wish to do this.

In closing, it is our responsibility as an organization to maintain our mission statement, “Dedicated to the Research, Preservation and Education of Horn Work” but not at the expense of conducting shows all over the country, it is just not feasible.  One member summed it up with the following statement, “In my years as an HCH member, every project of “value” that the Guild has accomplished has happened because one or more members voluntarily got together and made it happen.  This is how each year’s annual meeting is conducted still.  We don’t exist with paid employees responsible for doing all the work, allowing members to simply sit back and wait for the benefits to fall in their lap just because they “want” something to happen without their effort.”  That is a powerful statement… Guildmaster, I concur.

Ed Long
HCH Guildmaster

Ed Long, Guildmaster, shaves down a horn.

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