I went to OCA and it was just OK, not much better attended than the classic. The ACA in Cincinnati was great, much more activity and fish on display. I think the club is headed in the right direction, the classic is a relic of the days when the hospitality suite was packed and the out of town folks spent the weekend hanging out and going to fish stores or visiting fish rooms. The classic in it's heyday was a bit redundant in it's structure to me, you can only walk around the show room so many times. Most of us grew up when there were fish stores, that you could hang out in for some time and see fish that you might not have seen before or engage the owner/employee in compelling conversation. Those days are over. The purpose of the club is to serve the interest of the members, a not-for-profit measures it's success by growing it's budget to meet well articulated goals, not having a surplus.
-- I believe what Jason was trying to say is that instead of the club pouring the money into the Classic, which has been draining a bunch of extra cash, they are investing it into these other areas to increase their value to the club members. I, for one, am excited about the speakers you have been bringing in. The last rare fish auction was well done also. I don't personally know what the budget was for that event, but it makes sense to me that the club would spend extra cash to bring in rare species even though overall the club may lose money on the auction. The purpose of those rare fish auctions - which are member only, by the way (a good reason to sign up) - is to bring the uncommon species into the area, not to make money. So spend away if the club can afford it. It makes our local hobbyist community that much richer in fish.
-- I would like to mention that I understand there are people out there who recall the glory days of the Classic, and I do not think their desire for such wonderful events is wrong. Having said that, times change. The two recent Classics I have been to were poorly attended. I am thankful, however, for what we do have, which is awesome swap meets (5 or so annually), great presentations at meetings, and wonderful club members who go out of their way to make this stuff possible.
Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. Philippians 4:8
Not to be a naysayer but everything you just mentioned cost the club more money plus the higher priced venue by your own admission will benefit the vendors not the club. Giving out raffle tickets brings in no money but has a cost. Bringing in more costlier speakers might benefit members but if you have a shortfall maybe you should look at the goldmine of local hobbyists and information they have.
We will have to confirm they will not be in Chicago as that is rumor each year.
It will be up to the GCCA board at that time but throwing a event where the GCCA loses approximately $14,000 and is having to pull $3000 to $5000 out of our reserves each year is not sustainable.
The club has moved to a more expensive swap location which we hope will benefit the vendors, we are trying to bring in less common speakers, we no longer sell raffle tickets but give each person a raffle ticket, we spent a bit more for our Christmas party and have increased our budget for our rare fish event.
Are you looking to be involved or commited
A Pig and a Chicken are walking down the road. The Chicken says, "Pig, I was thinking we should open a restaurant!". Pig replies, "What would we call it?". The Chicken responds, "How about ham-n-eggs?" The Pig thinks for a moment and says, No thanks. I'd be committed, but you'd only be involved.
I think Jason put it quite well; times change, you change with the times or you're left in the dust. Attendance at the annual Classic has dwindled, but for promoting the hobby in general & GCCA in particular it is wise to use the assets provided by Aquatic Experience rather than our own. Yes, the hobby has been in decline for many years, but I'd bet if someone were to chart the decline in the hobby, and the activity of GCCA you'd see that mainly due to the very busy & well promoted swaps our club is doing a bit better than keeping pace.
I have only been able to be more active within the club in the last year and a half or so but had been to events prior to that off and on. Moving up here and discovering the GCCA after being an area that was fairly bare of clubs, hobbyists, and keepers in general was a huge thing for myself with the hobby. I've kept and bred cichlids since I was young, I worked for a small wholesaling operation learning even more from great people, but the experience for me within the hobby has really improved since joining the club. I've been a number of great people in club events with the same passion for the hobby.
The Classics that I have been to have been fun but also underwhelming in total attendance. The cost and the pressure put on the small group of regular volunteers has to be really high atm. It never hurts to reevaluate a situation and adapt to changes. Reassessing the value for the price of the classic and in a year or two redeveloping a more cost effective or alternative event for the members is not a bad idea. I personally know that the board is always trying to work on ideas towards the benefits of the members but at the same time, it's also members responsibilities to work towards the growth of the club. Whenever I see negative comments regarding an event, I tend to notice that it comes from people who don't volunteer at any events or in some case even attend them. It's typically the same group of people working hard to make things happen.
Also, the reference to the Ohio event, isn't it also 5 or 6 different cichlid clubs pooling ideas, people, and funds together to put that event on? Correct me if I am wrong.
I do think in time, adding an auction would be neat as they are enjoyable but they do also take a lot more planning and work to put on compared to the swap meets that are a huge success within the community.
The real goal now that is also being worked on is developing improved ways for turning those swap visitor numbers into more GCCA club members. I also know that through discussions with people who are on the board that we have atleast one upcoming event that we hope to push to bring in possible members. Growth and new blood into the club will hopefully have a positive effect.
The hobby is not what it once was, adapting is vital.
Yes, there will be a Memorial Day Weekend,, however, without a GCCA Classic. The Board is talk about bringing back one Auction per year, most likely will not happen this year. (Our 2017 Dates are already set)
The Classic was on its last legs for years. Aquatic Experience was the last straw. Folks aren't going to come back to Chicago 2 times in a year. Its simply too much $. And they have sea lions for god's sake.
I got out of fish in May 2013, but I'm a life long hobbyist, so I still pay attention.
Wages have been stagnant, older guys are, well older, and we never did a great job of reaching out to more women and to the younger demographic. Less folks in the hobby, means only the strong survive. The OCA has been killing it since I got back in in 1999. They run a less expensive program and are closer to the east coast so folks can drive. The Classic always played second fiddle, IMO.
I remember when we decided to start scaling back auctions - we added too many rules. No dry goods, limits on type of fish, etc. Attendees pissed and moaned, but it was easier on the club. A long time member said at that time, that the reputation of the GCCA was that we were getting hard to work with and folks would stop coming. I guess he was right.
One thing I have noticed, its always the same few members doing all the work. That's why swaps were easier to hold - you needed a handle of folks to run them. You need an army to run a big auction.
If you run the same number of swaps, without a the deficit running Classic to suck up the $, what will you do with all the money? Good luck figuring that out.
Good luck to Jason and the rest in figuring out how to keep the club vibrant.
As far as My opinion the swaps killed your club. Too many swaps breed people breeding for profit not hobbyists who become active in the club to make it viable. Semi-annual swaps alternated with more auctions.
Please correct me, if I'm wrong, but I would attend every auction you guys would hold. Swaps are bad for clubs. Not as much profit.