|Sent on:||Monday, November 25, 2013 6:56 PM|
I received this from one of the MeetUp members of I Need a Dance Partner:
“Hey, Ann, I have been a member of Need-A-Dance-Partner for over a year but have stopped going to lessons because I walk in the door having no idea who other members of the group are. I joined the group because I wanted to learn to dance, of course, but I also wanted to meet new people. What am I missing? I get a partner (or not) for the lesson. The lesson is over and I sit alone until I decide to go home. Why is there not a meeting point for members to sit together and know each other?”
Interesting timing as I've been having thoughts of closing the group this weekend. Instead of responding to this person directly, I've decided to send an email to all of the group members.
When I started this group in March 2010, I did it because I was that person sitting by myself after lessons. During the early days of this group--the first year there were times when we had 3 to 4 tables pulled together on a dance night at the Electric Cowboy in Lewisville, we were mostly beginner to intermediate dancers, and newbies were welcomed and brought in as part of the group. I had some amazing times out dancing, we celebrated birthdays, divorces or just the fact that it was a Friday night. It was fantastic and always so much fun.
I started a job that required me to be on the road 3 out of 4 weeks each month. I don't dance nearly what I used to but with each passing month, those nights and moments of a group of friends getting together just stopped happening. Different people dancing at different venues, and even at those venues on opposite sides of the room. It makes me sad. When did we stop being welcoming and encouraging to new dancers? It's not been that long since we were new. There have been friendships made, permanent dance partners found and several relationships have formed among members. (Myself included :)
But now? Not so much....
This has never been a traditional MeetUp group with a special place to sit and a sign. I've made the calendar open so anyone can add events, but those postings are few and far between. People mostly don't post where they are going to be--something about being afraid of stalking, I've not experienced that. Lots of people join, and never ever come to an event. It's just another thing on the list of maybe I will do that one day.
I've made people assistant organizers, event organizers asked people to volunteer to be event hosts...nothing. I hear crickets when I ask for help. I tried only posting events where I was going to be, nothing was posted to the calendar. I hear from people who are upset if lessons change or lessons are cancelled, mostly the negative stuff. I have no control over that, I have no control over if there will be enough men, I have no control over will you make new friends. Want to make new friends? Volunteer to be the event host(ess) and print out a sign and take it..that's a start.
I post events where I can find them, wherever I am at that week. It's cost me about $600 from the start to pay the Meet Up fees and to direct the web site domain to here. That would have bought me a very nice pair of dancing boots. But I did it because there have been people that have stopped me, hugged me and introduced themselves and said that this group had made a difference in their lives. So I kept on trying to keep things posted, sending out encouraging emails.
But maybe it's time for this all to come to an end. I'm going to take a month to think about this and will evaluate before the end of the year and the next $45 quarterly payment for the MeetUp group. You thought this was free? :) I don't ever plan to charge for this group it's not about the money. But if it's just me trying to keep things going and there is no interest from anyone else to step up and help. Then it's time to turn off the lights and move on. I have always felt that my time doing this was well spent, but with not many rsvps being posted, and the negative emails and comments I have been getting--it's time to evaluate.
If you think keeping this group going is worth your time, then let me know I'll move you into the organizer position. If you would just post the places you are going and dancing it would be a big help.
What can you do to help?