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Sad news today

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I received this message today regarding the AAW and the Jersey Cape Woodturners Guild.

Dear Michael Cunningham,

I am sending an email to get information on your AAW local chapter. Is your chapter still an AAW Star chapter with the members in your club being members also of AAw.

Please advise if there has been a change in status.

Best regards
Linda Ferber


Michael Cunningham's reply is below

Linda,

Yes there has been a change in status. Not only are we no longer an AAW Star chapter but we are no longer an AAW chapter period. Due to the ongoing actions of the BoD as well as the journal editor, which began with the Lacer incident and continue to this day with the preposterous by-laws rewrite as well as the unprecedented censorship at the AAW Forums our club voted unanimously to disassociate itself with the AAW. In addition, as you may or may not have noticed I did not renew my membership for 2011, nor did most of our membership. If at some point there is a significant change in the leadership of the AAW as well as it’s journal and forums we may agree to renew our relationship with the organization.

Sincerely
Mike Cunningham
 
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Thanks, Curtis. I'm sure that without your fine work and tireless efforts, none of this would be possible. Please, continue doing all you can to unite the AAW and heal the wounds.
 

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I'm with David. I simply don't understand why you find it necessary to keep the flames going. We had a fire, the fire is out. We need to move on and unite. What you just did does not help woodturning as a whole. All it does is make some member of your group feel better. The vast majority of the members probably don't care and just want to have a good time. Now you have removed them from insurance protection and from the possibility of receiving grants to help the club. smooth move.
 

hockenbery

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Curtis.
It is regrettable the Jersey Cape club is no longer active with AAW.

Jersey Cape was a very small club that survived only through Mr Cunningham's efforts. That he no longer wants to run an AAW chapter is his business.

AAW will miss Mr. Cunningham's contributions.

Fortunately the Cape Atlantic club with 42 members is just 11 miles away.

Al
 
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Not Necessarily Sad News

It's not necessarily sad news that a club and/or its members have decided to leave the AAW. If one is not happy with what is going on in an organization (craft, church, social, etc.), one should leave the organization or work to improve/change it by volunteering, running for office, etc. Either action - departure or increased involvement - likely results in improved overall quality of the organization.

Organizations large and small undergo change - merger, acquisition, leadership comes and goes, etc. - throughout their life. What I have learned is that good organizations survive and become stronger as a result of change. It's not always easy to manage change.

What I have also learned is that change causes some to leave an organization. They liked the organization the way it was. But I have also learned that change attracts new people to the organization because they see something in the new organization that was lacking in the old organization. The organization not only survives, but grows as a result of change.

And so, we should wish Mike Cunningham and his colleagues farewell and good luck. It's likely that the AAW will not notice that they have departed. They will be replaced with new members that like what they see in the changed organization and make equal or greater contributions to the organization. - John
 
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Curtis Thompson continues to stir the pot in his attempts to cast the AAW Board in a bad light.

An interesting fact for Mr. Thompson: the January AAW membership was the highest ever recorded (13,941).The AAW leadership must be doing something right, judging by the number of feet voting to renew.

The departure of one tiny chapter group is directly related to the efforts of its founder to stir dissension and misrepresent the events of last year to its members. He has done his chapter members a disservice.
 
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Well said, John. No person and no organization can be all things to all people. But still, with the AAW's mission to be as inclusive as possible, it's unfortunate to see members turn away for such reasons.
 
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This is a most unfortunate incident, however not unexpected, likely due to the continuous stream of misinformation being fed to those who choose to follow a perhaps well-meaning, but utterly misguided individual. Had the members of this club availed themselves of the facts, perhaps their decision to leave the AAW may have been tempered by reason, and the resulting outcome would be very different.

I find it hard to believe that rational people would make such a decision given the numerous benefits of having affiliation with the national organization, insurance, networking, etc.. The idiom, "Cutting off the nose to spite the face" comes to mind...

The REAL "sad news" is that Mr. Thompson continues to propagate misinformation and beat the dead horse beyond recognition. This is quite sad indeed.

I do think that AAW will survive with 13,899 members.....

Rob Wallace
 
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Curtis Thompson continues to stir the pot in his attempts to cast the AAW Board in a bad light.

An interesting fact for Mr. Thompson: the January AAW membership was the highest ever recorded (13,941).The AAW leadership must be doing something right, judging by the number of feet voting to renew.

The departure of one tiny chapter group is directly related to the efforts of its founder to stir dissension and misrepresent the events of last year to its members. He has done his chapter members a disservice.

Thats funny. One of the office workers for the AAW had said membership was just below 10,000 for the first time in several years. I wonder which one is telling fact or fiction?
 
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Thats funny. One of the office workers for the AAW had said membership was just below 10,000 for the first time in several years. I wonder which one is telling fact or fiction?

Why wonder? Just call the office and ask. The call's free from anywhere in the Lower 48. Then you can come back here and tell us "which one."
 
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I received this message today regarding the AAW and the Jersey Cape Woodturners Guild.

Not only are we no longer an AAW Star chapter but we are no longer an AAW chapter period.
Sincerely
Mike Cunningham

What I'm not sure they're realizing is that professional turners may not be willing to demonstrate at a club that doesn't offer the safeguards that AAW chapter affiliation provides.
 
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For Sean Troy

My office source for the January 2011 membership figure is Linda Ferber, AAW Program Director, who has this information in the form of an Excel file showing monthly membership figures going back to 2004. The December 2010 to January 2011 renewal rate is the highest on record.

Will Mr. Troy be identifying his office source?

On October 9th, on the Woodturners' Forum, Mr. Troy wrote: "It sure appears that members are leaving in droves from the AAW Forum thanks to the current BOD's...."

In terms of accuracy of information, we seem to be living in different worlds.
 
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Small Suggestion

Guys, this really isn't an appropriate place to "Pound on Troy." He has, reportedly, canceled his membership in the AAW, and has been quite open with regard to his hostility toward the AAW Board and some members of this forum. There is just no point in arguing with him here. To do so merely affords him the opportunity to distract discussions.

Let's just let Mr. Troy follow his own course elsewhere, and find another topic to share here.
 
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Guys, this really isn't an appropriate place to "Pound on Troy." He has, reportedly, canceled his membership in the AAW, and has been quite open with regard to his hostility toward the AAW Board and some members of this forum. There is just no point in arguing with him here. To do so merely affords him the opportunity to distract discussions.

Let's just let Mr. Troy follow his own course elsewhere, and find another topic to share here.

Mark,

You are correct, I will delete my post and apologize to the readers of that post.
 
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Hmm, I think all small groups and individuals are important in terms of an organization's membership, health and growth. I don't think it very respectful to discount someone's opinion as 'misinformed' or 'angry rhetoric.' And yes, a small club will be missed as they were part of this organization, so belittling their input as insignificant truly doesn't speak well. I'm certainly not wanting to stir up anything as the AAW is already having significant problems. I'm just saying responses that indicate 'little guys' don't count or won't be missed, and that 'professionals may not come to a club without insurance,' hmm, frankly professionals don't impress me a whole lot so that, to me, doesn't matter in the least. I've liked the AAW for years and enjoyed being a member. But I do have to say I think all members should be treated respectfully and not discounted nor brushed off as 'oh he's just angry,' or 'he's misinformed.' He had an opinion, made a decision, made it respectfully and informatively, and no, I don't know him, never met him. But leadership attitude can play a huge role in perceptions and decisions of a membership. Your responses are public and speak volumes.
 
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Hmm, I think all small groups and individuals are important in terms of an organization's membership, health and growth. I don't think it very respectful to discount someone's opinion as 'misinformed' or 'angry rhetoric.' And yes, a small club will be missed as they were part of this organization, so belittling their input as insignificant truly doesn't speak well. I'm certainly not wanting to stir up anything as the AAW is already having significant problems. I'm just saying responses that indicate 'little guys' don't count or won't be missed, and that 'professionals may not come to a club without insurance,' hmm, frankly professionals don't impress me a whole lot so that, to me, doesn't matter in the least. I've liked the AAW for years and enjoyed being a member. But I do have to say I think all members should be treated respectfully and not discounted nor brushed off as 'oh he's just angry,' or 'he's misinformed.' He had an opinion, made a decision, made it respectfully and informatively, and no, I don't know him, never met him. But leadership attitude can play a huge role in perceptions and decisions of a membership. Your responses are public and speak volumes.

Judy,

You are correct. No one on this board or elsewhere should post anything that gives anyone reason to believe small groups and clubs are not valued as part of the AAW. The AAW wants to be welcoming to all turners of all abilities. To the extent someone posted something that can be fairly read as disparaging the little guy, that post was, at best, poorly worded.

On the other hand, Curtis posted the email message he received as evidence that the AAW is losing a lot of members over the controversy from last summer. (Curtis may believe that the AAW's membership is in serious decline. After all, many members of his WTF proudly claim to have quit the AAW and openly root for the AAW's demise.) Sean followed up on Curtis' post by alleging that the AAW membership had fallen below 10,000 (a reduction of over 3,000 members from last June). Their message, that the AAW has been harmed by a huge loss of members, is false. The AAW grew in total members in 2010 -- despite the controversy and despite a bad economy.

May I ask you a serious question? You, correctly, chastise those who are disrespectful and inconsiderate of others. How do you square this call for civility with what you wrote about professional turners? Did you really mean to say that you're not impressed by professionals and wouldn't care if professionals no longer put on demos at local clubs? My point is that's a pretty sweeping statement and one that is fairly easy to read as an insult to just about anyone who earns anything from turning. I'd guess there are a fair number of demonstrators you'd love to see in action and that that group of demonstrators would include both pros and amateurs. So, if I'm correct in my surmise that you didn't intend to insult a whole host of AAW members but were just a little overwrought in your rhetoric, can't you cut the rest of us some slack when we, too, write something that can be read in ways we may not have intended?
 
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Judy, Mr. Cunningham was and is well within his rights to discontinue his membership and disband his chapter if the other members did not wish to continue it. Detailing his clear anger in a letter to Ms. Ferber, a dedicated employee of the AAW who was just trying to do her job of keeping AAW membership records accurate, was uncalled for and inappropriate. If Mr. Cunningham wished to make his point to the people allegedly "responsible" for his choices, he should have done so in writing directly to each of the AAW Board members, not by berating an employee with a clearly "political" statement. A simple "I am no longer a member and we are no longer an AAW chapter. Please remove us from your records," would have been quite sufficient a response to Ms. Ferber.

Curtis Thompson chose to further his own cause by posting the Cunningham exchange on his own forum under reference to the "Cookie [meaning the AAW] crumbling", and then purported to post it here as some kind of public service announcement. Mr. Thompson's purpose in such postings is the manifestly transparent attempt to rally others to his expressed cause of defeating the proposed bylaws and dismissal of the AAW Board over last summer's disputes. His actual quotation of the exchange on this board has thus used Mr. Cunningham's statements as [angry] political rhetoric attempting to continue to ascribe blame and prevent any healing of old wounds. He, not Mr. Cunningham, has been called out for it here.
 
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David,

Assuredly, no insult intended whatsoever. This I promise you, that no insult is intended in the least. It is simply my opinion that - to me personally - professional turners are yes, fine and good and lots of people like demos or watching videos!

Given perhaps my geographical location, the few small clubs 100 miles away from us here, can't afford professional turners/demos. Everyone helps each other out freely. We don't have a local club here. So it is not meant as a disparaging remark, and perhaps on my part, I worded that very poorly, for which I sincerely apologize.

I guess the reason persons who are professional turners, not so much professional turners en masse, but those who make it a point to say so, or sometimes the 'better than thou,' maybe that ~ in my opinion ~ is what is divisive, and it just so doesn't have to be that way.

Of course I think people should be paid who do professional work of any kind. Absolutely fine to admire work, learn things. I've just found some of the remarks recently, well are amazingly arrogant. So I should NOT have said "professionals don't impress me much." That was rude and I'm sorry. I should've instead said: "arrogance offends me and tends to put people off or exclude people," and left it at that.

I hope that makes better sense than how I originally worded it. Again I'm not trying to stir anything up at all!!! I just really do like an all-inclusive type of atmosphere where everyone gets to benefit, be civil and not exclude folks. That truly was my only intention on saying anything. Most sincerely.
 
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Judy,

Thank you for your reply and for your apology. Perhaps I shouldn't have publicly called you out, but I thought your larger point -- we should be careful what we write -- deserved to be contrasted with an equally valid and too-often-ignored point: we should be careful what we read into what others have written.

You're my friend and I was sure you didn't intend to insult anyone with what you wrote, but I think you'll acknowledge it could be read as an insult. So, too, for the poster who warned that "professional turners may not be willing to demonstrate" without insurance protection. You read into that warning an insult to any turner who's not a pro. I don't think Owen intended such an insult. His meaning would have been preserved had he omitted the word "professional". Many amateur turners won't demonstrate without insurance protection, too. This is why being an AAW affiliate can be such a boon to local clubs -- the AAW solves the insurance issue and makes it possible to put on demos.

So, who's to blame for this misunderstanding? As is usually the case, both the writer and the reader bear part of the blame. Owen could have omitted the word "professional". It wasn't necessary to his meaning. You could have been more charitable in reading what Owen wrote. Since a desire to have insurance coverage may apply to both professional and amateur turners alike, why should you assume the fact Owen didn't mention both groups was intended as an insult to the group that wasn't mentioned? You brought your concern about a "better than thou" attitude and injected it into what Owen wrote.

We should all acknowledge that writing (and speaking) in a manner that cannot be misunderstood is very difficult. We all should keep that in mind as we write so we can avoid rendering an unintended offense. At the same time, we should keep in mind just how difficult writing clearly can be and try to avoid reading into what's been written an offense that wasn't intended. After all, if the standard of the typical reader is too high, most of us will not bother writing anything at all. What we should strive for is a friendly atmosphere where we all assume the best of intentions (until someone goes out of their way to PROVE otherwise).
 
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Sad that some folks minimize the loss of a chapter or the disenfranchisement of some of the members. AAW works so hard to get new members in, but loses a percentage to natural causes every year.

Every member counts.

Steve
 
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The more things change the more they stay the same – now on just a different topic.

Mark and David:

Instead of vociferously attacking any forum commentary and commentator that can be interpreted as "AAW negative", why don’t you put a positive spin on the comments and move on.

Policing forums with positive leadership will be much more effective than what is on display in this thread.

Jerry
 
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You're my friend and I was sure you didn't intend to insult anyone with what you wrote, but I think you'll acknowledge it could be read as an insult. So, too, for the poster who warned that "professional turners may not be willing to demonstrate" without insurance protection. You read into that warning an insult to any turner who's not a pro. I don't think Owen intended such an insult. His meaning would have been preserved had he omitted the word "professional". Many amateur turners won't demonstrate without insurance protection, too. This is why being an AAW affiliate can be such a boon to local clubs -- the AAW solves the insurance issue and makes it possible to put on demos.

So, who's to blame for this misunderstanding? As is usually the case, both the writer and the reader bear part of the blame. Owen could have omitted the word "professional". It wasn't necessary to his meaning. You could have been more charitable in reading what Owen wrote. Since a desire to have insurance coverage may apply to both professional and amateur turners alike, why should you assume the fact Owen didn't mention both groups was intended as an insult to the group that wasn't mentioned? You brought your concern about a "better than thou" attitude and injected it into what Owen wrote.

Thank you for restating my comment more clearly. I did mean anyone who would be concerned to demonstrate without the broad coverage offered by the AAW to its chapters.
 
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Sad that some folks minimize the loss of a chapter or the disenfranchisement of some of the members. AAW works so hard to get new members in, but loses a percentage to natural causes every year.

Every member counts.

Steve

All true, Steve. I don't think anyone here has expressed pleasure that Mike Cunningham and his members, be they 2 or 200, decided to sever their ties with the AAW. It was, of course, their right to do so, and that right must be respected. Each AAW member has something to give and much to receive. When they withdraw, the AAW is diminished by some measure, and nobody benefits.

That decision, to go or stay, is after all a personal one. But when the withdrawal is used to make a public statement, it invites disputational public statements, and when statements are made regarding it's public importance beyond the personal decision, they invite contrary responses from those who, just as validly, may view it as less important. That doesn't mean that the person's decision is/was "unimportant", but rather that the public statement about its importance may have been exaggerated.

I think we (in the broadest sense) have to acknowledge that despite the public resolution of last summer's controversies by the parties directly involved, and notwithstanding those parties' sincere requests for peace and healing, there are or will be some AAW members who, for reasons personal to themselves and valid in their view, simply cannot get past the issues and move on as AAW members. They should be afforded the dignity and respect to which being true to their personal beliefs entitles them.

PS: Jerry, I proceed on the presumption that Mr. Cunningham's withdrawal was heartfelt and sincere, although I may not think too highly of his expressing it as he did. But when its seized upon and used to make some public political point, it cheapens the context of Mr. Cunningham's and his friends' decisions, and I'll call it as I see it. I hope you're not suggesting that I don't have the right to do so.
 
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All true, Steve. I don't think anyone here has expressed pleasure that Mike Cunningham and his members, be they 2 or 200, decided to sever their ties with the AAW. It was, of course, their right to do so, and that right must be respected. Each AAW member has something to give and much to receive. When they withdraw, the AAW is diminished by some measure, and nobody benefits.

That decision, to go or stay, is after all a personal one. But when the withdrawal is used to make a public statement, it invites disputational public statements, and when statements are made regarding it's public importance beyond the personal decision, they invite contrary responses from those who, just as validly, may view it as less important. That doesn't mean that the person's decision is/was "unimportant", but rather that the public statement about its importance may have been exaggerated.

I think we (in the broadest sense) have to acknowledge that despite the public resolution of last summer's controversies by the parties directly involved, and notwithstanding those parties' sincere requests for peace and healing, there are or will be some AAW members who, for reasons personal to themselves and valid in their view, simply cannot get past the issues and move on as AAW members. They should be afforded the dignity and respect to which being true to their personal beliefs entitles them.


That begets the question...

For everyone who didn't make their personal view/statement/choice known, how many quietly slipped away without saying anything? I don't think Mike is unique, and I suspect that there are members in every club that chose not to renew based upon the summer's events and follow-up.

Steve
 
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Steve,

Whether fortunately or unfortunately, it's most unlikely that we'll ever know the answer to that one. Thinking about it, that may just be as it should be. The AAW, as an entity separate and distinct from its members, must steer its own course based on the purposes for which it was formed. There will be many who accept that and go along for the ride, there will be some, hopefully not many, who will choose another path. The success of the organization will be decided by its ability to attract and hold members of all types. I think we'll just have to wait and watch to see whose vision will prevail.
 
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PS: Jerry, I proceed on the presumption that Mr. Cunningham's withdrawal was heartfelt and sincere, although I may not think too highly of his expressing it as he did. But when its seized upon and used to make some public political point, it cheapens the context of Mr. Cunningham's and his friends' decisions, and I'll call it as I see it. I hope you're not suggesting that I don't have the right to do so.

OK by me as long as you or David don't assume that your rights of expression supersede those of other forum/AAW members.

As Chief Running Bear said, "Thick skins are the best defense against sharp arrows."

Jerry
 
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Mark - you just exhibited the point of and reasons for my posts.

Jerry
 
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Mark - you just exhibited the point of and reasons for my posts.

Jerry

Sorry, Jerry, I'm afraid you lost me on that one as I don't understand. Has my tag-line elephant joke somehow offended you or your reference to the Sioux people? We needn't trade obscure references here. If, rereading your message, I'm to infer that you think I'm being "thin skinned" in my posts, just say that, okay?
 
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Steve,

Whether fortunately or unfortunately, it's most unlikely that we'll ever know the answer to that one. Thinking about it, that may just be as it should be. The AAW, as an entity separate and distinct from its members, must steer its own course based on the purposes for which it was formed. There will be many who accept that and go along for the ride, there will be some, hopefully not many, who will choose another path. The success of the organization will be decided by its ability to attract and hold members of all types. I think we'll just have to wait and watch to see whose vision will prevail.

I guess I see it differently? I see the AAW as an extension of the local chapters to encourage growth of the organization. If the local chapters are the second layer in the pyramid (AAW-> chapter -> individual), the AAW should be chartered with helping attract new turners into the membership and getting them to join the local chapters. The local chapters should be getting new members in the club and getting them to join the AAW.

In Mike's case, it seems that there is a callous attitude that both a club and AAW members are "too small to matter" and that is just wrong. The two clubs that I belong to are my first affinity because I personally interact with these people. I've been to their houses. I know their families. I've turned in their shops. They are not too small for me. They are not member # 12345.

This attitude of "collateral damage" has been very disturbing. For all of the positive things AAW is and does, this is the ONE thing that needs to change... and sooner than later would be fine with me.
 
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Yes, thin skinned is it

Mark, et.al.:

You and many others are becoming very thin skinned relative to anything that could be perceived as criticism of the AAW, the BOD, the proposed By-laws, etc., etc. This thread is a good example.

Anyone who currently believes that they have invested a lot of volunteer time and effort into the AAW and any of its current projects, and are proud or defensive of their work, should remember that there are many others out there who have done the same in other times.

I am a firm believer in moving forward and looking to the future. A 25-35 post thread based on one perceived negative post does not move us in that direction. To clarify, that is what I meant by demonstrating leadership on this forum.

Not all battles are worth fighting. A good read would be the old play: "The Mouse That Roared".:)

Jerry
 
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Jake,
This thread began with an announcement that A chapter has folded.

I just tried to point out this chapter is not the typical chapter most of us think of.
It was a chapter with 6 members run out of Mr. Cunningham’s home. Mr Cunnigham should be praised for his attempt to expand woodturning by creating a second chapter in an area with few Woodturners. This is the way woodturning grows. The chapter started in 2007. Got help with an AAW EOG grant in 2008. Has chosen to fold in 2011. It was formed 11 miles from a chapter with 40 members which is more the norm in terms of chapter size.
Every AAW chapter is important. The fact that a 6 member chapter can get an EOG grant should support that. about half the AAW chapters have less than 50 members.
Currently there are 13 Chapters with less than 10 members.

These can be great places to learn woodturning. They are also chapter which if they lost a key member such as Mr Cunningham quite likely could not continue.

AAW Chapters
59 have more than 100
114 have 50 to 99
118 have 20 to 49
27 have 10 to 19

It is always sad to lose a chapter.

-Al

Interesting statistics, Al. Do these numbers represent the size of the chapters or the size of the AAW membership within these chapters? I belong to a club with 95 members, and probably less than half are AAW members. Just wondering if we count in the 2nd or third tier?

Thanks

Steve
 
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I guess I see it differently? I see the AAW as an extension of the local chapters to encourage growth of the organization. If the local chapters are the second layer in the pyramid (AAW-> chapter -> individual), the AAW should be chartered with helping attract new turners into the membership and getting them to join the local chapters. The local chapters should be getting new members in the club and getting them to join the AAW.

In Mike's case, it seems that there is a callous attitude that both a club and AAW members are "too small to matter" and that is just wrong. The two clubs that I belong to are my first affinity because I personally interact with these people. I've been to their houses. I know their families. I've turned in their shops. They are not too small for me. They are not member # 12345.

This attitude of "collateral damage" has been very disturbing. For all of the positive things AAW is and does, this is the ONE thing that needs to change... and sooner than later would be fine with me.

Actually, our views are not so different, Steve. Although I'm not much of a "club person", I appreciate the mix of socialization and education that goes on in local chapters. I also understand that those with a primary focus on their club(s) will tend to see the "loss" of one member in a different light because the resulting vacancy is up close and personal. That view is necessary and, I think, built into the local equation.

But a national (international) organization like the AAW with 14,000 can't be run like a local club where 40 guys get together once a month. There is, of necessity, a different approach that shifts focus away from individuals and onto the very widespread issues facing the organization. This is, I think, inevitable, because, by analogy, you can't run the Hershey Company like a candy store on main street, and the opposite is also true. I've heard many examples of the same conflict between local groups who are part of large umbrella organizations. "National doesn't give a damn about us down here in the trenches," is a paraphrased refrain I've heard from people in labor unions, professional associations, and even volunteer/service outfits like the Boy Scouts.

I suspect that a good part of what you may view as a lack of concern over "collateral damage" is more the result of having to have a more generalized focus on broad issues. An AAW director may, as a person and a fellow turner, be individually concerned over a member's decision as was made by Mr. Cunningham, but that director cannot be controlled by it; his duty is to the AAW as an organization, and act to produce the most good for the organization and the widest portion of its members. We elect these people to national office. We expect them to do a "national job". We also expect them not to interfere in how we choose to run our local groups.

Once you start to impose the obligation to react on a national or institutional scale to very individual and personal preferences and choices, you invite micro-management of, and interference with local preferences and prerogatives by those far removed from the local group. I really don't think we want to go there.

This, of course, is my view of things, your view may differ, and I'm not here as the apologist for anyone, nor do I propose to open a debate on Spockisms.

BTW, I was thinking of dropping by your club the end of this month. You guys welcome strangers?
 
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Mark-

We welcome everyone. The stranger, the better :p

Andy DiPietro will be demonstrating. I'm not sure what the topic is, but I assume it's going to be good. Andy's top notch.

I think that you are right that National needs to focus on a broader audience, but also remember that they are us. If some posts to the effect that the loss is trivial or insignificant, I think it needs to be made clear whose view that is (personal vs. AAW).

I personally wouldn't want to elect a director or board member that viewed membership as being expendible. The single most important thing for EVERYONE to remember here is that for most of the membership, this really isn't that important. Even for those of us who are passionate about turning, it likely represents almost nothing income-wise (personally, <1% last year, and it was my best turning year ever). Very few people take advantage of things like POP or EOG. I doubt many folks care about insurance (5% of membership?)

It's been stated before: most people want the AAW Journal, and 10% attend a symposium. So while it might be true that it can't be run like a candy store, 90% of the membership probably wouldn't care if it was. It's $50 freakin' dollars...I don't need Warren Buffett to manage it for me. 4 issues, 6 issues, 10 issue...whatever.

Hope to see you on Feb 28th.
 
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It is what chapter presidents report. Which generally are members of the chapter. In the case of the Star chapters it is all AAW members.

There are 3 groupings of people in the AAW comunity..
those that belong to AAW and no chapter
those that belong to AAW and belong to one or more chapters
those that do no belong to AAW and belong to one or more chapter.

a few years ago half the AAW respondents indicated they were to affiliated with one or more chapters.

Our local chapters report about 20,000 members.
This is not 20,000 people as some many people belong to one or more chapters. maybe it is 17,000 people just a guess.

Most of the chapters grow in size every year just like the AAW.

Al



Thanks for the clarification. I'm a big fan of numbers and statistics, so I wondered the following:

How many AAW members belong to no AAW Sanctioned clubs? Is it the case of nothing local to them? (i.e. is there a statistical correlation between non club membership as a fuction of distance?)

How many of the AAW sanctioned club members are also AAW members? Is there a correlation between size of the club and percentage of membership? (i.e. more members, lower percentage...)

I belong to a large group (95) where I suspect we are 50% or less AAW members, and the main reason is that some of the folks aren't all that hardcore on turning. I'm guessing that they turn once per month, and some folks I wonder if they even own lathes. They come to the meetings for the people and the cameraderie.

Does anyone at the AAW look at the data for root causes? I think that it would be smart to increase membership internally first if you could figure out why a large percentage of the club membership isn't AAW membership also.

(I also wonder about the data quality, but that's another topic)
 
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Steven,

AAW has a Chapter Committee, whose job it is to deal with all of these questions, including AAW membership within chapters, recruiting and membership retention. Each AAW committee is made up of volunteers, and is required to have a current Board member on the committee to act as liaison back the Board as a whole. Often, maybe even most of the time, the Board member on the committee is also the chair – as has been the case with the Chapter Committee for the past several years.

So, we’re totally dependent on volunteers, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but it does impose challenges. Such as – it’s rare that a Chapter Committee chair stays in the job for more than 2 years, other people come and go, skill sets vary widely and these committees rarely ever meet face-to-face.

The current Board has been working to document exactly what these committees do, including their responsibilities, goals and expectations – so that the wheel doesn’t have to be completely re-invented every year or two.

But it is a significant challenge to maintain positive momentum, much less goal achievement accountability with an all-volunteer system.
 
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Having been away for a while, and then reading the latest skirmish regarding Curtis' post about the Jersey Cape Woodturner's Guild, I am struck by the ferocity and resentment manifested by the Pro Boarders.

In case you haven't noticed . . . You won the fight. The ByLaws Revision vote will most certainly fall in your favor. You will continue to control the AAW. The Board will remain yours.

While it is important that losers learn to be "good losers", it is also important that the "winners" learn to be good winners. Why couldn't one of you have said something like, "It's unfortunate we've lost the Jersey Cape Woodturners Guild" or "I wish we could do something to have them come back to AAW"?

Instead, your words and attitudes appear to do nothing more than support the contention of those of us who believe that the everyday Joe Turners aren't important to AAW. Where I come from . . . every turner matters, every turners counts . . . including the small group of turners who comprise the Jersey Cape Woodturner's Guild.

For those of you who marginalize the Joe Turners of the Jersey Cape Woodturner's Guild . . . I ask you . . . Where is your grace? Where is your dignity?
 

john lucas

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I will admit, and apologize, I fell into the trap. The original post was like someone with thumbs in their ears wagging their fingers and going "na na na na na na naaaa". Well the response then is "Oh yea, well take this". Two little kids doing battle. That was the only way I could interpret the need for him to post which was childish, and quite frankly my response was also. He could have simply folded his club which would have proved his point without the need to try to evoke a response on a public forum.
One of my female friends chides me saying men can have a fight and 30 minutes later be drinking a beer together. well I hope that's the case here.
I value all woodturners, and woodworkers,and carvers and I think I prove that daily with my efforts to educate fellow woodworkers.
Some people simply don't want to be active club members and certainly not to join the national group. It's a fact of life. Still I welcome them to the fold however active or inactive they might be.
I try to look at the bigger picture. I've seen how the growth in the AAW has affected the availability of tools, lathes, chucks, and turning videos and books.
 
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The Jersey Cape club met in Mr Cunningham's home. When a club that small losses one member it is likely to fold. When Mr Cunningham left the AAW it was in my opinion no longer possible for the Jersey Cape club to survive as an AAW chapter. It is quite possible the small club would fail even if Mr. Cunningham remained an AAW member. Being only 11 miles from a 40+ member club it is tough to form a new club. just not enough bodies to go around.

-Al

Al-

Just an observation... but my reading of Mike's not is not that the club has disbanded, merely that they have elected to not be part of the AAW. Whether they become absorbed into the other local chapter or not, they have not elected to stop turning nor have they announced that they will no longer meet.

They have just decided that the AAW wasn't for them.

As far as reasons for not joining AAW, one of my clubs has at least 50 non-AAW members and I don't think one of them can't afford it. Some don't know about the AAW, but others do, and are very active in the chapter and pretty good turners. I disagree with your analysis on why they have chosen to avoid AAW membership.

There are no winners, only losers. All of us.
 
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