Are we really that good?
I've been thinking about how BAWA has grown by leaps and bounds the last couple years. I've been wondering just why this is. Are we really that good that we've just drawn everyone to us? Well, yes and ...
First one needs to recognize the tremendous growth in the hobby of woodworking as a whole throughout the country (and in Europe too) over the last couple years. There are many more woodworking magazines on the market now showing us how to do things. Many, many more woodworking books have been published recently. And the tool industry has recognized a growing market by issuing ever improved versions of tools or brand new tools that we didn't even know we needed. Also, more woodworking clubs have been formed all across our country.
So on the one hand BAWA is the recipient of all of this interest, and this has helped increase our membership. But with other clubs forming in the area, offering other choices, we need to ask why are people joining BAWA? Well, I believe another, equally important reason is that we have a better than average club. How is this possible? The first reason is because our membership is composed of a good mix of both novice and experienced woodworkers. Plus we have a few, very experienced and well-known woodworkers. Some of our members are professionals, earning their living in a woodworking business. All of our more experienced members, through our Show & Tell program, giving talks and lectures (and Tech Talks), and just generally mixing with the others, give freely of their knowledge and help the newcomers learn more about this wonderful world of woodworking.
Another reason for such a large upturn in our membership is due to the particular programs we've been having. The speakers we've had visit us have been phenomenal, plus we often have a short Tech Talk presentation by one of our members. Also we go to interesting places -- shops, etc. to see how others make sawdust. Program Director Jay Perrine has done an incredible job in creating these programs over the past couple years.
The fourth reason is due to the many volunteers who assist in the background each month. I have been privileged to have people who knew what to do, and then just went and did it. These include our officers and committee chairs. Vice President, Mark Rand who, in addition to doing a wonderful job as Newsletter Editor, is always volunteering to lend me a hand for what needs to get done. Then there's our co-secretaries, Peter Wronsky and Andy Sobieski. Besides writing meeting minutes, they volunteered to help in a variety of capacities throughout the year to get odd jobs done. Gene Wagg, our Treasurer has used his careful woodworker's eye to collect and disperse our funds throughout the year.
Every month Stan Booker has a door prize and/or raffle item for us (he's had some great ones this year!). This year he also brought and served the refreshments at our meetings --- a heavy lifting job! Harold Patterson has not only kept our membership records but has made some improvements in this process (the blue dots to identify new members, for example). He also coordinated multiple Toy Workshops this year --- where we all had fun! Stu Hoffer and Robbie Fanning organized us, and schlepped our stuff for our wonderful booth at The Woodworking Show, and ensured that it looked great. As well as providing a lot of the labor, Bill Henzel once again ably planned and managed our involvement in the annual Rebuilding Together event. Operating quietly and competently in the background, our librarian Mike Cooper has done a great job supplying you with tapes and books every meeting. Webmaster Jamie Buxton has done a fantastic job creating and maintaining our web site --- many have found our club through this site. And of course my mentor, Tony Fanning, who's always been willing to discuss and help me figure out how to do things in BAWA. Last, but by no means least are all of you members who volunteered for The Woodworking Show, for Rebuilding Together, for the Toy Workshops, for giving Tech Talks throughout the year (whew, there's so much goin' on!), and for any number of little things that needed doing. You are why BAWA is so great! THANK YOU!
You've no doubt seen discussed in my previous few columns, and heard at the meetings about some new programs for next year. You, our members have asked us to set these up this coming year to help all of us, both new and experienced woodworkers, get even more enjoyment from this craft. We'll shortly be announcing the start of an Answer Person, Mentor Program and Shop Tour Program and other new programs. These won't happen without your help and continued interest. You make it happen! And I know we can count on you just as we have this past year.
So are we really that good that we're drawing everyone to us? Well there are many more people out there that want to participate in woodworking; but yes, they're picking BAWA because we really are so good! As you can see I think it's all of these things I've listed that have made our club grow, and will continue to do so in the coming year. Thank you one and all for your participation, involvement and caring about BAWA! It's made my job easy! I'll look forward to seeing all of you at the next exciting meeting of the Bay Area Woodworkers Association and have a great holiday season!