for MGA owners and in mid 2008, the club newsletter took on a new look as available from contemporary printing techniques. Also in 2008, the club initiated a new program to “rescue” old MG parts by accepting them as donations and attempting to sell them on eBay. In late 2009, the club launched an innovative “on demand” regalia program that allows members to order and pay for club regalia items “on line” with a wide variety of sizes, colors, styles, etc. And it also launched an effort into the new “social media” environment with its own Facebook page.
So what can we conclude about the club, after 33 years of history, at the end of the first decade of the new millennium? And what about its future as well as its history?
Well, for one thing the club is in good shape. The treasury balance is strong and membership is holding at the 250+ plateau that seems to be a constant for some many years. And there are some new programs and approaches to things that reflect current times.
But those things haven’t happened by accident. And there are some challenges on the horizon.
The archived club newsletters tell a story between the lines for those willing to read it. For example, throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s there is a strong sense of enthusiasm communicated just by noting the number of people involved in club activities and the variety of activities chronicled. There are “op-ed” pieces contributed by members; there are tech articles by members; there are events staged by members for the benefit of all. Competitive driving events regularly attracted 10, 15, 20 or more members. Many of the folks involved are no longer active with the club and a red flag is that there seems to be – in some cases – a lack of replacements in the wings.
And there are some things that are not directly chronicled but also bear on the success story. For example, the club has always maintained its focus on a balanced program of technical, driving, and social events relating to MG automobiles. You won’t see any record of diversions into alternate purposes or uses of club funds and energies. You will also not notice – unless you look for it – the remarkably stable pattern over the years. For example, the club has conducted a monthly meeting on the third Monday of each month (except December) for 33 years with no interruptions or changes. The club has published a monthly newsletter, almost without interruption, for almost as long. You will not find any lapses in these commitments to the membership. You will also not find any diatribes or vendettas chronicled in the newsletter, regardless of the spats between various members over the years (and there have certainly been a few).
In regard to the future, longtime members know that there has been a shift in member orientation over the last few years. For example, attendance at driving events such as rallys and autocrosses has dwindled to very low levels, while attendance at non-competitive events such as tours has increased. Is it a result of an aging membership? Or is there some other explanation? Is this a positive or a negative thing? There also seems to be a decline in do-it-yourself restoration/refurbishment projects
underway. Are all members’ MG’s now completely fixed up? Or is there a different kind of owner/member nowadays?
The archived club newsletters represent a wonderful source of information about the club over the years, and should be explored by all members when they get a chance. You will find that many of the editorials and articles are thoughtful and perceptive; the tech tips are still good today; the stories of experiences are still amusing and enjoyable.
Take some time to browse through these old newsletters and you will learn a little bit more about the club, about the activities being discussed, and perhaps about the member sitting next to you at the meeting. And perhaps that knowledge will even help you enjoy your membership a little bit more.
Safety Fast, -- Jim Evans
What does the future hold? You can help determine where the club goes next; become active.