Model RR Clubs

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Vic, Dec 16, 2002.

  1. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Hi Folks, Just want to get a little insight into something.

    I have been thinking about re-associating myself with the local model railroad club. I haven't been active in it for a number of years. The reason that I sorta "faded into the background" was that there was always a great deal of "infighting" among the club's members. Seems like someone was always "getting their drawers in a wad" over something and quite frankly that took the enjoyment out of it for me.

    I can truthlfully say that I never participated in these arguments and would only offer my suggestion if asked. (I'm a follower not a leader:D ) But many of the members took everything as a personal affront if things were not done the way they thought they ought to be done. Not that I wanted to do things my way, it was just the constant bickering and arguement that drove me off.

    Just wondering if any of my friends here have been in that situation and how you handled it. The~Gauge is the closest thing to a model railroad club that I have been a part of in a long time and I respect the opinions of everyone here and I certainly enjoy every minute spent here.
  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Hi Vic,

    I am just starting out myself, so I can't offer you any experiences, but I will say that I have heard all kinds of things along the lines of what you describe, which is why I have been hesitant to join a local group.

    However, I have begun to go to a local association (OVAR - Ottawa Valley Associated Railroaders - ) monthly dinner and presentation. So far it is really great. There are lots of people with tons of information. I think the great strength of an organization like this is that you can then meet up with people who have similar interests outside of the formal monthly gatherings.

    Overall, I think that you get out of a club, association, operating group, etc. is as much as you put in. Unfortunately sometimes there's people who like to do more taking than giving.

  3. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Hey Vic, I don't think there's much you can do about it. They were already arguing, and you already tried not arguing. IMHO: they have to have everything their way, because it's human nature. You don't have to because your a better man, and have overcome that human shortcoming. My LHS guy said they tried a club here and it failed because they couldn't agree on anything. hmmmm. I've had to deal with people like that in a professional atmosphere, and the best I've been able to do is try to make them think it's their own idea :) It's too bad, because a club is a great way to pool resources, time, experiance and capitol, to come up with an awesome layout.
  4. TR-Flyer

    TR-Flyer Member

    Hi Vic:
    The people in the club determine the tone and tolerance "level” of the club. If one or two members are allowed by the membership to set a negative tone for the club, it's their own fault. And i guess that should clue members into whether they should stick around. If one member is the problem someone should pull them aside and tell 'em how it is. They'll probably be insulted at that point and leave of their own accord! Much to the betterment of the club.

    I was involved in a soccer club once. It ended up being a miserable experience because of all the parents. I helped re-found the YMCA Indian Guides program here, it was about the best experience of my life, and I worked like a dog to get it going too. However, the parents and kids were wonderful and made the effort worthwhile.

    The ACSG club i'm in now is full of great people. We've had a few pointed discussions since i've been involved the last 1 1/2 years, but they've been resolved so that the members could still enjoy participating. It helps if the ladies are involved, they seem to help keep "the guys" on their better behavior. It's also fun to have a "lady's Auxiliary". We’ll see how it goes in the future as we continue to grow, there’s 40+ of us now, and as more members become “active”.

  5. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    I have a solution!

    Hey Vic - and all my other pals at the Gauge - here's the plan. Everybody move to Toronto and we'll start our own club right here in my big old basement! :D :D :D :D :D

    ;) Val
  6. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Be rat there! What's for lunch?!?!? I'm hungry! and so are the other 802 gaugers! :D :D :D
  7. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    Hi Vic,
    Yes, I have been through all that myself. So I came to the conclusion that I was better off as a lone wolf except for the half a dozen guys that were regulars at my home. To me, that was my club. Everyone had a great time running there own loco's on my setup even to the extent of some British locos running around an American logging line. It didn't matter, we were all having fun.

    So Vic, as my dear old Mother use to say to me, ”If it’s doubtful, its dirty, stay away.”

  8. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    I think that's what my girlfriends mothers used to tell them about me :eek: :eek: :eek:

    I have to side with Shamus on this one, if you don't need the club, if you have the resources for your own awesome layout (most of us here do or are workin on it), then your probably better off alone. I guess if you want to contribute, you can do as much here as a club and contribute on your own schedule. Maybe the internet has obsoleted the club. Maybe the LHS too. Sad on one hand, happy on the other.
  9. n-scaler-dude

    n-scaler-dude Member

    I must say I've never thought about joining a MR club. If they are like other types of hobby related clubs, then the scenarios will probably be the same. I also find that by having friends or gettogethers a much more rewarding and less confrontational experience. Yes, you may not be able to participate in the building of a "mega-layout", but you can be the ruler of your own kingdom.
    I am finding MR'ing to be a real kick.....and lot's of fun to boot:D :D :D.
  10. TR-Flyer

    TR-Flyer Member

    I think that "Ruler of your own Kingdom" thing was well put by Seinfeld. He said you could be the "Master of your Domain".

    Is that what you mean?

    There's this little voice that keeps cautioning me about all the "joys" of the internet. There's still something to be said for good old human "contact". You know, real smiles, grins and eye contact?

    Can't imagine internet poker....

  11. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Vic, on a more serious note, I guess it depends if the same arguing that drove you away in the first place is still going on. And the only way to find out is to drop by and check it out on a casual basis. If the same culture of defensiveness and over-sensitivity is still there, then you can quietly fade out again.

    As to how to deal with those sorts of people there are really only 2 ways. Put up with it, or leave. When someone is bound and determined to get their knickers in a twist over every little thing (like my ex!) there is really nothing you can do to change them. You will only frustrate yourself.

    However, things may have changed on their own. People move on, and it may be a different group. I say check it out, and if it doesn't suit you, no loss.

    Good luck my friend!
    :D Val
  12. Vic

    Vic Active Member


    Thanks folks for all of the great input. I have sorta leaned towards not going back and I also sorta figured that what I had described was not a "local" problem. As most all have said some things can be best enjoyed as an individual or within a small group of like minded people who can enjoy the same endevors without conflict.

    There's nothing wrong with differences in opinions its the personal affronts and the "taking of sides" that I can't deal with.

    Sooo.....I'm gonna stay home and "play with my toys" LOL!

    Thanks Again!!!

    :) :) :) :) :)

    PS: Looks like Val has figured out how to get the basement cleaned out and refinished. LOL!!! But wouldn't that be a hoot if we all really did get together to build a layout!!!!!:) :) :) :D :D :D
  13. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Hi Vic!
    Your story sounds a lot like my own...
    It wasn't so much in-fighting, as just kind of a stale, stuffiness that perpeated the club.
    For me, the meetings were more tedious than fun.
    And then I discovered The Gauge, & this really gave me all the club "fix" I needed!
    I still talk to a couple of the guys...mostly through e-mail :D...& I usually bump into somebody whenever I stop in at the hobby shop. In fact, it was one of them who kind of "lit the fuse" on this latest little project I'm working on.
    So it's basically come down to me being the "lone wolf" type, who drops in from time to time.
  14. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    Vic I tend to agree with Charlie, the Gauge is a club for me. Once in awhile we get lucky and actually get to meet one another face to face (like when Pete stopped by in Sept.), but even though alot of us may never meet face to face we still share alot of modeling, laughs and general B.S. :D here on a regular basis. This wouldn't be the same without the photo feature I think. Due to it we have posted pics of ourselves in alot of cases so we know what each other and their layouts look like! What few clubs I have been around tended to be too hung up on rules and decorum for myself. However I think round robin clubs are a different matter, would try to start one here if there was enough people interested trains.
  15. pcentral

    pcentral Member

    I have to laugh because I am going thru this right now. About 10 years ago my Dad and I joined a new club just starting and really got the club going. They had a 20' x 50' modular HO layout that had never been put together. We took it home spent 100's of hours and got it running. I also helped start and then chaired our annual show for 8 years. We now have some newer members who think they can do things better than I have and want to do things their ways, so I have decided that my tenure with the club is over. Their latest thing is the club meetings need more rules so they want to follow Roberts Rules quite closely. Oh, and Tyson, we are a round robin club. Our club blowhard was saying how he had been in 10 clubs and left all of them because they didn't have enough order to their meetings. Can 10 plus clubs all have the same problem or could it just be him? Anyway, I am tired of the mess and am leaving with mixed feelings. I poured heart, soul and alot of money out of my pocket into this club and all I got was frustrated. Sorry about the rant. I would still say go see whats up with your local club. If its still the same just leave. I was in another club that just kindof died out because the founders couldn't find the time to do it and the new guy just didn't put much effort into it. We met once a month on a Saturday and had a potluck and told stories, had show and tell, read train poetry and other fun things. It was a great club and want to start that sort of train club up again.
  16. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Yes,Some clubs have that problem.Here is what we did at the club to stop it.

    When we get a king of the club wanna be..

    1.We tell him to present his idea at the next business meeting,we will discuss it then vote on it as per the by laws.Remember your idea will need 90% of the vote to past as the membership rules the club by popular vote.

    Comment: This was set up after the big break up 13 years ago and to combat against any one member or members ruling the club...It works!

    Trouble makers
    1.Frist the officers set the member down and has a talk with him and remind him of the by laws govern rowdy members.

    Comment: This works 99% of the time..The guy will leave or settle down.

    2. If said member does not heed the warning we send him a letter of intent of membership removal if he does not settle down.

    If this fails then we move to step 3.

    3.We then call a special business meeting to deal with the problem and vote the member out.

    Comment: Sadly we had to vote out 1 regular member and one student member over the last 12 years..Our goal is to protect the club and membership from having to go through another blow up like we had before that wreck the club and almost shut it down. 7 members including myself save the club from closing .This is not to brag,but did want to mention why we are one of the toughest and still best club around.We have 42 members that our elected officers( we do not have trustees) must protect as well as the club from any member including the 7 that save it,from destroying the club...

    The club that I am a member of 90% of the members are blue collar workers,I think this plays a big part in the harmony of the membership as most sees each other as equals.The white collar workers we have seem to fit in their own group,still we all get along there is no in house fighting.There is no put down or insults intended here. Just a comment on why the members get along so well...We suspect it is because there is no big mes and little yous that can wreck a club.If all a member can afford to buy is a Bachman engine,he/she is welcome to run it as long as it has KD couplers.Nobody will say a thing about it,smirk or call it a junker.

    I have seen this in another club,the kid was shame into thinking all he had was junk.He is now a member of our club.This 16 year old kid comes from a single parent home and has 3 brothers and 2 sisters,the mother works in a factory,daddy has skip the state to keep from paying child support..Soo,this being Christmas,some of the guys went together and bought him a Athearn engine for Christmas as his old Bachman is begining to fall apart on him.

    We have no in house "experts" to try to belittle any member if he makes a mistake in doing something-we would not stand for that anyway.We all can learn new things.

    One more thing I would like to hit lightly on.When you place your engines and cars on the layout they become community property and any member or invited guest can operate them over the layout as all cars and engines are used in pool service for operations.
  17. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    The only type of round robins I'v had contact with were very informal, no rules, just rotated meetings at the members houses. The type you described would not be for me! :eek: :D
  18. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Brakie, why don't you PM or e-mail me your address. I'll stick a fiver in an enveloup and mail it to you; other gaugers will surely do the same, and we get him a gift cert for the LHS and give him a nice Christmas? Or maybe get enough money to give to his mom so she can get all the kids something? What do you say guys and gals? $5, just those who can afford it, plus a stamp, keep a kid off the streets.
  19. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    You can count me in!

    :D Val
  20. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Rock on Val, hopefully we can get 20 others to commit and get an address and we'll be all set to help out!

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