I have never understood why we quilters can't just get along with each other and play nicely. Reading my e-friend Katie's blog she writes about going to her first and second Guild meetings in Wichita. Some years back I went to a Guild Meeting where I live and my experience was very similar to hers.
It made me think about why we want to join a Guild. In my case I hoped there would be people I could learn from, to make new friends, to socialize with other women who shared my interests. For both Katie and I the experiment was a failure. It breaks my heart.
I should mention that not all Guilds are the same. From personal experience the Heartland Quilters Guild in Mitchell SD is both fun and welcoming.
Lori and I got to visit with Katie when we went to Wichita this summer. Katie is a little shy but a wonderful talented young woman who lives in a lovely old home which she and her husband have been lovingly restoring. She has three small children and is a stay at home mother who is much more organized than I ever was at the same period in my life. We had a lovely visit.
I do not believe those women were actively nasty so much as thoughtless and self centered. How much effort does it take to introduce yourself to a newcomer, to welcome them? The Prairie Quilt Guild is huge, was it a Guild Management failure? I think so!
If I were Queen of the Prairie Quilt Guild here is what I would do in five simple and inexpensive steps.
- I would schedule a short talk with a motivational Caring and Sharing theme at a meeting before Christmas and at that meeting I would call for volunteers to set up a Welcome Committee.
- Ask the Registrar to make special and different brightly colored name tags that identify visitors, which might inspire regular Members to introduce themselves and BE welcoming.
- Ask visitors to fill out a short form (name, address, phone, email, areas of interest) and write a very short paragraph about themselves at registration and in the New Business section of the meeting welcome them.
- Ask for volunteers to put their names on a rotating list which the registrar would have, to act as Big Sisters to visitors and prospective members, introduce them to people, show them around, talk to them, be nice and welcome them.
- After the first meeting send a pretty note in the mail to the prospective member welcoming them.
Y'all come back!