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President Shares Assemblies Best Practices

Friday, December 8, 2017   (0 Comments)
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Best Practices for Assemblies to learn from and use


In September’s column, I challenged each Assembly to send me their best practices for keeping their Assembly vibrant and relevant for their members.  Regretfully, only two Assemblies took the challenge.  Fortunately, Assembly #89, Jimmy Yoshida Aloha Assembly in Honolulu, HI and Assembly #17, Valley Conjurers, of Springfield, MA each sent me some terrific ideas and best practices they use in their Assemblies, so each win a $50 gift certificate from the S.A.M. Gifts and Gadgets store.  Here are their best practices:

Assembly #17 Valley Conjurers, Springfield, MA

This Assembly received the 2017 Thurston for 25.73% increase in membership!
Some huge activities that have been helpful in the assemblies that I have been visiting and/or contact with:

1) SHORT business meetings-15 minutes or less. Quick, brief, to the point reminders about plans/activities. Volunteers for community activity or group benefits for causes. EXPOSURE and new members may 'Appear"
2) 50/50 Raffles. #17 use to have $1 chances for one ticket. One of our members suggested $2 for three chances and sometimes magicians donate an item or two to add to the drawing. Our treasury is lucky enough to get $9-$15 per meeting which helps immensely to bring in an extra lecture or an overnight stay for same.
3) Write ups in the M.U.M. assembly notes. HUGE! People still want to read about themselves and see their names in print.
4) We continue to offer a chance for Pizza $4. (Summit had suggested going out to eat or socializing separately but works for some more members)
5) Themes-as a challenge to make members think or create. Makes meeting interesting and fun.
6) I have been to one assembly which has a DIY session. Members bring in what they have made or created based on an effect or idea. OR materials are brought in and everyone can make!  (My first experience at an assembly meeting-34 years ago was an effect where solid through solid impossibility and deck of cards which change color-I still have it).  In fact it was brought to ANOTHER assembly meeting whose theme was bring something you have made.
7) DELEGATE but oversee. Appoint someone to do something or have theme captains who are in charge of the program for the evening.  Same goes for activities or upcoming items which may need personal attention BY someone else!
8) Name tags-not all members know all members.
9) Guest list/Member sign ins. Help to maintain records of who showed. Assists in members remembering WHO they are talking to or dealing with.
10) Follow ups by reminding the newcomer what is happening and who to contact.
11) Creating, updating web site or web page so members who miss meetings do not miss messages, plans, updates, etc.
12) RECOGNITION-person joins, make a deal out of presentation of pin, packet, etc. Pictures for M.U.M. so when they start receiving it they see themselves and feel special and part of the group.
13) Keep the evening a Judgement free zone. Remember the OATH. Negativity is dead. Positivity is paramount. Mentor or learn from one.
14) Executive sessions by all that should be there to present ideas and updates not necessary in front of members.
15) LAUGH- do not take oneself so seriously. Find a reason to smile or laugh about what is presented.
16) Never give up! Took me constantly asking a person WHEN dues paid until....they were.
17) Newsletters-regionally and within assemblies.
18) C-O-M-M-U-N-I-C-A-T-I-O-N!
19) Breathe
20) Repeat

Assembly #89,  Jimmy Yoshida Aloha Assembly in Honolulu, HI.
 Our President is Michael “Kekoa” Erickson and, despite his relative youth, he has been in that role the past several years.  In my view, our small but mighty Assembly is a joy on many levels…but mostly due to Kekoa.  Let me count the ways in no special order:
1.  Newsletter:  Kekoa cranks out a monthly newsletter which goes to all our members electronically.  (One exception is a senior compeer who receives his copy via snail mail.)  These newsletters serve multiple purposes: they are forwarded a week prior to Assembly meetings to act as a reminder, they provide both local and national news, they include many photos which appeal to all, and a theme is identified which allows members to prepare and perform if so desired.
2.  Monthly Assembly Meetings:  The monthly meetings are great for a variety of reasons and there are normally have 20+ attendees.  They are organized, scripted, and well run.  In addition to the chance to perform magic with ever-changing of themes, there are always opportunities to swap/buy magic (not to mention free pizza from one member who owns the best Pizza restaurant in Hawaii).  No-cost Raffles are routinely held which feature donated magic items to include DVDs, books, and actual tricks.  And especially popular at each Assembly is one or more monthly theme effects not only performed by Kekoa…but which he then teaches (and provides any required props & hard copy instructions).  Everything I have mentioned (other than the pizza) happens because of Kekoa. 
3.  SAM Magic Library:  Last year, Kekoa created a unique DVD magic library and appointed a librarian to manage it.  Compeers can borrow up to 3 DVDs for a month at each meeting…and this has been very well received.  There are over 50 titles and multiple members have contributed to the library.
 
4.  Special Events:  Several guest lectures have taken place in the past year either in conjunction with planned SAM (or combined SAM/IBM) events or occasionally on a special date due to availability of the lecturer.  Featured guest lecturers in the past year have included Franz Harary, Kainoa Harbottle, Chris Capehart, and David Ginn.
5.  Annual SAM Banquet:  An annual dinner is held for Assembly #89 members and their guests at a local restaurant.  Magical entertainment takes place, more raffles are held, and members who have contributed to the Assembly during the past year are recognized.
6.  Facebook Page:  As you might have already guessed, Kekoa has created and (more importantly) maintains an active Facebook Page for Assembly #89.  Always lots of photos from monthly meetings which everyone enjoys.  Check it out at: https://www.facebook.com/hawaiimagicclub/
 7.  Encouragement:  Although not as tangible as the previous items, Kekoa and other senior magicians here in Hawaii have served to encourage many amateurs (both young…and old as myself) in performing magic.  Hawaii is blessed with several professionals such as Curtis Kam as Allen Okawa (and others) who routinely attend monthly meetings.  Many recognize these events as nurturing, non-judgmental, and non-stressful experiences which help many acquire new magical skills while they sharpen others.  Another unique contributor to this is our favorite son, Ron Ishimaru.  Ron, in concert with Kekoa and others, has helped create and foster an environment where both professional and amateur magicians can learn, relax, and grow.  As we say in Hawaii, compeers actively “Tell Story” with one another for the betterment of all in the spirit and memory of our legendary Jimmy Yoshida.  The magical synergy here, especially as practiced by Kekoa and Ron, serves to keep everyone informed and involved.


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