In about 1975 the NSW Federation of Bushwalking Clubs (as it was called then) had a crisis when its AGM failed to fill several key positions including president. They called an extraordinary general meeting and pleaded for every club president to attend (meetings were usually attended by club delegates other than presidents). Since I was president of the Uni of NSW Bushwalking Club I went along. Even at that tender age I could see clearly that a major problem with the Federation was its failure to communicate properly with the members of its constituent clubs. So with the brashness of youth I offered to produce a regular newsletter on behalf of the Federation, and proceeded to do so for the next few years. (A serendipitous side benefit for me was that I could later use my newsletter efforts as part of the practical requirements for one of my uni subjects that tried to teach engineering students about communication.)
Getting on towards 50 years later I’m again a club president and again interested in communication with members. Pandani is a wonderful club in which I have somehow become quite heavily invested. However there is always room to make things even better. So you can probably see where this is heading: I want to improve communication within the club, both from the committee to members and between members.
Currently the club has a few communication channels – the website, Facebook, emails and this blog. Sounds like a lot but I think we can use them better. The website is an invaluable tool for planning trips. Facebook allows us to share all those lovely post-trip photos. Emails are useful for important messages from the executive to all members. However none of those is ideal for sharing anything that needs more than a short paragraph of text. So I plan to make much greater use of this blog in future to communicate on behalf of the committee, and also hope that some (many?) of you who like to write will contribute stories about a trip or experience. In a way it may be a 21st century replacement for the old Pandani Post magazine.
Have a look at “How to use this blog” at the top of the home page and please sign up if you haven’t already.
(The photo at the top of this post is nothing to do with Pandani or communication, but since I mentioned 1975 it shows Tasmanian bushwalking 1975-style – that’s me on the left, at Junction Ck before we set off down the Port Davey and South Coast Tracks.)
At its July meeting the club decided to improve communication with members and to reinforce the feeling of club community by introducing a blog with regular updates on matters that are not well suited to the main website or the Facebook page.
A major benefit of the blog approach is that every time there is a new post here it will also be sent to members who subscribe to the blog (and we hope that is all members). After subscribing you don’t have to keep checking back to see what is new. We promise not to flood you with messages, only one or two a week or less (probably much less).
What sort of content can you expect? Ideally the committee will report from time to time on what it is planning for the club. We hope that some organisers or other members may be inspired from time to time to write a report on a particularly interesting trip or provide other news, as a sort of partial replacement for the former Pandani Post newsletter. The blog won’t replace Facebook as the best place for posting photos immediately after a walk.
Could you be persuaded to be a walk organiser? The club needs more of them. There are two issues:
Firstly, program coordinators tend to have difficulty filling all of the days in each quarterly program, although they usually get there after a bit of gentle arm twisting.
Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, walks are often booked out well in advance with quite a waiting list (not counting those don’t even try to book once they see the waiting list). Clearly there are members keen to join trips but unable to because not enough are being run.
With more organisers we could run more walks, either walks of different grades on the same day or walks on more days of the week.
We make it as easy as possible to become an organiser. You are not thrown straight in the deep end, although there are some checks and balances. New leaders organise a walk in collaboration with a mentor who is already a very experienced leader. Organising a trip involves both some administrative tasks (putting the walk on the program, monitoring who has registered) and then actually leading the trip on the day. The mentor provides guidance through all stages. And that’s about it. Unless you have demonstrated irremediable incompetence you will be all set to take others to your favourite places with your own walks on the program.
To find out more about how to become an organiser go the the Pandani web page, click on the “Organisers” tab and then “Become an Organiser”, or just click here (you will need to log in first if you are not already logged in).