Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Problem

I attended my EGA chapter meeting today and we had our Region Director as a guest. She just came back from a National Board Meeting in KY and had several things to discuss. The primary problem EGA (The Embroiderer's Guild of America, Inc.) as well as other stitching guilds - ANG, among others seems to have is an aging and declining membership. We all want to know where are the younger stitchers? Why aren't they joining the guilds? When I joined my chapter, the membership was around 130 members and there were waiting lists for Workshop Classes. Today, our membership has dwindled to 28 by last count and Workshops and Professional Teachers are a thing of the past, mostly due to the fact that related expenses shared by so few members become quite costly per person.

I know there is so much here on the internet...teachers, patterns, forums, blogs and message boards for communicating ideas, but there is one huge thing that is missing! The actual face to face interaction available at a guild meeting. I can look at what Jane of Chilly Hollow or Anne from the Cape, or Coni in IN is stitching, and comment on it, but I am really only seeing an image of the piece. When you actually attend a meeting, and have the show and tell of other stitchers, it is the real deal you are seeing, and oftentimes, the colors and intricasies of the stitching are even more awe inspiring in person.

Those of you who are relatively near a chapter...EGA, ANG, FCT, or any other stitching group, try attending a meeting and see what I mean. All these organizations depend on their members and they need YOU!
Off my Soapbox for now!


wendy said...

wow - that really stinks. too bad i'm not a stitcher (because, you know, i need MORE going on in my life right now!!)

hope the birthday party went well.

Shari said...

I agre with all that you have said. I belong to EGA and our chapter has also fallen below 100 in membership this past 2 years. I hear gals say cost of dues, CC's and such are too high. But everyone agrees that the comraderie, the actual seeing of an item as compared to pictures online are the best reasons for staying a member. I don't know what the answer is to declining membership but it does seem to be a nation wide problem. I hope it is a trend that reverses itself in the near future. I recently bought lifetime memberships for myself and my daughter. I would like to think it will be beneficial for her, I am too old for it to matter much. My theory is that they have to get back to BASICS and get away from extolling the virtues of all the artsy stuff they are showing in the magazine. It is ok for those of us who are long time members to do that stuff because we have had the basics over and over again (for 20 years myself). But the newcomer is intimidated by it and feels failure is just around the corner if the don't "measure up". Let's remember our roots. I volunteered for program chair ofour chapter for the upcoming term so that I could bring new projects ideas using old basic techniques. I hope it is appealing to the membership.