Three Monkeys - Ten Minutes : Presidents Page May 2001

At this time of year it is traditional for the president of Phoenix to deliver a "state of the union" message for the club. I would like to start off by taking a wider view of the SF fan movement in New Zealand. A movement that is in a state of decline and has been so for some time. Not too many years ago, that would have been a statement that could have been debated - and in fact was done so at length. Now, so obvious is this decline that the only debate is over how fast it is happening and what the best course of action to counteract it is. In case you have missed them, the signs are pretty clear. All the key indicators are headed down. These include: the attendance at conventions, the number of clubs and the number of fan publications.

I have been thinking about this for a while, but events at OdysseyCon served as further ammunition. You should all be aware by now of Norman's initiative to form a national organisation. There is a potential worry with the concept. That is the notion that when something is in decline and nobody knows what to do, you throw more bureaucracy at it. However bureaucracy in itself never solved anything. To make something work you need energy and commitment. Luckily in the case of the national organisation, we have Norman. However he cannot do it all on his own. We all need to support this endeavour if it is going to work. By support, I do not mean simply saying "good job Norman keep it up". I mean that we have to take an active part in this organisation. It will take some real work to make it a success.

This now brings me to the state of Phoenix. The same things apply - energy and commitment are needed in order to make this club an ongoing success. Although our total membership remains roughly static, the number of full memberships is declining. There is a point where a club cannot sustain its activities when its membership drops too low. We are not about to hit that point just yet, but we do need to keep working on bringing new members in and making the club attractive enough to keep them.

There is never any lack of ideas about how to bring in new members. The problem is usually that while there are plenty of people who offer ideas, there are less who are prepared to follow their suggestions through with action. I do not mean to imply that people are not pulling their weight - there are a number of people who put a lot of time and effort into running Phoenix. To them I offer my heartfelt thanks.

There is one particular course of action that we can all take to bring in new members. That is to use our own personal or work contacts to find others with similar interests. These contacts are easily the most effective way to bring people in. Most of the current membership was brought in by other members.

I do not want to end this piece on a negative note. In fact, I believe there is still a lot of positive things about Phoenix. We have a good robust club structure and a number of good people prepared to work for he club. We also have a great deal of potential for growth if we do things well. There are a lot of people out there who have a casual interest in SF & Fantasy. This represents a potential pool which we can tap as long as we remember that they are not ours by right. We have to go out and win their hearts and minds.

Please excuse the clichés in the above - particularly the last one - I'm writing this late at night. So, in order to get some sleep, I will just finish off by saying thank you all for your support over the last year and express by determination to make the next year a good one.