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Starting Local Groups

Bill Curtin wrote:

>I just reread your post and Karen despite being
>"famous" does not have a lot of time in her busy life life to be at the
>monthly meetings all the time and she is just another person in these parts!
>Right, Karen!! :-)

THANK YOU BILL.  I _am_ "just another person".  I happen to have put a lot
of time and effort back into this hobby because it is one that I enjoy, and
therefore I like to share with others.  But I am nobody "special".  I am
not a professional and I am not a "star".  I'm an at-home mom with two kids
and a husband who come first in my life.  

I do what I think _everyone_ should do.  I try to do my share.  I am
involved in my local club, and since I seem to write in a style that other
people find useful, I have been sharing my hobby with others in that way.
Quite frankly, I'm spread thin enough as it is.  There is no "they" in this
hobby, there is only "us".  I know most of the individuals that Dwight
thinks of as "stars".  I _know_ that they don't look upon themselves that
way.  I know that they are all nice people who love this hobby, have
learned what they know because of this love, and _ALL_ of them give back to
the hobby in their own ways.  But none of them are financially independent,
and none have the where-with-all to go off on a crusade into a different
part of the country from where they live and start a local hobby
organization for the people who live there.

Quite frankly, if I had that amount of time and money, I can think of a
number of worth while charities that would benefit much more needy people
than the aquarium hobby.

We _ALL_ need to do our small share to get in touch and network with others
with similar interests in our area.  Set up a pretty tank in the local
library or hospital, or in your child's class room.  You'll meet other
people that way.  

Do what Dave Gomberg did.  He got a small core group of people together on
quite short notice to pay my added expenses to go to SF to speak when I was
going to be on the west coast anyway.  Dave, I'm sure, can give you the
details, but each individual didn't pay that much for that first meeting,
and it was the start of a vital, close-knit group of enthusiasts.  I'm not
saying to use me, BTW, there are plenty of other good speakers out there.
Contact them and find out if they might be vacationing in Florida in the
not too distant future.  Ask if they'd be willing to speak if you can cover
their extra expenses to get to where you are.  Ask your local LFS if they
will let you hold the event in their store after normal hours.  Put up
flyers in pet stores, libraries and supermarkets.  Tell the AGA you're
doing it so that we can advertise it for you on the web site and in TAG.
Post a message to this list!

Thank you to those of you who responded with ideas of what can be done to
start a local group, and what is being done in your local areas.  If more
people have ideas, lets share them here.  

Also, BTW, Dwight, there is at _least_ one active general aquarium society
in Florida, because I've seen the posts about up-coming events on this
list.  The last speaker mentioned was Randy Carey, and I believe he was
coming down to speak on tetras.  If you don't consider Randy a "heavy
hitter", then none of the rest of us are either. ;-)