Michael Sellick, aka Mikey, teaching at Creativ Festival
Last year, I ran into a woman in a live show. She was on The Crochet Crowd Facebook last year where she ran into one of my comments. People were expressing displeasure with not having crochet groups to attend. In a blunt comment I had made, “Stop waiting and start organizing to create what you want!”
This woman was expressing gratitude for a kick in the pants with my comment. She had been wanting a group and realized it’s never going to happen unless she starts putting her wheels in motion to create it. She was so excited and glad that she had started it. Her group is now her favourite part of the week. Others in her group love it too and it’s become a great success story.
While I can go ahead and list so many reasons why I shouldn’t do a group. Lack of time, unknown location, how to market it and who will show up. It’s so easy to come up with excuses not to organize a group, but it’s this thought that has made finding crochet groups hard and/or people don’t want to support the group be attending. It seems to me people are waiting for others to make the effort. I see a need for these types of groups but it has to start by someone who desires it enough to put thought into action. Groups can never be formed with pessimism and if they are, I can guarantee it won’t last. Maybe if you build it, they will come if you plan yourself right. Sometimes, it may take a while to build up the group and get it started… but someone cannot attend or think about attending a group if there is no groups in the first place.
All it takes is 1 person, which may be you, to put your desires into motion to start investigating, reaching out and strategizing to put a group together.
Putting together a group is the hardest part, once it’s in motion and you find a few key people to count on, it becomes easier.
Here are some tips when putting a group together:
- Where to meet? Look around your city/town for a location. Smaller coffee shops, public libraries or even someone might be willing to have their home as the meeting location.
- Are there fees for the meeting locations? You might need to pay a fee to use a space as you are using up someone’s area for your own personal use. In coffee shops, it might be a cup of coffee and a dessert for everyone to pay. You might have rent to pay. I know many of the churches in my area you have to rent the rooms and cannot just meet at the churches. They need to cover their costs too. Expecting a space for free shouldn’t be expected but it is a bonus if you do get it.
- Organize at least 3 people to be leaders. In case you cannot make it, these other people can support you while you are gone.
- Meeting location, time of day and the day of the week are the most critical elements to a successful group. You may need to play with the days of the weeks and gather info to determine which is best. You will not please everyone… if you try you won’t be meeting at anytime and the group will collapse.
- If you are going to meet at a location where drinks / snacks are NOT served by the place. Make a plan rotation to share the responsibility to be in charge of providing snacks and beverages. This means that one person, which may be the organizer, isn’t always paying for snacks and drinks each week. Providing snacks is a great conversational ice breaker as people tend to compliment food and it’s a social human thing to do.
- Have an established show n tell. It keeps people creative in between the meeting times. It will inspire the group further.
What is the main purpose of your group:
- Are you meeting for charity goal reasons?
- Are you just wanting a social fun time? Hook, talk and be merry!
Avoid Group Disasters that Lead to Failure:
- No one likes a cliche group. Make effort to welcome new people and include them in conversations.
- Ensure that everyone in the group gets a fair chance to share, listen and participate. I have seen in some groups where a few people nearly take the group hostage with talking throughout the entire time not giving others an opportunity to share. The entire meeting becomes about 1 person instead of a group of fabulous people all sharing.
- Times and locations are flip flopping all over the place. Try to be consistent.
- Include beginners and beyond in your group. The experienced people can offer advice to those who are beginning. Generally, people like to share their knowledge.
- Avoid talking crap about a member of the group who aren’t at the meeting. When you are away, you can bet your boots they are probably talking crap about you if you have allowed this type of conversation to be a regular routine. Have some guidelines to avoid this type of behavior. I know several groups who have collapsed over this.
- If you are willing to pick people up with a car, be sure you are committed to doing it. If you are being picked up, a few extra yarn balls from time to time or even some gas money a nice gesture for someone making the effort to help you out.
- Avoid using local newspapers to advertise. Speaking from experience, newspaper advertising is really expensive and you most likely won’t see your investment of your ad ever being returned to you. Best way to get people in your group is through word of mouth.
So if you are wanting a group… Put out some feelers and start the motion to create. Putting together a group is active, social and a great excuse to get out of the regular routine each week.
I’m not saying that creating a group is going to be easy. If it were, there would be one in every neighbourhood. It takes work and self determination to see your goals through. When you have a hurdle, don’t give up… figure out a solution and keep going. The Crochet Crowd Community was based on determination. Today, The Crochet Crowd is massive, I wasn’t always this way; however, when something stopped me, I figured out a solution and kept going and going and going. Your groups will not be as hard as it was for me to create The Crochet Crowd… but keep thinking, keep planning and make sure that your group is interesting and fun.