I belong to the best beekeeping club in NY State. No member list, no minutes, no quorum required, no newsletter, no dues. Some of the members get together a couple of times a month and the rest of us get together when someone calls a meeting. Which means when we have the time and aren't too tired or when some of us (like me) are in the area.
Our meetings are held at the Chinese Buffet in New Hartford, so no one goes away hungry. Topics of discussion very from beekeeping topics to health insurance to the Stock Market or whatever comes up in conversation, such as our kids. Three of the couples (those w/ wives bring them or visa versa) have sons in military service. Each has been to or is currently in Iraq. So, that comes up.
Our last meeting included the new State Apiculturalist. We tried to get him to pick up the tab, being the newest "member". No luck.
When most of us are in South Carolina, in the spring, we get together most fridays for barbecue.
Some of us have known each other for 20 years, some for even longer.
The original post asked about stuff other than the socializing. To me, that's the reason to go to a bee meeting. To see other beekeepers. Oh, yeah. And to learn something. Sometimes from the "experts" and sometimes from your friend(s), which can be both friend and expert. I tend to enjoy most those who don't claim to be experts. But experts are handy for conversation stimulation.
So, if there is anything negative about "organized" meetings it's the lack of time to socialize. And the guys in the hall just outside the door who don't understand that they are talking louder than the guest speaker.
Just because something is new to you, doesn't mean it is new, or revolutionary. Mark Berninghausen