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Discussion Starter #1
I would like to talk to any others here interested in setting up local clubs or groups in their area.

Sometimes the bigger beekeeping association meetings can be difficult to get to, some of the associations trying to meet needs of members from across a very large geographic area.

While I encourage and support folks to join their larger state organizations (I did this year myself) I think it is beneficial to establish, if possible, a local group of people to meet and have contact with as well as provide support/assistance to each other.

I have established a group and am actively looking for beekeepers in the Omaha/metro area to be part of it. Both to work on a common project and to help each other with our individual hives/bee yards.

I guess I am starting this thread to create an area for folks who are in a similar situation and run ideas for creating and building a local club or group and get things going.

call it a support group for bee club founders/leaders if you will.

Anyone else up for it?

Big Bear
 

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Although we have not officially organized as a "club" per se, a group of local beekeepers in and around the small Town in which I live have now met for the 3rd time. We are meeting on a monthly basis and with advertising in the local newspaper, had several new people show up at the last meeting that are interested in starting a hive or two.
We have been viewing videos and demonstrating equipment. At our last meeting, one of the guys brough an observation hive for us to view. As a new beekeeper and especially for those who have never kept bees, this has worked out really well as a source of knowledge. I pick the brains of the old-timers every month. Great Idea, BigBear. Hope more areas pick up on this idea. A smaller, local organization can serve as a valuable resource to new beeks.
 

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The southernmost county in Maine had no bee group until 2009 and there had been some talk of forming one but no action. Now there are 80+ dues paid members.

We started the club by teaching a Bee School and encouraging the attendees to start a club. Then we mailed out to all the registered hive owners in the county and invited them to the first meeting of the "club" which was formed at that first meeting.

We ran the bee school through the county cooperative extension office but it could have been private or through a town adult ed.

The key is to get a group of beekeepers together to "form the club" and then get the word out.

I hope this helps,
-Erin
 

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We are just beginning this process here in my county. There is an active and long-established state association and about 15 county associations in our state (out of 67 counties), but our county beeks have to drive a pretty fair distance to get to meetings. At this point, I have plans to meet with the stae association officers at the annual state-wide workshop in order to get their input on organizational matters; the club itself is going to begin by "piggybacking" on an existing garden club (for a potential cross-membership pool, meeting space, and funding) whose members have gotten excited about beekeeping. Don't have a clue how all of this will play out, but it should be interesting!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I will offer a sub-forum or section of the BBE-Tech forums for any beekeeping local club that would like their own space for members to post.

These sub forums or section can be private so that only that groups members can see them.

Just need one person to identify as a main contact/mod for their group.

This is at no cost. just one beekeeper group offering support to other beekeeper groups.

to take a look at the forums they are here:

BeeForums

Big Bear
 

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I think it's a good idea to have more regional meetings (and these can perhaps be considered "groups" in an informal sense) but Nebraska was unable to support two beekeeping organizations and they finally merged. It's difficult to get people who want to volunteer to be officers etc. as it is. I'm not sure how helpful it is to spread ourselves thinner.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
well, with groups that serve large geographic areas like a state or part of a state, I can see how that would be, sometimes the travel issues alone to get to everyone's area could be an issue.

for example, the group I am working on are people in the Omaha/metro area who are coming together to share and help each other learn, provide support, etc.. for the hives they keep on their own, yet at t the same time, they are all spending a little time to contribute to a conservation project and help work with the bees in that bee yard.

These are mostly folks who live within a 5 to 20 minute drive of each other and the conservation yard on average, so travel isn't as much of an issue as it might be for a larger state group.

I am also a member of a larger state type organization and I plan to attend every meeting they have in my are that I can reasonably get to. I intend to encourage everyone in the local group to join as well.

Plus, I don't see it as 'thinning' the larger state serving organization, only creating opportunities for teaching and drawing in more, new beekeepers to eventually join the larger organization. Attending the larger groups meetings when it makes the rounds to an location near their area. I should think it has potential for strengthening a state sized /type organization giving it more numbers to represent the interests of all those beekeepers in their state. end result, everyone wins. could be I'm just an optimist that way.

Big Bear
 

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I will offer a sub-forum or section of the BBE-Tech forums for any beekeeping local club that would like their own space for members to post.

These sub forums or section can be private so that only that groups members can see them.

Just need one person to identify as a main contact/mod for their group.

This is at no cost. just one beekeeper group offering support to other beekeeper groups.

to take a look at the forums they are here:

BeeForums

Big Bear
Count me in! It may be early days for us, as we will not have an official organizational meeting until March, but since the opportunity to "get connected" is on offer, I'd like to be a part of things. Let me know what needs to be done on my end. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
If anyone is interested in the club forum section offer, you can PM me for details.

Big Bear
 

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I took it upon myself to form the Jackson Area Beekeepers Association. I just wanted to have an opportunity to share ideas and offer feedback. It's a lot like beesource in person.

By word of mouth, and talking to a few beekeepers, we decided to get together at my church on the 4th Tuesday of the month to talk about bees. Mostly we talk about what's happening in our hives, what should be happening and if anyone is going to Kelley to pick up supplies. We do a lot of things together, very informally, to help each other.

What makes our group different than the normal bee club is that we have:
--no dues
--no membership requirements
--no by-laws or charter
--no officers and no elections
--no special speakers
--no advertising
--no treasurer or bank account
--no minutes
--no committees

We just meet and talk bees. It's an open invitation to anyone, even those who don't currently keep bees but would like to. We've helped several people get organized and set up with hives.

We do, however, have four very distinct meetings on each night. Those who get there early start visiting. That's the first meeting.

Then when it looks like most people are there, we have a formal, "around the table" type check-in so everyone gets a chance to share what's happening in their hives. That's the second meeting.

Then about 9:00 pm, someone will stand up and say, "Well, I got to be going." So we all stand up and talk for another 30 minutes, even the guy who said he had to be going. That's the third meeting.

Then as we leave and turn out the lights, half of the group is paired up in the parking lot visiting on a more personal level. That's the fourth meeting. And that guy who said he had to be going at 9:00 is still talking in the parking lot.

Bee meetings do not have to be overly organized or structured. Go with what works for you. If you want by-laws and the formality, more power to you!

Grant
Jackson, MO
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I love it, sounds a lot like the meetings I have been to around here heh.

Big Bear
 

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Start off by getting to know the beekeepers in your area and get discussion going. Local clubs can offer information, knowledge and assistance to its members and be a vital link to the community for beekeeping awarness. We have three beekeeping clubs in our area representing over 200 beekeepers. It doesn't matter how you set it up both structured and social meeting are a great way to go. good luck.
 

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What makes our group different than the normal bee club is that we have:
--no dues
--no membership requirements
--no by-laws or charter
--no officers and no elections
--no special speakers
--no advertising
--no treasurer or bank account
--no minutes
--no committees
We started our club that way. We held a free class and drew about 50 people. Many came back for a few meetings but they soon grew tired of hearing the same people and the same conversations. We starting inviting guest speakers and the attendance promptly went back up. We pay gas money to the speakers. We'll charge $10 or $15 for the class this year and it will cover all our expenses for the year without having to manage dues.

We also take minutes if for no other reason than the folks who miss a meeting can hear a synopsis of what they missed.
 
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