First off, Happy New Year. While the holidays were busy, I sure hope they brought much joy and family time for you all. I know they did for Kristy and me.
On Sunday January 7, Kristy and I hosted an informal meeting in our home that brought together the leadership of both state organizations (KSDA & KFSD), five callers, several club presidents/officers, as well as a nice representation of dancers from Louisville, Lexington, Lawrenceburg and S. Indiana. The meeting was meant to engage state and club leaders with callers and dancers. I would label the meeting as a success. Based on the response to my follow up communication to the group, I believe that most, if not all attendees are in agreement. I want to thank everyone who showed up, driving significant distances, and sacrificing their Sunday afternoons.
In no particular order, we listed the Top 10 issues we feel the local SD community faces:
- Communication (State orgs to clubs, clubs to dancers)
- New Dancer Recruiting/Retention
- Commitment (non-club dancers)
- Sustainability of SD
- Venues (location, size, availability & cost)
- Caller Recruitment/Education
- Leadership (state, clubs, and dance leaders)
- Visitation (supporting one another)
After some discussion, we decided that Leadership needed to be addressed first. Without leadership from state organizations to club affiliates, and from club officers to dancers, we quickly become lost as a large group of individuals, each wanting to sustain and grow our favorite pastime, but unable to gain traction. The first order of business is to rebuild our club list, and club rosters. We must educate and engage as many dancers as possible as we strive for growth. Once the lists are built, we will have a much better database from which to operate. We plan to meet regularly, though the next meeting date has not been established.
I would have liked for the first meeting to be ALL-inclusive, but that simply was not possible due to the size constraints of our home. Going forward, EVERYONE will be invited to take part in these meetings either through physical or virtual attendance. If you can, please give some thought to the issues listed above and share your feedback with me so that I can share with the group.
Finally, and not to bury the lead, but in the future, Kristy and I will be doing less travel calling out of state. We plan to focus more on KY and southern IN, in hopes that we can have more time to devote to local events. We will honor all 2024 calling contracts, regardless of location. We will also continue to participate in calling throughout the region at conventions, specials and SD weekends.