RSCDS - Letters from John Carswell - Linlithgow

Bryan McAlister

Message 21142 · 30 Apr 2000 21:15:12 · Variable-width font · Whole thread

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Copies of a couple of letters that John has asked me to circulate..

Membership/subscriptions

To the Secretary..

Dear Secy

If we are to have a flexible loose fit type of Society, interested in
all forms of country dancing, we must have arrangements to suit anyone
whatever their style and involvement. Communications must be at the
heart of the society and membership so that members can be informed
about dancing and the Society, what services are available, where they
can get them and what they cost. I believe we require a simple HQ based
membership, perhaps with three publications a year with essential
information plus postal ballot forms etc. at AGM time. Cost perhaps 10
GBP pa, life membership 200GBP.

I recently attended the Chairman/Vice-Chairman Road Show at Stirling and
was amazed at the membership ideas put forward which were quite contrary
to the spirit of the Strategic Plan. There could be a case for two
tiers but what was proposed was elitist and was based on what there is
now which requires reform. To continue with a subscription book system
and bulletins and base a membership on the present branch system is
unthinkable!

If the society is to be successful and increase it's membership it must
start to look after dancing and show that it is doing so. At the moment
it only looks after itself, which is quite different. Our Headquarters
is not geared to look after dancing or even its members, but to service
a large, not very democratic and ineffective Executive.

With regard to the Executive it must be small and be elected by postal
ballot. There should be a voluntary code for length of service, 3 years
preferred, 5 at most.

Yours faithfully

J Carswell

2. To the Youth Director - Young People and Strathspeys

Definitions used in this letter - Young adults under say 30 years, not
children who would require a parent or teacher with them.
Strathspey - The slow form of dance invented by the Society and based on
the faster traditional form having the same name.

>From my own past experience and current dealings with young people, I
believe young people want to finish a Dance Programme in high spirits
with suitable lively dances. Recently however I have encountered
programmes where...
.the second last dance was a Strathspey
.the first half finished with a Strathspey (Dalkeith's Strathspey)
.two Strathspeys placed within the last four dances of each half (two
programmes).
These are examples that I have seen in the last few weeks in dance
programmes from Perth, Hamilton, Helensburgh and South Argyll Branches.
To me this placement of Strathspeys suggests that the organisers are not
considering young participants.

Society AGM dance programmes have similarly been unsuitable in recent
years. What missed opportunities!

No matter what you do to help young people it will be wasted if the
culture in the Society is wrong. If the Society and its Branches have
agreed a Strategic Plan and do not act on it they are hypocrites.

I believe that until there is a system of direct communication with
members on a regular basis this culture cannot be changed.
 faithfully

J Carswell

Bryan McAlister B Arch RIBA ARIAS
Web page www.bryanmac.demon.co.uk
Mobile phone 07801 793849
Please note new FAX number - UK 0870 052 7625 International 44 870 052 7625

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