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Terry Lynne Harris has done a marvellous summation of the problems facing an overseas Branch - and dare I say that UK Branches may well be encountering the same problems. Having just received the superb book published by Pretoria Branch
(tahnks to Terry Lynne) I think it is of further credit to them that a small Branch can produce a book far superior to many others - including subscription copies!!
In the plethora of correspondence there are so many views being tabled that it is difficult to keep track of proposals and contra proposals. Is anyone trying to put everything down on one data base? It does appear that there is rather a widespread feeling of disatisfaction with the Society membership structure and indeed with specific matters within the Society
I proposed abolishing HQ membership - responses have not been in favour although I continue to stress that 7 "out of town members" of my Branch are very satisfied with changing from HQ to a Branch and despite the fact that they live a very long way away.
Questions have been asked as to what privileges Branches have over Affiliated Groups. Well they don't pay a lump sum, they do get cover for playing of recorded music, they no longer get insurance paid for by the Society (overseas Branches didn't get it anyway) and on the downside they have to produce details of their accounts to the Society - I tried to get that overturned at the final meeting of the Finance Committee.The main privilege is that Branch members belong to a world wide Society of friends interested in SCD and promoting it,that in general terms is what people are saying. I must ask the 80 year old lady who is a super dancer in one of my classes if that is what she feels,!!!!
I think it is a very valid point that Affiliated Groups pay a lump sum whereas Branches do not - it sounds as if the former could be subsidising the latter and that it would be fair and reasonable for Branches to pay a lump sum "fee"
There seems to be a general consensus of opinion that there should be a simple membership structure covering Branches and Affiliated Groups.
Finally there is an ongoing discussion about non members attending classes.
I don't have the licence agreement in front of me but I think I am correct in sayiing that it licenses an individual Branch to promote SCD in a geographically specified area and in doing so may use the RSCDFS Logo and tilte etc. The Model Constitution for Branches. which was adopted by my Branch
and probably by most, states that the Branch has the objective of teaching SCD
in a specified area. It also states that Branch Members must be Members of the Society.I reiterate that it does NOT say that persons attending classes must be Branch Members, some individual Branch constitutions may say so however.
When the Branch sought status as a Charity the Constitution had to be approved by the Charity Commission and they did so on the undersatnding that the Branch taught SCD to the public at large and not to an exclusive number of people
who were Branch and Society Members.
I would prefer to see a Branch consisting of a Committee, a few Society/Branch members and hundreds of persons simple attending the classes than no Branch at all.
Finally with regard to comments about the service provided by HQ and the comments arising from my suggestion that a revision of the membership structure
might lead to a reduction in staff levels I actually receive less than I did 40 years ago when such a small staff served 30,000 members - my wife no longer gets a bulletin and also there is no comparision between the present day expensive glossy paper bulletin and the excellant bulletins of yeras ago which gave so much information about individual Branches.The Branche a;lso gets nothing more than 40 years ago.
Well, I'm not putting it all into one database, but the idea is to use this
discussion to help members of the management board in their considerations
about changes to the membership structure (and other matters such as communication
with Branches and the website). It has already given me a much wider view
of what people are thinking than I had from my own personal experience of
the RSCDS and SCD, both in the UK, Europe and elsewhere.
>From: "rtnw18762" <RON29@blueyonder.co.uk>
>In the plethora of correspondence there are so many views being tabled
>it is difficult to keep track of proposals and contra proposals. Is anyone
>trying to put everything down on one data base? It does appear that there
>is rather a widespread feeling of disatisfaction with the Society membership
>structure and indeed with specific matters within the Society
Ron Taylor wrote in part:
>Finally there is an ongoing discussion about non members attending classes.
>I don't have the licence agreement in front of me but I think I am correct
>in sayiing that it licenses an individual Branch to promote SCD in a
>geographically specified area and in doing so may use the RSCDFS Logo and
>tilte etc. The Model Constitution for Branches. which was adopted by my
>and probably by most, states that the Branch has the objective of teaching SCD
>in a specified area. It also states that Branch Members must be Members of
>the Society.I reiterate that it does NOT say that persons attending
>classes must be Branch Members, some individual Branch constitutions may
>say so however.
Many years ago, writing the Chicago Branch constitution, we included the
requirement that Branch members be Society members because we wanted
members to support the Society. When I moved to St Johns and became
involved in writing its constitution, I made the same argument and we
adopted the same clause.
When the license agreement and new model constitutions appeared, the same
requirement was there which meant that we had to make very little change to
our constitution to accommodate the new Society structure.
I would like to make one observation on the topic that neither the licence
agreement nor the model constitutions require persons attending classes to
be Branch (Local Association) members. This would be all well and good in
areas with many dancers, a substantial fraction of whom would still join
the Society and Branch. In more isolated areas (such as us in St. John's)
with a relatively small membership (30-40), we need our dancers to be
members of the Local Association so that we can draw on them to run the LA,
serve on the committee etc. Otherwise, we face the situation that dancers
would remain dancers not members and we might have no one left to actually
run the affairs of the LA.
We face the same issues that others have mentioned. Dancers wonder what
the Society does for them and have a difficult time rationalising the cost
- and exchange rates do factor into our cost too (though not as badly as
Looking at what the Society does for overseas members, we frequently see
teaching and examination mentioned. In some ways, for us overseas, that's
what the Society is: it is the examination and certification body; it's
relevance is for those who want to teach SCD more than for those who want
Two tier membership might be a solution based loosely on a
teacher's/dancers split with a teachers membership open to all who want it.
In return teachers might get news delivered on issues of dancing, teaching,
interpretation - and early book delivery?
I'd like to end with a suggestion. Could the Society issue a CD of dance
music every few years to the members? This need not necessarily be a
full-length CD. It could be re-issues of long-lost recording or modern
ones whose copyright the Society might hold opr obtain. Ordinary dancers
would probably get more value and use from a CD with good dance music on it
than they do from the books. I have found that, a new and enthusiastic
dancer will often ask where can they get the music so that they can
practice the steps at home.
Martin E. Mulligan
St. John's (Newfoundland) Branch, RSCDS
Thank you, Martin, for your excellent and timely comments on branch
membership and on issuing of CDs. Our dancers could benefit from CDs with
dance music as well, and they ask for same. I loan them one of mine, but it
isn't the same as having one of their own.
Marian Stroh, Reno NV
Another bit of information on the topic of membership fees and what
you get for what you pay.
The following is an extract from the RSCDS Toronto Local Association web site:
RSCDS Toronto Monthly Dance . . . . . RSCDS members: $15;
non-members: $25; under 18s: $3; spectators: $3.
As there are 8 monthly dances a year, a regular dancer saves $80 in
the difference between the members' and non-members' admission, which
more than pays for the annual membership subscription.
"RSCDS members" means just that - not members of the Local
Association. So if you're going to be in Toronto (from Pretoria,
Edinburgh, or elsewhere) be sure to check the Toronto web site before
you come and bring your membership card with you!
> Reply-to: email@example.com
> From: "Marian Stroh" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> To: <email@example.com>
> Subject: Re: Membership etc
> Date: Wed, 27 Nov 2002 14:46:42 -0800
> Thank you, Martin, for your excellent and timely comments on branch
> membership and on issuing of CDs. Our dancers could benefit from CDs with
> dance music as well, and they ask for same. I loan them one of mine, but it
> isn't the same as having one of their own.
> Marian Stroh, Reno NV
In the UK the RSCDS annual membership (excluding branch) is £10. A
CD costs at least £10 !!
' nuff said??
Ron Mackey. London Branch (and Croydon)
39, Grove Park Road,
London SE9 4NS
> Could the Society issue a CD of dance music...
> to the members?
This isn't merely a good idea: it's superb! Think of the potential of this:
(1) Not only can a new dancer practice at home, but that music will help to
inspire and to capture his/her imagination. Keeping beginners motivated is
vitally important; else we may lose them.
(2) Also, what may happen when a non-dancer hears that CD playing? Maybe
the new dancer will play it for a friend, or it will be overheard during a
home practice session. That "can't sit still" music may tempt the listener
to try a few steps and come to the next class, to see what this Scottish
dancing is really all about. What excellent advertising!
(3) Then there are potential new musicians, who may be delighted by the CD,
and decide to come play for dancing. Perhaps they'll become dancers
(4) If it's a mini-CD, it could easily be sold for very little money at
promotional events, such as demonstrations at festivals. If the RSCDS
website, telephone number, and mailing address are printed on the CD, it
would be much more powerful than a simple paper flyer. People could take a
piece of the event home and, as above, might be more tempted to seek out a
(5) The CD could also be used as a sampler of current Scottish dance bands.
Not only would the RSCDS get a wide variety of top notch music (at virtually
no cost), but it would help the bands to advertise and to get hired at new
locations. Everyone would win. Again, the contact information for the
bands would be listed on the CD and/or on the RSCDS web site.
Martin's suggestion should be seriously considered by the Society, because
it would be of great benefit in attracting and retaining members.
From: "Martin E. Mulligan" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Wednesday, November 27, 2002 10:01 AM
St. John's (Newfoundland) Branch, RSCDS
> I'd like to end with a suggestion. Could the Society issue a CD of dance
> music every few years to the members? This need not necessarily be a
> full-length CD. It could be re-issues of long-lost recording or modern
> ones whose copyright the Society might hold opr obtain. Ordinary dancers
> would probably get more value and use from a CD with good dance music on
> than they do from the books. I have found that, a new and enthusiastic
> dancer will often ask where can they get the music so that they can
> practice the steps at home.
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