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Promoting a Lapidary, Gem, and Mineral Clubs to Attract New Members


Hi everyone,
I am looking to see if any clubs out there have any effective techniques to attract new adult and young people to join a Lapidary, Gem, and Mineral Club. My club has an annual gem show which is a reasonably large show and well attended and we do pick up a few members every year. We offer lapidary classes, children's rock hound classes, field trips, lectures by knowledgeable members and guests, and free rock identifications. Our lab is open all day every Saturday besides monthly meetings. Finally, my club is advancing in age! This in not an unusual situation and other clubs, I am sure, have experienced this same problem. So I am putting this out to you to see what advice may be out there for any club experiencing this problem.
Thank you for the help.

My club had an average age of 80 when it closed. Demographic change is one reason as blue collar people are the core of many clubs and the expense of housing is causing young families to relocate. Big turnoffs should be avoided so as to feel more inclusive and in my experience the biggest turnoffs I have seen is clubs where non military people are ignored. Religion is not why people join rock clubs and drinking is a real turnoff. I have done demonstrations at two clubs where they were pre lubricated and passed the whiskey bottle during the entire meeting. On the other hand  the club I was in was over half WW 2 vets and their spouses and was a mix of people from high income to low and other than a Christmas party the lack of religion  was comfortable for everyone. I didn't mention race because our 30 plus year club family was integrated  and all the members became a very close family. I think economics has a lot to do with it and often families are stressed for time as if thats a new problem.

I'll think on it. We recruit new members at our show each year - but most just don't stick around long or are never very active.

The core group of folks who've "gotten things done" in the 12 years we've been members has dwindled. There might be nearly 300 on the roster, but only 90-100 at the meetings. Maybe 10-15 who do the heavy lifting. We struggle to get 50-60 volunteers to work the show.

We do keep polarizing topics out of the clubs operations and activities. Just can't figure out a way to light a fire under the majority.

My club out here does many booths at Elementary and jr high schools.  Get the kids interested and you get the parents interested.  One of our members actually uses a cement mixer to tumble all the give away rock bags for the kids at the back to school and other school functions.  The club has parties where members come to sew or fill the bags.  You might also gain young members by contacting the local Girl Scouts or Cub and Boy Scouts.  There are merit badges for Geology that they always need help in.  I personally volunteered at local Elementary schools to any teacher that wanted me to come and give a rock talk to the kids.  I would always collect on trips to make sure I had plenty of material to fill the egg cartons with during the talks.  Taking these groups out to look for precious Opal, Gold, Garnets etc became huge events for the scouts.  I also donated lots of Geodes to the Blue and Gold Dinners (Scout advancement ceremony).  We need to focus on the youth and get the parents that way.  Looking for parents and hoping to make the club more youthful I don't think works as well but you should definitely hit all avenues

Good plan to get the kids involved. Our club did the same until no one volunteered to keep those activities going.

As a non-profit, we also provide lapidary, jewelry, and geology scholarships each semester at the local junior college.


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