How to Kill a Model Train Club

Switchman Oct 2, 2012

  1. Switchman

    Switchman TrainBoard Member

    Some of us belong to or did belong to (various types of) model train clubs.

    But things happen and some of the clubs have disbanded, died off, or just vanished.

    I know there are many ways to kill model train club. But how would you do it?

    I'll start with two easiest ways and maybe you can add some more.
    And once we see how to kill a club we'll then know how to save it and make it thrive.

    1) Don't ever come to meetings.
    2) If you do come then come late.

    OK your turn.

    See ya
  2. Bendtracker1

    Bendtracker1 TrainBoard Supporter

    The club I belonged to years ago spent almost a year trying to decide if they wanted club vest.
    The first month they tried to decide if they wanted them.
    The second month they tried to decided what color and what design.
    The third month was deciding where their club logo should be placed.
    The fourth month a large argument ensued over whether or not each individual could apply their own personal RR patches on their own vests. [This got ugly!]

    After each meeting, they had to table it till the next month because there wasn't 2/3 of the membership who was present to vote.

    They did decide to get vests, what colors, where to place their logo and they did allowed members to put whatever patches they wanted to apply to their vests. Now that all that is over, most members do not even wear them any longer. LOL There was quite a few members who dropped out over this little escapade.

    Needless to say, I do not belong anymore as I wanted to run trains, not play political games.

    I started a little private group shortly there after. Not once have ever voted for anything. LOL
  3. MVW

    MVW E-Mail Bounces

    I've never had the opportuity to join a club (none nearby), but I doubt that's a bad thing. I'm sure there are many advantages, but the nonsense would drive me insane.

    Twice, I've been part of informal family-centered "clubs" (with brothers, brother-in-law, and a friend) where we all kicked in monthly fees (when we could) and built a common layout. Few problems there, but being forced to relocate killed both projects. I'm sure lack of a permanent home is a bane to many clubs.

  4. GP30

    GP30 TrainBoard Member

    1) Political games
    2) Nit Picking (YOU really SHOULD put wire grabs on that boxcar!)
    3) Aristocratic behavior (I model the prototype, you don't, so naaahhh!)
    4) Exclusive air (nah, don't associate with the quiet guy, or the young 'un)
  5. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    I was at the organizational meeting of a club, back in the late 1980s. They managed to get it started, but it became more of a private layout, as most potential members drifted away. The reason? They didn't adhere to the best rule of all- The K.I.S.S. principle. Our old Ntrak Group was great, as we obeyed that one law. Only rarely was there a brief rough edge, which we'd quickly eliminate and move on.
  6. Bob Horn

    Bob Horn TrainBoard Member

    In my case it was a fire in the building, it was an HO club in Madison, NJ. The prior one was a outside 3rd rail O scale which suffered the same end. This goes back to the 60's. Bob.
  7. ArtinCA

    ArtinCA TrainBoard Member

    Oh man, a loaded question..

    I think the big one is for everyone to *not* have fun. Only takes a couple to muck up the works.
  8. DCESharkman

    DCESharkman TrainBoard Member

    Easy suggest something that the dictator is against and watch the argument drive everyone off. This is what Killed Capitol City Ntrak because I had the audacity to setup DCC modules with occupancy detection.

    The club dictator said it had to be his way or the highway, and I rode off along with many others. Said dictator really screwed up the NTrak layout at the Sacramento NTS..........
  9. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

    I don't even remember the ntrak layout at the show. Which probably says something.
    Here's something that didn't kill my old club or my new one,but did split the former into 2 clubs. Suggest to a long time modular club build a permanent layout only.

    Another one that happened to my current club. Vote for DCC only. Didn't kill the club, but a lot of members, founders even left.
  10. jhn_plsn

    jhn_plsn TrainBoard Supporter

    I like the one where one is pushed into a creative box to stay within, yet some members are allowed to work outside that box. Then when pushed on the subject the proof is deleted out of the webpage files so nobody can ever refer to them again and use for reference.

    Best solution, in my opinion, is to have a round robin group and manage your own layout.
  11. karnydoc

    karnydoc TrainBoard Member

    I joined my first club over 20 years ago and left over a year later due chiefly to politics.

    The layout, part of which dated back to the Fifties, was becoming problematic, and didn't lend itself to operations, so a vote was held to raze the old one and build a new one.

    One idea ultimately chosen was an around the wall design with peninsulas. Members would also be allocated a specific section to scenic as they saw fit. (Do you see the problem here? What about new members?)

    Shortly after I joined, I assumed the position of club secretary because the person who previously held it had resigned, and it fell on me to publicize the club's open house. I was successful enough to attract 14 new members, tripling our member roster (one of whom become my best friend) AND get a writeup in the paper!

    A year later, having become eligible for full membership and a set of my own keys, I mentioned it during a business meeting. After a discussion regarding my performance, the club president told me, "You're in," but also noted a condition regarding the keys.

    During our monthly meeting four weeks before our first scheduled open house weekend, I brought up the issue of keys, whereupon i was, among other things, accused of damaging a set of custom-painted locomotives the former club secretary - who'd since returned - painted for a nonmember. With that, I announced my resignation effective immediately, and walked out the door.

    Oh, I hadn't yet sent out press releases for the open houses that year.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 2, 2012
  12. YoHo

    YoHo TrainBoard Supporter

    Politics and disagreement are part of any social group. You either can deal with it or you can't. It's made worse by the capital outlay needed for a club.

    My club takes a while to make decisions and there are a couple of bad apples, but all in all, a good group of guys and fun. Some days I wish it were modular, other days I wish it were better for ops or more specific theme and setting, but its fun just the same.
  13. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

    The only 'Club" I ever belonged to was... "The Mickey Mouse Club". I was 7 years old I believe...LOL.

    There is one RR club around here...BUT...I went to a few of their layout building sessions at the museum before deciding to join or not. They have every scale model railroad represented by the members. This is 'Small Town Arizona'. We would be lucky to have 2 other N scalers aroud this mountain !!

    They built a HO layout. That I didnt mind at all. It was all them guys arguing on how things should be done that reminded me of my kids arguing when they where little. People around here drive pickups with guns racks WITH lots of guns in them !! I was almost expecting a shootout on main street at noon !!

    2 visits...and I was done before I even started.

    Club Politics is for horses a$$es !!!!
  14. Primavw

    Primavw TrainBoard Member

    I kind of got this vibe when I visited a local club. I was easily the youngest guy in the room by about 20+ years (I'm 27), and got the feeling I wasn't respected/welcome. Honestly this is the dumbest way to treat new-comers, especially since (no offense) my generation generally seems to be more wrapped up in video games and drinking beer than anything as rewarding as this hobby. So yeah, ignoring new membership would be a good one.
  15. W Neal

    W Neal TrainBoard Member

    Here here!! Some just don't play well with other kids.
  16. Jim Wiggin

    Jim Wiggin Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Unless it is a modular club, a club location is the biggest threat. My first club in NH had a nice location with a large layout only to loose the space when a new land lord took over.

    Another club I belonged to didn't really die per say, but the real corner stone members all built very nice home layouts and no longer needed to run trains at shows. The rest of the membership stopped setting up at shows due to age or family responsibilities.

    In the end, people, club members, can either help or hurt the club. I've seen this in train, model airplane and Jeep clubs.
  17. retsignalmtr

    retsignalmtr TrainBoard Member

    Having the President of the club and a fairly new member (who's layout appeared on the pages of MR a year or so ago) try to take the club in a different direction, (having hot attended a meeting in three months). Then walking out in a huff when they found out something they didn't like had to be decided on while they were gone, and then blaming it all on someone else (me). Although the club is still going strong without them.
  18. GP30

    GP30 TrainBoard Member

    I'll agree with that sentiment. I was in a group like this for good while, I moved away but still call & email regularly and get together with these guys a couple times a year.

    Spot on! The "organized clubs" I used to be in were like this. The round-robin group I was in treated me like family, they are my best buddies and they are all 25+ years older than me.
  19. hnipper

    hnipper TrainBoard Member

    Quickest way to drive a stake in the heart of any group: loudly discuss politics (and religion), assuming (or not caring) that all members of the club may not be among those that agree with the discussants. I left an otherwise great club many years ago during the Clinton scandal and impeachment years because I got tired of hearing those diatribes. I participate in the hobby as an escape from this dreary, depressing stuff!
    I rejoined the group several years later - after the individual left - but now this year, am treated to more of the same on the way up to the election! Maybe it will subside after the election? I hope so.
  20. Jeff Powell

    Jeff Powell TrainBoard Member

    Politics and religion will bring people to blows, IMO faster than anything else... :uhoh:

    Both clubs I am looking into joining have a "pay per visit" set up. I may just do that until I get the feel of the group. I just want to run trains and have fun...."be a kid again" I guess..That's the best part of a layout in your own home..."TRAIN CAVE" if you would. I can loose myself for 2 to 3 hours and not even blink an eye.

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