Chapter Social Events to Build Community
If your chapter is going to be successful in its conservation mission, building a strong community around you is an important step to accessing the resources you need – time, talent and treasure – to make your projects and programs a reality. Social events which gather like-minded anglers and conservationists together are a powerful way to build a bond around conservation and relationships with the people who are most likely to step up and help you succeed.
While the standard offerings of most chapters – monthly meetings, a holiday party, a banquet and a trip or two – have helped our organization grow over the last 60 years, tapping into new and energetic members, often younger and harder to reach, requires some out-of-the-box thinking and activities.
Never hesitate to reach out to your Volunteer Operations Staff to share ideas, learn what we’ve seen succeed in other chapters and talk through your plans to try new things.
The following types of social events have proven successful for other chapters:
- Trout On Tap – A “happy hour for anglers” that gathers members and prospective members together for an hour or two at a local bar or brewery to talk fishing, conservation and meet fellow anglers. A simple strategy is to hold these events monthly at a different venue in a different town in your chapter territory and keep the logistics light. All you need is a place, a time, and at least one or two board members willing to be the friendly and welcoming chapter representative.
- Bar Flies – A fun and friendly fly tying gathering at a local watering hole. Find a venue that’s looking for business on a slow weeknight, or a mid-afternoon weekend that has the side space with a few tables and chairs, adequate lighting and an interest in selling a few drinks and appetizers to your guests.
- Fly Shop Crawl – If you live in an area blessed with more than two fly shops, this can be a great way to get members out meeting and mingling, and bring a little business to the shops that support your work. Set a date, plan a route and stop by each fly shop in turn to hear from the owner/manager who always have a wealth of information to share, peruse the wares, and talk local fishing conditions, tactics and opportunities.