Bonsai Club Meetings: what is your club doing?

Brian Van Fleet

Pretty Fly for a Bonsai Guy
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B’ham, AL
Kirk touched this off on another thread, and we have a brainstorming session at our monthly club tomorrow night, so let's see what's going on at your monthly meetings? Any great ideas, solutions for keeping new and experienced members engaged at the same time? Seems like it's all been done before. What is your club's format?

At the ABS, we've spent most of this year on "seasonably appropriate activities" (SAA). What should we be doing with our trees right now. In March, we did a repotting demo (VERY well-received). May was Show Preparation, June was candle-cutting. Tomorrow night will be "Virtual yard tours", photos from member's growing area combined on a powerpoint show to share ideas on displaying trees; from aesthetic to functional.

What else is going on?
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Milwaukie, Oregon
Sounds like you are on the right track. Our club takes a welcome break July and August. We have our annual picnic this Saturday--potluck style, club supplies the burgers and dogs. One of the local nurseries organizes activities like a scavenger hunt with bonsai-related prizes. There is also a sales table for members to bring in trees they'd like to sell. There's always too much food and it's a good opportunity to catch up on what's been going on during the summer and what we'll be doing in September.


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Rescue, CA
I belong to three clubs in our (Sacramento, Ca) area. Each is unique and has a different approach to the club program.
First is the American Bonsai Association of Sacramento, is the first club I joined back in 1979 an am now president for the second time. Our program mostly is based on monthly demonstrations by accomplished bonsai artists and teachers with the demo tree being raffled off at the end of the meeting. The raffles more than support the cost of high quality demonstrators/speakers. This month we will have Jim Gremel styling a field grown, yamadori style shimpaku. Next month we will have Ryan Neil for the second time this year. Last month we had our annual potluck luau, with live ukulele band entertainment, and a record attendance of 75 club members. We have an annual xmas party in December as our other social meeting. We also schedule 2-3 meetings a year as hands - on workshop where members bring their trees to work on with input from more advanced club members. These are always a lot of fun.

My second club is the Sacramento Bonsai Club, the oldest club in the U.S. Our meetings are most often workshop style with the club providing material for teams to work on and then a raffle of the trees. Several times a year a local bonsai artist is a featured demonstrator. This club also holds regular workshops at a local bonsai nursery in the springtime and a collecting trip in the fall. When I joined this club back in the 80's we had a club sensei, Mas Imazumi, and club meetings consisted of members bringing trees to work on under sensei's direction. This was a great format for me for learning in my early bonsai years.

My third club, the Gold Country Bonsai Club in Placerville, CA, just re-formed this year. We are a small club with mostly beginner to mid level hobbyists and a few more advanced members and a couple of pros. Our meetings so far are group workshops based on seasonal work where members bring their own trees for input from other members. We are holding our first annual potluck barbecue this month at Lotus Bonsai Nursery.

All three clubs are quite different and I enjoy them all.

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