This is my first month of not being the President of the Kingwood Photo Club after four years. Its a bittersweet thought.
Sweet, because its been a lot of work over the past four years. A lot of the work was frustrating and I didn’t achieve most of my goals to the extent I envisioned. This club was founded quite a long time before I joined, and run by some pretty amazing people with a lot of vision. Although the club was doing very well and growing, when I took over I saw a lot of potential to move the club into areas where I didn’t think it had been. I thought it would make it a more vibrant, fun organization with more value to its members and to the community. I wrote a vision for myself describing what I wanted the club to become and worked to move it in that direction. I wanted more participation by members in our events. It didn’t matter is we grew the club…I simply wanted more people involved in activities. I also wanted a club that was a bigger part of the community we lived in. When I took over, the club was primarily for the members, and focused on monthly meetings with high entertainment and low educational value. Monthly field trips were almost non-existent and poorly attended. Workshops, sponsored by the club, were non-existent. Some of our members gave workshops, but not under the Kingwood Photoclub “brand”. We didn’t participate in local events, such as fairs. The “sweet” part of leaving this position at this time is relief from trying constantly, and not succeeding, at the rate I would like to see, to increase member participation. Its just a sad fact that organizations like this club, run entirely by volunteers with busy lives in the “real world” can never expect to achieve the level of participation and energy I hoped we would see…lesson learned.
Now for the “bitter” part. I love this club and will continue to work hard in it because of that. The people I’ve met, worked with, and enjoyed time with are great people. They epitomize the kind of community we live in. While frustrating, I did very much enjoy the last four years. To have a “business” to run, with goals and dreams, was an important part of what made these last four years go by so fast and so enjoyably. I learned more about photography in the past four years than I had in the previous ten. The challenge of leading a group of excellent photographers, and try to appear like I deserved to be there was daunting, but pushed me to improve.
Bottom line…bittersweet, but mostly bitter.