Author Topic: Conundrum...or D.O.A.?  (Read 2229 times)

Offline The Machine

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Conundrum...or D.O.A.?
« on: January 06, 2011, 01:42:55 AM »
Folks, as we move into 2011 in WV, I guess it would be fair to say the Appleseed program here is starting to mature. I mean, going on 3 years in "Appleseed time" seems almost an eternity. Especially to those who have caught a whiff of the "sense of urgency" tied to our Mission. If anyone doesn't fully understand what this so-called "Mission" is, please feel free to contact myself or one of our Shoot Bosses for an intimate conversation about the subject. Better yet, come to one of the Stinson events for a weekend and you will get the "full immersion Mission seminar" in it's entirety; should you be so bold.  >:D  Anyhow...

It appears that at least 4 more locations could be going onto the schedule this year. In most respects this should be fantastic news, but I've been fighting off some doubts. It could be that all the recent emphasis about factin' and figurin'--actually studying and "crunching the numbers"--is revealing a subtle reality...

While the WV AS program has progressed very well in terms of instructor corps numbers and new location development; the people who really matter IMO, indeed the VERY reason for our existence, seem to be overlooked. If you haven't figured it out yet, I'm referring to students...fellow Americans.

You would think heading into 2011 with a lot of positive momentum on our side, it should be cause for celebration. All I have to do is look at the pre-registration numbers to see this party isn't getting off the ground. Where are the students? The last thing I want to be is a "buzz kill", but the numbers don't lie, to me anyhow. Are we entering 2011 D.O.A.? Is there a conundrum here somewhere?

I know...I know...if just one individual shows up at an event, in the words of Martha Stewart [  :o ] "it's a good thing". We have a million people in WV to "harvest", to awaken from their mental slumber. If we can't reach 1/10% of these people by the end of 2012...well...I'll consider MY Mission a failure. I was setting an original goal of reaching 1%, by the end of the WV program's fifth year. Heck, I'll probably be worm fertilizer before a dent is even made, at this pace.

If I learned anything in this life, I've learned I can not create more time. I can only work with what I have. Our nation is running out of time, IMO. To phrase it another way; I don't see us as having the "luxury of time". I don't see my wasting of time beneficial to my children...grandchildren...friends...community...the core of what we call "America".

Maybe my expectations in life are bigger than most...maybe like I've said in the past "my optimism outpaces reality"...maybe I see a side of this Mission that others don't...maybe this whole WV "experiment" is doomed to failure...I don't know. I never did have all the answers. I always knew I couldn't make AS succeed here, alone. Maybe I should just keep my big mouth shut and "let it ride"?





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Offline siglite

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Re: Conundrum...or D.O.A.?
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2011, 08:37:05 AM »
A couple of points are to be made here.

First off, this is January.  In West Virginia.  During experimental Winterseeds.  Getting anyone to the line here, this time of year is a win.  So, don't get discouraged by the registration numbers.  They are not indicative of the program's growth right now.  They are indicative of West Virginia winters.

Second.  We have our mission indeed.  And it is ambitious to say the least.  And right now, it might look like things aren't going so well.  (They're going fine, it just doesn't look like it, because it's, well, January in WV)  But I think getting discouraged over numbers is a mistake.  There is no doubt that we need to work on promotions in this state, bigtime. But that's not my point. For me, it's a matter of conscience.  I can sleep at night because I am doing something to wake people.  I'm not just yammering on a forum talking about it.  I'm not just sitting around a coffeeshop talking with the same six or seven like-minded folks twice a week.  No, I'm doing something.  And so are you. 

And the tree is branching in West Virginia.  This is sometimes hard to see from Stinson.  But it is happening, nonetheless.  Believe me, we are having an impact that may or may not be reflected in the numbers.
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Offline MacMcM

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Re: Conundrum...or D.O.A.?
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2011, 10:20:45 AM »
I agree with Sig...

I think you are going to see a geometric "bloom" of attendees this Spring around here...

The match may have fizzled a couple of times, but we are a long way from running out of matches.

We need to get a firm foothold in our core venues, and get local promotions (word-of-mouth) moving, then magical things will happen.

In any grassroots organization, you must expand the leadership during the "second strike" to avoid burnout. We are at that stage now in WV. I can feel it, I can sense it, I can taste it. A tsunami is approaching ( hope it is a wave of awareness to Appleseed, and not negativity).

Come to Eleanor Feb 12/13 and see if you don't sense it too. We may only get 6 shooters that weekend, but look into their eyes when we do the history.

Mac
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Offline Gordon

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Re: Conundrum...or D.O.A.?
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2011, 12:26:20 PM »
Man oh Man, this has the potential for being one great thread!

I know the Appleseed situation varies a lot from state to state, region to region across the country. But in many ways what you guys are saying of your Wild and Wonderful State is true of the program as a whole, good, bad, and ugly.

I'm editing the following quotes rather freely, I hope y'all don't mind. Not changing any meaning.

I guess it would be fair to say the Appleseed program is starting to mature.

 ... the "sense of urgency" tied to our Mission.

 It appears that more locations could be going onto the schedule this year. Fantastic news, but I've been fighting off some doubts. ... the people who really matter IMO, indeed the VERY reason for our existence, seem to be overlooked --- students, fellow Americans.

 All I have to do is look at the pre-registration numbers to see this party isn't getting off the ground. Where are the students? Is there a conundrum here somewhere?

Our nation is running out of time, IMO.

Maybe "my optimism outpaces reality" ... maybe this whole WV "experiment" is doomed to failure...I don't know.

Maybe I should just keep my big mouth shut and "let it ride"?



First off, this is January, during experimental Winterseeds. Don't get discouraged by the registration any numbers. 

Second.  We have our mission indeed.  And it is ambitious to say the least.  And right now, it might look like things aren't going so well. But I think getting discouraged over numbers is a mistake.  There is no doubt that we need to work on promotions, bigtime.

But that's not my point. For me, it's a matter of conscience.  I can sleep at night because I am doing something to wake people.  I'm not just yammering on a forum talking about it.  I'm not just sitting around a coffeeshop talking with the same six or seven like-minded folks twice a week.  No, I'm doing something.  And so are you. 

The tree is branching. 



I agree with Sig. I think you are going to see a geometric "bloom" of attendees this Spring.

The match may have fizzled a couple of times, but we are a long way from running out of matches.

We need to get a firm foothold in our core venues, and get local promotions (word-of-mouth) moving, then magical things will happen.

In any grassroots organization, you must expand the leadership during the "second strike" to avoid burnout. We are at that stage now. I can feel it, I can sense it, I can taste it. A tsunami is approaching ( hope it is a wave of awareness to Appleseed, and not negativity).

Come to a Winterseed and see if you don't sense it too. We may only get 6 shooters that weekend, but look into their eyes when we do the history.

Mac

Machine, don't you dare keep your mouth shut, brother!

Sig, you're right. I lately said that I might die in socialist America but either way I want to know I did what I could.

Mac, bingo on the core venues, and looking Americans in the eye one at a time.

And I'll add: we need to get a firm foothold in our core value, and keep coming back to them again and again, with each failure and each success. Each time, building ...



Aw-wrigth Frank, you're right, I gotta get down to Stinson this winter, attend one of your seminars. :)
-Gordon

Offline MeanStreaker

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Re: Conundrum...or D.O.A.?
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2011, 12:38:14 PM »
Frank, don't start to doubt, brother.  West Virginia is right where every state has been at some point.  You all are doing great work and it's paying off much more than you'll ever know.

Keep in mind that just one person showing up at an event by himself/herself could go off and spread the message of Liberty to countless others.

One little pebble thrown in the pond doesn't seem like much... but the ripples it makes travel far and wide, even when you can't see them anymore.  They're still there.
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Offline Cooper

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Re: Conundrum...or D.O.A.?
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2011, 12:52:40 PM »

"It does not take a majority to prevail ... but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men." ~Samuel Adams

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead.
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Offline Fred

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Re: Conundrum...or D.O.A.?
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2011, 03:41:07 PM »

     Good quotes, there, Cooper.

     I imagine Sam Adams would want his "irate, tireless, minority" to work together in some kind of unison and harmony to attain their ends. At least, I think he'd like to expect that of them, if he was serious about obtaining those ends.

     And guess Margaret Mead left out some words: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people, fighting constantly amongst themselves, can change the world..." Wonder why she left out those important extra words?

     But back to the main point of this thread - which in my view is several-fold:

     One, the task is much harder than any of us expect - if we're not simply gonna be Appleseed "straphangers", but really work and care to "make it happen".

     Two, facing the reality of it can be daunting, but should not ever be allowed to morph into outright discouragement.

     Three, keeping that sense of urgency - no, we don't have unlimited time - in fact, the time is getting shorter and shorter, at least, to date - maybe in a few years we can change that - keeping that sense of URGENCY is critical to our hoped-for eventual success.

     Actually, my first cutting remarks are right on point, as I add:

     Four, if we can keep ourselves working in some kind of unison and harmony toward the common goal.

     Five, which requires us to keep our eye on our real enemy - ignorance, apathy, and laziness - rather than diverting our efforts (and diffusing same) by viewing fellow ASers as potential enemies.

    Disclaimer: It is my job in this program to try and keep things running as smooth as possible. That's a job which may on occasion require me to eliminate someone from the program who doesn't respond to the AS message, ie, does not have a teachable attitude. That's nothing new. In the workplace people are fired every day for in effect being a monkey wrench in the gears...
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Offline Gordon

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Re: Conundrum...or D.O.A.?
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2011, 05:11:26 PM »


... work together in some kind of unison and harmony to attain their ends

... working in some kind of unison and harmony toward the common goal.


The meaning here is clear, of course, and important. But some close parsing might be worthwhile.

Think of this: "Unison" is but one kind of "harmony". And while "unison" is very effective and even necessary in some contexts, it is severely limited and even inappropriate in others.

"Harmony" is what we want, indeed. It never means "chaos", and it certainly doesn't happen by accident nor without intention and practice. But seldom does it mean "unison". It means lots of diverse elements each contributing uniquely to an ordered whole --- something intelligent, beautiful, and effective. --- heck I know everyone knows all this, but it's just such a cool thing that I had to mention it.

How about, "working together in some coherent harmony toward a common goal".  ;)


 
As for not "fighting constantly amongst themselves" nor "viewing fellow ASers as potential enemies", absolutely. Such noise is not "harmony"! And yeah, eliminating the occasional "monkey wrench in the gears" is probably necessary. But I'm reminded of a line in the biblical letter to the Hebrews: "Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are convinced of better things in your case." I figure the term "cutting remarks" must be some sort of typo.



Thanks for the points, Fred:
(1) It's harder than we think
(2) Don't get discouraged
(3) Keep the urgency!
(4) Stay in harmony.
(5) Rememebr who the enemy is.
-- excellent.

Offline BeSwift

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Re: Conundrum...or D.O.A.?
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2011, 09:49:52 PM »
If my experience with the WV Instructors Corp is representative, I say you guys are WELL on your way to where you need to be. If you build it..they will come. Winter is slow and Spring will be here before you know it..along with the students!

I've got the opposite issue in MD... full classes, but I can't get many ranges to give me the time of day so that I can expand the program!!! Wish I could trade you some students for a range or two.... Maybe we need to petition Fred for a bus charter #)...  BeSwift
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Offline siglite

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Re: Conundrum...or D.O.A.?
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2011, 11:30:47 AM »
If my experience with the WV Instructors Corp is representative, I say you guys are WELL on your way to where you need to be. If you build it..they will come. Winter is slow and Spring will be here before you know it..along with the students!

I've got the opposite issue in MD... full classes, but I can't get many ranges to give me the time of day so that I can expand the program!!! Wish I could trade you some students for a range or two.... Maybe we need to petition Fred for a bus charter #)...  BeSwift

We need to bring some ranges on board in the Eastern Panhandle of WV that can serve both Northern VA and large portions of Western Maryland.
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Offline jmdavis

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Re: Conundrum...or D.O.A.?
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2011, 11:37:05 AM »
That sounds like a great idea from the Virginia side. NoVa is a largely untapped resource (though ~30% of the attendence in Central VA comes from there).

Mike
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Offline siglite

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Re: Conundrum...or D.O.A.?
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2011, 10:22:22 PM »
That sounds like a great idea from the Virginia side. NoVa is a largely untapped resource (though ~30% of the attendence in Central VA comes from there).

Mike

Mike,

The leads I talked to you about over the phone have petered out.  However, Mac and I are working on a mutual acquaintance that might be a major help in finding us a panhandle venue.  We have not given up on this, as we all see it as a way to benefit WV, VA, MD, and Appleseed as a whole.  I think if we can get something within range of NOVA *and* Western Maryland, we can keep that venue sold out.
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Offline jmdavis

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Re: Conundrum...or D.O.A.?
« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2011, 11:26:30 PM »

Mike,

The leads I talked to you about over the phone have petered out.  However, Mac and I are working on a mutual acquaintance that might be a major help in finding us a panhandle venue.  We have not given up on this, as we all see it as a way to benefit WV, VA, MD, and Appleseed as a whole.  I think if we can get something within range of NOVA *and* Western Maryland, we can keep that venue sold out.


Fantastic. Let me know what we can do to help.

"If a man does his best, what else is there?"  - General George S. Patton Jr

  ...We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
  For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
  Shall be my brother...-Shakespeare, Henry V
 

"There's a great deal of talk about loyalty from the bottom to the top. Loyalty from the top down is even more necessary and is much less prevalent. One of the most frequently noted characteristics of great men who have remained great is loyalty to their subordinates."
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"Your body can't go where your mind hasn't been."
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Offline The Machine

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Re: Conundrum...or D.O.A.?
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2011, 03:59:26 AM »
Thank you to those who made thoughtful comments about this topic. I suppose it's time to de-mystify something that probably flew past everyone--D.O.A. This actually stood for "Doubting Our Ability", as some WV instructors found out on a recent conference call. It would appear the energy level and optimism of our "core" group of WV instructors is still intact for 2011, leaving little doubt about our ability.  :)

Some promo experimentation will be implemented, along with mentoring our new IITs and volunteers into leadership positions, which we anticipate will translate into higher attendance at events. So, it seems like 2011 will be the "year of aggressive promotions and one-on-one mentoring".

As I stated in the OP, we exist to expose as many fellow Americans to the AS message as possible; doing so with a "sense of urgency" mindset. We welcome everyone with an understanding of this to join our team...

Gordon...I'm watching and waiting.  :cool2:
« Last Edit: January 11, 2011, 04:05:09 AM by The Machine »
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Offline savagerabbit

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Re: Conundrum...or D.O.A.?
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2011, 03:51:59 PM »
Machine,
On a local (and much smaller level) getting folks motivated, encouraging them to step outside their box, organizing events, and promotion is kinda "my thing".  I just have to tell you, WV is a hard nut to crack.  Your numbers will hit hard dips/ overwhelming highs and enthusiasm will wain/ surge.
The last 2 winters have been ROUGH.  People are tired and the economy stinks.   I bet that the spring will be close to or well exceed your expectations!  Hang in there!  What you do is important!  I'm still a student (I may be for a long time! LOL)  but I really value this program.  I love it.  Thank you. (:

OH.. and FYI?  I mentioned it at the last shoot but paypal sucks eggs.  This isn't a WV thing but it'd be awesome if the registration took a regular credit card.   I intend on coming (with my boys) to a lot of shoots but haven't officially registered for that reason.  Consider me a shadowy number!

*spelling
« Last Edit: January 12, 2011, 04:03:31 PM by savagerabbit »
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Offline The Machine

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Re: Conundrum...or D.O.A.?
« Reply #15 on: January 12, 2011, 04:33:49 PM »
Thanks savagerabbit! Your comments and willingness to help "Team WV" have been duly noted.  O0
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Offline savagerabbit

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Re: Conundrum...or D.O.A.?
« Reply #16 on: January 12, 2011, 06:44:31 PM »
No prob.  Just let me know what I can do!
"What a triumph for our enemies..... to find that we are incapable of governing ourselves."  George Washington