In a word: phenomenal!
I find I keep using that word to describe 2012 for the Continuum over and over and over again. Our membership has grown. We’ve taken on more community service projects. We’ve worked harder on recruiting and participating in more events to get our name out there. We’ve added more social activities (even though, I believe, we were a fairly sociable group before this year). There’s been a rediscovered spirit of enthusiasm leading people to be more involved. Although there is still areas for us to grow in, which I’ll mention more about momentarily, I do believe we haven’t had this type of success with our chapter since the mid-90s…
Come to think of it: it could be we’ve had greater success this year than we did in the mid-90s, making 2012 our best year yet!
This particular journey to a great year began for us back in January. At our first Command Department meeting of the year, I gave our leadership an eight-page document I had written on ways to divide up responsibilities in the areas of community service, fundraising, personnel, recruiting, handling social media, promoting Region 2 and STARFLEET amongst our chapter, and handling our website. While things didn’t happen exactly the way I envisioned them, looking back on the year, there are areas that exceeded my expectations, a few that were handled adequately enough, and a few still need some work.
Much of our leadership, however, has changed in the past twelve months. Our Executive Officer Kaydmaw Fass passed away in March, causing then-Second Officer Peggy Moshell to succeed her in the position. Some of the most active in our group also started the USS Harry Mudd in Milton to participate in a chapter closer to their homes. Yet others took the initiative and got involved, filling some much needed vacancies. Others would later join the Continuum — and then its Command Staff — allowing us to fill all department head positions, save one. (We began this year with no department heads. Our Operations Manual was revised earlier this year shortening or eliminating time-in-service requirements for the Command Staff to better serve the needs our our crew).
Of those areas listed, community service has been our biggest improvement. If I recall correctly, in 2011, we had only two community service projects for the entire year: a collection for Manna Food Pantries and another one for Toys for Tots. I wanted us to do more! …
…and we did. For starters, ever since January, we’ve helped clean the Ronald McDonald House of Northwest Florida on the second Saturday of the month. We later held collection drives for both the Ronald McDonald House and Manna Food Pantries. We sent care packages not only to our own member Keith Holycross while he was stationed in Afghanistan, but also to other service members who were recently recovering from a devastating attack. Continuum crewmembers also participated in the charitable fundraisers of the RMHC Firecracker 5K and Light the Night. And finally, just this month, crewmembers held toy drives to support both Toys for Tots and Favor House, which they gave generously for.
Recruiting was another area of great improvement. We updated our flyers and business cards and created two large tri-fold displays for our recruiting tables that we held at Festival on the Green, Pelicon, the “Star Trek: the Next Generation 25th Anniversary Event,” Paracon, Fan:dom, and “Star Trek: the Next Generation — A Celebration of Season 2.” And our efforts paid off: we made the front page of the Pensacola News Journal’s Local Section for our involvement with Paracon (our picture was also the chief thumbnail for PNJ’s online pics of the event) and the Borg costumes some of our members wore were a huge hit at Fan:dom. We also began holding Star Trek Viewings on the first Saturday of the month at the Tyron Branch Library and monthly Star Trek Heroclix Tournaments for more public visibility. We (finally!) got new ship T-shirts and new name badges to held spread the word when we’re out and about. The Continuum’s Meetup page has also brought in a steady stream of new visitors, many of which have become new members.
We started sending out postcards this year as an extra reminder to members about upcoming events. We’ve given membership disks to everyone who’s paid the ship’s dues and given STARFLEET comm badges to everyone on the Continuum’s roster who’s joined our parent organization. However, many of our members haven’t joined a department on the ship. (In fact, only the department heads have). It is my dream to have the departments to once again be a “group within a group” — members working together as a part of a smaller team and each team taking on a smaller responsibility for the larger whole.
I felt we’ve done a good job with our social media. Facebook and Meetup are regularly used to a great extent However, I still think more work could be done with Twitter, TrekSpace, Google Plus, and other platforms. We’ve done well enough at fundraising to cover necessary expenses, but certain dreams, such as helping to cover travel expenses to conventions and STARFLEET functions, have had to fade into the background because of lack of funds. (Fundraising ideas, such as grant writing; craft sales; holding a bowling fundraiser at Cordova Lanes; selling pictures; selling Continuum calendars; and having raffles, car washes, and a convention at the library were all discussed at the last Command Staff meeting to help us take another swing at this in 2013).
The two areas I feel we could most improve on are our involvement with STARFLEET and Region 2 and with our website. Even though we are a chapter of STARFLEET, it’s very easy to stay within ourselves. Basically, it boils down a time money, and a comfortably issue — it’s much easier, quicker, and cheaper to go to local events. So how do we plan to solve this particular problem? Well, besides the fundraising to help with the travel expenses as I’ve mentioned above, we’re also hoping to focusing more on video conferencing. It is my hope that members of other chapters, as well as leaderships from the Region and FLEET, would be able to “attend” Continuum meetings from wherever they’re at. Hopefully, we’ll be able to attend some of theirs as well.
Our website has not had the number of updates as I’ve wanted it to have. I think I do do a fairly good job in keeping the calendars up-to-date, but new posts and pages come about very infrequently. It is something I will continue to promote within our group to get more participation. Reently, Zach Joyner expressed interest in helping out with this site, so maybe there’ll be some progress after all. I still want to press ahead to get as much participation in this and other areas as possible.
The most the most exciting thing about this group has been its level of enthusiasm. We have worked in more social activities this year. We continue to get together to see movies at the theater. We’ve held various parties. We’ve started eating together on the third Monday of the month at the “Dinner at Ten Forward” events. (Although we’ve been open to the idea for quite some time, 2012 marked the first year of doing events on weekdays rather than on just Fridays and weekends). And crewmembers have been eager to suddenly get together for whatever reason: whether it be to grab a bite to eat, help clean up a yard, help other members move, do a workshop, or to provide other assistance whenever needed. We take care of our members!
We’re already in the process of developing big plans, besides what I’ve already mentioned, for 2013. Plans, such as using Star Trek as a science-teaching tool for Pensacola Secular Homeschoolers and for “Odyssey of the Mind;” fundraisers, not only to help raise ship funds, but also to raise money for various charities; cadet events; and, of course, for the anticipated Continuum 20th Anniversary Celebration and the premiere for the film Star Trek: Into Darkness.
But there’ll be more about these in upcoming posts, as well as our January 4 ship meeting…