In the past, there really was no way to exchange ideas with people, in real time, other then to meet with them, face-to-face. Today, there are many ways to meet with people that are not face-to-face and still “get what you want.” So, why in the world would anyone want to become a member of a club?
Clubs and organizations have responded over the years to these questions by developing reasons to join. There are benefits that come to those who join. Those benefits run a full range, depending on the organization, that primarily includes discounts on services of many kinds. The basic premise became: the reason to join an organization is because of what you can get by being a member that you otherwise would be unable to get if you were not a member.
Lost in the analysis is a concept from the past. I can recall a time when people wanted to become a member of something because there was a pride in being associated with a group of people. The “benefit” of joining was the feeling that came from being identified as a member of a specific group; to be accepted by people who had a similar interest in something. There came with this idea a sense of “pride” to be known as a person who was part of a specific organization.
A year-and-a-half ago the members of CASM completed a survey where they expressed what they wanted out of being members of the club. It wasn’t the discounts. People wanted to come together where they could experience fellowship and friendship with fellow model builders. Face-to-face contact with other people who build models provides richness in relationship that makes people want to be a member.
The reason to become a member of something is because of the human bond that forms with other people who gather together with a common purpose, not to get a discount. There is a sense of pride that comes with membership that occurs when we identify ourselves as a member of a body that gathers together. A club is not about club business, it is about the fellowship that comes when people gather in a place with a common interest.
Being a member of a club is not an idea that has been lost in the past. Becoming a member is an idea that is necessary for the present and the future as so many communication methods distance us from the direct contact with others. Being a member of a club provides for us a sense of belonging and being a member of a community that cannot be replaced through electronic means.