• You liked BFD7 now you should join this forum and of course become a club member to see what CCA is all about.
  • Thank you to everyone who registered and showed up for the BIG Fish Deal #7.

AquaMania 2014 - Would you go? Volunteer?

AquaMania 2014 - Would You Go? Volunteer?

  • Planning to register...and volunteer to help!

    Votes: 27 84.4%
  • Planning to Register for the Speakers...but leave the volunteering to others

    Votes: 1 3.1%
  • Planning to attend the Marketplace Only...but can volunteer to help!

    Votes: 2 6.3%
  • Planning to attend to the Marketplace Only...and leave the volunteering to others

    Votes: 1 3.1%
  • Not planning to attend

    Votes: 1 3.1%

  • Total voters
    32
Status
Not open for further replies.

mchambers

Former CCA member
I guess. Weekends in March tend to coincide with school spring breaks, and also with an industry conference in California or Arizona that I usually attend, so for me it's probably a 50/50 shot at best.
 

chris_todd

Members
If it takes begging, we're doing something wrong.
At the risk of sounding critical, I think you are. You're being too ambitious. The original goal for AM1 was to have a convention that was trimmed down from things like ACA, specifically so you didn't burn out volunteers. I think you partially succeeded. I was only able to attend for a few hours, but what I saw floored me, and all the comments I've heard indicated that everyone thought it was awesome. You should be proud of what you accomplished, it was a fantastic convention. By if your volunteers were overworked such that they are having reservations about doing this again, then you didn't quite achieve your goal of a simpler convention.

I'm the president of my amateur astronomy club, the Howard Astronomical League. We have about 150 members, meet monthly, and do a lot of public outreach. In my experience, I can count on 5 to 10 of our members to volunteer to help the club. And like CCA, they are the same 5 to 10 people. So the proportions (about 5 to 8%) are about the same as CCA. From what I've heard and seen from other hobbyist clubs, that's pretty typical. If you get 10%, you're doing great. So I wouldn't expect too many more people to volunteer.

So might I make a suggestion? Scope the convention to match your known labor force, rather than trying to get volunteers to staff the convention. You know from plenty of experience (AM1, ACA, Catfish Convention, etc.) how much work each of the convention components will be. Then do the project management math, and cut out any convention components you can't easily staff. For example, I think a convention with just great speakers, a marketplace, vendors, and a hospitality suite would still be an awesome convention. Could you arrange that without burning out 10 people? I bet you could.

I hope this didn't sound too critical; I love your passion and enthusiasm and I hope I'm not diminishing it. But I think the leadership of any all volunteer hobbyist club needs to be realistic and not over reach or people will burn out.

Oh, and assuming I'm available, I would certainly attend, and I would be willing to help with the website again. I didn't actually vote, though, because I'm using the Monster app, which doesn't show the polls.


Sent from my iPad using MonsterAquariaNetwork app
 

lewrosa

Members
:)I am planning to attend and would definitely love to volunteer again. I had alot of fun at this past Aquamania and want to help however I can :)
 

Avatar

Plenipotentiary-at-large
Dear CCA Board

Esteemed Sirs/Madams:

Please do continue to encourage and nurture the overflowing harmony between aquarists and aquatic denizens that was so evident during AquaMania! 2013. We wish to express our deep affection and appreciation for your efforts on our mutual behalf and assure all concerned that we may be relied upon to more than hold up our end as participants in AquaMania! 2014. We recognize that it is only through your wisdom, passion and dedication that our own contributions and indeed sacrifices are validated, for without without warm blooded, large-brained and great-hearted beings like yourselves, our own collective faith and aspirations for the future would be drowned.

Be assured that we will continue to give you our very best at every ripple consistent with our nature, and know that we hold you in highest regard as paragons of liquid enlightenment. Absent the selfless devotions of you and those all too few like you, our own lives would doubtless be much shorter and less fulfilling, our numbers fewer and our children imperiled.

It is an axiom among us that humans are simply amazing when they do their very best work. As AquaMania! was indeed amazing, that marks all of you as no less so and among the very best that humanity has to offer. Naturally then, we whole-heartedly anticipate continuing our flowing collaborations, and nowhere more so than next years AquaMania!

Ever yours in body and soul,
The Fishes (formerly Class Pisces)
 

dogofwar

CCA Members
I really hope that folks aren't interpreting this thread as complaining about not wanting to hold another AquaMania without more member volunteers.

It's not.

The best evidence against this assertion is that the folks who did the most for AquaMania 2013 are the folks who are most enthusiastic and vocal about their support for doing another. We're all volunteers and tend to enjoy planning and running events that support our fellow hobbyists, our club and the hobby. I wouldn't do it if I didn't enjoy it.

The reason that I started this thread was to provide validation to our Board that the club wants more of what we're cooking. That most members will at least plan to come to dinner (and pay the check)... that many will bother to clear their dishes...and that some might want to help set the table, load the dishwasher and take out the trash.

To extend the imperfect meal metaphor:

AquaMania 2013 delivered unlimited libations, sumptuous hor d'oeuvres, juicy steak and ribs, bountiful shrimp and a sundae with a cherry on top...in a nice restuarant... All for $30 (or $25 if you were one of the few who responded to our begging to sign up early). A pretty **** good deal (and intentionally so).

But I've cooked my kids lots of great meals that they've refused to eat. We want chicken fingers instead. And we don't want to eat at the table. And they wander away before clearing their dishes.

Of course, it would have been great to know this BEFORE my wife and I spent hours in the kitchen...

I would much rather scale down the event because members really don't care whether we have world class speakers (or multiple speakers, or host an event in a hotel, etc.).... than because we can't muster a few more people to help with registration or set-up or whatever.

The leadership of your club can and will make it happen (if you'd like to contribute, please run for Board or sign up to be a committee head!).

But before we buy the metaphorical ingredients for a weekend event, we just want your validation that you'll buy our dinner.

Or more directly: Is their motivation, excitement and willingness to do something on the scale of AquaMania 2013 next year? Would you register... and/or would you help?

If there's not, then we can have another monthly meeting next March (or something else...but you need to tell us)...

Matt

At the risk of sounding critical, I think you are. You're being too ambitious. The original goal for AM1 was to have a convention that was trimmed down from things like ACA, specifically so you didn't burn out volunteers. I think you partially succeeded. I was only able to attend for a few hours, but what I saw floored me, and all the comments I've heard indicated that everyone thought it was awesome. You should be proud of what you accomplished, it was a fantastic convention. By if your volunteers were overworked such that they are having reservations about doing this again, then you didn't quite achieve your goal of a simpler convention.

I'm the president of my amateur astronomy club, the Howard Astronomical League. We have about 150 members, meet monthly, and do a lot of public outreach. In my experience, I can count on 5 to 10 of our members to volunteer to help the club. And like CCA, they are the same 5 to 10 people. So the proportions (about 5 to 8%) are about the same as CCA. From what I've heard and seen from other hobbyist clubs, that's pretty typical. If you get 10%, you're doing great. So I wouldn't expect too many more people to volunteer.

So might I make a suggestion? Scope the convention to match your known labor force, rather than trying to get volunteers to staff the convention. You know from plenty of experience (AM1, ACA, Catfish Convention, etc.) how much work each of the convention components will be. Then do the project management math, and cut out any convention components you can't easily staff. For example, I think a convention with just great speakers, a marketplace, vendors, and a hospitality suite would still be an awesome convention. Could you arrange that without burning out 10 people? I bet you could.

I hope this didn't sound too critical; I love your passion and enthusiasm and I hope I'm not diminishing it. But I think the leadership of any all volunteer hobbyist club needs to be realistic and not over reach or people will burn out.

Oh, and assuming I'm available, I would certainly attend, and I would be willing to help with the website again. I didn't actually vote, though, because I'm using the Monster app, which doesn't show the polls.


Sent from my iPad using MonsterAquariaNetwork app
 

WendyFish

Members
I've been on vacation, so I'm late to the party here.

My honest thoughts are the following, of course all schedule dependent. I might be an outlier, but you asked, so I'll tell you.

First on the schedule dependent note, though, I think that Aqua Mania was held at a pretty good time. This is a time of year when I personally don't have a lot going on -- March is not a big month for a lot of family things, vacations, etc. so that is helpful.

I might also be an outlier in that I am in the process of deciding I just might not like fish conventions that much. Typically, there are a couple sessions that I'm happy to go to, and then I'm talked out. I have found the presentation skills and materials of fish speakers highly variable in quality, and I often find them 15-20 minutes too long for what they really have to say. While I'm certainly interested in being more educated on various fish topics, and I do attend talks at every convention I've been to, the fact is that my leisure time is highly precious to me and after a couple hours of drier presentations, I'm done. I did not actually get to attend any of the AM presentations this last year, as I manned the reception desk to enable others to attend the presentations -- so I am making a general comment on my historical experiences and am not specifically referring to any of the speakers at AM1. It does impact the way I approach these events, though.

I did not stay the night due to other commitments so I didn't get to experience a lot of the social aspects of the weekend. I'm sure I would have loved them. :) That said, again there is a limited space in my "wallet" of fish overnighters. There is a 50/50 chance that I would overnight at AM2014.

In terms of volunteering, I'm willing to give a couple hours (call it 2-4) to help with various things. AquaMania is structured in a good way for me to be able to do this. I have trouble doing things that require me to commute to MD at rush hour for a short time, e.g. I am not in a position to come on a Thursday or Friday night for a couple hours to set things up. But this year it was easy to come over on Saturday for awhile and help out. I would be willing to do this again.



Here are some questions that I have.

Was Aqua Mania profitable?

There was one time at which we were being begged to register because the club needed the money coming in the door to pay expenses related to the event. If this is something that is costing the club a great deal of money, then to be honest, I would like to see the club assess the spectrum of things it can be spent on -- awesome meeting speakers, etc., and think about where Aqua Mania fits into the club's mission.



How many people came in from the general public? How many new members did we get?

I believe that a big part of what AM is supposed to be about is spreading the hobby. Was this a really big club sleepover -- not that it isn't great or fun to do that -- or did we really move the needle in bringing new people to the hobby and the club?


I would think differently about the place of Aqua Mania relative to the club's mission depending on those answers.
 

jonclark96

Past CCA President
Good questions, Wendy.

First - Was AM1 profitable? Yes, it was. We're still getting the final numbers put together with a few late expenses that still need to be accounted for. We should have the final numbers put together shortly. I believe that the club made enough to help stay afloat for the year.

Second - Attendance? We did the best we could keeping track of numbers, but our best estimate is that we had 151 full registrations and around 100 Sunday only registrations. The far exceeded anyone's expectations. I never went back and cross referenced the number of CCA member that attended, but I would guess somewhere between 50% and 75%, to be conservative.

Third - New Members? Hard to say. We certainly have experienced an increase in traffic on the forum over the past few months. There are a number of new members since AM1, but I don't have exact counts. I would say that a majority of the Sunday only attendees were non-members. We certainly exposed a great number of people to the CCA during the event.

Can the CCA exist without an annual weekend event, I believe so. We did for many years before ACA and AM1, but the revenue certainly makes things easier.
 

CichlidOWNR

Members
Glad to see that the club benefited financially and hopefully in membership growth. Just some feedback about AM1, I really enjoyed the talks related about the African Rift Lake species since this my main interest in the Cichlid hobby. I also feel that there was a good mix of talks for the various regions and learned a lot from those talks about CA/SA Cichlid or related subjects. If there is a AquaMania 2014, I would like the same mix of regional topics.

It seems that the regularly scheduled monthly meetings tend to be CA/SA heavy in terms of speakers. The Rift Lake topics were very informative and I enjoyed sitting in on the lectures a great deal. Either way, I enjoyed and learned a great deal from the speakers at AM1, no matter from which region.

As indicated in an earlier post, I would volunteer for any functions requiring muscles for the next AquaMania if there is one.
 

dogofwar

CCA Members
Other than the couple dozen (out of ~200 members), anyone else feel strongly for (or against) holding AquaMania 2014?

I'll take non-response as, "Meh, knock yourself out if you'd like, but I really don't care one way or the other whether we have AquaMania or a regular meeting in March 2014..."

Matt
 

WendyFish

Members
Other than the couple dozen (out of ~200 members), anyone else feel strongly for (or against) holding AquaMania 2014?

I'll take non-response as, "Meh, knock yourself out if you'd like, but I really don't care one way or the other whether we have AquaMania or a regular meeting in March 2014..."

Matt
Just out of curiosity, what are you looking for in order to decide? I would imagine there's a haircut to the poll numbers because not everyone who said they would help will really be free that weekend... it seems like there is a danger of this landing on a relatively small number of shoulders. On the other hand, it seems like there is a strong preference to hold the event rather than not. I don't envy the leadership what seems to me like a tough call.
 

dogofwar

CCA Members
Well, Wendy, to me it's really more about the people who haven't responded than those who have.

Organizing and ensuring that a weekend event - like the last AquaMania - was a success is a whole lot of work.

While profitability (or more correctly NOT losing money) is important, in my mind at least, providing benefits for our membership is the ultimate goal.

To some folks (like the couple dozen who responded), going through the trouble of having more than a club meeting...bringing in the world-class caliber of speakers that we did...finding and financing a nice venue...convincing sponsors and vendors to attend, etc.... is well worth it... because we think that's what our members want... that's what will energize them to support CCA... to renew their membership and to see value in being part of the organization.

I frankly thought that this poll would be a slam dunk after the success and the positive vibe of AquaMania 2013.

It hasn't been, which gives me great pause...

If you care whether we have another AquaMania, please vote!

Matt

Just out of curiosity, what are you looking for in order to decide? I would imagine there's a haircut to the poll numbers because not everyone who said they would help will really be free that weekend... it seems like there is a danger of this landing on a relatively small number of shoulders. On the other hand, it seems like there is a strong preference to hold the event rather than not. I don't envy the leadership what seems to me like a tough call.
 
Last edited:

WendyFish

Members
To make sure I'm clear, I'm certainly not saying profitability is everything. I do think not losing money is important, and that's why I asked the question -- it was not transparent to me personally how this impacted the club's bottom line, because it WAS an incredible value... and I do care about that to the extent it impacts other tradeoffs that can be made. I appreciate Jon putting my mind at ease on that count.

The slam dunk aspect is more what I'm worried about. I commend you guys for trying to gage interest and make sure it is there before the club collectively bites off more than it can chew and imposes that on too few people. It just worries me, like I am sure it worries you, to see 21 people throw out the "yes and yes" vote, knowing probably some of them won't make it due to the realities of scheduling. Maybe back to Chris's very good points... what CAN we do with that number of people (haircut for schedules)?
 

dogofwar

CCA Members
Wendy - "biting off more than we could chew" certainly wasn't what occurred at AquaMania. It was designed from the start to minimize burden on the club.

Imagine tearing down and putting away hundreds of tanks and stands from a fish show after running an all day auction. Think about the number of volunteers that are needed for that. Lot's of much smaller clubs than ours do it. Every year. But that's not the road we took. I don't think any AquaMania staff person was at the hotel after maybe 5 PM on Sunday!

But that's missing the point of this thread.

Forget volunteers or help needed.

Holding ANY event isn't worthwhile if club members aren't excited about doing it...and aren't planning to support it by at least registering to attend.

I'm just not seeing that excitement or enthusiasm at the prospect of holding another event.

Maybe I'm wrong but I'm done asking...

Matt


To make sure I'm clear, I'm certainly not saying profitability is everything. I do think not losing money is important, and that's why I asked the question -- it was not transparent to me personally how this impacted the club's bottom line, because it WAS an incredible value... and I do care about that to the extent it impacts other tradeoffs that can be made. I appreciate Jon putting my mind at ease on that count.

The slam dunk aspect is more what I'm worried about. I commend you guys for trying to gage interest and make sure it is there before the club collectively bites off more than it can chew and imposes that on too few people. It just worries me, like I am sure it worries you, to see 21 people throw out the "yes and yes" vote, knowing probably some of them won't make it due to the realities of scheduling. Maybe back to Chris's very good points... what CAN we do with that number of people (haircut for schedules)?
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top