Monday, March 3, 2014

Board Meeting Minutes

Minutes February 18, 2014.


John Wetzel
Marguerite Frongillo
Victor Gascon
Robin Ducker
Virginia Winn
Jacob Legrone

The minutes of the previous meeting were approved.

The treasurers report was delivered and accepted

The "selling stuff at our dance by third parties" issue was briefly reviewed (essentially to say that it has been handled, with documentation for anyone who wanted to read it).

The fact that we had voted to add Laura Godenik to the board during the last meeting was verified by asking those then present. The fact was so confirmed.

We had a discussion centered around the issues of what to do and how to behave in situations where the numbers of persons present at a dance approaches the posted maximum capacity of our venue.

Due to time constraints, the agenda item concerning the status of the attempts to find other venues has been set aside for action at a later meeting.

The hall dates for our next season were discussed. Three of the dates were moved away from our standard "third saturday". Two were moved to avoid conflicts with things such as football games, or students being out of town, and the third was moved to "fix" the conflict with the Bug Stomp dance weekend, on the theory that once you stop having a dance strictly on the same day of each month (ie, once you have broken the pattern once in a season), there is no reason not to do so elsewhere in the schedule, given some good reason to do so. The dates selected are as follows:

While discussing the dates, there was also extensive discussion of adding TEN more dances per season, which eventually turned into a consensus that we might be able to add in TWO more, most likely in January and February, these being the months that seem to bring out the most dancers. Adding two more dances seemed to be a reachable practical goal, in comparison to the problems we would run into trying to find bands and callers (and venue) enough to double the number of dances. This is to be discussed further when we have a larger quorum at some future board meeting.

We voted to add Victor Gascon to our board. Beyond that point in the meeting, Victor voted along with the rest of us on any questions that we voted on. Victor has webmaster skills, and is willing to take some sound system training as well.

We spent a lot of time talking about how to solve the problem of having too few people doing too much of the work. First we identified that many things that get done are nice but not mission critical, and focused on the latter. Basically we decided that the things that are not mission critical can be left to fend for themselves. In other words, it is nice to have water, and cookies. It is great if someone handles that. But, if no one wants to do those things, they will not get done, and everybody will survive somehow. We agreed that, given that band, caller and sound are all compensated, and are tasks designated to particular people at every dance, that the only other mission critical item that has to get done to keep our dances going is the "door work". Our discussion was primarily about how to distribute this work, which is the only un-compensated mission critical work, among as many people as possible, rather than having a few people have to do it all, and those folks, their "reward" is that they rarely (and sometimes never) get to dance.

The solution we came up with is as follows: First, dances take about 15 minutes, so a half hour (2 dances) or an hour (4 dances) seemed to all of us to be logical as a good size for a time slot for a worker to work the door, after which someone else could take over. There are actually two kinds of door work. There is the mission critical money taking/changing and body counting (requires some skills), and the "unskilled" work of gathering of email addresses and handing out of name tags.

We decided that it made sense to have hourly shifts to do the "skilled" money handling stuff, with that work being done by board members, and by any properly trained dance volunteers, with the option to do half hour shifts if somebody needs to do it that way, or wants to. (hourly shifts to be the default, with nobody having to do more than an hour a dance (unless they want to, because they cannot dance for some reason that night). To make this happen, we broke the tasks up into three tasks:

  1. Actually working the door (different person each hour, normally nobody works more than an hour per dance)
  2. Training people how to work the door
  3. Coordinating/Organizing the door workers for each particular dance AND, finding volunteers/trainees.

Item 1. is to be handled by anyone on the board or in the dance community who agrees to help, PROVIDING they have been trained how do this door work. This includes the people who already know how to do this (Virginia, Fred, Dianne, Connie??) and hopefully a lot of new volunteers. If this works, each person who volunteers to do the "skilled" door work will have to work an hour at one dance, and not at all at the next. If we have lots of volunteers, each would have to work a shift only on every third dance. This is the key effort, which is to distribute this one unpaid but critical task to as many people as possible, so that no one spends the whole dance at the door taking money.

Item 2. is to be handled by Virginia. She has agreed to be responsible for training anyone who volunteers to help with the "skilled" door work. Also, if there is some way to reduce this training to a video that people can watch, Virginia and Victor will create that video, and thereafter, the training would consist of just watching a video, and then a little bit of over-watch (by Virginia or another experienced door person) the first time that the new person works the door. The training will happen, and the video idea MAY or may not jell. We may need to have a separate tally sheet and money record for each worker, so that there is a record or "snapshot" of the body count and money in hand when each new person takes up the door task. This needs thinking through and more discussion?

Item 3. will be handled by Robin. Robin will try to identify or cajole additional people to take the door training, and put those folks in contact with Virginia for training. AND, Robin will also be in charge of identifying which of the "trained persons" will be working the door at each dance, and at what time. Once we have identified all the folks who want to help and get trained up, Robin will essentially be coordinating the door workers, and will try to make sure that the door work is distributed as widely as possible, so that it may be possible for each trained worker to only have to work every other dance, or maybe every third dance. Robin will designate someone else to do this if she cannot be at a dance (or could do all the coordinating ahead of time). This worker coordinator work may prove tiresome, and may need to be rotated among several people, just as we are trying to distribute the workload for the door work. We will have to maintain a complete list of all people who are trained, and who are currently willing to work. Such a list will make it easy to do the coordinating, so long as we also keep track of who has already worked for the last two previous dances, so that we keep the work evenly distributed.

I think (but am not certain) that we decided that all door work volunteers (skilled and unskilled) would get to be at that dance free, although we would love it if they would pay in anyway. I do remember that we though it best to give the "get in free" reward at the same dance that you volunteer to help work.

We ALSO discussed the UNSKILLED door work (gathering email addresses, doing name-tags). We decided that it made more sense for the skilled money handling work to be done entirely or primarily by board members, and the unskilled work to be done by dancer volunteers, who would also get in for free. Jacob agreed to be in charge of getting volunteer dancers to do the unskilled door work, with the understanding that we can set that aside if no one wants to do it, since that work is not mission critical. Jacob or Victor (or maybe both) pointed out that one of us could bring our computer to the dance, and, with the appropriate software onscreen, people could sign themselves up for our email reminder list. If I recall correctly, Jacob and Victor will try to make this happen.

We discussed the possibility of providing financial support for a USC contra dance. We agreed in principle that our organization would be willing to provide a loan for the USC contra dance group to host a dance, with the expectation that some or all of these funds would be returned, and with the understanding that we might not get it all back, but that would constitute a loss in support of our core mission, which is to support and teach folk dancing. No numbers were discussed because we do not have enough information right now to carry the discussion any further. Basically, we have an understanding that we are willing to help, if we have the funds needed at the time the request is made.

Some discussion of possible venues (The Lake house?) came up, but none that sound promising right now.

We briefly discussed helping Jacob with a caller training grant. We remain willing to help, but are waiting for a concrete proposal with a specific amount of funding requested.

The next meeting probably will need to include putting together the "election slate".

We had a discussion about the need for a new logo, and decided to have a Logo Contest: We decided that an open contest would be held among the Columbia Contra dance community, i.e., people on both the Columbia Contra dance mailing list and the Carolina Contra Club members. Our branding committee, which Virginia is heading up, will generate parameters, requirements and rules for this contest. Virginia will send these out to everyone when they are ready.

The date of our next Board meeting will be April 15, 2014

The meeting was adjourned.

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