Part 4 - Into the 90's
With the arrival of the 1990's, the club was enjoying success in many ways. It was now the only gay and lesbian square dance club in the state, as the Mile High Squares had disbanded. With increased numbers of dancers, increasing dance levels achieved by more dancers, numerous activities for all to enjoy, established by-laws, a dues structure in place, and, with the exception of the dreaded AIDS epidemic, things were looking good for the club.
There were a variety of issues that presented themselves during this time...
New ideas, plans for the future, and discussion about the issues took time and energy, all given by the general membership and the boards of directors. Trying to meet the needs and desires of the membership is always an ongoing struggle and will continue to be so as long as the club exists. It is because of the dedication of the board members, committee members, and the general membership that the club continues to be successful in its endeavors. The greater number of members, increased dance levels, the need to pay for more dance space, the purchase of additional equipment (although some members contributed quite a lot of this equipment) and tapes, and the hiring of more instructors and callers, and the hosting of a fly-in every other year, all required more money in the budget. The dues structure was changed more than once, fund-raising activities began to occupy more time and energy, and a more formal accounting of the club's funds was developed, all to keep the club in a stable financial state.
Some structural changes in the administration of the club were made. Changes in the club's by-laws were suggested and approved to change the composition of the board of directors. Level reps for each general level of dancing were added so that all dancers had a direct link to the board through their rep. A Recruitment and Retention rep was added because it was felt that so many of our activities and events were directly tied to those two areas. The Secretary positions were reduced to one position (from Corresponding and Recording).
In an effort to reach out to and support the community, the annual Benefit Dance, "A Rainbeau of Love", was initiated and has traditionally been held in the month of May. The funds raised are given to a community group of the club's choosing (decided at the annual general membership meeting). Some of the past recipients have been Project Angel Heart, Lesbian Cancer Support Services, The Alexander Foundation, and The Center (GLBT).
Another tradition began during the 90's. An awards program was established which included "Angel" awards, given to members who have contributed their time and energy in any number of categories (e.g. angeling classes, sitting on the board of directors, planning or hosting a club event or activity, chairing a committee). From the prompting of Don Williamson, a set of guidelines were developed to honor an individual within the club, whose efforts have reached above and beyond the normal parameters; who, over an extended period of time, has contributed their time and energy in the interests of the club. Fashioned after the "Golden Boot" award given annually by the IAGSDC, the "Golden Rainbeau" award was established. Don felt that this award would be a good way to acknowledge those special people within the club who contribute so much. Rather than having a committee make the selection each year (the first year was done by a group of members, however), it was decided that the award winner each year would be responsible for making the selection for the following year. Not always an easy task because this club has numerous people who give so much of their time and energy. The awards are made at the annual Anniversary Celebration Program. For more information regarding these awards, see the display at our annual Celebration or speak with a board member or a Golden Rainbeau recipient.
Numerous discussions ensued about trying to integrate into the "straight" world of square dancing. Many of our dancers had come from the straight world and already knew some dancing. Others had not danced before. Some of our members were dancing fairly regularly with the general square dance community, but had to abide by their rules (male and female couples, traditional square dance attire for example). One way we could do this integration was by applying for membership in the Denver Area Square and Round Dance Council (DASRDC). There was still some fear and apprehension from some of our members that they could be "outed", and the consequences of that could be the loss of a job or career. Over time, and as the world became more accepting of our lifestyle, that fear was reduced, and eventually the club did vote to apply. We submitted our application and then waited to hear from the organization. There was apprehension on the other side of the aisle as well, but at the time, the people who make those decisions happened to be gay-friendly, and the club was accepted into the DASRDC. As time passes, we have become more and more welcome. We have had good friends within that organization that have helped pave the way for us and encouraged us to pursue our goal. We participate in "Banner Stealing" from the DASRDC and from some of the local clubs. This organization meets once a month (first Sunday) for a business meeting and a short dance afterward. We usually dress in our club outfits and have danced as same-sex couples and the building hasn't fallen down yet! We have welcomed more straight dancers into our club and it's activities. Those that choose to be with us enjoy our company and our fun-loving attitude. The inclusion of straight dancers has been good for our public relations and it does help our treasury, too. Thus far, there have been no direct negative repercussions for our members. In addition we have participated in some of their fund-raising activities (e.g.. Vending at the Rockies Baseball games). As a member of the Council, we are able to use their flat bed float for our Pridefest Parade. We also developed a relationship with Johnson's Auto Mart in Brighton, which donates a pick-up truck for us to pull the float each year. We have begun to advertise some of our party dances in the Council's Monthly Bulletin. The club has always had a few straight members, and those numbers increased during this decade. Because we have a high-energy, friendly club, which does not require a partner to dance, nor a formal dress code, people are finding the club and our activities to be a pleasant and welcoming place.
Members also worked toward developing a gay and lesbian club in Northern Colorado. To that end, they sponsored two demo/hoedown nights, one in Ft. Collins and one in Greeley. These were well attended and there was a great deal of interest in getting a beginning class started. We lined-up an instructor on two occasions and had a place for the classes to take place, and then the bottom fell out each time because the instructor bowed out at the last minute (one became very ill, the other moved out of state). The interest is high and the possibilities are great for pursuing this task in the future. Having another club this close would benefit both clubs and would certainly help us with our convention. Helping to generate another club or two (e.g. Colorado Springs) would be a really positive move for our square dance community.
The club continued to offer classes (13 in the 90's) and regular dancing to the members and the square dance community in general. An abundance of social and non-dance activities were enjoyed by many. There was a performance team put together for a Harmony Concert that was very well received (long hours, much practice, lots of fun). The Rainbelles continued to make appearances on special occasions, and the club hosted a fly-in every other year (Albuquerque's club, The Wilde Bunch, hosts the other year). As we head into the next century, we will have our hands full, what with all of the activities of the club, and with the decision to host the 2007 IAGSDC Convention, Red Rocks and Purple Mountains. Your continued support and participation is welcomed and appreciated.
Rainbeaus Class History--1990's
Class Color, Beginning Date, End Date, Instructor
Tangerine September, 1989 June, 1990 Karl Jaeckel
Sunshine February, 1990 August, 1990 Dave Cook
Emerald September, 1990 June, 1991 Dave Cook
Sapphire September, 1991 May, 1992 BJ Dyer
Lavender September, 1992 June, 1993 BJ Dyer
Ruby January, 1993 July, 1993 Karl Jaeckel
Dreamsicle September, 1993 April, 1994 Don Rouze
Yellow Rock March, 1994 September, 1994 Bear Miller
Shamrock October, 1994 May, 1995 Bear Miller
Azure I March, 1995 (didn't graduate) Don Rouze
Azure II September, 1995 April, 1996 Bear Miller
Heather January, 1996 June, 1996 Don Rouze
Red IV September, 1996 (didn't make) Bear Miller
Scarlet September 1997 April, 1998 Bear Miller
Harvest Moon September, 1998 April, 1999 Bear Miller
Gold Dust September, 1999 April, 2000 Bear Miller