Part 5 - The New Millennium
The Rainbeaus entered the new millennium with great hopes for the future. The membership was stable, the finances were strong, and the members continued to contribute their time and energy and talents to the benefit of the club. Some members have been able to effectively utilize some of the technological advances available now. The newsletter is now very professional and sophisticated, with color and photographic additions unavailable before these advances. The financial reports are also much more detailed and sophisticated and understandable. Our marketing brochures and flyers are more attractive and, hopefully, more effective. A Web site has been created and developed for all club members and interested parties, with multiple means of sending and receiving information through our computers. Of course, person-to-person communication still remains one of the most effective means of giving and getting information and is necessary because not everyone has access to a computer.
In conjunction with communication issues, Timmy Cole suggested that the club hold a...
...seminar or retreat, a day or two of sharing ideas and dreams for
the club. All members were invited to attend. A "Visionary Retreat" was
held in 2000, and it was quite a wonderful experience for us all (though
all were very tired by the end of the day). Hundreds of ideas came out
of this retreat with all of the people participating.
One suggestion brought forward was that the club should offer to host an IAGSDC Convention. A committee of interested members got together to study the feasibility of this endeavor, went on to present their findings and recommendations to the club, and the club then voted to move ahead and submit a bid to the IAGSDC Executive Board. The bid was accepted, and we have been awarded the 2007 Convention, Red Rocks and Purple Mountains. This event will occupy the time and energies of a committee of 10 and many, if not all, of our members over the next few years. The Committee will incorporate and become a separate entity from the Club but will rely on the membership to assist in planning and executing all of the various tasks necessary to present a successful and enjoyable convention.
The Club has continued to offer classes for beginners through the advanced level. We have tried a new approach to beginning classes over the last year or so, running three 8-week sessions to complete the Mainstream Program. The results of this new approach and whether to continue it are being evaluated now by the Board of Directors. Issues around recruiting, finances, and participation are being considered. We have been very fortunate to be able to offer live callers/instructors for our club over the last 10 years. Many members from the earlier days of the Club learned to dance to tapes and records with a facilitator to run the equipment and help with the instruction. Bear Miller has continued to be our own club caller, much to the delight of the Club. He has just recently suggested that we hire another caller to add to the diversity of callers for the students and the membership. At his suggestion, we did just that, and now Charlie Robertson has joined the ranks of our Club. Charlie is new to Denver and was looking to calling here in town. What a gift he has become and what generosity Bear has displayed in giving up some of his time with the Club in order to bring Charlie into the fold.
A few new traditions have made their appearance in the 2000's. Probably the most popular one has been "Timmy's Closet Dance". Timmy Cole invited us all to share in the wearing of his collection of costumes that he has accumulated over time. He had a potluck dinner at his place a few weeks before the initial dance, and we then took time to try-on and choose the costume that we wanted to wear to the dance. What fun that was! The night of the dance, everyone made their appearance in grand style! This has become an annual event now, and the popularity of the event has extended into the "straight" community as well. The Denver Area Square and Round Dance Council (DASRDC) orbiting squares group came to this event to "Steal the Banner", and have not stopped talking about it since. They have returned each year, and this has provided them with a memorable evening that they won't soon forget.
The Board of Directors has added an additional award, The "Pot of Gold" award. The Board felt that it would be a good idea to periodically recognize the efforts made by individuals on behalf of the Club and its activities. Generally, it is presented in conjunction with a particular activity, event, or task accomplished by the individual. A plaque is given to the person at a club event so that public recognition is part of the process.
Two Fly-ins have been hosted by the Club since the start of this decade: 2001--Explode the Rockies and 2003-Mountain Mix. Another is planned for 2005 with hopes of increased attendance (as in 2003), and to encourage more participation for the 2007 IAGSDC Convention.
The Rainbelles, our drag contingent, have increased numbers of participants and are being seen more frequently these days. Always fun to see, this group adds another dimension to the club that everyone can enjoy.
As always, we will continue to offer dance, social, and recreational activities. We will begin planning our Pridefest activities in the very near future, plan and organize our Benefit Dance for May (the beneficiary this year will be our dance home, the Washington Street Community Center). We will continue to hone our dance skills in preparation for the 2006 Convention in Phoenix (July 4th weekend), and plan and schedule new classes in the upcoming months. The Board of Directors has their work cut out for themselves, as usual, and will lead the Club through another successful year of activities.
Looking forward, there will be, undoubtedly, new traditions started, while cherishing and continuing the existing ones. Recruiting new members, while retaining current ones, is always an important issue to address. The presentation of the 2007 Convention will be a major focus in the coming years. Perhaps there will be a way to help establish new GLBT square dance clubs in the state of Colorado. Another "Visionary Retreat" may be in order to explore other possibilities within the Club. Having just celebrated our 20th Anniversary, we all look forward to the next 20 years of great camaraderie, good friends, and fun activities. Thank you all for all you have done, all you have been, and all that you will contribute to this wonderful organization in the future.