Thunder Bay Aquarium Society – Report on October and September Meetings and Club Wellbeing
At the most recent TBAS meeting we had 7 attendees which is higher than our 3 attendees in September. We have come to the realization through voiced opinion of members that our newest meeting location at the public library on the south side is not optimal for our meetings and we need a more central location that is larger and would still be free. Members came forward with a few ideas. It was suggested that we ask to return to the College at a discounted rate in their new public space building recently erected. Another suggestion being a meeting room at a local bookstore/coffeehouse which is supposedly free further investigation is still needed. Finally, one member stepped forward and is willing to host the meeting in her home which would give us much more space would still be free. If the club grows to a larger size as it was in the previous two years, we intend on looking for a church or hall to hold our meetings in that is within our narrow price range.
Our club is struggling with having members return to meetings at all or returning regularly. We have a reliable small group that attend every meeting but the rest of the crowd seems to be unwilling to commit to the club giving legitimate excuses like school stress, young children and busy work schedules. We recently had to change from Saturday meetings to Tuesday meetings to avoid an $85 room fee every time we met at the college to a free small study room we can occupy on Tuesday evenings which based on the last 2 months of meetings has not been optimal.
To try and encourage members to come back to the club meetings we have worked to get more volunteers to help run our club we had one person step forward and they will be helping with setup and social media presence and so far has been very helpful. We had 2 other regular members agree to continue coming regularly and work to help setup chairs and tables and try and welcome newcomers to the club trying to get them situated so it is not as awkward of an ordeal for new people. Our current board of people who organize the club is a small group of 3 that reliably commit to planning club events and running the club however our lives have become busier and we hope after our 2 years of service to the club we can move to a more backseat position and allow new people to step forward and take the club in the right direction.
Throughout many meetings last year we had many people interested in the BAP and HAP programs offered by CAOAC and we struggled to get it off the ground with no solid guide on how to set it up and for our members to contribute or participate to it. Many fish breeding’s have gone unrecorded as have plant propagations and flowerings within the club and we are hoping this year with a smaller group of members we can focus better on getting the BAP and HAP programs running. At the October meeting there still seemed to be general interest in the programs as members shared their fish breeding stories. One individual is trying to breed axolotls. One is preparing for swordtail fry. Another has had angels, blue acaras, red head Tapajos breed in their community tank. Another member over the last few months has bred bristlenose plecos both long fin and short fin albino varieties, they have bred fathead minnows, white cloud mountain minnows, neolamprologus multifaciatus, fairy cichlids and angelfish.
In our recent meeting our members came forward to us and would like to do another type of activity where we as a club watch an educational video for 5-30 minutes of the club time and talk about it. For the video suggestions so far we have species spotlights from a variety of youtubers and some more documentary style videos as well as collecting trip videos from South America. With such a small tight knit group we all know what each other keeps and we spend most of the club time enjoying chatting and catching up with our fish projects. Last year we would play a few different games to keep new people and experienced members alike working together to win prizes however this year we hope to take a different approach and do more activities with members rather than playing games especially if numbers remain low. Some have voiced an interest in hands on how to’s such as hatching baby brine shrimp and making DIY things for our aquariums which is certainly an option if we are organized and have time to prepare.