Which Los Jardineros activities do you enjoy the most or receive the most benefit? How does the community value Los Jardineros? Can our current activities be reorganized to use less volunteer hours but increase value to our members and/or the community? Post your thoughts and ideas about activity value below
Posted by Judy Weinrobe 9/10/2021. Call me at 214/236-1650 if you wish to discuss my comments! Thanks.
The problems Los Jardineros face are not due to the Pandemic (although it did not help) as about 5-6 years ago it became almost impossible to fill open positions - from Board of Directors to Tour leadership positions.
The tour had become a great success over the years due to a dedicated, but limited, number of members. Each year we measured our success by how we had increased income from tickets and boutique sales over the year before. And, as key players moved from Taos, became less excited about the tour and/or the club, etc., it was more and more difficult to get volunteers for these essential roles.
I believe that the best way for us to move forward is to downsize our expectations for at least a year or so by:
1. Have the tour focus turn from the Garden and Home Tour to simply the Garden Tour. I know that some will be disappointed by not being able to tour the home, but touring the garden is better than no tour at all. Also, maybe one of the venues should be to a "grantee" location and have someone from the Grants Committee there to explain to the attendees how our previous grant made these improvements possible.
2. We "sort of" experienced this by the tours we had this summer limited to members only. I certainly enjoyed the ones I attended.
3. Of course, we will have to adjust the pricing. Which, in turn, will limit the funds for grants. But instead of multiple grants maybe we just have one meaningful grant.
As far as membership is concerned, we have an influx of people moving to the Taos area. Maybe we should encourage our members to invite someone new to a meeting and ask them to join. That is, when we are able to meet as a group again. Once we have identified a group of potential new members, maybe we could have a lunch or tea and have a presentation for these folks to explain what we have done in the past and what we intend to do in the future. Grants committee would be a key presenter, maybe have copies of photo books from the past tours to show what we are capable of, etc.
I am not ready to give up on Los Jardineros and am betting that the general membership isn't either. As far as the tour is concerned, I will help with ticket sales and distribution, working with sponsors or whatever else you need. My question to the membership is "What will you commit to do?"
Susie and Judy, thank you for putting your thoughts into words in this forum. While this might not be the easiest way to communicate these ideas, it is the one way that all the members can share ideas and build off of one another. Perhaps as we get a clearer sense of the thoughts of the membership, someone from the few Board members left will call you about your ideas. But right now we need to get more feedback. If you see or talk to other members please encourage them to reread the email and respond with their thoughts and offers to take on a role, big or small, in operating the organization in whatever form it takes.
Looking at the solutions email sent out by the Board of Directors, I agree that #1 is too much for the Club at the moment. I am a part-timer in Taos and cannot do a lot of the volunteer activities. My husband and I have often been docents, parked cars, etc for the Garden Tour, but jobs that require more responsibility than those are difficult to fit into our lives at the moment.
I like a blend of Solution #2 and #3.
The Garden tours this summer were nice and low key. I think many people are intimidated by the idea of opening their home to a lot of strangers. Touring Gardens only, eliminates that problem. A larger event could include several gardens, artists or musicians, and a museum pairing. Maybe the end of the event could be a garden concert? I think the garden shop was also popular.
I don’t think we need food at meetings. I think that position can be deleted. Not many people eat anything due to dietary restrictions and with Covid, who knows when it will be safe to have food out anyway!
I do think we need to get more young people involved. I am a member of the Facebook group Taos Farm and Garden. There are so many great gardeners and farmers in that group. They are full of information about vegetable gardening and farming. I would love to hear talks or go to farms to learn about composting, growing starts, hoop houses, and acequias just to name a few subjects of interest. If we reached out to that group, we might find some new members. They might not have high end gardens to show off, but they might have every day gardens that show how they have overcome the climate to make things grow.
I would, also, like to see social events with the garden club. I always enjoy getting a chance to chat with other gardeners, but 10 minutes before a meeting is not enough and all other events are too busy. Maybe some cocktail garden party’s could happen. There could be a fee and a limit on participants. We could have a guest bartender making drinks with a flower theme.
I think we should struggle onward and not give up on the club just yet. I should be able to take on more tasks by this winter or spring.