Awards to no-names

September 11, 2008

Categories: Judging, Shows, Societies and groups

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I’m probably one of the lesser folks who should weigh in as I am not overly interested in the thrill of the ribbon chase, except that as the earstwhile president of a local society, I get to shoulder a bit of the burden of trying to win over show visitors into becoming new members.
I would suggest that it be a society-by-society decision, with flexibility granted by the ADS.
I don’t know that not being able to compete for the top dog ribbon has ever been a concern for folks showing up with flowers in their grubby little hands in Georgia. To accomodate these folks, we have set up a special class for the no-name specials, and hand out blue ribbons, which are received with glee.
But, given the state of membership in plant societies in general, and ours in particular, I would think the flexibility to waive rules viewed by a society’s membership as daunting to a potential new member would be a good thing.
If recruiting new members is not an issue for a society, let the rules be more stringent.
If a society needs to be as flexible as possible to encourage people to join and stay joined (recruitment and retention), let the rules be inclusive.
There is always the bon mot regarding ‘beginner’s luck’ = perchance the top ribbon as beginner’s luck should be viewed as a really good way to cement a new member.
I don’t speak for our society, only from my experience of trying to win new members.

One response to “Awards to no-names”

  1. Ross Hotchkiss says:

    Dear Sara…
    You hit the NAIL ON THE HEAD! 
    The price of a ribbon or two to a nervous neophyte who was probably embarassed half to death when entering their first daffodil show with a bunch of flowers that they could not identify is worth the weight of the ribbon in gold.  I should know, I can remember how I felt when I went to my first show some 12-15 years ago with flowers I did not know the names of and now I am honored to be the President of the Virginia Daffodil Society!  It does absolutely no harm and it very well may cement a relationship with those individuals that will bring them back again and again and ultimately lead to memberships in local societies and the ADS!  Well said, my good friend!