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35428RE: Greying of Units & Gas Prices

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  • Dale Kidd
    Feb 28, 2008
      'Round and 'round and 'round we go...

      Seems to me I've mentioned both of these issues in the past, and I'm
      not the only one. We need to look at some realistic methods of
      dealing with both of these issues, aseither or both of them has
      potential to seriously harm (or eventually destroy) our hobby in the
      long run.

      Greying: My own unit, the Provincial Marine, has been seriously
      deficient the past few years in recruiting and keeping new recruits,
      particularly younger ones. And we are one of the few units with the
      benefit of some government funding, which means we can even afford to
      subsidize the participation of new reenactors. As a result, our field
      strength at events has seriously diminished, and there is
      considerable concern regarding our ability to field a reasonable
      number of members by the time the bicentennial events start in 2012.
      There seem to be many reasons for the recruiting problems we face in
      the reenacting community, but I daresay cost is NOT the most
      problematic. I can speak from my own experience in saying that trying
      to juggle the hobby with my job and family obligations is far more
      challenging than the cost issue. If there is any way to alleviate
      this, I certainly don't know what it is, or I'd be using it myself.
      (Winning the lottery would work, but let's keep this realistic...)I
      personally have to allocate my few precious vacation days for events
      that I feel are most desireable to attend, to the detriment of other
      events also deserving of attendance. This is the reality of most 20
      to 55 year old reenactors who have shiftwork as a part of their
      occupational lifestyle. Point? The more members we have, the more
      that will be available to attend any given event. Recruit, recruit,
      recruit!

      Gas: No question, the cost of getting to events is starting to become
      an issue for many of us. Many reenactors are being forced to limit
      their participation to events geographically closer to their homes,
      and their effective range limit is shrinking annually as gasoline
      prices increase. Larger vehicles, such as the popular minivans, are
      becoming expensive to drive; small fuel-efficient cars do not offer
      sufficient space for transporting a family and all their camping
      gear. (Heck, you can't fit a Bess into some of the smaller cars I've
      seen, by ANY trick of positioning!)Options such as carpooling and
      unit bussing are likely to start becoming a LOT more common in the
      next few years if trends continue. I personally envision some units
      actually purchasing passenger vans or surplus mini-busses to get
      their membership to events, with trailers to haul their gear.

      The crux of the matter is, these and other issues need to be
      addressed, whether by the reenacting community at large, the units,
      and the individual reenactors. If we fail to deal with them
      appropriately, our hobby, and it's contribution to the historical
      education of the public, will fade into extinction.

      ~Dale
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