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Thread: Observations about the mutiple posts involving the past nationals and our sport

  1. #11
    PapaRob is offline
    Team:
    48th Virginia Infantry
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    How I have approached it is I always keep a spare kit around minus the littles as I call them. I keep a generic uniform or two. I buy them when I can get them inexpensively, same thing for leather gear. I have a few muskets I don't use and a few I picked up cheap that I have tuned into skirmishing weapons over time and I have basic loads for them all set up to go. The littles you take the newbie out at a skirmish and show them where to get them who to look to for what and explain what all those pieces are for...it's called mentoring and it's HUGE in the newbie experience.

    Now that being said the buying and selling wheeling and dealing can be a large part of the enjoyments for some who are just getting into skirmishing too so knowing who you are working with is important too. A couple of guys I have brought in LUUUUVVV the wheeling and dealing so those of course only need guidance in what to start looking for and where to find them. They will start with a "loaner" setup and acquire their own over time and need less and less until they are self sufficient. Others want a basic setup out of the gate so I help them source what they need and keep them from getting rooked as best I can.

    One of the big hurdles for a lot of newbies is the learning curve of the background arts of skirmishing. Molding rounds, powder level adjustment understanding environmental influences and how to compensate for them, body mechanics all those things that a lot of them aren't used to in modern shooting for the most part. So that mentoring and educating has to be an integral part of any team based recruiting. Everyone on the team that is experienced has to be willing to educate and not denigrate. People and kids especially these days aren't used to having to learn so many different arts to get to an end result so you have to make that part of the process fun too we find those to be perfect unit bonding experiences and educational opportunities.

    One thing I encourage with all my new guys is when you run across a stellar deal (especially the wheeler dealers) and it's not going to hurt you financially really, pick it up and turn it into a loaner setup. In other words pay the help you have been given forward and bring skirmishing to someone else.

    Think about it... How many of us guys that have been in this more than 5 or ten years have at least one or two "safe queens" that we never shoot and aren't collector pieces? Maybe we just never took the time to work it up, or couldn't get it to the level of accuracy we want etc..etc...put it in action. Even if it won't hold a minute of pigeon group it would be just fine for getting some smoke in a newbie's nose to get them hooked. Same thing for gear and uniform pieces. Then you help the newbies find a weapon that IS more accurate or sell it to them if they really really like it and show them what steps they will need to take to get it to be a tack driver...see, more of that educating going on there.

    Another phenomenon we are facing in our society at large these days is that as the world becomes more and more connected people are getting more and more isolated. We can help buck that trend ya know? You show some of those folks that they can be around people and have a great time and not feel so isolated then guess what? You have made someone a skirmisher for life. How many of us see Skirmishing as our refuge or in today's societal term "safe space"? *eyeroll* I know, I know....but if you think about it one of the big joys in skirmishing is seeing people you haven't seen in a while, drinking a few beers together catching up, telling lies, laughing, crying whatever you do. That's a BIG part of the skirmishing experience. It's hard to express that to newbies so you have to show it to them. How do you do that? Get them on the firing line...that's the one common shared experience in skirmishing and gives everyone out there common ground to yak about and once that starts then it can become that place where you make lifelong friends and family.

    Probably more than ya really wanted to hear.

    PapaRob
    R. Harrison
    Commander
    48th Virginia Infantry
    "Mountain Boomers"
    PSALMS 144 1-9

  2. #12
    Harry Gaul's Avatar
    Harry Gaul is offline
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    3rd US Regular Infantry
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    Jul 2006
    Location
    East Petersburg, PA
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    Region:
    Middle Atlantic - New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey

    Why did you join and why would you leave?

    A quick survey of these posts are full of accolades from long and short time members. For many of us, it has been years since "We saw the elephant" (for me, 40 years with the same team). Many of us will count the days until the Snowball, Early bird, and those early skirmishes where we join again and enjoy skirmishing. With declining membership, should we not be asking why did a person leave? After getting someone to a skirmish and letting them try their hand at shooting in a team setting, what is there not to like? A quick survey of the co- NSSA/boy scout event shows that the mentors and young people are having a good time. How many young people from this event will become skirmishers? Is there any benefit to conduct a survey of members who have left skirmishing? Does the Association have such an instrument? We all can attest to why a person should stay, but does the Association have any idea of why a person left the friendly confines of Fort Shenandoah and one of the thirteen Regions.

    If we can not get a first hand account, is there any benefit from asking a fellow team mate in a second hand way why they thought the team mate left? The reasons for leaving may be something we can not control. On the other hand, it could give the Association a "window" to what the Association can change to keep members from becoming MIA.

    True Blue and Diamond Hard,
    Harry
    03626v

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
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    Region:
    Potomac - Virginia, Maryland and Delaware

    Exit survey??

    I've recommended in the past the importance of trying to ID causal factors in folks giving up skirmishing - I've even provided two DRAFT versions of Exit Surveys for consideration/use.

    Viable organizations concerned with surviving, seek to find & eliminate those issues which are a detriment in recruiting/retaining talented members.

    So as to entice departing members to give some feedback as to WHY they are leaving, why not offer a SMALL and minimal costing CARROT? Everyone can use gas, why not offer a $20 Sheetz gas card for their valuable input? We have their contact info, so finding them isn't a mystery. Send a SIMPLE one page survey with self addressed stamped envelope. If we get said survey back, they get a shiny new gift card. We get info that may shed light on something that has been under the radar to the leadership, and they get something for their time and effort.
    Semper Fi,
    Rob Freeman
    WBR
    Col, USMC (Ret.) '87 - '19

    The quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor. - Vince Lombardi

  4. #14
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Zionsville, IN
    Posts
    376
    Region:
    Midwest - Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana
    ting bullets
    Quote Originally Posted by Rob FreemanWBR View Post
    I've recommended in the past the importance of trying to ID causal factors in folks giving up skirmishing - I've even provided two DRAFT versions of Exit Surveys for consideration/use.

    Viable organizations concerned with surviving, seek to find & eliminate those issues which are a detriment in recruiting/retaining talented members.

    So as to entice departing members to give some feedback as to WHY they are leaving, why not offer a SMALL and minimal costing CARROT? Everyone can use gas, why not offer a $20 Sheetz gas card for their valuable input? We have their contact info, so finding them isn't a mystery. Send a SIMPLE one page survey with self addressed stamped envelope. If we get said survey back, they get a shiny new gift card. We get info that may shed light on something that has been under the radar to the leadership, and they get something for their time and effort.
    Rob,

    I retired from skirmishing in January 2019 after 30 years.
    My reward for stating the reasons I retired are the lifelong friendships made over three decades.

    Skirmishing takes a LOT of time. Casting bullets, making sharps rounds, maintaining shooting and camping equipment is time consuming. In the Midwest region the minimum drive is one hour for one skirmish, two hours for two skirmishes (one of the two as host) and four hours for the balance of the schedule.

    Early on there were many skirmishers in the area, we practiced and traveled together. As membership dwindled practice and travel became solidarity (and I am quite comfortable in my own company) but the Sunday afternoon drive from Centerburg was killer.

    I lived in a house full of women and my wife always accommodated my hobby, providing, drink and comfort. Once our daughters grew up I didn't need to "get away" anymore. For many years my family attended skirmishes with me but it never their thing, they wanted to be with me and some of our longtime friends. Laura and I can camp anywhere, anytime now and the shooting ranges including Ft. Shenandoah are not desirable. There are so many places we've never been!

    I am still active in the shooting sports, Steel Challenge, USPSA and outlaw pin and steel matches at a local range. I can attend a match on Saturday be home in the afternoon with time do do other things. Steel Challenge is a division of USPSA and growing rapidly.

    Memberships in USPSA are individual, one does not need to join a team. It's tough to assimilate into a group of people together for 10, 20, 30 years or more.

    Recruiting a skirmisher is tough, it's like adopting a new best friend. I've had recruits that thought it was the best thing ever until I told them it was time to make their own ammo! One time I arrived at a skrimish on a wet Saturday afternoon. Leaning against a camper was a beautiful, rusted 1855 rifle musket. I thought to myself, who the hell would leave such a fine rifle-musket out in the rain? My drunk recruit, my Nixon built 1855!

    Anyhow, the reason I retired from skirmishing is after thirty years I want to spend my time on other activities.

    Regards,

    Jim Mulligan 7288V

  5. #15
    Rick R is offline
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    Thanks for sharing Jim. A couple of takeaways, first; no matter how hard we try to carefully on-board people at some point they either catch the infection or they do not. There's only so much we can do to make it easy. I love the "new best friend" analogy. That takes time and patience. People leaving after 30 years to do things they were too busy skirmishing to do for 30 years is not our problem!

    Another distinction that has occurred to me after reading and rereading this thread is the difference between making that first skirmish a success and getting someone out to it in the first place. I'd hazard a guess that we are better prepared for loaning out equipment, delivering the safety pitch etc. than we are getting them out to that first event.

  6. #16
    PapaRob is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick R View Post
    Thanks for sharing Jim. A couple of takeaways, first; no matter how hard we try to carefully on-board people at some point they either catch the infection or they do not. There's only so much we can do to make it easy. I love the "new best friend" analogy. That takes time and patience. People leaving after 30 years to do things they were too busy skirmishing to do for 30 years is not our problem!

    Another distinction that has occurred to me after reading and rereading this thread is the difference between making that first skirmish a success and getting someone out to it in the first place. I'd hazard a guess that we are better prepared for loaning out equipment, delivering the safety pitch etc. than we are getting them out to that first event.
    Rick about that getting them out there to the first event... Yeah that's surely a big hurdle. Our unit's home range is Ft Shenandoah so we use the facility as part of the draw to get them out. We will have them out and show them around put some smoke up their nose with different weapons, have lunch or whatever and we do it as a group. It's very rarely just one of us taking a prospective member out.

    The guys out in the regions have a tougher hill to climb in my opinion. I don't know what kinds of facilities they have to work with or anything so that may or may not work for them. So those teams will have to play to their particular strengths to get someone out initially. Could be that the team is very competitive in the rankings, could be that they have a rich involvement with living history outside of the actual skirmishes, they could be very socially active...it could be anything. The key is the unit has to identify and be honest about what their particular strengths and weaknesses are. Once they have that worked out then they can figure out what part of that is a draw to potential new members and what is a turnoff to them. Then they can put together strategies to play to their particular strengths.

    I have often said "recruiting for the N-SSA isn't a sales pitch cause you really have nothing to sell. It's a seduction, You have to make them want it before you open the door for them."
    R. Harrison
    Commander
    48th Virginia Infantry
    "Mountain Boomers"
    PSALMS 144 1-9

  7. #17
    Lou Lou Lou is offline
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    In addition to pairing a prospective member with a nearby team, we invite them to any of the six nearby skirmish ranges we use. We try to make getting started as easy as possible. The biggest issue is the time you need to devote to casting, load work up and skirmishing. 2019 was a good year for our region adding eight new members.
    Lou Lou Lou Ruggiero
    Tammany Regt-42nd NYVI

  8. #18
    PapaRob is offline
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    48th Virginia Infantry
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    Central Virginia - Virginia and North Carolina
    Quote Originally Posted by Lou Lou Lou View Post
    In addition to pairing a prospective member with a nearby team, we invite them to any of the six nearby skirmish ranges we use. We try to make getting started as easy as possible. The biggest issue is the time you need to devote to casting, load work up and skirmishing. 2019 was a good year for our region adding eight new members.
    Outstanding!
    Keep up that momentum!
    One way we deal with the casting is that we turn it into a unit activity. Coordinating it can be trick but once someone takes part in one of our ?Arsenal Runs? as we call them they get more into it and it becomes a teaching/learning opportunity. Load development work up is easier once you teach them the basics of it. They seem to grab on to experimenting with loads on their own from there. That being said some newbies will do a lot of it on their own from the outset, all people are different though so you can?t be too rigid in the approach to all this.

    PapaRob
    R. Harrison
    Commander
    48th Virginia Infantry
    "Mountain Boomers"
    PSALMS 144 1-9

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