A letter from Mark Aquino:
The District President, Ausra Geaski of Connecticut, approached me about eight months ago and asked me to initiate and drive an effort aimed at finding out what we could do about turning around the declining attendance at our regionals — particularly amongst our Flight B players. Our first meeting was held in Newton in January. It was an outstanding kickoff that generated a lot of excitement. That first meeting was essentially a brainstorming session, and we generated a lot of great ideas. One big lesson from our kickoff meeting in Newton was that the attendance issue was not specific or unique to Flight B players, and if we wanted to get more Flight B players, we would have to turn our attention to Flight A as well because they indeed were a big part of the problem. We realized that we needed to focus on what is indeed the lion's share of our membership — our Flight C players. 73% of District 25’s members have fewer than 500 masterpoints!
Unfortunately, when we tried to put some actions behind the good intentions and great ideas, we found very few folks who were ready, willing, and able to devote the extensive amount of time and energy that would be required to turn these ideas into actions. Also, the size of the meeting was a bit unwieldy for developing a consensus or generating a list of priorities. Our first meeting was almost exclusively attended by local EMBA players. If we were going to be successful in driving attendance increase across the district, we were going to need to get representation from across the district. I asked our unit presidents to appoint one or two reps to attend our second meeting, which we held in Cromwell in February, and my focus now was to develop a list of action plans.
I eventually came up with the name "The B's Needs" for this team, and it seems to have stuck. In Cromwell we asked the unit representatives to take on the one thing that was most important to them and see what they could develop in a few months time.
We most recently met in Sturbridge where we compared notes on progress made against all initiatives.
Bridge is a great game. Keeping the focus on the positive messages and opportunities that have been articulated in the various “B’s Needs” meetings should serve as an excellent starting point for our being able to turn the tide on attendance, finances, hospitality, conduct . These are all interrelated, significant issues that threaten our sustained ability to provide an affordable and exciting product for our members. The biggest accomplishment this team has made in such a short period of time is that it has generated and galvanized excitement and enthusiasm for a cause that is absolutely critical for our district. The B’s Needs unit reps represent a refreshing new layer of volunteer leadership. We need to keep expanding our involvement.
Minutes of the 3 meetings that were held this year are on the website. Please read them and let your unit reps know how you can help. We need you to make this work!