Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Start Your Own Goat Club!

I love clubs and associations and societies and organizations and what-not. I love getting together with like-minded people who share the same interests to yack about those interests. I have been involved in my professional society through my job at both the local and national levels for years. Professional societies for occupations are a great way to keep up the learning and to motivate yourself when your job gets blah.

My passion for clubs started in high school. One of my friends encouraged me to join the Eco-Club when I was a sophomore. Up until this point I had never been involved in anything extra-curricular at school. All it took was one Eco-Club meeting and I was hooked! By the end of sophomore year I was in three different clubs and having a blast.

I still have a passion for clubs. When I heard there was St. Lawrence Valley Dairy Goat Association, I drove an hour and a half to the meeting and had a wonderful time meeting new people who also raised dairy goats. Unfortunately the SLVDGA was centered around Potsdam/Canton which pretty far away from my house. I can't make it to many of the meetings due to the travel time.

Last year I decided to remedy the lack of a local goat club and start my own. The Adirondack Goat Club was created as a group where local goat owners and potential goat owners could get together in order to share information, education, resources and goats. The area goat community is small but vibrant. In order not to exclude anyone, I decided that the ADK Goat Club should accept all types and breeds of goats. There is a lot of cross-over around here between meat, fiber, and dairy goat breeders. Most people have more than one breed of goat and more than one type. Due to lack of variety and a desire to consolidate resources, many dairy goat breeders will crossbreed their goats with meat goats and many fiber goat owners crossbreed with dairy goats or meat goats. There's very few "purebred" breeders who won't crossbreed when needed.

To start the club all I did was post a couple of meeting announcements on Craigslist, send in a meeting announcement to the local paper, and alert the surrounding goat clubs to my intent. People were very supportive and I had about 20 goat owners show up to the first meeting. Some of them were old friends that I had worked with their goats before, some of them were new people who I had not known had goats. Many awesome connections were made that day.

Other meetings since have been well-attended. We have meetings every other month. The meetings are on the weekends and are a potluck lunch. Meeting locations rotate between the farms of the members. This way no one person gets burnt out hosting all the meetings. Also rotating locations allows a variety of people to attend based on where they live.

The club is free to join. There's not a lot of expenses for the club so I didn't want to charge membership dues and have to track people down each year to get them to pay up. Contacts and updates for the club are run through email and a blog. I maintain an email list of all the club members. I send out periodic email updates with meeting announcements, articles of interest, goats for sale, equipment for sale, and goat events. The blog is free to maintain and open to the public. I update it with much of the same information that goes out through the emails. The blog allows new people to check out the club and allows members to keep updated with what is going on just be checking it on the web.

If your area is lacking a goat club, I recommend starting one today! It's a great way to meet like-minded people and to have a lot of fun enjoying goats. In the future I hope the ADK Goat Club can host events for the public around the area, get involved in the local fairs and farmer's markets, and continue to spread education to all about the wonderful world of goats!

1 comment:

Dee Daniels said...

Thank you for such an encouraging blog!!