This article appeared in RCQG's member newsletter in May 2023
In March 2020, in-person RCQG meetings were no longer permitted. Given that, it was a straightforward decision to move to Zoom. The guild thrived - attracting new members every month. As COVID restrictions lifted, some members wanted to return to in-person meetings while others preferred to stay online. RCQG developed the hybrid meeting model we used during the 2022-2023 year as a way of offering each member their preferred format. We wrote about our model for CQA:
The costs for high-quality speakers, speaker travel, venue rental and technician time make this an expensive undertaking in Guelph.
The Executive began to look for another option for the 2023-2024 year and turned to our members for input. As the Executive reviewed member responses to the February survey, three themes emerged:
- Some of our local members are unable to drive at night making in-person meetings unavailable to them.
- Those attending in-person meetings want more time and space to mingle than regular guild meetings at the Lakeside Church provide.
- Those attending virtual meetings are generally satisfied with their experience.
The Executive invited a representative from Waterloo County Quilters' Guild to tell us about what they have been offering their members this year. Inspired by Waterloo’s experience, the Executive has made plans for RCQG’s next chapter. Most of the RCQG experience will remain in place:
- Your favourite special events will continue including the Summer Mystery and International Quilting Day.
- RCQG will continue to support special interest groups.
- Outreach to Guelph General Hospital Birthing and Sexual Abuse and Domestic Violence will continue even as we expand our involvement in the community.
- We will continue offering our highly successful workshops on Zoom.
- Aly will continue to host virtual sew days on the second Saturday of the month.
Each month, the general membership meetings with guest speakers will be offered exclusively via Zoom. This is the most cost-effective way to bring the high-quality speakers members have come to expect and the majority of members like the virtual format.
Beginning September 2023, we will also offer an in-person Monthly Mingle on a weekend day so those still in the workforce and those who cannot drive at night may participate if they wish. The Monthly Mingles will be held at the spacious Community Living Guelph Wellington facility and will run from 10 am to 3:30 pm [Eastern] allowing time and space for plenty of in-person interactions. Each Monthly Mingle will provide in-person access to a variety of programs within the guild including the Library, community outreach projects, and the Membership table. RCQG’s member survey indicated ongoing interest in demo days and member trunk shows. Activities like those will be included as part of each monthly event. Bring your completed quilts for Show and Share or to get a good photograph. The Monthly Mingles may require a modest participation fee to defray expenses. This is common practice in other area guilds. Moreover, 58% of RCQG members who attend in-person meetings indicated their support of fees to participate in activities that generate additional expenses.
The Guild Executive interpreted many of the member comments in the February survey as a wish list. We think the planned mix of virtual and in-person meetings ticks the boxes next to the majority of the items included on the wish list.