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A place for Young Re-enactors to Connect

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[Feb. 24th, 2010|08:07 am]
A place for Young Re-enactors to Connect

re_enact_youth

[littlefan]
Hi everyone!

I'm a long time lurker here but this is my first post. I joined back in the summer when my reenacting unit was finally getting off the ground. We were five years in the making, but the small but mighty 7th Battalion 60th of Foot ("Royal Americans") finally hit the field at the battle of Fort Erie in Ontario last August. We also participated in the battle of Ogdensburg in New York this past weekend.

We're a War of 1812 unit based in southern Ontario. Most of us are from the Greater Toronto Area, but we also have a couple of members in Cornwall. We're all in our mid-to-late 20s. Most of us have worked (or are currently working) as museum staff at various historical forts. I'm a veteran of the Fort York guard in Toronto, myself. I worked there for three summers during university, two of them as second in command (corporal). I’ve now moved on from being the shortest one in the guard—and the only woman—to being the shortest one in the 60th and still the only woman (although we’re hoping to fix that one of these days.)

Glad to meet you all!

Now, on to the point of my post. I'm hoping some of you who have been in this hobby for a while can offer a bit of advice. Now that we’ve fielded twice and have convinced people that we’re around to stay, we face the ever-present challenge of recruiting new members.

So I’m wondering, what have you found to be some of the best ways of finding and attracting new people to the hobby? Have you found that some things work better than others?

So far, we’ve had a few nibbles from people who have found out about us through our facebook group. Since we’re gearing the unit toward younger folks anyway, we figure the web and facebook are some of our best bets, so we’ll keep those well maintained and up to date. We’ve also talked about making business cards to give to anyone who expresses interest during an event. But is there anything else we should try?
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: chocolatepot
2010-02-24 03:37 pm (UTC)

Possibly a long shot

I admit that my knowledge of re-enacting groups is all from reading on the internet/talking to people rather than experience, but maybe you could try to attract a women's group that could act as dependents at events, and they might induce their male friends/brothers/fathers/sons to join up ...?
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[User Picture]From: littlefan
2010-02-24 08:59 pm (UTC)

Re: Possibly a long shot

Unfortunately, in my experience, it tends to work the other way around. A boyfriend/husband/brother/father joins a unit, and eventually his girlfriend/wife/sister/mother tags along to see what all the fuss is about. If they enjoy it, they tend to stick around. We're hoping that will work a little bit for us. Our newest recruit is a friend of mine who came out to take pictures of a few events and enjoyed himself so much he decided to join the unit. So having members invite others is, I think, a worthwhile approach.
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From: sgtgrant
2012-04-14 06:39 pm (UTC)

Re: Possibly a long shot

Agreed, but I still think that if you have a Jane Austen society in the area, it wouldn't hurt to turn up at one of their events, and try to persuade boyfriends/husbands to join your unit as well, has worked here in the Ntherlands for one or two units ;-). Like snoop, I'd advise tagging along on events that somehow are on the fringe of your own re-enactments, like historical festivals that are not predominantly about your period, nationality-festivals like Germany-Day or some such if you can prove that a number of your original unit's recruits came from there, and the like...
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[User Picture]From: snoopdoggydawg
2010-02-25 07:04 pm (UTC)
Business cards are great; brochures are even better. Having a presence on the internet is helpful - in my group, all the recent interest we've had has been through people finding us on the internet. Only one person has joined in the past year because they new someone in the group.

You never know where you'll meet a potential new recruit, so the best thing to do is to develop good networks. You've already got a start by having several members who work at historic sites. They can put the word out there. Ask those sites to put out brochures. Mostly, just telling anyone and everyone about it is the best shot - someone will know someone who thinks this would be fun, and then they pass the word along...do not underestimate word of mouth.

Also, consider doing a variety of events. Don't just go to invitation-only history heavy events, you'll never meet potential recruits. Set up at local historic sites, do school demonstrations, give talks at libraries. The more visible you are, the more readily people can find you.

I'm in charge of membership in my organization - can you tell? ;)
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