On February 19, 2010 John Grismore, Steve Plank, Joyce Ritchie and Arden Strycker met to discuss expectations, directions and goals for the club, with the intent of establishing one or more focused club goals for the near future. The effort began by creating a short list of personal reasons for involvement in the club, by the meeting attendees. It quickly became obvious that our motivations and expectations for the club, hopefully representative of the overall club membership, spanned a broad range. These include the desire to learn more about the stars and gain observing experience, interest in access to a dark club observing site, involvement with like-minded people with similar astronomy interests, the chance to share a passion for astronomy with others, and broader opportunities to promote astronomy education.
With those basic reasons for club participation, the analysis of club directions was extended by estimating the relative mix of experienced to novice members and active to passive members. This revealed that BAS membership currently contains a significant proportion of experienced members, and a roughly equal mix of active, participating members to passive, less involved members. In addition, a cursory guesstimate of non-members who have recently expressed interest in the club, not surprisingly, indicates a higher proportion of novices. This appears to be a reasonable mix, providing considerable opportunity for beneficial interactions between experienced and novice individuals, and may point out valuable, overall club directions.
Having established the foundation explained above, meeting attendees compiled a short list of their most important club goals, then prioritized the list and isolated the highest priority items as possibilities for focused effort in the near future. The highest priority resulting from this process is the need to establish a mechanism for planning, coordinating and promoting additional non-meeting club activities. This would center on, but not be limited to, member-only star parties, observing sessions, and equipment demonstrations, comparisons, maintenance and training. Notable secondary goals are to organize a robust method for informing members of future activities and provide a convenient forum for the exchange of astronomical expertise, and the need to more widely distribute responsibility for club duties, such as editing the newsletter and meeting notes, maintaining the web site and planning meeting programs.
It was decided that, unless negative feedback is provided from the membership, the club's primary near term goal will be to establish a method for planning, coordinating and promoting non-meeting club activities. Details for implementing this goal will be developed and member input is encouraged.