Mark Little, Dave Duguid, Howard Holgate, and Ken Walsh were in attendance. Some members find the 7:30 PM general meeting time to be difficult, but I-40 rush hour traffic in the eastbound direction prevents an earlier start time. Discussion will be held at a meeting before the times are changed. However, Dave reiterated his intention to begin the meetings on time.
The officers discussed the possibility of moving the meeting place somewhere else in the Triangle. However, no other place in the Triangle came to mind that would have the same desirable qualities found in the Museum location. The officers think that the meeting place needs to feel more welcoming above the surface. Howard is going to ask a member to build a sandwich board that we can sit near the street before meetings and maybe even include LED lights to make the sign easy to see. We will also start asking a member or two to stay upstairs and act as greeters for possible new members.
Discussion turned to programs for the coming year. With more coordination at this challenging task, the topics can be announced at the previous meeting, across the list serve, and on the web page. Some officers proposed that programs should be aimed toward attracting and sticking new people to the grotto. These two programs would include geology, flora, and fauna. Other topics include the exploratory cave dive videos (e.g., Wakulla Springs), materials from the NSS Library, open forum, blasting, and conservation.
Outreach was the next subject of discussion, beginning with an identification of key demographics that might be attracted to caving as a sport and where to find them (e.g., Cisco). Grotto activities would be considered a good socialization for young people, and Howard suggested that a canned program could be presented with these groups.
The officers also discussed advertising across the web by sharing external links with other local outdoors groups (e.g., rock climbing groups, Carolina Canoe Club, Sierra Club, cycling clubs, outdoors stores, and BOK). A way to get more hits on the web page would be to say “Cave locations” and then follow it with “…are not disclosed on the web. Come to our meeting.”
Discussion then turned to participation on trips. Several alternatives were discussed (family trips, combining trips with the Virginia Creeper Trail or other activities, and alternative departure times). These activities could be improved with college leaders and people hoping to excite their children about the outdoors. It may even be possible to recruit people at activities such as the Eno River Festival.
· Howard will test the internet speed at the next meeting to understand if streaming the meetings would be possible.
· Howard will ask a member to build a sandwich board to place outside before meetings.
· Ken will try to identify a graphic artist to help us design the sandwich board message.
· Dave will work on a program presentation that describes how running a kids trip is different than one for adults, including items such as the parent:child ratio and picking an appropriate cave.
· Dave will repeat his cave diving presentation at some point this year. Perhaps scuba groups would also be interested in attending that meeting.
· Ken will contact Steve Simmons about ways to reach out to Venture scouts who are looking for outdoor activities outside the scouting groups.
Agenda Items that Were Not Discussed
· Membership (spending funds on sure advertising and monetary incentives)
· Green/environmental activities
· Vertical training sessions
· Claiming long weekends for cave trips
· Web site improvements (showing larger presence, FAQs, contact names, and listing upcoming trips)
· Grotto donation to the NSS White Nose Syndrome Fund