Thoughts on Civil War Round Tables


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major bill

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#3
Part of the issue is that as some CWRTs shut down there is a temporary increase attendance at other local CWRTs . To me this helps mask the problem.

Whenever they say "There is nothing we can do." I hear it as "There is nothing we will do." This applies to getting younger members and getting female members. I regular attend two CWRTs. One has a fair number of women attend, but both men and women are on the older side. The other CWRT has a fair amount of younger members, but not too many women. I have never figured out why.
 

gary

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#4
We never had any shortage of females in the Civil War Round Tables I've attended. Many were spouses, some did it to socialize (and were interested in the war because of an ancestor). In one CWRT, the South Bay CWRT, two were authors (Deborah Petit "The Women Will Howl" and Helen Trimpi (Crimson Confederates).
 
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#5
The Alabama Civil War Roundtable (www.civilwaralabama.org) started to see a decrease in membership when we had to change our meeting place from a cafeteria setting where our members could eat to a library where they could not. Also, the library closes at 8 o'clock so we had to start our meetings earlier which caused a hardship on our members who worked. We saw our membership begin to "age out" and it was/is difficult to interest younger people in hearing about things that happened over 150 years ago. We have a number of female members and we attempt to schedule programs that will appeal to both men and women and that has helped keep our female members interested. We attempt to vary our programs in an attempt to keep our members interest and we attempt to peak our members interest by sending out interesting and informative email notices, a Facebook page and by having an interesting/informative website. When the local Gun Collector's Association has a show, we have a table with collectibles that our members have and information about our group. For being in a Southern state, it has always been interesting to note that to the best of our knowledge that there are only two Roundtables in the whole state, one in the Birmingham area and one in the Huntsville area.
 
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Ole Miss

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#8
redbob
Sounds like y'all are really making great efforts to attract and maintain your membership. Unfortunately it would be a 3 hour drive for me but would love to attend.
Regards
David
 
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#10
I started one about 20 years ago, most of the members were younger folks, and about half were women. Later I had to move. I came back, but I worked all of the time. They are still going strong. I have problems attending meetings due to disabilities. Now I have other responsibilities. I am also not great with many stairs. I know I would enjoy the meetings and the people. People can change their group if they can see beyond them. The big problem I see is their need to move forward and don't look back.
 

bdtex

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#11
As a member of a Round Table that is struggling with membership and growth,the links and commentary in this thread have been very helpful.
 

Eric Wittenberg

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#13
I am a charter member of the Central Ohio CWRT, which began in 1988--I was 27 then, young and eager to learn about something different after surviving the misery of law school. I was one of two lawyers who helped to draft the group's bylaws, and I attended the very first meeting. I was its second president and I was its second program chair. I've been a member for all 31 years of its existence. I also speak to an average of 25 CWRT's per year. I see a lot of different groups of varying sizes and makeups, but I see a lot of similarities. I see groups where there is almost nothing but gray hair (including my own). I see groups that are overwhelmingly men. I see groups where there are leadership issues--very few people are willing to step forward and take leadership roles, so you get almost no turnover on boards and in the officers, which means things stagnate.

I'm on the ballot to become a member of the board of a national organization devoted to the study of history (but only tangentially the study of the Civil War) this year. At almost 58, I will be the youngest person on the board if elected. Why? Because several members of the board asked me to run--they're alarmed at the aging of the board and feel someone younger is needed who might have some fresh ideas. Heaven help us if, at 58 (which I will be when I take office if elected), I'm the youthful influence.

These are very common themes--I see them all the time with my own eyes. And these problems extend far beyond just CWRT's.

I also know that the millennial generation are not joiners. They don't join organizations, which is why organizations like the Elks, Moose, Kiwanis, and other similar community service groups are dying. They don't join churches or synagogues--there are plenty of statistics out there to show that membership in religious organizations is way down in this country. They prefer to play video games and to engage in those sorts of activities.

I also see a generation that doesn't care about history. They weren't taught it in the schools in anything but a very sanitized fashion, they don't see or understand how it impacts their lives, they weren't raised like we were, when books were our video games. Where we spent hours with our noses buried in books, soaking up knowledge, they instead play their stupid video games. As a sweeping generalization, they lack the intellectual curiosity to search out these sorts of challenges. They prefer their video games.

I appreciate Daryl's insights and suggestions, but I just don't see young people rushing to do community service, and those who do, don't join organizations to do so. I have no magic beans about how to fix this problem, but the problem extends far, far beyond just the microcosm of CWRT's.
 
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#14
I am a charter member of the Central Ohio CWRT, which began in 1988--I was 27 then, young and eager to learn about something different after surviving the misery of law school. I was one of two lawyers who helped to draft the group's bylaws, and I attended the very first meeting. I was its second president and I was its second program chair. I've been a member for all 31 years of its existence. I also speak to an average of 25 CWRT's per year. I see a lot of different groups of varying sizes and makeups, but I see a lot of similarities. I see groups where there is almost nothing but gray hair (including my own). I see groups that are overwhelmingly men. I see groups where there are leadership issues--very few people are willing to step forward and take leadership roles, so you get almost no turnover on boards and in the officers, which means things stagnate.

I'm on the ballot to become a member of the board of a national organization devoted to the study of history (but only tangentially the study of the Civil War) this year. At almost 58, I will be the youngest person on the board if elected. Why? Because several members of the board asked me to run--they're alarmed at the aging of the board and feel someone younger is needed who might have some fresh ideas. Heaven help us if, at 58 (which I will be when I take office if elected), I'm the youthful influence.

These are very common themes--I see them all the time with my own eyes. And these problems extend far beyond just CWRT's.

I also know that the millennial generation are not joiners. They don't join organizations, which is why organizations like the Elks, Moose, Kiwanis, and other similar community service groups are dying. They don't join churches or synagogues--there are plenty of statistics out the to show that membership in religious organizations is way down in this country. They prefer to play video games and to engage in those sorts of activities.

I also see a generation that doesn't care about history. They weren't taught it in the schools in anything but a very sanitized fashion, they don't see or understand how it impacts their lives, they weren't raised like we were, when books were our video games. Where we spent hours with our noses buried in books, soaking up knowledge, they instead play their stupid video games. As a sweeping generalization, they lack the intellectual curiosity to search out these sorts of challenges. They prefer their video games.

I appreciate Daryl's insights and suggestions, but I just don't see young people rushing to do community service, and those who do, don't join organizations to do so. I have no magic beans about how to fix this problem, but the problem extends far, far beyond just the microcosm of CWRT's.
You have hit the nail squarely on the head-well done Sir.
 

Pat Young

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#16
39% of Americans are Non-White and/or Hispanic. A lot of CWRTs are just not places where they would feel welcomed. I recall the CWRT I attended displayed a CBF at meetings (this was in New York). I brought this up as something likely to turn away new members of color and go a lecture on political correctness in return.
 
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#17
39% of Americans are Non-White and/or Hispanic. A lot of CWRTs are just not places where they would feel welcomed. I recall the CWRT I attended displayed a CBF at meetings (this was in New York). I brought this up as something likely to turn away new members of color and go a lecture on political correctness in return.
You can't get any deeper in the deep South, nor in a city with a more difficult racial past than Birmingham and we strive to welcome anyone who wishes to join us for a meeting. We have had members of color along with members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and Sons of Union Veterans and they have all been and are welcome - your beliefs that Civil War Roundtables are racist based is highly offensive to me.
 

Viper21

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#18
I also know that the millennial generation are not joiners. They don't join organizations, which is why organizations like the Elks, Moose, Kiwanis, and other similar community service groups are dying. They don't join churches or synagogues--there are plenty of statistics out the to show that membership in religious organizations is way down in this country. They prefer to play video games and to engage in those sorts of activities.

I also see a generation that doesn't care about history. They weren't taught it in the schools in anything but a very sanitized fashion, they don't see or understand how it impacts their lives, they weren't raised like we were, when books were our video games. Where we spent hours with our noses buried in books, soaking up knowledge, they instead play their stupid video games. As a sweeping generalization, they lack the intellectual curiosity to search out these sorts of challenges. They prefer their video games.

I appreciate Daryl's insights and suggestions, but I just don't see young people rushing to do community service, and those who do, don't join organizations to do so. I have no magic beans about how to fix this problem, but the problem extends far, far beyond just the microcosm of CWRT's.
I just couldn't help myself but to comment on this part of your post. I know you are aware but, that's a pretty broad brush to paint with concerning the younger generation.

I have 3 sons. 25, 22, & 20. They all play video games. They're certainly guilty as charged there. However, they all 3 joined a "community service organization." It's called the United States Military. Specifically, the Marine Corps. Oldest at 17, the next two at 18, they shipped to boot camp, & all remain on active duty in combat units today. In addition to my obvious connection to them, I have met, & engaged with a number of their comrades in arms. I can tell you, these are some of the finest young men our country has to offer. 90+% of them have a commitment to service that impressive, even for snot nosed kids that don't wanna join the Lions club.

Most of them could tell you things about military history, & specific people that would open the eyes of many historians. Mention the name, Roy Benavidez to a random group of people. Most wont even know who the guy is. Yet, most of the young fellows I'm talking about could talk for at least an hour on the man, & his sacrifices. All of the young men carrying my last name could give a presentation on Presley N. O'Bannon, even before I told them he was our G Uncle. It's not that these young men, "don't care about history", it's that they are interested in a particular type of history that relates to them. The foundation of learning this subject, I have no doubt will carry them much further in their quest for knowledge in things under the heading history.

I confess that I, have no doubt become more cynical the older I get. However, every time I am around a group of these young men, I am pleasantly surprised, & impressed by them. It restores my faith in the younger generation. I would recommend putting yourself around a group of these young men, & see for yourself. While it is true, they are most definitely a video game generation (who bought em those btw), they belong to the best, & most important "community service organization" there is. The US military.
 

Eric Wittenberg

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#19
I just couldn't help myself but to comment on this part of your post. I know you are aware but, that's a pretty broad brush to paint with concerning the younger generation.

I have 3 sons. 25, 22, & 20. They all play video games. They're certainly guilty as charged there. However, they all 3 joined a "community service organization." It's called the United States Military. Specifically, the Marine Corps. Oldest at 17, the next two at 18, they shipped to boot camp, & all remain on active duty in combat units today. In addition to my obvious connection to them, I have met, & engaged with a number of their comrades in arms. I can tell you, these are some of the finest young men our country has to offer. 90+% of them have a commitment to service that impressive, even for snot nosed kids that don't wanna join the Lions club.

Most of them could tell you things about military history, & specific people that would open the eyes of many historians. Mention the name, Roy Benavidez to a random group of people. Most wont even know who the guy is. Yet, most of the young fellows I'm talking about could talk for at least an hour on the man, & his sacrifices. All of the young men carrying my last name could give a presentation on Presley N. O'Bannon, even before I told them he was our G Uncle. It's not that these young men, "don't care about history", it's that they are interested in a particular type of history that relates to them. The foundation of learning this subject, I have no doubt will carry them much further in their quest for knowledge in things under the heading history.

I confess that I, have no doubt become more cynical the older I get. However, every time I am around a group of these young men, I am pleasantly surprised, & impressed by them. It restores my faith in the younger generation. I would recommend putting yourself around a group of these young men, & see for yourself. While it is true, they are most definitely a video game generation (who bought em those btw), they belong to the best, & most important "community service organization" there is. The US military.
I mean absolutely no disrespect, but joining the military for whatever reasons--patriotism, funds for college, whatever--is most assuredly not the same as joining the Rotary Club, and you know it. I wasn't referring to the military. I was referring to the traditional community service organizations like Kiwanis, the Rotary Club, the Elks Club, and organizations like that. I appreciate the service of your sons, but my comments have nothing to do with those who enlist in the military.
 

Viper21

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#20
I mean absolutely no disrespect, but joining the military for whatever reasons--patriotism, funds for college, whatever--is most assuredly not the same as joining the Rotary Club, and you know it. I wasn't referring to the military. I was referring to the traditional community service organizations like Kiwanis, the Rotary Club, the Elks Club, and organizations like that. I appreciate the service of your sons, but my comments have nothing to do with those who enlist in the military.
I know you weren't referring to the military. However, you made some broad generalizations about their generation as a whole. I stand by my opinion that, there is no community service more important than that of the young men I mention. Put yourself around some of these men. You'll see for yourself. I have no doubt that later in life, they'll fill up the other community service organizations. For many of them, it's their purpose in life, serving others.
 



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