Holding a Chapter Together

Lou Paliani, VTCI President

Through the years I have been asked several times about this topic. I'd like to share some of them with you in hopes that one may work for you.  Lou Paliani

1. Be positive about everything. Seems a bit philosophical but it is important. If people that are negative get a hold of  a leadership position, they will run it into the ground. If something does not go right, develop the good. Whenever there is a criticism, have a “how to fix it” attitude or send the problem to us at VTCI starting with your Regional Director if it is greater than a local issue. Never let an unhappy member stew.  This is hard learned advice and it works.

2. Find an annual cause that is not overwhelming. Start slow and join an already going successful local event and learn the ins and outs of  the local situation, sponsors, other participating groups, who can you depend on for help. As you get a few events under your belt, see about sponsoring your own. The Houston chapter has started a swap meet every May that makes the club money and brings them together as a team. Additionally, they have enough to pay for some freebee events for the club as a picnic.

3. A good and steady news letter is a must. It does not have to be extensive, but be informative as to events, Issues in VTCI that members can vote on ( Gives the members a voice in the national club ), Some stories about the members, contact info for parts, good places to get work done, leadership.......etc

4. Milk events for publicity when your chapter participates. Have cards, applications, flyers ready in abundance at the event to advertise and recruit.  Notify Your Regional Director of your activities calendar so these events can be available for promotion at the national club level.

5. Seek to host a Regional or International. Don't worry about putting on a regional when one comes your way. We (VTCI) will help. Additionally, we will walk you through the first one.

6. Find a good steady meeting place where you can discuss business and have a good time with the cars. Encourage members to drive their cars. Make your meetings family friendly with opportunities for all family members to participate.

7.  A Christmas Party a MUST. Best if the club can foot the bill or part of it. Three possible events that a club can use to facilitate participation by all the members are as follows:

The Gift Exchange +........Each person that wants to participate brings a $10.00-$15.00 gift in Christmas Present Wrap and places under the tree. Each participant draws a number and all sit in a circle with a chair in the middle. No. 1 goes to the tree and selects a gift and opens it while sitting in the center chair for all to see. Then goes back to their seat placing the opened gift for all to see. No. 2 goes to the tree and selects a gift.  Number 2 now has two options. Open the gift and go back to their seat with the second open gift for all to see, or if Number 2 likes gift Number 1 has, number 2 can exchange the selected unopened gift for what number 1 has and number 1 must go to the center chair and open the selected gift 2 has chosen for all to see, then return to their chair. This process is repeated in turn till all have recieved a gift. Now comes the final round; number 1 with the final choice. Number 1 gets to exchange what ever gift he/she ends up with, for any of the other gifts.  As the exchange progresses, all members have a chance to participate and interact.

The other is the WHITE ELEPHANT GRAB BAG. Rules....Members are not allowed to spend any money / the gift must be something around the house that you just can't bring yourself to throw away / it must be wrapped in old news paper. Participants use the same drawn number as the previous exchange and go to the place where the white elephant gifts are placed and select one, shaking is permitted. The gift is opened for all to see. The participant must keep the gift. All go in turn. It is a hoot to see what shows up.

We usually end the party by presenting the booby award of the year for something stupid. Ours is a ridiculous looking chicken under glass that sings and dances the chicken song. The awardee from the previous year gets to pick the next recipient.

8. Have a picnic paid for using Chapter funds. Make the occasion family friendly with events for the kids. Have the kids judge cars.

9. Encourage all members to participate in the VTCI and in the Judges certification program. This will add expertise to your chapter and add to the Chapter’s ability to host a regional or International.