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  Hosting a Local Gathering      

        Many successful local gatherings of temari markers have happened since the inception of TalkTemari, not the least of which are the NY Stitchins that have run annually since 2002. They have ranged from a 2-person meetup at a local coffee shop to the 15th Annual NY Stitchin in 2011 that hosted 35 people. Having fielded many requests for advice on organizing a gathering, large or small,  the following thoughts, hints, tips and suggestions are offered. Needless to say this is not meant to be a comprehensive event planning outline nor does it offer any guarantees. Everyone will approach things differently from size right on up to structure. But, nothing happens unless some basic information is made available to people as far in advance as possible. The one rule is that if it is publicized through TalkTemari and therefore open to all TT people, it is also limited to TalkTemari members only (for comfort and safety). If you wish to reach beyond TalkTemari, I'm happy to help you through TemariKai News.

        For those on Talk Temari and using TT for their communication, the Events Calendar on TalkTemari Yahoo Groups is the place to start. Any "public" (that is, will be open to everyone on TalkTemari) events that we know get logged in there, even if it's only under consideration - but, this also gives anyone else the heads up of what might be happening. Believe it or not, it's happened that yes, people land on the same weekend or very close to being on top of each other, which usually predicts that things end up not working for anyone. If you are considering a gathering, get it on TT Events (even if you are only thinking - you can always take it down and open up the time. You don't have to go public with it on the list yet, just email me so the time is held on the calendar). If someone has something on the calendar already, that time is "taken" and it would be better (not to mention polite and respectful) to plan on a different set of dates. A "date posted" is included in the listing to indicate of when the time was reserved. If you decide later that you don't want to follow through, no problem and we'll clear the time. One of the worst things that can happen is that you get all revved up and make plans only to find out that someone else is doing the same thing on or very near to the same dates. It makes it real tough for people that want to come, too, since we have a lot of folks that are willing and able to travel if they have enough time, dollars and space to do so.

        General thoughts and help: (remember, this is what I've culled after 10+ years of running TT as well as StitchIns; it's not meant to be instructions, but it has become tried and true):

        Very many folks on the list are able and do want to travel and gather, but the more lead time they have to figure out finances, child care, other family needs while they are gone, vacation time from work etc., the better and easier it makes it for everyone. Likewise, this is another reason to try to not plan things on top of each other;  most people, including those that do a good deal of traveling, are limited to how much money, time off, and asking the neighbors to help carpool the kids there is to go around in a short period of time. Plus, if you end up planning something right on top of another one, it can mean that neither one comes off, since it "forces" people to choose which one to go to, and it can happen that they end up going to none (yes, it's happened in the past). Past experience says that 6 to 8 weeks minimum in between events is needed if you are planing a public one.

       Get your intentions known out there as soon as possible with as much lead time for people as can be. It also helps to keep an eye on the regular calendar and not be hitting prime family holiday travel time, including school vacations (those without kids have to tune into this). The month of May tends to be tough, since many schools throughout the US are winding down, including both K-12 and colleges, in more places than you might think, which usually means a lot of "family at school" events such as awards ceremonies, concerts, etc. Conversely, many schools start mid-August so you have family needs during that time too. College graduations usually run the mid to end of May. Many schools in the northern half of the US have extended time off around the President's Day holiday in February - anything from a long (4 or 5 day weekend) to a full week, either the week before or the week after; that means be very careful for the two weeks around that holiday. Most families take advantage of it for a getaway someplace, or at the very least it drastically affects arranging childcare if the kids are not in school and mom wants to go away for a few days.

       Be aware of of what is happening around you in your home area, especially if you are in touristy areas or desired destinations for other travel. Trying to host a stitchin when there is something else going on  - such as a public festival that has a large draw, a commercial trade show, or general tourist destinations (especially during high season) have a large impact on local accommodations, getting travel reservations (at all, let alone at affordable prices), make restaurant access more difficult, and impact traffic flow. While it may seem brilliant to try to coincide a temari gathering with some other major event in the area, in reality people are coming to the gathering because they want to share temari - not become tourists. Folks can extend their stays in your area of they so choose to take advantage of local attractions and offerings, but your primary purpose is coming together around temari - don't lose sight of that.

       Other activities are not required; again, your purpose is temari. Perhaps a field trip to a local needlework shop, or other related activity during downtime, but people are coming to visit, stitch and learn. Even things like meals can factor in - three meals a day in restaurant settings can be both expensive and time consuming, when you consider time in the facility as well as travel to and fro and everyone having time to "freshen up", etc..  Don't get lost in things that are not directly related to what you are really trying to do. Concentrate on being sure that everyone has reasonable accommodations, three meals available (they don't have to be fancy) and any help they need to secure ground transportation. Other than that, stay focused on the temari activities.

        The next thing that has to happen is getting some cost estimates together. This should include:  1) where people need to travel to and the options (plane, train, etc),  2) accommodation costs, and  3) an estimated event cost (better to figure high than low. It's easy to reduce it but hard to raise it), and either post it publicly or let people know that they can email you privately for it. You can adjust it later but, a major deciding factor about people coming will be the overall total cost, and the quicker they have that to work against, the better it is for everyone. The sooner you get it out there in terms of when, and about how much, the better off you'll be. It's not a guarantee that it will all come together but you've given yourself and everyone else the best shot at it.

        You'll need to decide how many (if any) people you can accommodate in your home either as the meeting venue and/or to sleep, or will it be all hotel and if so cost per night; securing meeting space if not in your home; how many meals "in" versus restaurant or catered; and snacks and beverages at the minimum for the total costs for the duration. Those wanting to come are going to have to figure travel expenses in addition to event costs and some may even need to factor in paid child care, etc. so knowing what the dollars could add up to.

       Remember that gatherings do not need to be major, planned events with all sorts of bells and whistles. Some of the most wonderful ones are small gatherings in people's homes, limited to the number of beds that that person has to offer, for a "Sit and Stitch and Share" time. Even folks opting to use a local hotel/motel need not do anything more than bring people together there, and be sure that everyone can go out and get a meal when they are hungry. Others choose to build more structure into the weekend with some planned activities, and even others are considering a more formal, structured "class and workshop" routine. The format is not important - what matters is that temari makers can have the chance to gather, meet, greet, and share the craft.

Last updated 12/2013 © 1998 - 2014 G. Thompson/PuffinStuff, Inc.