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Old 05.09.2015, 15:27
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Are Swiss local associations a reflection of the hotel industry?

I joined a choir, a couple of village or Geneva associations and another choir. People are nice and welcoming, but all complain at how few "youngsters" (understand the "under 70s!!) get involved.


It is a very difficult balance, because you cannot say "That's because you're a bit dull and uncreative", while at the same time you try to sneak in a couple of suggestions ("Perhaps your website ought to be updated more often than once every 3 years?", "How about organising a social evening where actual outsiders are also invited?"...)


It seems plain obvious why these associations are becoming extinct and yet, they seem to be closed off to new ideas for recruiting and, most importantly, retaining new members. It's like a self-fulfilling prophecy, similar to the 2-3 star Swiss hotel industry I like to moan about!
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Old 05.09.2015, 15:34
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Re: Are Swiss local associations a reflection of the hotel industry?

Agreed- and yet I'd say that the same is happening in the UK and France, all over, re clubs and associations- the world is changing. When I was a kid, those clubs were so popular as there was no telly, no internet games, etc- and we could not afford to go to the cinema, or discos/clubbing, or holidays abroad, ski in the Alps, etc. So many factors involved, included the ones you mention.
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Old 05.09.2015, 16:28
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Re: Are Swiss local associations a reflection of the hotel industry?

Most local social Vereine that I have come across are fairly unwelcoming of new members. One must be invited to apply by a current member and then voted in (or rejected) by the group. Well, today few are willing to put up with having to jump through such hoops anymore.

Newcomers may be needed, but they sure do not seem to be welcome. (Which is indeed pretty much the situation with the hotel industry as I have experienced it - good analogy.)

Perhaps in days gone by it was worth the effort it takes to join, as back then one's 'Vereinsleben' often brought social or economic/career rewards. But that thinking as all but disappeared - and along with it perhaps some of the motivation to become a club member.

---

The only Swiss under 60 I know who are Verein members have joined service groups, as opposed to social groups. Service groups seem to be thriving still, there seems to be more interest in grouping together for a purpose rather than just for entertainment. And from what I have seen service groups seem to be more welcoming of newcomers wanting to get involved.

--

People no longer define themselves by geography - perhaps another reason why local-centered social Vereine are in decline. Much of our lives must be spent away from our town or village - today one rarely works where one lives - so it is only natural that free time is spent with those we meet from outside the village.

---

But local Vereine should take heart. Young Swiss may have little interest in the traditional 'Vereinsleben', but now that foreigners wanting to naturalize are required to join local clubs as proof of integration there may well be an upsurge in membership applications.

(Listening to the Old Guard gossiping around the Quartier, though... let's just say that Jane Austen was never so cutting towards perceived attempts to breach the social order. )

---

As for me it's quite simple... What little free time I have I prefer to spend with my husband, as we rarely see one another. There are only so many hours in a day.

Last edited by meloncollie; 05.09.2015 at 17:56.
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Old 05.09.2015, 17:21
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Re: Are Swiss local associations a reflection of the hotel industry?

to be fair, most/ many squash and tennis clubs in the UK are by application and require 2 members to sponsor + a vote- most golf clubs too.

Lots of youngsters here at our ski-club and Guggenmusik + bands, cycling, xcountry skiing, farmers, and many more. Our ski-club is certainly open to all and very welcoming so are the local choirs, although members tend to be 'older'- but with many 40 year olds too.

Last edited by Odile; 05.09.2015 at 17:34.
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Old 05.09.2015, 17:33
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Re: Are Swiss local associations a reflection of the hotel industry?

It definitely is not a Swiss peculiarity, and it has very little to do with things like having to apply or the like.

We are restoring the most isolated lighthouse in Lake Michigan, a very adventurous thing, on a island (natural preserve) 30 km off-shore, with nature in her purest form and all kinds of skills to be applied or learned, such as navigation, camping, building and restoring stuff, applied electronic and electric engineering, surveying, history, video and photo documentation, landscaping, you name it.

To become a member, you have to fill out a little form, which doesn't ask for much more than your mail and email address (for the newsletter), and after paying a very modest membership due you are in. Our monthly board meeting are public, even non-members can attend and hear what we are dealing with and how.

We have about 220 members, but there are more members above 85 than under 45. And many of those geezers still are very actively volunteering, be it on the mainland or on the island. Pretty much the only thing the young ones are interested in is posting on our Facebook page. Anything that could make them move their sorry butts outside is out of question. There are very few exceptions.

Having an up-to-date Website and Facebook page doesn't help any. Our Website once was "Northern Michigan Website of the Year," even has improved since then and sure is much more up to date than any other lighthouse Website on the Great Lakes, but the screen potato phenomenon is extremely hard to defeat.

It looks like only if shingling a roof, loading a dinghy from a big boat in 4 ft waves or finding a safe anchorage in a maze of underwater boulders could be done on a smart phone or tablet, we might see an improvement.

We are working on it.
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Old 05.09.2015, 17:34
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Re: Are Swiss local associations a reflection of the hotel industry?

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to be fair, most many squash and tennis clubs in the UK are by application and require 2 members to sponsor + a vote- most golf clubs too.

Lots of youngsters here at our ski-club and Guggenmusik + bands, cycling, xcountry skiing, farmers, and many more. Our ski-club is certainly open to all and very welcoming so are the local choirs, although members tend to be 'older'- but with many 40 year olds too.


What is Guggenmusik? Our ski club is thriving too. I think it is associations where a greater age mix is needed that seem to be the most struggling...and unadapting.
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Old 05.09.2015, 17:36
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Re: Are Swiss local associations a reflection of the hotel industry?

How does one describe Guggenmusik- apart that it is very very very loud and repetitive and the costumes are very bright!!! Just had a wedding at our little Church in front of the house, with the Guggen there to welcome guests- my ears are still ringing!

Scouts, YMCA, etc, are also struggling to get members everywhere.

This is not our local lot- but it could be- they all look and sound the same:

https://youtu.be/FNvxgM-7MkM
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Old 05.09.2015, 17:39
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Re: Are Swiss local associations a reflection of the hotel industry?

...and everyone seems to play out of tune at the same time.
Listen to them at the Fasnacht. They are looked down on by 'true Baslers of the ck dt variety' as not being part of real Fasnacht but they have a large following there. (Perhaps those playing are those who never quite made it with the piccolo!)
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Old 05.09.2015, 17:44
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Re: Are Swiss local associations a reflection of the hotel industry?

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How does one describe Guggenmusik- apart that it is very very very loud and repetitive and the costumes are very bright!!! Just had a wedding at our little Church in front of the house, with the Guggen there to welcome guests- my ears are still ringing!

Scouts, YMCA, etc, are also struggling to get members everywhere.

This is not our local lot- but it could be- they all look and sound the same:

https://youtu.be/FNvxgM-7MkM

Completely bonkers indeed! Is it a Jura thing? I'm sure I saw something similar at a music festival in Annemasse or thereabout.
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Old 05.09.2015, 19:18
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Re: Are Swiss local associations a reflection of the hotel industry?

Clubs are not needed for many things anymore. For example you like riding the motorbike? There's the local facebook page for organizing group rides. You wanna organize a canyoning day? You create a doodle survey for choosing a date, an event on facebook and it's done. Wanna go on a backpacking trip with other people? There are forums for that. It's just so much easier to connect with other people.

There are guggens also in ticino btw

Last edited by Meerkat33; 05.09.2015 at 19:36.
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Old 05.09.2015, 19:48
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Re: Are Swiss local associations a reflection of the hotel industry?

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Clubs are not needed for many things anymore. For example you like riding the motorbike? There's the local facebook page for organizing group rides. You wanna organize a canyoning day? You create a doodle survey for choosing a date, an event on facebook and it's done. Wanna go on a backpacking trip with other people? There are forums for that. It's just so much easier to connect with other people.

There are guggens also in ticino btw

And this is precisely where associations with "older than your average" members are struggling. They keep complaining about it but when help is on offer, the response tends to be dismissive "But we've always done things this way....".
I also get the impression that there is a "natural lack of empathy" in some parts of Switzerland, perhaps due to its rural roots and less mobility to "other countries and cultures", so when one makes a suggestion that might help to improve a particular situation, it is viewed as a threat to the set order of things, even when this set order is precisely what is preventing the "association" from blossoming or even surviving.
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Old 05.09.2015, 19:56
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Re: Are Swiss local associations a reflection of the hotel industry?

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Completely bonkers indeed! Is it a Jura thing? I'm sure I saw something similar at a music festival in Annemasse or thereabout.
I thought it was more of a Swiss German thing. It's certainly unique.
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Old 05.09.2015, 20:21
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Re: Are Swiss local associations a reflection of the hotel industry?

What happened to the EF get-togethers? They died a death.

I am involved in an English-speaking theatre company in Zurich that has been going for over 60 years. 40 years ago the average age was 30, now it's over 50. We have tried long and hard to attract new, younger members (and abandoned the old "golf club" membership requirements). But finding people who want, and can, make the commitments required is increasingly difficult. The job demands today simply do not allow it for most.

On paper we have 135 members. The reality is that we have 40 active members. It's not the local associations' fault, although many are their own worst enemy, it's the world that has changed and will change more. The British Club in Zurich closed some years ago as the demand for expats to meet was overtaken by easier and cheaper communication with "home" thanks to the internet, skype and cheap/free phone calls. There is so much more that demands our attention and time now...
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Old 05.09.2015, 20:22
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Re: Are Swiss local associations a reflection of the hotel industry?

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How does one describe Guggenmusik- apart that it is very very very loud and repetitive and the costumes are very bright!!! Just had a wedding at our little Church in front of the house, with the Guggen there to welcome guests- my ears are still ringing!

Scouts, YMCA, etc, are also struggling to get members everywhere.

This is not our local lot- but it could be- they all look and sound the same:

https://youtu.be/FNvxgM-7MkM
These folks play much too well, they're much more a big band than a Guggenmusik.

A "traditional" Guggenmusik used to have a few good players (usually including the drummers), who's job it was to keep the "song" going and recognizable, and many more who barely knew how to play. If at all. A real Guggenmusik may well be characterised as organized noise - when in doubt, remove the "organized". In such a setting, obviously, a director such as these guys have (i.e. one who actually has a grasp of his job) would actually be conterproductive.

Imagine Kanye West performing We Are The Champions live accompanied by an equally bad band of instrumentalists, replace the correct rhythm by an even worse one, and you're all set. With the exception that Guggemusiken usually play free of charge.
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Old 05.09.2015, 21:47
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Re: Are Swiss local associations a reflection of the hotel industry?

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Completely bonkers indeed! Is it a Jura thing? I'm sure I saw something similar at a music festival in Annemasse or thereabout.
In my area there are several Guggenmusik bands and they spend most of the spring going to all the carnivals.
Come up to our local carnival next spring in Ste-Croix and after hearing about 10 different bands you will, I am sure, become a huge fan.
Some of the costumes are quite scary...
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Old 05.09.2015, 21:59
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Re: Are Swiss local associations a reflection of the hotel industry?

When my dad belonged to a mens' choir here in the 40s and 50s (and well into the 80s, when he was the oldest for many years) - the activities of the choir involved all the families- picnics, days out sledging or skiing, playing all sorts of family games, huge Christmas parties (Laurel and Hardy and Charlot films on the black and white reel) and much more. There was 4 times the number of singers as now, and all ages. Just a different world then, and not that long ago ...

Last edited by Odile; 06.09.2015 at 00:02.
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Old 05.09.2015, 23:17
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Re: Are Swiss local associations a reflection of the hotel industry?

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I thought it was more of a Swiss German thing. It's certainly unique.
No, it's a Swiss thing.

Tom
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Old 06.09.2015, 11:22
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Re: Are Swiss local associations a reflection of the hotel industry?

Even 20 years ago this was a problem. My ex was a member of the choir in Gland and was one of the youngest.

He did try to recruit younger men. Some of them would turn up a couple of times and then never go back. And this, sort of, backfired on him. So he just gave up.

The "oldies" did seem to be set in their ways and were not exactly welcoming to new faces.

I love Guggenmusic!!
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Old 06.09.2015, 12:10
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Re: Are Swiss local associations a reflection of the hotel industry?

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Even 20 years ago this was a problem. My ex was a member of the choir in Gland and was one of the youngest.

He did try to recruit younger men. Some of them would turn up a couple of times and then never go back. And this, sort of, backfired on him. So he just gave up.

The "oldies" did seem to be set in their ways and were not exactly welcoming to new faces.

I love Guggenmusic!!

I am in a similar situation, all the trickier because I am being begged to bring new people, yet do not feel a particular effort is being made to help facilitate this.
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Old 06.09.2015, 12:19
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Re: Are Swiss local associations a reflection of the hotel industry?

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When my dad belonged to a mens' choir here in the 40s and 50s (and well into the 80s, when he was the oldest for many years) - the activities of the choir involved all the families- picnics, days out sledging or skiing, playing all sorts of family games, huge Christmas parties (Laurel and Hardy and Charlot films on the black and white reel) and much more. There was 4 times the number of singers as now, and all ages. Just a different world then, and not that long ago ...


I knew similar stuff at the British Railway Staff Association Club back in the 1980s...except without the skiing and instead Bingo nights, "Elvis impressionist night - this was awful!! - and a huge cloud of cigarette smoke over our heads! But it was great fun!


It seems a pity that with all the internet access to anything imaginable, our societies seem to be losing the most important part of human communication: the face to face interaction. That's why I am volunteering to help these village associations, because I also strongly believe it is the only way to avoid becoming a dormitory village. However, I do feel sometimes I am fighting a battle that's already lost.
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