I am a member of at least six local area clubs but for most of my 30 years with Waterloo Coin Society that hasn’t always been the case. Older members encouraged me to join ones like Ingersoll and Stratford in the last 10 years that are a little more on the outskirts. While my primary volunteer duties are with WCS (director, secretary, newsletter editor, archivist, past president, etc.), I do help out where I can with the others ( supporting draws/fund raisers, occasionally presenting and working at their shows) but mainly attend to give moral support and have some fun making new connections within the hobby.
The roles I have held have given me not only an understanding on the challenges clubs face but also a greater compassion to those working hard to serve the membership to the best of their ability. These days I get more enjoyment out of serving than focusing on my collection and I really wish more members would do the same. Sadly the old adage that 10% do 90% (or something like that) of the work remains true and there are few motivations for younger collectors to get involved.
My exposure to the inner workings of club operations and experience has afforded me to some degree a chance to offer recommendations when asked while being careful not to impose any personal ideals and allow those in charge to make decisions that best suit their needs. It was pointed out to me not long ago that those who are most active in their home club are also members of other clubs and larger numismatic organizations.
One of the most rewarding ways you can give back to the hobby is to volunteer your time, talent and expertise. More often than not this ends up being a perceived ‘life sentence’ scaring off potential candidates who would make a great president, secretary or treasurer, the sudden lack of may result in the tragic and quiet demise of the club when faced with no alternative but to consider ‘closing up shop’. Regardless of your apprehensions, if you are passionate about the hobby, it is in your best interest to discover where you best fit in that will make a difference for future generations. I am but one voice among many who have accomplished far more than me and hope that the hobby will thrive despite it’s obstacles, for many years to come.