I am president of my local camera club, Raritan Photographic Society
, and have founded and coordinate a church-based art gallery, Art Way Gallery
Since you live in a population center (Dayton), I assume there are other camera clubs in the area. Therefore, you might ask yourself, why does your community need yet another camera club? Is there an existing club you could join to learn the ropes, serve the members, and assess the need for another club?
If you haven't found such a club, Google for camera clubs in Ohio, and look for a state organization of clubs. Also look at Photographic Society of America for leads to local and state organizations.
I made a conscious choice to serve in a community camera club so that I was serving people who might never step through the doors of a church. It has been an extremely satisfying journey.
Another approach might be to look for a local camera club that needs a better place to meet, and see if your church can provide that.
Concerning getting the club started, your biggest challenge will be in developing the volunteers. Here are a few pointers I've picked up, for club presidents:
-- Your job is to make it possible for them to do their jobs
-- Your other job is to fill in the gaps when someone has to miss a meeting, etc.
-- Your other other job is cheerleader.
-- But your main job is to get everyone moving in more or less the same direction.
-- Plan your club's activities around what the volunteers love doing. If no one volunteers for a job, maybe it doesn't need to be done. I know another club where they couldn't get volunteers to do refreshments, until they held a meeting without refreshments. Then the volunteers suddenly appeared!
Our club has one lecture meeting and one competition meeting each month. Most of us have learned not to take the judge's comments too seriously; we know that the same print might score a 6 one month and a 9 three months later. (One of our members has a large collection of prints that have done exactly this!) We know that the judge's point of view is valuable, but it is only one of many points of view. The judge's comments are more valuable than the actual score. I learned a terrific amount by trying to form my own opinion of an image before the judge did, then compare my reasoning to his/hers.
The art gallery does mostly photo exhibits, mostly by local photography clubs. In consultation with church leadership, we figured out that starting a new camera club in the church (we're more than large enough to) would just separate church photographers from non-church photographers, which is not what we wanted. Instead, we use the gallery as an opportunity to host receptions for the exhibitors, most of whom are not church-goers. We also provide meeting space for photo lectures and workshops. As you can see from our website, we are doing 5 exhibits in 2008. We may go to six or seven in 2009. We're booked almost a year in advance.
Concerning subject matter, we ask only that the exhibited art be "family-friendly". Sometimes we get a little grumbling, but basically everyone understands that the pictures are viewed by young children and hormonal teenagers, so certain images are not appropriate.
Hope this helps,
Lee, not sure how much more I can offer but I will give you my experiences
1. Find a common purpose for forming the club (more on keeping most on the same path idea) Everyone has their own reason for coming and, as in my case, so many diverse interests, that it was almost impossible to do anything that a majority would be interested in.
2. I love the idea of no competition but constructive help in improving your photography.
3. At the first get together have each one tell why they are there (what do they want out of the club
4. You all probably are attending the same church/denomination or at least have similar faith based beliefs. Start there and build around how you can have a purpose with this being the central focus (faith based).
5. You need to find out if anyone else interested wants to have a club as much as you do. the 80/20% rule certainly will apply 20% of the membership will be responsible for the promotion/running of the club. Make sure you have help
6. If there are other clubs in the area check them out and find out what you like about them and then decide what you can add to your club to fulfill your mission/desires
7. maybe come up with club projects that will benefit the church or other areas within the church that could use your input. Fund raising. Photo show with the church/activitie as focus you get the idea
Define your mission (reason for existing) and then develop all activites/events with this mission in mind.
Hope this helps