By John Grossmann, District 17 President
The Cheyenne Experiment
Cheyenne, Wyoming, is a modest town of about 60,000 people, with about 60 ACBL members. I am pleased to tell you about their successful efforts to recruit new players.
Last summer Clara Bunning, Duane Wall, plus Kym and Dave Zwonitzer started planning Easybridge! classes. They decided to offer three different classes (two at night, one in the afternoon) for the convenience of participants. Part of the cost of the program was covered by a $500 D17 grant. The Cheyenne unit also got an advertising subsidy of $750 from the ACBL CAP program. The only charge to participants was for workbooks.
Cheyenne chose the Easybridge! program because it focuses on learning by playing, allowing participants to experience the fun of playing bridge. The materials mix small digestible lessons with lots of cardplaying. Students learn more by actually playing than by just listening to a lesson. The Cheyenne organizers were pleased to see that players developed bonds with each other, that they weren’t just playing bridge, they were also making new friends.
The Easybridge! classes, which started in September, have been well attended, with about 70 participants. (This included two teenagers who quickly demonstrated their “fearless” bidding.) Sixty percent of these people are regularly attending classes. The Cheyenne organizers expect that more than 30 will be attending Easybridge! II classes this winter.
More good news: 20 have joined ACBL. Clara Bunning thinks that ACBL will get some additional members as they accumulate more experience. Some of the Easybridge! players are now playing in regular club games.
Bravo Cheyenne! You just increased your unit by 33 percent.
Elections Have Consequences
I have spoken frequently of the importance of open nominations for District 17 Board seats and the value of contested elections. An open process is important in getting new people to participate in bridge governance. A healthy organization needs new faces and new ideas.
My two year term as one of the Colorado-at-large representatives on the D17 Board was up, and I ran for reelection, Jeanne Gray of Niwot Colorado, a member of the Boulder Unit, ran against me and won. I congratulate her. She will join the District 17 Board at the January meeting in Albuquerque. The D17 Board will vote on a new President and other officers at that meeting.
Denver Unit 361 elected Ed Yosses to complete the remaining term of Flo Newlin, who recently left the D17 Board. I encourage Ed and Jeanne to roll up their sleeves and serve the 9300 ACBL members in our District.
I have enjoyed my time on the District 17 Board and as President for the last year; I have been impressed with the hard work of the many volunteers who run units, direct, teach classes, update websites, and run tournaments. We are well served by their commitment to duplicate bridge.
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