Our Annual General Meeting, and final club meeting for this season, took place on Wednesday 21st April via Zoom. The AGM gives members the chance to put forward suggestions on how they would like the club to proceed next year, volunteer for committee posts and also gives an insight into all the hard work which takes place behind the scenes in keeping the Club running which this year due to Covid has been complex and a huge learning curve for everyone involved.
Members all have differing priorities, needs and expectations which can lead to lively debate but as usual at our Club the meeting was conducted with grace and good humour, although our poor Secretary’s fingers must have been worn to a stump trying to type up all the points of order!
Due to Covid our previous season was cut short last March but the committee didn’t miss a bat, setting up Zoom meetings almost immediately and our thanks go to Chairman Gavin for getting to grips with the software which until then no-one had ever heard of! Feeling a need for connection during lockdown we didn’t have our usual summer break and carried on weekly Zoom meetings, meaning a hurried new summer programme had to be invented. Jeff, Dylan, Dave and Gavin worked quickly behind the scenes to come up with ideas for meetings which would work online and their hard work is to be commended. Both club and committee members generously offered to fill evenings with talks, tutorials and fun competitions and our thanks go to everyone who kept the club going at such an anxious and worrying time.
There were other issues to be dealt with due to the pandemic, including changes to our website and banking arrangements so that we could accept guests and new members online which were put in place by Jo and Ann. Dylan and Jo also created a brand new YouTube channel for those members who didn’t feel able to join in via Zoom, so that meetings and tutorials could be watched as videos. This has been technically demanding and hugely time consuming, so a big thanks to them both for all their efforts.
Just about everything to do with the running of Camera Clubs changed due to Covid. It has been an enormous learning curve for everyone and I am amazed at how well our Club, our Federation (the L&CPU) and our national organisation (the PAGB) have dealt with the crisis. For the most part all competitions have taken place, albeit without prints, and distinction awards have resumed using PDIs or AVs. I can’t emphasise enough the sheer hard work which has been involved, all carried out by volunteers purely because of their love of photography. We should be rightly proud.
Holding meetings and competitions online has opened up new opportunities. We have welcomed 6 new members to the Club this year, two of whom do not live locally, and have been able to make use of judges and speakers from all over the UK. L&CPU competitions have seemed more accessible and we have entered Annuals as a Club for the first time. Thanks go to Ann, Dylan and Maureen for all their work on choosing and entering our images which was a steep learning curve, and thanks also to the L&CPU for making the judging available on Zoom which has been great to watch.
This past year has held huge challenges for Camera Clubs but we have risen to the occasion with passion, dedication and humour and it has been a joy to be part of. Having said all that, it’s also been a lot of work and I for one am ready for a break and finally some time to do what I love best – take photographs 🙂. Our programme for next season is now available and we look forward to seeing you all again in September.