Forming a Steampunk Group

1. Think positive – It’s not as much work as it sounds. All you need is a 3 or 4 people, a computer, and a goal. You could dispense with the computer.
2. Start small. Most large groups started with just 3 or 4 people.
3. You don’t have to do everything at once. You could even start without a name and let that deveop over time.
4. Maintain a list of group members: Name, steamsona name (if applicable), address, phone numbers (home, work, cell), e-mail address, birth date (don’t need year, but if you like celebrating birthdays you need to know when to do so), and a general comments field. Keep it updated and current and everyone gets access to it (the computer is great for this)
5. Have a calendar for the group – again, the computer is great for this.
6. Figure out how your group will communicate: secret FB group, Yahoo group, email blasts, google+ group, hard copy newsletter, emailed newsletter, phone tree, twitter, a blog or website…
7. Take pictures of and write up a summary of what happens on each outing. These pictures and summaries form the basis for an awesome scrapbook, either online or hard copy.
8. Create and maintain a group scrapbook of activities – online or hardcopy. Include pictures, the setup information from the newsletter, a summary of what happened at the activity and other items like ticket stubs.
9. Remember that any group like this develops from the personalities involved. Your version of a social group may be very different from Airship OtherNaut, Airship Antikythera, or Steam Engine Intrepid, to name a couple of existing groups.
10. Affiliate with other groups – it widens your base of fun and activities.
11. Keep a database of maps, addresses, resources, and other information relevant to your group. A computer comes in handy for this. Make sure the information is accessible to all members of the group.
12. Naming your group: Be careful, or you might end up with a name like Airship Doodyhead – which was almost the fate of Airship Antikythera!

Tips for running a steampunk group:

1. Try to include some type of refreshments in each activity. Food is the great social mixer. Even if it’s just tea and cookies. Some of the best steampunk ideas have formed around tea and cookies!
2. When thinking up activities, use your imagination. There are so many things you, as a steampunk, can do – crafts, engineering, chemistry, LARPing, MMPORPG, games, dancing, attending conventions, having Teas, picnics, field trips, photo shoots, estate saling, shopping. Steampunk activities are limited only by your imagination
3. Keep activity costs reasonable. If you’re a teen, college student, young parents, senior, on a fixed income, you might not be able to afford to jet off to the coasts from here to attend a steampunk convention, but you could have a potluck picnic in the park – it’s a very steampunk thing to do. Going to garage sales, thrift stores, estate sales, and flea markets, and cruising the streets on Big Trash Day can lead you to all sorts of cheap treasures you can repurpose into steampunk items – and that alone is a great reason to form a steampunk group!
4. Don’t do too many things like going to plays or watching movies. There is limited opportunity for interaction in a setting where everyone is sitting facing forward for a long time.
5. Take into consideration the needs of more challenged individuals. If you have people in your group that are elderly, using mobility devices (even it’s temporary), hard of hearing, vision-impaired, or with other challenges, make sure they can participate fully, too..
6. Try to plug into the interests of individuals in your group.
7. Don’t expect every activity to be a success. Sometimes you do your best and things don’t work out. Consider this a learning experience.
8. Plan alternate activities for outside outings. Sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate.
9. Don’t expect everyone to come every time. Families are busy. People forget. Plan activities you will enjoy even if you’re the only one to show up – it happens!
10. Ask for an RSVP for activities, but don’t expect a perfect response. If you absolutely have to have an answer – plan on talking to each member individually.
11. Set up support systems for reminders and transportation. Not everyone has transportation and if you want their participation, you need to be sensitive to that and make sure they have rides to and from the activity.
12. Contact everyone in your group at least once a year. This reminds them they are members and they can have fun with you.
13. Don’t expect friendships to develop immediately.
14. Encourage family members, friends and siblings to participate in the activities. In steampunk, the more the merrier!
15. Maintain the focus on group members. Don’t leave anyone out.
16. Expect to become attached to every person and family in your steampunk group. You become like a family – spats, support, and all.
17. Think up a “cool” name for your group – see, not the first thing on the list. Sometimes it takes time for a cool name to happen. Airship OtherNaut was fortunate – the name came from one member’s business: OtherWhen Oddities.
18. Do what works best for you and your group and don’t be afraid to change things. Especially when you’re forming, it takes time to figure out what works for you. Don’t be afraid to abandon something if it isn’t working, and don’t be afraid to re-try something that didn’t work before. Maybe it will work after you get more members, or your member base changes.
19. Look for others to share the workload. At least some of the people in the group will be reliable and dependable, but don’t expect them to do all the work!
20. Protect each individual’s and family’s privacy. Do not release names, addresses or other information about group members without getting their permission.
21. Expect to have an unreasonable amount of FUN!!

Names of Steampunk Groupings

Crew (or Crewe, or Krewe)
Expeditionary Force
Steam Engine

In-group Your group, the one where you feel loyalty and camaraderie

Out-group Other groups. In LARPing, the group against whom you might be competing .

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