Saturday, November 9, 2013

Building an active LUG

I have been pretty negligent about posting these past few months. Part of the reason is a rather busy work and family life schedule, but another factor is that I have been working much harder at getting my local LUG (LEGO User Group) to be much more active. Over the summer the founder of the LUG I belong to (WisLUG) moved out of the area. I agreed to take over the administration of the group, and it's been quite a ride since then.

For those unfamiliar with the LUG program, they are an outlet for local Adult Fans of LEGO (AFOL) to come together and share their love of all things brick built. While LUGs are active in many different ways, a primary goal of the program is to help promote the LEGO brand through helping with and running public events. This can include organizing independent displays in an area, participating in events at LEGO brand retail stores, or coming together with members from many LUGs for large public displays (Brickworld).

I joined WisLUG about a year after it started. It's membership had been growing, but we still had sparse attendance at meetings. No real big activities had taken off yet and the first major thing I did was help build displays for the Milwaukee LEGO store. Since taking over in July, I have made it my goal to get the group more active in a variety of activities. In the past, we had simply been doing displays for the nearest LEGO store and at Brickworld. I have been working extremely hard to find us more local outlets, and that work is finally starting to pay off.

In October, the LUG held its first independent event at a local education/independent toy shop. Over a dozen members helped contribute to a group build, while also providing their own MOCs (My Own Creations) to help fill several tables with wonderful works of LEGO building. The next weekend, we took many of those MOCs down with us to a Rockford, IL Park District event, where we joined members of others LUGs for a LEGO-related event at the venue. Both shows were a great deal of fun and were a great way to connect with other LEGO fans in our area. They were also a valuable learning experience in figuring out what I need to keep in mind when organizing our participation in these activities.

Things are starting to pick up as well. I am currently talking to our local library system about doing events in connection with LEGO clubs they host each month. We are looking at doing at least three events in 2014 at different branches where members will display work and we will have some bulk brick for kids to build with.

So, that's why I have been pretty scarce on the blogging front lately. Most of my non-building free time has been tied up with trying to find local venues for us to display in. As we get more active, I'm hoping our membership will grow as well, which should help us be able to staff even more local events.

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