In order to give our club some direction, we need to know what are
the goals of each individual member and how can club members assist
each other to achieve their goals and objectives. Do all of our
members have set goals or objectives as guppy enthusiasts?
I remember at one of our club meetings Jim Alderson asked a similar question to our members in an attempt to initiate us in some sort of direction. When the PPGA was formed in 1965 by a group of then serious guppy breeders including the late Midge Hill, their emphasis was on breeding, raising and showing of fancy guppies at IFGA sanctioned shows. They spent many years of hard dedicated work in creating and maintaining the quality of the fancy guppy and creating a good base of quality for some of our present day strains of fancy guppy. Today our local PPGA Breeders have built upon that foundation appreciably. With additional strains from guppy breeders back east, and the creation of new and exiting strains of our own, we have elevated the overall quality of the clubs color lines to a new standard.
Our Breeders have placed in the top ten consistently including first place in the last few years. The goal of a club should include the above and in order to do this certain things must be implemented and maintained. We need to keep a core of members, be it large or small with the above goals to keep the club in a healthy condition. Most of us may be primarily interested in just raising decent quality guppies to have and enjoy at our leisure. Some are also interested in raising guppies for profit. The hard facts are although the cost of breeding and raising, quality guppies can be appreciable, there cannot be a steady supply or availability of quality guppies without the serious breeder having put in years of hard work to develop, maintain, and improve the overall quality of some of the present day color lines we have available today. To have just one or two members of a club do all the serious breeding and maintaining of strains for the rest of the club should not be a goal of a healthy and competitive club. To take a case in point. Some of us received letters a few years ago from a club in the midwest that their stocks of quality guppies have been lost and they were in the market for quality show breeding stock.
Consider what the implications would be if a disaster were to hit the fishrooms of our most prominent breeders! We should all have a common goal to share in the joy of improving the quality of some of our color lines. (Some of us are already on the right track). We also , as serious club members, need to consider that we are a part of the future progress and overall health of the hobby and need to relieve some of the responsibility of carrying out the objectives and goals of the club.
We have had numerous discussion topics by Jim Alderson on the basics of breeding and raising quality stock: principles of line breeding; inbreeding; outcrossing, etc.; how to maintain a color line while trying to improve it by crossing.
Some of these topics cant be found in books but are stored in the minds of the experts. For those of you who who cannot afford to spend the time and expenseto do serious breeding, you can still raise quality guppies for your own personal satisfaction or ocassional showing. You can enjoy the hobby on almost any scale of time and investment. As with any good hobby, there is a minimum of investment needed to maintain good quality guppies without having to continually return to the original breeder to restock. For example you cannot maintain a color line with only two or three tanks for very long (even worse for more colors). You would constantly be on the market looking for breeding stock to purchase or getting " freebees" from other club members when your stock takes a quality dive.
Basically we need to have strategic objective goals and pursue them to the best of our ability. Only then can we begin to realize our goals. The ideal situation for a club's strategy would be to have each member choose a favorite strain or color (preferably one that is not very popular) and attempt to breed and improve the strain with the IFGA Rules and judging standards in mind, and costs permitting even show regularly and win the color class . Members who have larger tank setups can as serious breeders , maintain several color lines.
Senior club members can be available to mentor and assist new members with any questions and /or problems they will inevitably encounter. A good byproduct of a healthy club is that we can pool our resources and purchase discount foodstuffs and other maintenance supplies. This would help some of the club's members who have a tight budget. Several clubs in the nation are doing this, for instance, with brine shrimp eggs, the cost of which has tripled in the last several years.
Let us, as club members, keep a focus on our primary goals. This way we enjoy our hobby to the fullest!
(I wrote this article two years ago as a submission to our Guppy Rountable Newsletter. I have only edited a few items for this posting.)
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