We took a quick look at our records recently and found that nearly 600 folks attended one of the various TFG events in 2017. Of course, there were many repeat offenders who attended more than one event, but in a group with a membership of around 1,300, that seems like a pretty high percentage who made the investment in professional knowledge—especially given that we are disbursed over 13.7 million square miles in North America, not to mention the other twelve countries in which you’ll find TFG members.
Which gets me thinking about membership. Not just membership as in “pay your dues and join the club,” but rather a deeper sense of membership. The recent words of Guild member Dave Maynard stay in my head. Dave says that he’s a Guild member because “it’s validating, and it’s humbling.” Validating in that finding others who share your commitment to a mission provides a sense of legitimacy; humbling in that, in the context of those others, you realize how much more there is to master. Membership not only provides a place but also an identity.
Membership hones and anneals us. I know I have experienced many career-changing “aha moments,” even if they were initially accompanied by a face palm or a self-administered dope slap as in, “That’s so brilliant, how come I didn’t think of that a long time ago?”
Powerful learning happens at our events.
The Timber Framers Guild is a rare learning community. This kind of learning is unique. You can’t just buy it. You can’t go to school for it. It requires collaboration and an exchange of energy and ideas. It is experiential, participatory, collaborative, peer-lead, and community-driven. We teach ourselves by learning from each other. It is an investment with a substantial payoff. In 2018, we plan to hold at least one Guild event every month in an attempt to provide as many members as possible with a chance to get face-to-face with other members. We strive to represent all constituencies. The Traditional Timber Frame Research Advisory Group held a rich conference in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, this month. We will be hosting skills events ranging from scribing to rigging to equipment certification.
We are also hosting two national TFG conferences, one on each coast, as well as at least one, and possibly two, community building projects, and at least three regional gatherings. We’re spreading them out over those millions of square miles as best as possible, but are looking for new territory. Stay tuned for updates and details.
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Posted Apr 20, 2018 3:28 PM PST. Edited on Apr 20, 2018 3:32 PM.report