May 20, 2013

Changing the Group Format

In the last blog on diabetes symptoms to never ignore, Elaine and Jessie had asked Tim and me to stay after. I suggested to Tim that it was probably about everyone needing to help defray costs since we were using only a few homes. Tim agreed and said he had meetings scheduled the coming week with two additional churches about using their building for meetings.

When everyone had left, Elaine and Jessie said they were somewhat concerned about the costs of having snacks for everyone. Tim asked that Alan and Glen join us and Tim said that we could agree with them and that they should not bear the cost for using their homes. He explained that three churches had said no to meetings at their buildings and that he had two more scheduled the coming week. Glen asked about the meeting room at the hospital and I explained that the formal diabetes support group had use of it and the doctor advisor to the group had opposed our use of it.

Glen said he knew a few people and asked if he could see about using it. We agreed and said it would be a great place to meet. I said that with the growth of the group so quickly, homes may not be the best. Tim did state that when we started, snacks were not part of the group, but that we had quite a few meetings at a local restaurant where we sometimes had our evening meal. Each person then purchased their own food. When we started to grow above six members is when we started using homes. Even then snacks were not always part of the meeting. Jessie said that was probably why some did not take snacks then.

At that point Elaine said that maybe it was time to have a consensus of the group and follow that. Alan asked if there were any formalities that we followed and Tim and I said no. Tim said we had grown from the six last May, to the 16 this May, and really not given any thought to anything until someone suggested that if someone had an idea for the meeting to prepared something and the rest would follow. The hospice meeting was the first time we had brought in outside speakers (other than my cousin on nutrition) and Barry was really the first meeting when a member had a full program.

Jessie then said that for such a loose knit group, there seemed to be a lot of loyalty and a lot happening. Tim commented that our goal was really education, helping each other, and helping others which he said was why he thought the group had worked so well. He said we have had meetings about studies when everyone had an interest or when some controversial topics came up making unreasonable claims. I stated that sometimes we did a lot of discussion via emails and sent URLs to help in the discussions. Tim stated that much of the loyalty may come from the questions people ask and the answers they receive. He said this is why when Bob receives a question from one member, he restates the question and gives his answer and emails this to everyone, and the rest of us do the same. Some of us will add comments to the original answer and email these to everyone. I added that we never give the name of the person asking the question to encourage questions. I also stated that early on, sometimes a person would email questions to everyone and everyone that felt they could answer would.

Elaine said that she now understood some of the reasons behind why the group worked so well and that yes, Tim had stated this in the first email, but she had not totally followed the reasoning. Tim said we wanted to talk about this and send out emails asking people for their thoughts before we brought it up in a meeting.

With that we left and Tim said he wanted to email the original six for their thoughts and then he would send me an email with what they said or he would limit it to the six of us and obtain our input before we sent information to all members. I said we are the minority now and as such needed to think about the benefits for all. We may need to change the way we handle our activities now and hopefully everyone will pull together. Tim agreed and said that was good to put in the email. With that we headed for our homes.

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