Is Recruitment Key to Long Term Survival?

by Mike Kendra on February 8, 2010

On March 27th, 2010 the N-SSA will embark on a new experiment in Skirmishing: the Recruitment Skirmish. This will be a hands-on experience for those with an interest in learning to skirmish along side the rest of us.

Muskets, Carbines, Smoothbores, Repeaters, even Mortars and Cannon are planned to be demonstrated and more than that, aimed and fired by the potential recruits.

This event is planned to be held at two locations on the same date.  The primary skirmish will be held by the Chesapeake Region at Fort Shenandoah, and the secondary by the Mid-Atlantic Region, at their range in Fort Ross, PA.

In a time when the Nation’s economy is less than favorable to hobbies such as ours, and knowing that the 150th Civil War Anniversary events will quickly be upon us, this may be one of the tickets to membership decline rehabilitation, both on the team and national levels.

This new spin on an old idea may be fruitful if enough new members can be brought on board. My only question is where are these skirmisher-wannabees hiding, and how are they getting their invitation to attend? (That’s not a criticism, just my simple question for today.)

Here is more info extracted from the recruitment flier:

“Have you ever wondered what it was like for the soldiers of the American Civil War to shoot their firearms?  Were those firearms accurate?  Could the soldiers use them effectively?  Or were the massive casualties really just a result of massive amounts of lead flying at the enemy?

“Come to Fort Shenandoah, the home range of the North-South Skirmish Association in Gainesboro, Virginia, on March 27, 2010, and see the firearms of the Civil War demonstrated. THEN, under proper supervision, you can fire the muskets, rifles, and carbines that the soldiers used in the war.  Many of these firearms will be originals. We will also demonstrate cannons and mortars.  This will be a great opportunity for you to understand, to a degree, what it was like for the soldiers of the Civil War when the guns went off.  Everyone is welcome.”

I hope this Skirmish will be a great success! (now if we’d only start offering some Lifetime Memberships to new recruits!)

PS: I hope most of you got the Facebook invitation to attend Friday’s Open Chat event. If you have not heard, our chat room at CivilWarTalk will be open for members and guests who would like to gather together and discuss Skirmishing. No registration is required, every skirmisher is welcome, here are the event details: Friday, Feb 12th from 9 to 11pm EST, the chat room will be setup for non-registered users at about 8pm, and stay open till about Midnight. A practice chat will also be held tonight (2/8) for registered users and non-registered guests from 8pm on, please join us! To RSVP visit Facebook!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris February 8, 2010 at 9:55 am

Mike,
This is not a new experiment in skirmishing! In the Northwest Territory Region for several years we ran the “Midwest Artillery Show” for this exact purpose. It included all of the elements included in the “Recruitment” skirmish now being sold as a new idea, except we had to run it as a non-N-SSA event ostensibly for the insurance reasons in allowing “non-members” to shoot at an N-SSA event. This was before the Board decided it was okay to have non-members fire at regional skirmishes, something that I argued in favor of and voted for when I was on the N-SSA Board of Directors. This began the year before I became Commander of the NWT. It was put together by Norm Gibson, Bob and Chris Hubbard, Brian Haack and Loomis’ Battery, among others.
A “recruit shoot” is exactly what was conducted at the Western Wayne County Conservation Club in the greater Detroit area in 2007. There was a demonstration skirmish followed by an opportunity for club members who were non-N-SSA people to break targets. This was the year I took over as Commander of the NWT., and was arranged by myself and Wally Gibson.
The recruitment shoot idea is also the basis of the “Black Powder Through the Ages” events that have been running in Michigan since 2001 or so. While the guns allowed there are not strictly N-SSA arms, the shooting style and intent is the same. The first event of this type was put on by Damon Palyka and myself. Pete Zahner and Jim Weber have continued and expanded the events.
We have also received recruits from the .22 caliber rifle “skirmishes” that have been conducted by Brian Haack and mike Zandarski in Port Huron MI for the last three years. Because of the cold weather, and the ubiquitous nature of the 22 rimfire, these events, which are conducted in doors, are perfect for getting new people out to shoot, and then since the style of shooting is the same, transition them into “skirmishing”.
The entire 146th New York, with two acceptations, in the ACWSA came from these sources. So too did Bledsoe’s Battery.
Despite the now pervasive mischaracterization of the Northwest Territory Region as a group of malcontents the region surely has done its part in bringing in new people. However, unfortunately for the N-SSA, most of the people putting their efforts into these events are no longer working for the N-SSA. I guess now that the “N-SSA” has come up with this “new” idea they can replace their losses.

Mark S Podulke March 2, 2010 at 11:14 pm

My problem has been no one to play with! No matches or teams in my state and the closest ones are clear across a neiboring state limiting me to one or two shoots I can go to a year if nothing else pops up.

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