In mid-January, the Scythe Association of Britain and Ireland (SABI to you and me) finally constituted itself and became a proper association with paying members and everything.  We went down to a very chilly Monkton Wyld and, despite managing to set the fire alarm off, agreed a constitution, voted in officers and generally became official.

So, what’s SABI going to do?  Well, we decided that our most important roles were promoting scything and also being a hub for scythers, or potential scythers, to connect with each other.  In a way, constituting the organisation is a way of formalising and maximising the beneficial connections that already exist within the scything community anyway.  Together we can do more than individual people can do on their own.  We can negotiate for cheaper insurance etc for shows, we can share knowledge and skills, we can mentor each other.  It’s a real example of integrating rather than segregating.

I hope that one of the things that SABI will do in the future will be to formalise ways of knowledge share between teachers.  It’s really interesting being part of such a tight knit community and also being, technically, in competition with each other.  Instinctively, your first thought is to shy back from sharing information/work with each other but collaboration could work so much more effectively.  In actual fact, at the moment, there is enough work and few enough teachers for ‘competition’ not to be a problem – but in the future having an established culture of sharing and working together will reap its own rewards.

We spent most of the weekend embroiled in paperwork which, in the past, was something that I shied away from.  I instinctively distrusted organisations which had reams of formal rules and hierarchical positions.  Ha, how my thinking has changed…  Since the debacle with [the organisation which shall remain nameless but which most people of my acquaintance will have heard about by now] I’ve kept the hell away from working with other people on projects.  My involvement in SABI is on the basis that we have a formal inside and outside of the organisation, that it is something that you have to join and that you can be kicked out of if you behave badly.  It was also really important to me that we defined roles early on, so that people knew who was responsible for what.

Sensibly, I think, SABI has decided not to take on any big projects for the first year of its life to give the whole thing time to bed down.  I guess you might call this the ‘year of observation.’  A year ago it would have frustrated me, but now I am coming to see the many many benefits of just hanging on a bit and seeing what happens.  So much frustration (and other emotions) can be saved by doing this…

Obviously, I took on one of the officer roles.  I can’t help but get involved with things…  I became the Secretary, which pretty much consists of the jobs that I was doing before we constituted.  I knew more or less how much time this would take me and I know that I can fit it into my life without booting other things out, so I am happy with that.  Plus it means that I get to boss around men with beards officially as well as unofficially now…


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