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To all,

All of this talk about a Penn Central Historical Society is great and I
am in favor of it.  However, my concern is over-enthusiasm.  Especially
when it comes to doing a publication, officers, etc.  I'm not trying to
rain on the parade, but I feel some issues need addressed/though about
before we get to deep into this.

I belong to the Marion Railfan Socity.  A bunch of guys who get together
once a month from September to May to watch slides and visit with each
other.  We have no officers and never had.  Who ever it is doing the
newsletter is kind of in charge, sort of.  They line up or think up a
program for each month and the rest does itself.  The group has been
running for 20+ years this way.  It would be nice if all groups could
function without a president, vp, tresurer, etc.  When choosing someone
to run the group do we need or want, all of the political garbage that
can go on?  Working together as a team of people who have minimal
authority without the other team members may help keep this to a
minimum. This may not be the answer, but it is food for thought.   It
could over-shadow the meaning of the group if it gets carried away. 

My other concern is a publication.  I have been doing our newsletter for
the Marion Railfans for nearly 10 years and I still have some sort of
sanity left.  (Although my family and friends would question that!!) For
whoever does this publication (I am bowing out due to family, a book
project, the newsletter, household chores, no desire to take on
something else at this time, etc.) should realize the amount of work
that goes in it.  The six of us who do the newsletter average about 40
hours a month in time spent, ten months out of the year. (We take a
break in the summer months with only a July issue to allow for
vacations, mental health, etc.)  The reward?  It isn't monetary, but the
satisfaction that we are doing a good job and providing a service to our
readers.  Oddly enough, I am the only regularly attending member of the
staff.  I asked the others to help and they have been more than helpful
in this endeavor.  

My suggestion is to keep it simple, to the point.  When your editor asks
for articles, do think about it, you need to do it.  We have a very good
base of contributors built up.  Generally, news, and articles are not a
problem.  Getting some of them typed in is.  The medium of which you are
reading is a great tool that can be used to help out a publication. 
Even photos scanned and then e-mailed work well. 

As we progress through this endeavor, be it face to face, or e-mail/news
group, we need to realize the extent of work that must be taken to
accomplish it.  

Thanks for listening.  My soap box is now back in the closet.

Dale A. DeVene Jr.

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