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How many of you are active in a LUG?

NatebwNatebw Tampa BayMember Posts: 339
edited August 2014 in Everything else LEGO
We have a pretty active LUG locally. I've seen them at different events and specially train shows. I've talked them a bit, but I felt that for right now the time commitments were too great for me to join in good faith. Being a small business owner/dad just doesn't leave long stretches of uncommitted time.

But I'm curious. Are you in a LUG? How is it?

Comments

  • graphitegraphite USMember Posts: 3,274
    I was active in the newly formed Iowa LUG before I moved back to MA at the beginning of this year. I joined NELUG and am being as active as I can be. I wouldn't feel pressure to commit a serious amount of time just by joining. If the LUG is the one doing the pressuring as part of joining up I would question joining at all and would consider reporting that to the community team. LUGs are about community and sharing enjoyment in this hobby not forcing everyone to actively participate in everything possible. Now they can have requirements on participating a certain amount to take part in some of the perks but that is different club to club.
  • JenniJenni JapanMember Posts: 1,390
    I'm not part of a LUG as the nearest is two hours away but that LUG, TNVLC, happily incorporated a modular MOC of mine into their displays for a year. So for some groups there's a grey area between member and nonmember. I know they have some members who don't display with them.

  • NatebwNatebw Tampa BayMember Posts: 339
    I don't think that there was any pressure. It was just matter of fact discussion about what members are expected to do, and as much as I like lego, I don't see myself taking off work to set up and man displays....

    Maybe I will get to know them better and find a gray area as jenni suggested.
  • tedwardtedward CanadaMember Posts: 163
    Most of my LUG's displays are on weekends so we set up in the evenings for a whole weekend or on Saturday for a Sunday show.

    As for being in a LUG generally: it is a great opportunity to hang out and share but my LUG has very minimal requirements and some people come to everything, some come once or twice a year (including our annual post Xmas party with a dirty brickster).
  • Russell844Russell844 California, USAMember Posts: 2,336
    I am Co-Founder and President of BayLUG. We have some kind of event at least once a month.
  • BuriedinBricksBuriedinBricks USAMember Posts: 1,367
    I think the membership requirements and expectations of LUGs are going to vary widely. I talked with several people at Brickworld this year and found no two LUGs are really the same in terms of organization or even the types of activities or events they do.

    Some LUGs appear to be highly organized and active, with members who do quite a bit and have very large collections to pull from. They require quite a commitment from their members and will often do weekend-long installations in locations several times a year. That actually requires a fairly large investment of manpower and out-of-pocket costs as well, especially if you have to travel.

    The LUG I run on the other hand (WisLUG) has a fairly loose organizational structure and does public events every few months that are usually only single day shows. We are doing something major in December, but I'm more interested in trying to retain and encourage participation right now. It's hard to commit to major events when you have maybe a dozen super-active members, and then another 10-20 who show up from time to time. Even with the active members I have, nailing down every one for an event can be difficult.

    We do have monthly meetings, which are growing more and more structured. We are doing parts drafts on a regular basis and I'm trying to hold regular build competitions. We've had a few people do demos for the group on building techniques and other AFOL-related topics. People frequently bring MOCs or flagship retail sets to show off. It's a great three hours one Sunday a month.

    Our recruiting has been hurt by the fact that the closest LEGO store is an hour away and won't currently give us a display window. Those are amazing at helping to advertise a LUG and build the membership. We just started splitting meetings between Madison and Milwaukee also, which will hopefully help us connect with more AFOLs in the region. We have several people in Milwaukee who have wanted to get involved, but can't make the drive over for meetings.

    Also, not everyone likes to MOC. I have several members who collect, but do very little free building or design of their own. That's fine. We are all different types of fans and our LUG does not specialize. However, I know there are several LUGs out there that do (like the train clubs) and have pretty strict needs from their membership.

    As was said previously, it's mostly about community. You have some super-serious LUGs out there and it's good to be challenged to build bigger or better things, but the ultimate goal should be to connect with others who share your passion for the brand.
    petersc7540
  • allmybricksallmybricks Member Posts: 156
    LUGs are great, but I agree that experiences are going to vary widely. Ours is pretty small (~25 semi-active people, ~12-15 super-active) and very casual... which is often both awesome and infuriating at the same time.

    I joined mine about 3 years ago after moving to a new area and it has been a great way to meet people and make some new friends.

    We have monthly meetings to show of MOCs, draft a set, chat about latest news, plan displays, etc... and then ~3 group displays that we put on around our state each year, not including different members of the group going to shows like BrickWorld or BrickFair.
  • prevereprevere North of Bellville, East of Heartlake, South of Bricksburg, West of Ninjago City Member Posts: 2,923
    Would LUG be appropriate for resellers who also are huge Lego hobbyists? Or are those of the "dark side" not "generally" welcome?
  • graphitegraphite USMember Posts: 3,274
    ^ If someone was just a reseller I'm not sure there would be much for them in a LUG but if you collect/play with LEGO in any form as a hobby then a LUG is great. If you do additional stuff to that such as reselling it shouldn't really matter. Just like on the forum you'll have people on both sides of the "is reselling good/right" fence so if you don't want some people avoiding you or disliking you because of it then I wouldn't mention that part and just focus on the collecting etc.

    I do reselling and everyone in my last LUG knew I did and that I had a BL store for parts etc. I offered a LUG member discount on parts as well as a club perk. I'm not one to really care much if someone doesn't like me especially if it is for a stupid reason like them having a different opinion on something as insignificant in life as selling a toy.
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Near ManchesterMember Posts: 4,244
    I'm a member of two LUGs here in the UK. I display at various events as a member of one LUG or the other, and it's a more social way of enjoying the Lego hobby.

    There are also a few perks of being a member of a LUG, which are nice :)
  • mrfuturemrfuture NorwayMember Posts: 31
    I'm joined the local LUG this year and we have a more voluntary basis on events we have. We have a big main event right after easter. That event was my first but i may show up on other.
  • augenaugen Worcester, UKMember Posts: 317
    I would readily join one if there was one that was local as it would motivate me to build more, but outside of London and Yorkshire, they seem to be few and far between in the UK.
    mnbvc
  • richselbyrichselby Member Posts: 80
    Why not start your own? I set up LondonAFOLs because I couldn't make/afford (both time and money) the big displays others organised. But an informal meetup once a month with other AFOLs not far from my office was ideal. The Meetup website can help you do this.

    The first meeting was a little scary. But to my relief, other AFOLs turned up. And more than a year later, we are quite established.
  • markarm919markarm919 USAMember Posts: 60
    I have questions about LUG's. I was a Brickfair a few weeks ago in Virginia, USA and I spoke with a guy who was in a LUG. One of my questions was how do you guys afford to buy the pieces for a display like this? Their display was very impressive at probably 100,000 bricks. He told me that official LUG's can buy bulk pieces at a huge discount. Is this true? If so, how does one get official recognition as a LUG? And does anybody that lives in the Alexandria, Arlington, and DC area want to join?
  • augenaugen Worcester, UKMember Posts: 317
    richselby said:

    Why not start your own?

    I don't even know another AFOL living within a 30 mile radius, although I'm sure there are a few. I'd have liked to have gone to a few of the London meet-ups when I was working down there, but never got around to it.

  • CurvedRoadPlateCurvedRoadPlate Member Posts: 257
    If you are interested in starting a Lug in the US and would like to learn more about official recognition from Lego as well as the benefits, I would suggest you contact Kevin Hinkle at Lego. He is the North American Community Coordinator. See this article for more information and how to contact him-
    http://thebrickblogger.com/2012/04/your-bridge-to-lego-kevin-hinkle-part-two/
  • tedwardtedward CanadaMember Posts: 163

    And does anybody that lives in the Alexandria, Arlington, and DC area want to join?

    Is WAMALUG dead? That would be sad.

  • BuriedinBricksBuriedinBricks USAMember Posts: 1,367

    I have questions about LUG's. I was a Brickfair a few weeks ago in Virginia, USA and I spoke with a guy who was in a LUG. One of my questions was how do you guys afford to buy the pieces for a display like this? Their display was very impressive at probably 100,000 bricks. He told me that official LUG's can buy bulk pieces at a huge discount. Is this true? If so, how does one get official recognition as a LUG? And does anybody that lives in the Alexandria, Arlington, and DC area want to join?

    Lugbulk is in fact a program that recognized LUGs have a chance to participate in once a year. Pricing can't be publicly discussed, but I can assure you it's certainly a big perk of being in a LUG.

    As for starting a LUG, I highly suggest checking your area to see if there is already something active nearby. A LUG has to be active for an entire year before LEGO will even recognize it and there are tons of things that are actually needed to be considered "official" by TLG. Those include doing multiple public events and hitting a certain threshold of active participants. You can set up a small local group, but it helps to learn from an established LUG first if you want to claim some of benefits recognition bestows on you eventually.

    Some of the non-US folks can probably chime in on this more, but the American LUG community is far different than much of the rest of the world. Where we have several smaller, more regional LUGs, Europe in particular tends to have much larger LUGs with their membership spread over a wider geographic area. As a result, you have a lot of smaller groups that really can't build up much of a membership because there just aren't enough AFOLs in a given area who are interested in being active.

    I blame geography in the US, since major population centers are more spread out and there's really no effective way to get from outside of a city into one, as long-range public transportation sucks or the travel time of driving (and cost of parking) is prohibitive. It's part of the reason why we are now splitting our meeting locations between Madison and Milwaukee in Wisconsin now. There are several people who just are not willing to make the drive over, but I want to include them because their participation makes the LUG better.
    markarm919
  • graphitegraphite USMember Posts: 3,274
    ^ Geography is definitely a limiting factor in LUGs in the US. I drove 2 hours (4 hour round trip) once a month to go to my LUG meeting when I was in Iowa. It makes it hard to help out frequently with any sort of long term activity.
  • NatebwNatebw Tampa BayMember Posts: 339
    I did not know about lugbulk. That is cool.

    Maybe I will look into it again.
  • petersc7540petersc7540 Member Posts: 12
    I've been a member of a LUG for several years now, even served as president of ours for a while. It's something I've really enjoyed. If nothing else, it was nice to realize I wasn't the only adult in town who still shopped the LEGO aisle for himself.

    I can't speak to the LUG you're close to, but you might want to inquire about the perceived time commitments. I know in our case, we gladly welcome anyone regardless of how active they think they can be, and we're a very active LUG that organizes or participates in multiple events, conventions, public workshops, charitable causes, etc... throughout the year. You might find your LUG is the same way.

    If that's the case, you can do what I did initially: join, get on the mailing list and participate the few times you can until eventually the fever spreads and you become the guy renting a trailer to take your portion of the display to BrickFair... :)
    BuriedinBrickshleonffuJenni
  • bmwlegobmwlego Long Island, New YorkMember Posts: 818
    edited August 2014
    When I first got back into LEGO in 2006 I was bummed that there wasn't a NY LUG. Instead of complaining I actively sought out other AFOLs living in the NY area. I attended LEGO Store builds at the only LEGO store in NY at the timeeven though it was over an hour away and a costly toll filled trip. I contacted people on brickset and flickr who said they were from NY. I posted pics of mocs on flickr and uploaded a pic of a Long Island LUG logo letting people know about what I hoped would grow into a larger LUG. I attended LEGO store events, grand openings, building events and shopping days like Brick Friday.

    These efforts eventually led me to a friend who had been part of a LUG that was also looking for members (offline). We joined up and formed I LUG NY and 4 years later we have about 40 members with varying levels of time, building prowess, and brick collections.

    I know that being a part of a LUG has benefited my life and hobby in many ways. Some of my closest friends are LUG members. The times we spend together at meetings, eating lunch and just hanging out are something I look forward to each month. I've been inspired to build better, more detailed MOCs and in themes I don't normally build in. My parts collection has benefited through parts drafts, sales of parts from friends, friends picking up parts from Pick a Brick walls all over NY and LUGBULK. My set collection has benefited because we share deals we score at stores with LUG members.

    The benefits of joining a LUG are way more than just LUGBULK. If you are interested in meeting up with people who share a common interest then join a LUG. Participate as much as your schedule allows-don't feel pressured to spend more time at LUG events.

    I guess my long post here can be summed up like this:

    Join a LUG if you want to meet and share this awesome hobby with other adults and if there isn't a LUG near you try to start one.

    http://www.ilugny.org/
    petersc7540hleonffuaugenBuriedinBricks
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark Near ManchesterMember Posts: 4,244
    @augen it depends where you are in the UK. The Brickish Association is for the whole UK, and in the north there is Northern Brickworks (for the whole of the north) and Brickshire (for Yorkshire in particular)
  • augenaugen Worcester, UKMember Posts: 317

    @augen it depends where you are in the UK. The Brickish Association is for the whole UK, and in the north there is Northern Brickworks (for the whole of the north) and Brickshire (for Yorkshire in particular)

    I am in Worcester. I was a member of Brickish, but let it lapse. I keep meaning to join again, but am slightly put off by the lack of flexibility in how and when you pay for membership.

  • NatebwNatebw Tampa BayMember Posts: 339
    I just saw that our LUG is displaying the whole downtown this weekend, so I will go visit that and talk to them about the time commitment. That is the really the only thing making me nervous.
  • BuriedinBricksBuriedinBricks USAMember Posts: 1,367
    Natebw said:

    I just saw that our LUG is displaying the whole downtown this weekend, so I will go visit that and talk to them about the time commitment. That is the really the only thing making me nervous.

    I honestly would not be that worried about it. Outside of a few very specialized LUGs, most groups I've talked with are pretty loose on what they require of members. Attending a couple meetings a year, taking part in a few public events...that's about the extent of it most cases I've heard of. Really, as a hobby group, YOU do as much as YOU feel comfortable doing.
  • mnbvcmnbvc Member Posts: 143
    I would like to be in a LUG, but didn't think there was one near me. I didn't realise that Northern Brickworks even existed!
  • CrowkillersCrowkillers Member Posts: 757
    I am a member of Steel City LUG, but unfortunately nothing that I build goes along with the MOCs that the rest of my LUG members build, so I am kind of on my own...
  • augenaugen Worcester, UKMember Posts: 317
    mnbvc said:

    I would like to be in a LUG, but didn't think there was one near me. I didn't realise that Northern Brickworks even existed!

    I think that part of the problem is that it's not easy to find out who else lives in your area. Perhaps @Huw could provide some statistics on the geographical spread.
  • NatebwNatebw Tampa BayMember Posts: 339
    Well, I stopped by the display that my LUG had at a larger event and I wound up talking to the president. It was great! He was super nice. Once he determined that I really was an AFOL and not a dad looking for a place for his kids he was really welcoming. We talked about MOCs and the history of the LUG. It turns out that there will be a local BrickWorld in the future and he said I could have table space to display my MOCs and contribute to some collaborative scenes.

    I AM SO EXCITED!

    OK, I have to go and buy a bunch of bricks now and figure out how to finish some of these MOCs. :)
    BuriedinBrickssidersddLostInTranslation
  • BuriedinBricksBuriedinBricks USAMember Posts: 1,367
    @Natebw It can get really bad. You will forever be thinking of cool projects to show off, once you have an outlet. My "MOC ideas" file is huge at this point and I know I will never get to all of them.
    sidersdd
  • graphitegraphite USMember Posts: 3,274
    ^ Same here. I have about 10-12 LDD files open with starts of ideas for things.
  • kyrotekkyrotek Southampton, UKMember Posts: 212
    Does anyone know of any LUGs in the south of the UK? Not sure I want to join Brickish if everything happens too far north for me to go to.
  • LostInTranslationLostInTranslation UKMember Posts: 5,572
    Brickish events and members are spread all over the country. There are plenty of both in the south. The following are all organised by Brickish members or will have a Brickish presence:

    27 September - Model Railway Exhibition at Whitewebbs museum of Transport, Enfield
    5-6 October - Great Western Brick Show, Swindon
    15-16 November - Naphill Brick and Model Show, Bucks
    27-30 November - Brick 2014, Excel London
    16-18 January - London Model Engineering Exhibition, Alexandra Palace

  • seonadancingseonadancing Member Posts: 92
    I'm a co-founder of PhLUG, which will be 2 years old in December. We have meet ups every other month which is attended by 200-250 members. We have MOC exhibitions and trading going on. Lego is very expensive here so we're looking forward to the LUGBulk, but i'm pretty sure that shipping would still be restrictive. Hopefully, we can have a brickcon in the next 3 years.
  • markarm919markarm919 USAMember Posts: 60
    tedward said:

    And does anybody that lives in the Alexandria, Arlington, and DC area want to join?

    Is WAMALUG dead? That would be sad.

    It's alive and well, but it meets about 30 miles away from me. Given the traffic and horrific infrastructure of DC, it would take a long time to get to and from the group.
  • markarm919markarm919 USAMember Posts: 60
    @iccarus Thanks for all the info. I'll certainaly consider all the info you have provided me. I really appreciate it.

    @CurvedRoadPlate I'll be sure to circle back with him. I'm anxious to see what it takes and what he will say.

    For the record, I don't want to trample the guys at WAMALUG, I spoke with them specifically at BrickFair in VA and they were super friendly and happy to answer questions about their display. I just have a group of friends that want to be a part of something like this that live in the city without cars. We need a geographically responsible location to meet and work in. Thanks everybody for the info!
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