CDSS should maybe take on a coordinating effort to be a resource and clearing 
house for ideas to engage others, older and especially young, even proactively 
promote these efforts. 

Related I wonder if there are any efforts to actively engage college students. 
I am considering approaching our local college to see if we can’t increase 

Related, at least for summers, we have a couple of summer camps that bring kids 
to our weekly dance, dramatically increasing our numbers to the point that some 
regulars stay away for the summer. 

Sent from miHand,

Peter K Martel

> On Dec 20, 2017, at 8:57 PM, Mary Collins via Organizers 
> <> wrote:
> thanks Chrissy,
> There are several things here to pursue, thanks. We have struggled for years 
> on how to tap into our younger set. We will be looking into some of these 
> ideas and how we can implement them in our own dance.  I too am looking 
> forward to hearing/reading the outcome of your panel.
> Cute story:  Since we've been struggling with this for YEARS...this happened 
> in the 90's in Ithaca.It was more than likely a Geo. Marshall dance and there 
> were many young people in attendance.  So, I suggested to the 4 or 5 people 
> who had travelled from our home dance for this event, that when we could 
> engage any of the young people in conversation, we should ask them how they 
> came to contra and why they continued to come.  we would report back and have 
> a conversation amongst ourselves about it.  As luck would have it, Aaron 
> Marcus and I were paired to dance.  Being the instigator of this exercise and 
> taking it seriously, I introduced myself to Aaron and asked him "How long 
> have you been dancing and what brought you to it?"  After a brief eye contact 
> exchange...Aaron promptly put feet to use in a lovely clogging riff, when 
> finished stated "I grew up in it." with his very lovely smile.  Hahaha, leave 
> it to me to find the one kid there that GREW up Contra dancing.  Geeze. Still 
> love seeing Aaron on the floor and twirling with him when I can.
> Thanks again,
> Mary
> “Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass ... it's about learning to 
> dance in the rain!” ~ Unknown
>> On Wed, Dec 20, 2017 at 10:44 AM, Chrissy Fowler <> 
>> wrote:
>> Hi Mary, 
>> A few thoughts about ways we seek to engage young people in trad 
>> participatory social dance:
>> - Belfast Flying Shoes--our local dance organization, and a 501(c)(3) 
>> through affiliation with CDSS--helps fund contra dance residencies in 
>> schools.  In recent years, that's really expanded via generous foundation 
>> grants.  Since our dance series inception (2005), we've been part of 
>> residencies in over 20 K-5 or K-8 schools, 3-5 Middle or High schools, and a 
>> few small K-12 schools.  Most residencies are multiple visits, with a 
>> culminating school/family dance.  We give out passes to our local dance via 
>> those residencies.  And lately we've also been distributing teaching 
>> resources for interested educators who might want to continue dancing w the 
>> students after the musicians and I are gone.
>> - We had two teens on our board for 2-3 years (there were pros and cons, but 
>> it was a good step to take, and overall a big plus.)
>> - This past fall, by request, we sponsored a weekly 'contra class' for 
>> teens.  Small numbers but high level of engagement.
>> And we just have a lot of young people at our dances.  Our 12-21yo cohort is 
>> huge. But that's all word of mouth. Locally there is a sizeable 'alt 
>> schooling' population (Waldorf, Montessori, homeschool, other) and that may 
>> be part of it, although there are teens from the local public schools too.  
>> - The last four years, we also have collaborated with a local youth 
>> organization (non-electronic games, such as role-playing), adding a contra 
>> dancing component to their role-playing history programs. 
>> But... Who knows why young people attend our dances in such numbers.  
>> Clearly they're having fun. Beyond that, hard to tell.
>> We're building on this though, and have three new outreach programs for 
>> 2018, all  incorporating young people to some degree. The one I'm most 
>> excited about is a panel discussion, which we'll record for posterity, of 
>> young people in their teens and 20s explaining more about why they choose to 
>> make contra dancing part of their social lives.  I'm super-curious to hear 
>> what they have to say!
>> Cheers, 
>> Chrissy
>> From: Mary Collins <>
>> Sent: Tuesday, December 19, 2017 4:48 PM
>> To: Chrissy Fowler
>> Subject: Re: [Organizers] Lower attendance this year?
>> Chrissy,
>> How exactly are you reaching those young people?
>> Mary -Buffalo NY
>> On Dec 6, 2016 10:47 AM, "Chrissy Fowler via Organizers" 
>> <> wrote:
>> Interesting data so far!  Are there dances out there that have seen an 
>> INCREASE in average attendance in the last year?
>> Besides asking for help from the "converted", perhaps we need to increase 
>> our reach to the non-dancer community to boost the pool of potential 
>> attendees for a given dance. (Meaning, somehow become more visible to the 
>> majority of people in our geographic area - the non-dancers - so that we get 
>> our message out to those non-dancers who would want to come to our dance if 
>> they only knew about it.)
>> In Belfast, we've got a major component for outreach to youth (schools, 
>> youth programming) but we could do more to raise the visibility of both our 
>> series and our organization.
>> Any brainstorms for potential efforts to support sustainability?
>> Cheers,
>> Chrissy Fowler
>> Belfast, ME
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