In many conversations and RTF posts we hear about folk who are not members of a retriever club. Or have been members of clubs in the past and have not felt welcomed. Or are new members of retriever clubs and want to pounce with vigor and enthusiasm but seem to be not taken seriously by the club members.
There are many reasons for this. Every retriever club has a membership list. The club I am in has 80+ members. They also have a "core group" that seem to do everything. Everything from being members of the board, secretary and treasurer to the chairs of tests and marshals and workers. While at some point every person will toss a duck at least once at one event. The core group will be at every event making things run smoothly.
The grizzled veterans of the core group have seen new people or "Fresh Meat" as I have jokingly referred to them in the past, come and go. For every person that makes it into the core group, ten will be a member for a summer or two and then drift away. Others will be in the class of the club members who toss that one duck once at one test. But are not willing or because of circumstances of life not able to do more at this time.
So what can you do as a new person in a retriever club to be taken seriously by the core group? Do you need fancy dog boxes with the offspring of an FC/AFC in it? No. Do you need fresh, unseen training grounds to share with the group? No. Do you need to order everything in the dogs afield catalog? No. All you need to do is come to whatever events your club has. Be on time or early. Boldly walk up to the equipment trailer ask to do something. Stay to the end. Start picking things up without being asked. Have a good attitude and do not lurk in the back. Make your self known to the group by your actions and you will be remembered and soon will be invited to private training sessions and hunting and a slippery slope of activity will be at your feet. Good luck to you all!