(Written by Lorca)
If you are any type of FOL (Fan-of-LEGO), whether casual, adult, or teen, chances are you have had a desire to meet other LEGO aficionados like you. If you live in an area with many FOLs, all you have to do is perform a quick search online and join any one of the LUGs (LEGO User Groups) in your area. However if you happen to live in an area where fellow LEGO fans live in closed pockets and a gathering of them is hard to come by, the only choice you have is to start your own group. And that was exactly my predicament, so I thought to share with you what I did as it may help you in a similar situation. 🙂
I drafted the concept for my own LEGO group after I attended a very small LEGO club meeting for homeschoolers called the “Homeschool LEGO Club”. There were only four members, including me. I had been particularly disgruntled at the unfair, self-centered LEGO trading conduct of the head of the club. That night I researched the possibility of another LEGO club in my area, but the nearest was Indy-LUG two hours away, and it is exclusively for ages 18 and over. So the only option I have left is to forge my own LEGO club, and thus LEABI was born (which stands for LEGO Enthusiasts Association of Bloomington Indiana).
I wrote a set of LEGO trading and conduct bylaws (set up for an array of possible trading catastrophes) and also wrote the following guidelines for all potential members:
- You must be a mature 12-18 years old. Mature, because the bylaws are for emergency use only. 12-18 is because a problem that plagued the other LEGO club was the fact that it had started to become a toddler playground, with many 7-year-olds gallivanting about the room.
- Have an above mild interest in LEGO. This is not meant to discourage new LEGO fans, but to keep membership to those who have a real interest in the hobby, and not just have a couple of LEGO sets they never use.
- Have a sizable amount of genuine LEGO. No TFOMBs (Teenage-Fans-of-MegaBloks) please, if that actually exists… 🙄
After writing these rules, I sketched outlines for the LEABI website on paper. The next day I used a website-builder called Moonfruit to put my site design in digital form. I then created a registration form with questions such as “Why do you like LEGO?” and “Why do you want to join LEABI?”. These questions help gauge potential members’ “TFOL-ness”.
After taking the LEABI website online, I made a template for my fliers, which I would hang in various places throughout Monroe County (where I live). A week later I printed copies of the fliers and hung them around well-traveled public areas, the grocery stores, and between the pages of all the LEGO books at my library.
When LEABI has at least five members, LEABI will meet at the Monroe County Public Library once a month. Activities will include showing MOCs (My Own Creations), trading, and discussing LEGO related subjects. We will also trade LEGO, although participating in trading is completely optional. In the future LEABI could also take field-trips to LEGO conventions, LEGO stores, and other LEGO-related destinations.
I hope this article helped you a bit to know what you could do if you don’t have a LEGO club in your area. And if you live in Indiana, you are a TFOL (Teen-Fan-of-LEGO), and would like to join LEABI, please visit the LEABI website and get in touch! If you have any questions about running a club or about joining LEABI, feel free to ask in the comment section below. Thanks for reading! 😉
And you might also like to check out the following related posts:
- LEGO Users Group in South East Asia
- Your LEGO Users Group Online Presence
- Preparing Your LEGO Users Group for a Show
- LEGO Convention: Philly Brick Fest Coming!
- Brickworld – Have Fun at the World of LEGO!
- LEGO Users Group Brick Expo by OKILUG
- LEGO Brick-by-the-Bay Convention – Part 1
- LEGO Brick-by-the-Bay Convention – Part 2