By : Judge Jonathan Hayes
As I watch SOME older established clubs and a LOT of the newer clubs, one thing becomes abundantly clear. You are more interested in numbers than the quality of your members. When you do away with true prospecting or probationary periods, you are only hurting yourselves and, overall, your club. The prospecting process allows both you and your prospect to determine if y’all are a good fit. That process takes TIME! Oh, I can generally tell within a few minutes if I like you or not but in no way can I determine whether or not you’d be a good brother.
When I prospected for a 1% club, 40 years ago, I did so because I wanted to find out two things:
1. Was this club and it’s members right for me, and
2. Was I right for the club?
The prospect period was, at a MINIMUM, 12 months! During my prospect time I was asked to do a lot of different things. Anything from clubhouse security to washing a brother’s bike to recycling the 55 gallon drums of beer cans every week. There were SOME clubs at the time where prospecting was little more than hazing, like college fraternities do. We were not asked to do anything that a full patch member would not do. It was about creating mutual respect. We were expected to know ALL the club bylaws by the numbers. We rode at the back of the pack except when an intersection was coming up. At that point we rode ahead and blocked that intersection for our brothers.
During my prospect year there was only one “thorn in my side.” He was a full patch member but thankfully, not my sponsor. He was a small little man with a big mouth and a really shitty attitude towards me. I put up with his BS daily for a whole year. On the night I was getting voted on, my sponsor wasn’t supposed to tell me, but he did, this little fucker was STILL on my case. We were all mostly outside the clubhouse waiting for the meeting to start. Prospects did NOT attend the meetings, we waited outside. Anyway, while we were waiting and the member was fucking with me, I had finally HAD ENOUGH! I tore into him like a mama bear protecting her cubs. I knew what would happen next because I had just broken a very important bylaw, the one that stated “Any member who gets into fight with a non member..all members present will participate!” As a prospect, I was NOT a member.
I took my beating and waited with the other 2 prospects for the results of the vote inside. To become a full patch you needed 100% of the votes. This was a small chapter with only 15 members. I had one NO vote from you know who. But, one of the other members, not my sponsor, spoke up for me. He said, “Look, he knew what the penalty was for fighting a member and he did it anyway. He stood up for himself and I believe that shows that he would certainly stand up for his brothers. You have ridden him like a son of a bitch for a year and we ALL expected him to kick your ass 6 months ago!” They re voted, and I was in! Six months later I was elected Vice President and the guy whose ass I kicked, dropped out of the club!
The point of all this is that my Brothers had TIME to observe and get to know me. Although some of you might disagree with me being voted into the club, I think that as years went on, they KNEW they had made the right decision. And moreover, so did I.
Judges Personal Web Blog
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