I want to put a positive face on the Boquete Community input on the Tuesday Morning Meetings. I posted on Boquete Guide, BoqueteNing and used Noticas to reach in excess of four thousand people who either live in Boquete or are interested enough to read those resources. As of now sixty six people have responded to the poll, another twenty seven have left comments on this site.
Less that 2.5% of those contacted cared enough about the future of the Tuesday meetings to respond. Of those who did respond eleven said they never go to the meetings. That would indicate that the meetings, a long tradition in this community, are only important to about one hundred people in Boquete; I know that is wrong. When we have a topic of interest the community packs the house.
Of those who did respond with comments there were many useful suggestions. One of the ideas is to allow commercial meetings and let the vendor pay the BCP, eliminating the $1 per person fee at the door, a great idea and the BCP has told me they will consider that option.
Dianne and I have been donating time and effort to this meeting. Dianne has been doing this for years, me only for a few months. I will not call the work thankless because many people do thank us.
I was not a regular attendee of the meetings in the past. I went when the topic was of interest to me; the way it should be. Now I go to most meetings because I introduce the speaker unless Dianne does the deed. Most meetings have fifty or fewer people present, rarely a full house in an expat community of thousands. It is clear most topics are not of great interest to people here. The question is why try to maintain a schedule of weekly meetings unless there are topics of interest to at least one hundred in the community.
What is needed is more speakers who are willing to donate an hour of their time to educate those in the community on something of interest. Most of our requests to groups in the community fall on deaf ears. In the past I have tried to get people to talk about alternative health care, only Gilberto stepped forward. I have tried to get people to speak on tourism, no one local was willing. I have tried to get some of the local groups who do hiking, birdwatching etc to speak, nada. When people make suggestions for speakers they are usually unwilling to contact the speaker and ask for them to speak. It is not my job to beg people to speak. I do ask, but I am unwilling to be a gadfly.
I have decided to allow the meetings to be less frequent and reduce the pressure on both Dianne and I. When we have good speakers we will have meetings. We will try a bi or trimonthly tourist and newbies meeting as suggested in comments. If the BCP decides to allow paid commercial presentations they will fill the time slot.
In the beginning the meetings helped create the critical mass needed for the market. Now I believe the market stands on it’s own and will grow and expand regardless of whether we have speakers or not.
The new reality is fewer speakers, perhaps commercial speakers and more efforts at newbie related meetings with no speakers. I am still looking for input and speakers and if someone else has a better idea I am open to all suggestions.