Thursday, February 2, 2017

"...Let Every New Year Find You a Better Man"

As we mentioned in our last post, we'll be using a Good/Better/Best model to address the standards and expectations of HMSA Auxiliary members. Before we get into the specifics of what this means in regards to each individual area of interpretation (material culture, speech/mannerisms, foodways, etc.) we'd like to take a moment to introduce you to the idea of G/B/B as a standalone concept first. We'll go into more details pertaining to how it applies to your kit/gear in future posts, we promise.

The culture that we'd like to encourage in the HMSA-A is one of continuous improvement. We know that we don't hit the ground running with perfect kits and perfect interpretations right out of the gate. That's not the expectation we have for our members, because let's be honest- not only would it be cost prohibitive, but time prohibitive, potentially skill prohibitive and definitely member prohibitive. While we don't expect perfection, we do expect (and support) growth over time.

Unless your name is Hornblower. Then we expect perfection
at all times. 

One of the prominent reasons we chose Good/Better/Best rather than just stating one desired standard is that we recognize that everyone has different demands on their resources and we aim to be understanding and supportive of this, while also upholding the mission and vision of the unit. Growth is built in to the G/B/B model, as members are expected to attain certain benchmarks as they increase their tenure with the unit. For example, the Good standard for clothing should be achieved by members by the end of their first year with the unit. This is the minimal expectation for members who are just starting and will allow them some breathing room to get the ball rolling. However, by the end of their third year with the unit, members will have progressed from Good clothing standards to Better. Once members meet the required benchmarks, additional growth is encouraged but not required. (Remember-Best is a place we visit sometimes.)

Kind of like this all inclusive resort. None of us can really
afford to live there year round, but can probably swing a 3 day/
2 night stay if we try to save a bit. 
Another thing we liked about the Good/Better/Best concept was the idea that even if you're just starting and you're at Good- it's still Good; And there is no shame in Good. We want new members to feel at ease and not judged. That's hard when we do inspections where, well, stuff is pretty much being judged, right? But the purpose of the inspection experience is not to tell members how awful they are, but rather to support their growth and celebrate their successes.

Because, really, who else knows the joy that comes from
finishing a hand-sewn shift and will celebrate with you?
No, not Oprah, silly. Us.

The G/B/B specifics will be clearly laid out for each area of interpretation, beginning with clothing and continuing on through other material culture and interpretative tools as we go. A running log of these posts will be kept on the Standards and Expectations page so that members can easily find them for reference. We'll post tips, tricks, and how- to's throughout the year, as well as the expected timetable for each area. Most importantly, we'll be here to support you through the whole process.

While we try to keep things mostly positive here in the Auxiliary, there are some non-negotiable items to be avoided (to save everyone time, money, and effort) and we'll cover those, too, in each respective post.

As ever, if you have questions or comments, please feel free to leave them here or send them to Christina through whichever means you prefer, and keep a lookout for our next post on clothing guidelines and expectations.

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