A season or two ago Andy Kienzle sent around an E-mail asking members of the Princeton Media Communications Association for help in keeping the 20-year-old group going. He had been doing so, pretty much solo, for a long time. Finding speakers, arranging meeting locations, leading meetings, getting out publicity, it all takes time — lots of time. It had become too much.
Some members of the group rallied, offering to arrange a meeting or two, but it wasn’t enough. On Friday, August 17, PMCA officially ended its run when Kienzle, who works at Hopewell-based E-learning company NXLevel Solutions (www.nxlevelsolutions.com), sent out an E-mail saying: “It is with a heavy heart that I must announce that the Princeton Media Communications Association is suspending operations after nearly 20 years of continuous operation. As the sole remaining founding member of the organization, its president for the past three years, and vice president for most of the chapter’s existence, this is not the desired outcome. And yet, since the chapter is currently run by me and treasurer Steve Tadzynski, with only occasionally greatly-appreciated help from others, I can no longer justify allowing my other personal goals to take a back seat.”
PMCA, once a gathering place for large, lively groups of documentary film makers and industrial film specialists, is not alone in its predicament.
The Mercer County Writer’s Alliance (www.pwawriters.org) has gone from packing the house at the Lawrence and West Windsor libraries, its favored meeting spots, to giving up on real world meetings altogether, and retreating to cyberspace. And, again, a lack of volunteers to organize programs was a big issue.
Rosemarie Strawn, newly elected president of NJAWBO, one of the largest, and busiest women’s organizations in the state, says that attendance at meetings is pretty good, but that getting — and retaining — volunteers is also a struggle for her group.
The New Jersey Ad Directors Club (www.adcnj.org) has decided that regular monthly meetings don’t work; they’re too sparsely attended. Rather than disbanding, however, it has decided to concentrate on several big conferences a year. Last spring’s Thinking Creatively, which enlisted a wonderfully quirky, talented group of world-class graphic designers from as far away as Australia was a big hit.
Perhaps many people who regularly attended these groups’ meetings, all of which had a strong networking component, have become so successful, so busy fulfilling their clients’ needs, that they no longer have the time to be involved. Or maybe industry organizations are cyclical, creating enthusiasm, which is then transferred elsewhere.
In any case, Kienzle is unwilling to let PMCA go away altogether. He pledges to keep the group’s website, www.movingimage.org, going, and is even willing to continue looking for help in reviving regular meetings. Anyone who wants to pick up the flag is invited to get in touch with him at firstname.lastname@example.org.