YoYos in the Capital!

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This afternoon the Kansas City YoYo Club was invited to perform 2 demos and conduct 2 workshops at The Kansas Children's Discovery Center in our capital city, Topeka! Topeka is about 1 and a half hours west of where we normally meet, but those dedicated few in the area know that expansion of the yoyo club is vital to success. Thankfully, not only did we have great support from club regulars like Tommy and his Granfather Van, Petra, Connor and Joel, but we had some great local players in the form of Jacob Deffenbaugh and Alex Jones!

The show started with a physics lesson by Dr. Thomas from Washburn University.

Jacob and Tommy were both a huge help as they aren't really concerned with stage fright. They got up with me and helped demonstrate everything from basic tricks like Rock the Baby, to much more advanced tricks like Split The Atom.

Jacob's 5a is just amazing and he got a great response from his hometown crowd.
And of course, fan favorite Tommy put on an amazing show as well.
The workshops after both sessions were excellent! It seems like anytime we put on a show like this, the interest in yoyos explode. We had many parents interested in the club, unfortunately most of them were from right there in Topeka so it's a bit of a drive. However an expansion project is in the works! Can you get excited for a Topeka branch of the KCYYC? I know I can!

The Children's Discovery Center is an amazing place, I'm so glad we had the opportunity to perform there. Ms. Springer, our contact for the center was very helpful and accommodating for our event, we all hope we can work with the center again soon! Thanks for having us out!

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Come see the KCYYC tomorrow in Topeka!

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KCYYC feat. Kansas State Champion Jacob Deffenbaugh will be performing and teaching yoyo tricks at 11:30am and 1:30pm tomorrow! Come out and see us!

Kansas Children's Discovery Center
4400 SW 10th Ave
Topeka, KS 66604

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So you want a (hobby) club?

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I have been asked many times by many people how exactly the Kansas City YoYo Club came about, how it's been so successful, and how we've maintained that level of success. This is the first in a series of articles on building a stable foundation on which your club of any sort can grow.

Note: I refer to "YoYo Club" many times within this blog, but keep in mind that I wrote these pointers with any type of club in mind.

Part I: Inspiration.

For a few years I had fiddled with the idea of starting a local club. I consistently trashed the idea because of over-thinking it.
"Will people come?"
"Is yoyoing a dead hobby?"
"Are there enough yoyoers in my area with interest to sustain a club?"

I never really knew the answer to these questions until I started and became involved in a club. The inspiration came on September 17th, 2009 for me. After a few years away from the yoyo scene, I heard rumblings that the Duncan 80th Anniversary Tour had been stopping around Kansas City. That afternoon I tore the house apart looking for any yoyos to fill my pockets with, and ran out to see the tour. Getting there and seeing Seth Peterson and Nate Sutter filled me with some sort of energy that I can only describe as incredibly anxious. Anxious to do something for the yoyo world. They treated me like we had known each other forever, immediately getting me back into the loop as far as trick style and yoyos were concerned. Then Seth made mention "You know... we've met a LOT of yoyoers in Kansas City this past week."


All these years have gone by, and we have YOYOERS in this city??? At that moment, I knew it was my mission to create a gathering place for these mythical "yoyo people" that abide in my city.

My inspiration came from a very well known yoyoer, but it shouldn't have had to. I should have sought out the inspiration myself and gone through with it. Where will your inspiration come from? Random conversation with a professional yoyoer? Talking with the organizer for another successful club? Some random blog you have stumbled upon by accident? Seek it out, the sooner the better!

Part II: Location, Location, Location.

The next day I found myself searching online for a place for us to meet. It didn't immediately all fall together. Within a few days though, I struck gold. Reading a local website about fun things to do in the area, I found it - "Kansas City Juggling Festival - 2009".

I know, I know. Juggler's and YoYoers are bound by some sort of cosmic force. Drawn together into conventions, then separated like some sort of opposite polarity magnet while in the same room together. I had to try it anyway. That night, I went to the Juggling festival. The first person I met at the festival was Nick Civitello. I found out that he had actually been aa part of the yoyo community for quite some time, working with Infinite Illusions and helping with the WYYC. He was extremely receptive to having the yoyoers come meet up at the Juggling Club mid-week. Just like that, we had a location, date and time to meet. It only took a week.

My suggestions for finding a location for your club meets? Well, search out a local juggling chapter (I promise they aren't -that- weird). In lieu of that, search out other skill toy or kiting enthusiasts and see if they meet somewhere. Community Colleges are usually very receptive to having clubs meet in their multi-purpose rooms especially if you host free workshops to the public. If you work hard to find a location, it will pay off in the end.

Part III: Building the club.

By now, you've answered the two most important questions
"Am I sure I want to do this?" Yup.
"Do I have a location?" Yup.

Now comes the dedication part. You are not going to have a great turnout every week. You are going to be the only yoyoer there some weeks. People go on vacation, they burn out, they get sick. The one person that needs to be stable at the meets is YOU. Consistency is the key to success. I can't tell you how many times I've been the only person there, only to welcome someone brand new into the fold. This is how you build a good member base.

I was very fortunate to have John little as a go to guy in case I wasn't able to make it. If you have someone you can count on, make sure you keep in contact with them on club meet days. Someone NEEDS to be there. We haven't had a meeting in months where we didn't have more than 5 yoyoers. It is a slow build, but very worth it.

Other keys to building the member base are things like social media. You need a facebook group! You have to tell people in advance if there are changes to the club schedule or special events. Some of our members drive for an hour or more to get to the meets, so I need to let people know if plans change as soon as I get solid information.

Keep the forums up to date with this information as well. Out of towners drop by all the time because they're seen the information posted in the club/meet sections of yoyo forums. It's always a nice boost of energy to get new yoyoers in the mix!

The next article I'll be adding on this topic will include:
Handling problems that arise within the club.
Special Events.

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Fun times at the Kansas City YoYo Club.

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What a great meet! While we were short a few of our more advanced players due to vacations, we still had a great turnout, including:

Hula Hoops!

Plenty of YoYoers!

And the worlds youngest Paul Yath fan!

Mr. Nathan Martsolf made his first appearance at the club in awhile, I hear it's hard getting out of the house with a newborn child. He brought with him some amazing new yoyos, it seems like every week he's got something new and different. His C3 Halo was what made an impression on me. It's over sized at around 57mm, but plays great. It even rivals my Cruicial/Turning Point delrin that I've been throwing religiously. I guess I've got a thing for plastics lately.

Our resident yoyo prodigy Tommy (6 years old), has been working on his offstring recently, so we set off to land Soloham (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ex69KDIL9-Y) tonight. He made some excellent progress and generally got around 5 revolutions. Not bad for a brand new trick!

Our newest member Conner made some huge progress on Boingy Boingy and Eli Hops, he also went home with a Duncan Hayabusa thanks to a trade from Joel. This kid is obsessed with offstring! He could be the next Ben Conde!

Don't forget, this Saturday The KCYYC has a demonstration/workshop at The Kansas Children's Discovery Center in Topeka! Word has it local celebrity and 2011 Kansas State YoYo Champion Jacob Deffenbaugh will be there to show off to his hometown crowd!

Over the next few days I will be starting a new feature on the blog: Great moments in Kansas City Yoyoing. We'll be covering some of the best things to happen to the scene in the past! Everything from Wind Wizards to the 2011 KS States. Check back!

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Welcome to the blog!

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I figured it would be a good idea to start keeping a blog of the happenings around the Kansas City yoyo scene! From here on out, when the club is involved with anything yoyo related, you can hear about it here first! We have had so many amazing experiences since the club was founded that have not been properly archived, I'm hoping that this will be a catalyst for me to catalog things a bit better!

Look out for some awesome tidbits coming in the near future, as well as recaps of our club meets every Wednesday (great for when some members go on vacation. Hi Daniel and Robbie!). I'll be looking forward to keeping everyone updated on the happenings starting tonight!

Remember, our club meets every Wednesday at St Theresa's in KCMO from 6-8pm. Everyone is invited out afterwards for some food as well!

See you tonight!
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