Many of my non-morris friends and colleagues express surprise when they hear we have AGMs. Why do you have AGMs, they ask?
I’m glad you asked.
AGM season is a chance for morris teams to reflect on the year’s dancing and make plans for the coming season. This can include decisions on whether to update the side’s repertoire, what festivals to attend the following summer and importantly, given it’s a hobby essentially conducted in fancy dress, if the kit needs changing.
It’s also when sides elect their officers, such as squire (or captain), foreman/woman, bag, treasurer etc. Some sides have the same people in officer positions for many, many years. With my side we tend to subscribe to the principle that it’s good for the side to have a semi-regular shake up of officers to ensure we don’t become too reliant on any one person and for everyone to get the experience of squiring the side. Obviously some positions require more knowledge than others (foreman/womaning for example), but there’s really no reason why everyone shouldn’t have a go at calling dances or booking the occasional pub…
We also tend to produce a proper agenda and take (semi-) comprehensive minutes of our AGMs. We like to do this so that in 40 years’ time we have a full history of the side and it is ensures that the motions we’ve carried over every year since our first AGM in 2009 (and there are some) can be discussed again. At some point we might even make a decision about them.
If this all sounds a bit officious, it’s really not the case. While the minutes are taken they won’t actually be circulated until someone asks for them and the whole meeting is really just an excuse to get together, have a few beers and a good chat about morris.
AGMs can get a bit heated, or so I’ve heard – people care a lot about morris! We’ve never had an argument at one of our AGMs and I hope we never do. I think this is probably because we are a relatively young side which still holds firm to its original relaxed ethos – and still has many of its original members. I suppose it remains to be seen if we stay this way as our membership changes and (hopefully) continues to grow.