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Old Toad

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December 2008


As the Organizer for our North Texas Objectivist Society, I am pleased to give our annual "State of NTOS" report to our membership.

In considering the State of NTOS, remember that we have only been active since February 2005, which is less than four years.


Right now, NTOS has 240 members.

This is the net result of 457 people having signed up to express interest in NTOS, of which 207 have left of their own accord for various reasons (many because their e-mail address goes bad). Although it has sometimes been stressful to manage, in my judgment under our bylaws I have removed only 10 people for not respecting our membership terms (only one in 2008).

On average, nearly 10 people sign up to express interest in NTOS each month.

Many of our members (including past members) have brought spouses, some have brought children, and some have brought friends to visit with us.

Social Events

In 2008, we organized 37 events, including hosting two Objectivist speakers.

Altogether, in less than four years we have organized 120 events, including social gatherings, cultural events, and five Objectivist speaker events with extended social receptions for the speakers.

My wife and I hosted our first "event" at "the Ranch" (our home) in February 2005 with 11 people -- including my family of five. With that start, we have already hosted 71 social events in our home, counting regular events plus special holiday events and speaker receptions.

Our social events at "the Ranch" typically attract 25 - 35 people.

Our largest social events so far have been our Thanksgiving potlucks, which attract 40-50 people, including families with children. We truly appreciate all the wonderful food our members have contributed to these special celebration events.

Counting the estimated attendance to our events, we have already hosted about 1,750 person visits to our home, including children.

In addition, taking into account that each social event at the Ranch has been at least 8 hours long, and many of them have lasted until the wee hours of the next morning, I estimate that we have had gatherings in our home totaling about 600 hours!

In addition, we have organized about 50 other special interest events, including Objectivist speakers, going to the movies, restaurants, theatrical shows, and fun outings to places like Scarborough Faire.

Objectivist Speaker Events

We have started to host guest speakers. Our first five Objectivist speakers were:

Craig Biddle on November 4, 2006;

Andrew Bernstein on March 24, 2007;

John Ridpath on October 13, 2007;

Andrew Bernstein on May 16, 2008; and

An Objectivist art historian on August 8, 2008.

So far, we have 30-40 people attend our speaker events.

We are planning to host at least one Objectivist scholar to speak to NTOS in 2009!

Engagement Announcement!

In case you missed it, I am honored to include in this report the engagement of our own Santiago and Kelly, who met through NTOS!

Santiago and Kelly met in person at an NTOS event about one year ago. Kelly was visiting Texas from Colorado and had decided to join us for last year's Winter Solstice Party. Santiago was there and it was love at ... well, I do not know that part. Santiago moved to Colorado last summer to be with Kelly, and he proposed just a couple of days ago. We will ask Santiago and Kelly more about it when we see them!

My wife and I are pleased and honored to host an engagement party for Santiago and Kelly on Saturday, January 17, 2009.

Please join us to celebrate their happy engagement. As they live in Colorado, we can only hope to see Santiago and Kelly about once a year.

If you are new to NTOS, please feel most welcome to join us! We always look forward to meeting more people interested in Ayn Rand's works and Objectivism.

Engagement Party for Santiago & Kelly @ the Ranch! Sat, Jan 17, 2009 @ 6:30 pm

Please RSVP at http://www.meetup.com/Objectivist-Society/.../thread/5983849

Message-Board Forum

I also just counted the posts on our NTOS message board:

Discussion Threads: 800+

Replies on Discussion Threads: 4,200+

Total Posts: about 5,000

Please visit our active NTOS Message-Board forum, including the "Table of Contents" (which I need to update again) at: http://aynrand.meetup.com/71/boards/

Newsletter Project

For 2009, we are planning to start an e-mail newsletter for NTOS, including with news and information about our members, if they would like to share it with our community.

Billboard Advertising!

This is “last year’s news,” but I still find it exciting. In 2007, we raised more than $2,000 to take out billboards-by-the-day, which were published in September of that year! These billboards simply said:

"Who is John Galt?"

"Objectivist Society . Com"

A picture of one of the billboards is here: http://files.meetup.com/14542/Billboard%209-19-07.jpg

Each of these three billboards was up for 2 or 3 days and could be seen by about 200,000+ vehicles per day, and I estimate nearly 3/4 of a million people had the opportunity to see the billboards. Although we had hoped for more response, we found about 10 new NTOS members and participants through these billboards. Each person who joins and participates is like a seed for further growth.

For 2009, we need to continue to make efforts to promote interest in Objectivism and our local Objectivist society.

Objectivism Reading & Discussion Group

In addition, in 2006-07 we had a lively "OPAR" discussion group with about 6-10 people who attended each time. We are looking to start it up again this spring.

Another project I am working on is continuing and building upon an e-mail discussion of Objectivism, which I started in the fall of 2008.

Our "About" Page

I think most importantly, although it may not seem like it to most of us, we have been continuing to learn how to manage an Objectivist social group, and most of our management principles have been committed to writing on our "About" page at: http://AynRand.Meetup.Com/71/About/

This year I have added a section to our "About" page for our Constitution, including regarding the Organizers and our Organizing Principles. This is a commitment regarding what the NTOS Organizers will do – and, just as importantly, what we will not do – in the name of the North Texas Objectivist Society and its membership. I attribute some of our success in building NTOS to the explicit statement of its organizing principles and bylaws.

The "About" page provides a great deal of information about NTOS, including what we are offering, why, who we welcome, and how we manage NTOS.

One of the best ways one can decide whether to support and participate NTOS is to review our "About" page, especially its Constitution and Bylaws. I sincerely welcome questions and constructive criticisms regarding our "About" page, as I am constantly working to improve NTOS.

Management E-Mails

In looking at our e-mails relating to NTOS, I have sent or received upwards of 15,000 over the past four years! This is a lot to keep up with! (This includes e-mails I receive regarding matters that may be of interest to the membership of NTOS.)

I should mention that I do not see the e-mails between our members, of course, so I am sure we have more e-mail traffic among us than even I see.

I estimate that any particular member is only seeing about 2% of our e-mail traffic.

Thanking the Assistant Organizers and Members of NTOS

It is important for us to recognize the Assistant Organizers and members of NTOS, without whose time, financial support, and participation NTOS would be impossible.

First, I must honor and thank my wife, Julia. She inspired me to build NTOS for our family. She has been extraordinarily supportive in hosting our events in our home. How she has graciously hosted 71 major social events for 25-50 people at a time in less than four years while running our Montessori school with over 100 children, raising our own three children, and keeping me in line, too, I do not know. She has been a constant friend, reference, and balance for me in managing NTOS and in my life.

I also thank my parents, Franco & JulieAnne, who introduced me to Ayn Rand and Objectivism at a very young age. They have also been extremely helpful in hosting our events and they have made substantial financial contributions to NTOS, especially for helping us host each of our Objectivist speaker events.

Several other members have made substantial financial donations, which help us with the costs for NTOS. I regret that I have not kept good records in this regard, so I cannot give everyone who has given additional financial support to us the full public credit that is due. I will try to do better with this in the future.

Please Visit Us!

To those who are regularly participating in our social events, you make this possible for all of us to enjoy, Thank you!

If you have not visited us, we hope you will soon join us for one of our events and visit us when you can.

If you have any questions about NTOS, please feel free to contact me via Meetup's e-mail system.

-- "Old Toad"


North Texas Objectivist Society

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