Following the 1991 re-launch of the OBA, membership peaked at 260 in 2003 but since then has, perhaps inevitably, declined to the present ~100 members. The Committee is anxious to maintain a viable membership and we hope to do this in several ways;
- through contact with ‘younger’ Old Boys
- networking contacts between existing members and their school friends
- production of a twice-yearly magazine
- promotion of an updated and useful website
- the use of virtual meetings.
A considerable number of ‘younger’ Old Boys passed through the school in the period 1960-72, yet there are very few in the OBA membership and the Committee hopes that some may be persuaded to join, seduced perhaps by the technology that the OBA now deploys!
Networking contacts between Old Boys have been constrained by 2018 GDPR regulations on data handling and storage so we no longer produce a members list, although contact addresses, telephone and email addresses may be sought via the Registrar. Further, the present halt in normal face to face meetings, lunches and outings has forced an almost revolutionary change in how we operate. With technology, the OBA operation has become a mixture of virtual meetings, an active website with archive and membership material and message facility, and a magazine.
OBA Virtual Zoom meetings may be with us for some time, even after Covid-19 constraints are removed. Zoom and the website will surely form an alternative and valuable way for Old Boys to maintain contact in the future. And perhaps this adoption of technology may encourage more of the 1960-72 ‘younger’ Old Boys, both nearing retirement and perhaps more IT literate, to join us. The first members’ Zoom meeting was held on 26th September 2020. One hundred email invitations were sent out to all ‘connected’ members. On the day we had 14 members on-line, 8 declined and 6 apologised with either prior arrangements or connection problems. The remaining 72 did not respond, despite an RSVP request!
We are undaunted by this poor response and will continue efforts to encourage Old Boys to connect and join! We hope to learn from our experiences and use these in future virtual meetings; with familiarity, we expect the technical issues to be resolved. The Zoom meeting was recorded and both the ‘connected’ members, and members without email addresses will be apprised of what was achieved. DVDs of this first meeting and print copies of the PowerPoint presentations are being sent by post to the 40 ‘non-connected’ members; ‘connected’ members are being emailed a copy of PowerPoint presentations and a link to the meeting video.
So far, few Old Boys have registered on the website. We urge them to do so as the website really is a most useful and expanding source of contacts and archive material and is surely an important part of the future OBA. Members who have registered are automatically notified of all updates. Members familiar with social media should note that the website has links to our own SGSOBA Facebook-
https://www.facebook.com/1491to1972/ or short link @1491to1972)
and the Registrar’s personal LinkedIn and Twitter accounts – https://www.linkedin.com/in/john-turkentine-2a828159
At the risk of repetition, we urge you to register and get connected, and perhaps encourage old ‘unconnected’ school friends to discover the benefits of connection, and the modernised OBA.
Magazine Editor - Robin Farbridge 5th October 2020