|Former CFMDC President Alan James keeping the club in line|
Our previous administration worked hard at keeping the club going, as Alan James, a veteran of the previous 8-years at the helm as club president, will attest. At club cookouts, it was always Alan unloading the 12-ton propane barbecue grill from the back of his truck. At the end of a club seeded hunt, while everyone was heading to their cars, it was always Alan wandering the now-deserted hunt fields pulling up marker-flags by the handful, keenly watched by alligators and wild boar from the woods. At our annual open-to-the-public Sunshine Silver & Relic Hunt, it was always Alan in his bright-orange safety vest, for the first 6-years, with a microphone in hand, orchestrating the hunt, prizes and awards like a metal-detecting virtuoso. Since the club board changed in January of 2018, Alan has been acting as an adviser to the board, filling us in on club workings, letting us know where the skeletons are buried. And where to bury the new ones.
|Current CFMDC President Carolyn Harwick|
Like most clubs, not much was written down relating to the actual operation, and we wanted to know and document as much as we could. One of Alan's most valuable skills was, and still is, "...not-getting-mad," at least not in public or during a meeting, despite occasional tomfoolery. We wanted to know how he manages that, but all he says is "I'm a contractor in real life." and smiles. The mystery continues. At any rate, we have a really great cadre of club volunteers, and almost 300 members, with about 110 to 120 members attended each meeting. We have been trying to initiate more member involvement, and keep it fun. I mean, the whole reason to have a club is to have FUN, right? Sometimes people need to be reminded of that...myself included!
|CFMDC Vice President, me, giving a well-thought-out presentation in the field|
Our former club president Alan James, besides having originally founded our annual club event, "The Sunshine Shootout and Relic Hunt" (we eventually had to remove "shootout" as part of the event name, given the current climate in the U.S. and inserted "silver" instead...our e-mails to each other would not go through with "shootout" anywhere in the title or text!) almost 7 years ago, also created the popular "Tech Talks" back in 2014. Alan asked me to give a 10-minute talk each meeting about anything involving metal detecting. I talked and demonstrated electromagnetism, best metal detecting frequencies for silver or gold, the fact that metal detecting coils detect on both sides of the coil, how to tell if a target was in the ground vertically or horizontally, effects of mineralization while metal detecting, targeting skills, pinpointing skills, cleaning out the coil's skid-plate, digging a proper plug, concentric versus wide-scan (a.k.a. DD) coils and on and on and on for about 4-years. When I was appointed club VP in the beginning of 2018, I got way too busy to do the talks any more. However, we now have members giving interesting talks and presentations themselves. Sometimes I think we should have a sub-heading under the club's website banner that says "and public speaking," as many members who feared speaking in front of a group, could nowadays easily give seminars in front of a thousand people without batting an eye. Good stuff!
|Example of a Tech Talk|
One of the more contentious issues facing the club has always been the infamous "Finds Table" and how to handle this aspect of members who display their finds for judging by other members. One of the original issues, that went on literally for years, was how far away could you dig a find and still place it on the table for judging. What??? you say? What kind of issue it that? Well, a very real one, as some members spent time metal detecting in England and Europe and came back with 2,000 year-old Roman coins, bronze age artifacts, and hammered silver coins about 1,000 years old.
And the members loved it...ancient artifacts and coins were very popular and garnered a lot of votes. But storm clouds were brewing a few feet above the table. Certain members, who were very active hunters themselves, had a lot of local treasures on the finds table and most definitely were not amused. They wanted items from England or Europe banned from the finds table and declared ineligible. The discussion was tabled for a while (no pun intended) while a good deal of grumbling for and against bubbled among the members. Finally, Alan stood up during one meeting, many years ago, and said, in all seriousness (and I'm paraphrasing here), "Just a little announcement that we will no longer accept items on the 'Finds Table' found north of Lake Mary road, or east of Interstate I-95, or west of I-4, or south of State Road 434." You could have heard a pin drop. Finally, in the somewhat pregnant silence, Alan went on to quietly mention that maybe only items found a few miles farther in all cardinal directions would be better? Or maybe items only found in Florida? Or maybe only items found along the eastern seaboard of the United States? The point had finally been made.
The Elephant in the room was that we liked to see all member's finds, from everywhere! That is what the hobby is about...and what many new members find inspiration in...the coins and artifacts returned to the public domain from the very ground beneath our feet. Some examples better than what you would find in any museum, and a joy to view and marvel at. So when you finally decide to become a member of the Central Florida Metal Detecting Club, rest assured that no matter where you found it, you are welcome to proudly place your treasure on our finds table, and wait for the members to vote...good luck!
The Central Florida Metal Detecting Club