View Full Version : by- laws
12-12-2010, 12:44 PM
I am starting up a new unit in Salt lake City. I'm in the process of writing up by- laws for the unit. Could some please direct me to a site towhere I can see how the laws are written up. I would like to follow the national guidelines so that we can attend events back east without any issues. Thank you for your assistance..
12-12-2010, 01:10 PM
I don't believe there are any national guidelines at present as there's no national organization. Someone comes along every year or so to save the hobby by creating one but they don't seem to take off. I also think you may be mixing up by-laws with impression guidelines. By-laws usually tend towards dues, elections for officers and NCOs, etc. Looking at event guidelines and unit websites can give you a pretty good idea of the range of impression requirements you can specify depending on the type of reenacting your unit will pursue.
12-12-2010, 02:39 PM
I always suggest throwing them out. Bylaws are a pointless distraction (unless you've made the unit a legal entity like a not-for-profit).
The ShutUpAndReenact mess
12-12-2010, 02:44 PM
Nope, not a thing you can conform to in order to "attend events back east without any issue"
Event rules vary as to what uniforms and impressions will be allowed at a particular action. And for you, 'Back East' could mean the Trans-Mississippi, which would require entirely different uniforms than, say, the Army of Northern Virginia.
Now, if what you are really looking for is unit organizational structure, well, here's your huckleberry:
The 19th Alabama is an incorporated 501 C3 unit of long standing, with corporate bylaws provided in that link. Their impression guidelines for material culture can best be described as 'progressive'--in other words, they can get into any large mainstream event, Federal or Confederate, that has a 'by unit' registration, but some members kit may present challenges for those events for which very specific kit is required. This organization is exceptionally skilled in putting on large events, and has a strong background in research.
Another excellent example is the First Minnesota, another incorporated unit, of nearly 40 years duration.
You'll have to write them--their corporate bylaws are not on their website. Their newsletters are a treasure trove of research. Their board of directors meets monthly I believe, and they have the advantage of the available parade grounds at Historic Fort Snelling for frequent drill.
Another resource is the Columbia Rifles, an eastern unit with high standards.
And here's another group to explore--again, one in operation for over 30 years
What do these diverse groups have in common? They meet regularly. They research. They publish that reseach. Most members can field a dual impression.
And they are 'soldiers only' units, and concentrate on excellence in that impression. Two have 'companion' organizations of civilians--The 19th Alabama Civilians operate under the same corporate umbrella, but camp separately. The First Minnesota has a cooperative relationship with the Minnesota Living History Association which is a civilian organization, but the two are entirely separate as to governance.
12-12-2010, 03:22 PM
Excellent reply Mrs. L.!
And with ample supportive reference/reasearch/documentation too.
12-12-2010, 04:07 PM
Thank you Blair.
Website's have their pros and cons--much effort must go into maintaining them--and in these days of lean times, many men are scrambling to put food on the table, and these fripperies cannot be kept up. And its seems these questions always get asked right at year end, when units have not set the next schedule, or elected officers, and websites look hopelessly out of date.
What is not readily evident in looking at the structure of these stable organizations---field officers and corporate officers are, in many cases, two different things.
Corporate officers are elected annually, or sometimes for two year terms. Field Commanders are either set event by event, or for the season, by the Board of Directors.
This serves to continuously train new blood by rotating them to new positions when they are ready for such, and especially serves to insure the competence of NCO's--the true backbone of any reenacting unit. Officers simply borrow the company for any given action--it belongs to the NCO's--they train the company, drill the company, provide for the men. And if an organization does not have good NCOs, it is quickly incompetent in the field.
New organizations are bad to have bumpteen officers and one private. A better model would be to gather privates, find a competent NCO, and build from the bottom up.
Now, if all this gentleman really needs is a list of gear that will allow him to go to the major 150ths East of the Appalachians---write Chris Ander's organization. He's setting the highest standard for those type of events.
Now, if what you want is to be able to make the more 'history heavy', 'hardcore', or whatever the label of the moment is--well, there is no one shopping list that will get you there. That is, event by event, impression by impression, and there is no generic that will do.
Unless you portray a meddlesome old civilian farmwoman, and that's pretty ubiquitous........:rolleyes:
12-12-2010, 05:49 PM
The Palmetto Battalion is about to celebrate its 25 year anniversary. We have near 400 members and the members wrote the by-laws and it is the members who either add or or change them. The by-laws are what we use to govern ourselves and they are simply rules for the battalion members to follow. You can go to: http://www.palmettobattalion.org/ and click on "Members Camp". It may allow you in or it may not. Our by-laws define how we operate as a battalion. Up until two years ago you could only be the Colonel for 3 years. Now it is 6 years because some members wanted consistent leadership going through the 150th cycle. 3/4 of the battalion favored the by-law change. Our by-laws also define how to become a company within our battalion and the requirements to remain a company. Some say that we are too political even though we are a pure democracy and the majority rules. But with 400 members there will be a difference of opinion. Ever raised a teenager?
12-12-2010, 06:04 PM
This info too is a good reference.
Perhaps a better lesson in how a Democratic Society should actually work?
Naw. Not within this Society. That will never fly! ;)
12-12-2010, 10:50 PM
The 30 year old Cumberland Guard's bylaws are:
1. You know what is right and what is wrong.
2. Don't do anything wrong.
Feel free to copy them if you wish.
12-12-2010, 11:20 PM
I really dislike bureaucracy for the sake of bureaucracy. Many believe a small group cannot exist unless there are written rules of order. A group is not considered "official" until someone has created some document on paper and used a bunch of legalese whenever possible.
A problem is that no matter how many rules are crafted, situations will occur which had not been contemplated by the rules. Accordingly, new rules get written to cover the new situation. And then another new situation occurs. And another. And another. Eventually, you need a handheld computer with search functions to sift through the rules.
Then the board meeting occurs with suggestions to close the loophole. Due to tempers, the matter gets sent down to committee and back. By the time a resolution has been achieved, the reason for the rule has passed. Worse yet, the situation never occurs again which causes people to wonder why so much time and energy was wasted on grammar.
Other times, a situation occurs which falls directly within the parameters of the rule, but people don't want to enforce the rule because of perceived harshness or unfairness. Thus, an exception gets created.
More rules upon rules upon rules don't necessarily create more order. Moses only brought ten commandments down from Mt. Sinai. A reenacting group of which I am particularly aware has promulgated thirty nine pages of bylaws and safety standards. The ones that Moses carried make more sense.
12-12-2010, 11:57 PM
Now Silas, I dearly miss unit meetings where we didn't have enough attendence for a quorum so we could vote on what percentage would constitute a quorum. And yes, this really happened.
12-13-2010, 12:02 AM
In my experience, that situation calls for an adjourment for MORE BEER.
Pretty soon, a quorum appears.......:p
12-13-2010, 01:05 AM
Thank you everyone for your comments. I just want to have a few guidelines in place so that people who fall in understand this involves respect for our past and for each other. I wish the Golden Rule would be enough.
12-13-2010, 01:29 AM
I wish the Golden Rule would be enough.
Anything Good + People = Screws Up Somewhere Down The Line.
And I'm an optimist.
12-13-2010, 09:48 AM
1. Don't spit in the tent.
2. Don't pee in the company street.
3. Don't cast eyes at anyone's spouse.
Really, anything else is just a source of power mongering and bait for sea-lawyer membership.
12-13-2010, 10:29 AM
Really, anything else is just a source of power mongering and bait for sea-lawyer membership.
There you go again picking on the legally minded - or challenged as the case may be.
12-13-2010, 11:17 AM
I just want to have a few guidelines in place so that people who fall in understand this involves respect for our past and for each other.
Then SAY the rules, don't write 'em down.
The problem with bylaws is they become a "thing" that some use to "get" others or get around the will of the majority through legal loopholes. Soon enough the bylaws become more important than the club!
When I took over the last unit I was captain of the very first thing I did was throw the bylaws away (right in a camp fire in front of everyone, by the way) and fired nearly all the NCOs.
We all agreed that we needed to start over and on a different path.
Of course, there is one instance when you need such rules and that is when you become a legal entity with the government. I think I recall in that case it was required. Then again, I advise no one to EVER get mixed up with the government!
The BurnTheRules mess
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