BFS Retreat


Dear Friends,

As many of you know, BFS celebrated its ten year “birthday” in December 2015, we became a public benefit corporation in the state of Maine in 2013, and we are a federal 501(c)(3) non-profit via our affiliate relationship with the Country Dance & Song Society (CDSS). Recently our webmaster redesigned our website (including adding this nifty blog) and we printed our first-ever business cards & bumper stickers (see photo). Given all of this, our eight-person board decided to have a full-day retreat for strategic planning and evaluating our next steps.

In advance of that retreat, we solicited input from others, including everyone who attended our March 2016 community and contra dances, regarding the Plus (what is valued about BFS that we should work to keep, maintain, preserve) and the Delta (what changes might help improve BFS). This input was extremely helpful to us. Thank you!

First of all, it is clear to us that the Belfast Flying Shoes dances are cherished. People value the welcoming tone, inclusivity, and good mood/feelings that are cultivated in our mixed-age social dance event – and this positive vibe is experienced by dancers, families, All-Comers Band musicians, and the organizing team of board members and volunteers. BFS is important, and this is very heartening to the board.

Some themes emerged from the suggestions, and they have informed our board’s work.

– Our dances are crowded, and while this atmosphere contributes to the positive vibe, there are things we can do to make it feel less cramped.

– Sound is a challenge in our full and noisy hall, and the board is taking steps to balance the needs of those who wish it were louder/clearer and those who wish the volume were lower.

– Admission costs were mentioned, and we are considering that input in the context of our commitment to fiscal responsibility. We know that admission prices for our community dance and contras compare favorably to those at concerts, exercise classes, and various entertainment options for both families and adults, but we will keep that feedback in mind.

– Talented performers should continue to be appreciated, celebrated, and supported (All-Comers musicians and bands/callers for contras). We couldn’t agree more, and we have plans to fine-tune our practices to deepen that continued appreciation, celebration, & support.

Thanks again for sharing your input and advice–and for making Belfast Flying Shoes your dance. Seeing your smiling faces makes first Friday our favorite day of the month. With your help, we’ll do our best to make it even better!

With gratitude,
Belfast Flying Shoes Board of Directors
Phyllis Buchanan, president
Chrissy Fowler, secretary
Bill Frysinger, treasurer
Alex Mann
Bruce Snider
Chloe Isis
Lee Stover
Willy Clemetson