Westenders 101

(or Everything You Wanted to Know about Your New Scooter Club But Were Afraid to Ask)

History: The Westenders got their start in the fall of 2006 when four West Seattle scooterists thought it would be a neat idea to have their own scooter club. There are many great scooter clubs in the Seattle area, just none of them really addressed our needs.   A good idea tends to attract like minds, and like Topsy, the Westenders ‘just growed’. We do not limit membership to West Seattle scooterists.  Westender is as much a state of mind as a question of geography. As 2008, the Westenders have over 30 members, and enjoy a fairly active riding and social schedule.  This document was prepared to help new and prospective Westenders get to know the Club, and how we do things.

What We’re Like: We are into scooting, food, friends, music and fun.  We are a family-friendly organization that is open-minded and accepting of all people of good will; in other words, the ‘golden rule’ applies here.  We love to get together, party and have fun, but believe in moderation and common sense when it comes to alcohol and riding.  In other words, you can drink and scoot if you wish, but be careful and responsible.  We do expect every Westender to be a safe and responsible rider who uses good judgment and ride discipline when group riding.  We are a ‘no drama’ kind of crowd.  We have a very basic leadership structure: a ‘prime minister’ chairs meetings and serves as a general moderator and facilitator; decisions are made by consensus.

Membership is by invitation.  While we don’t mean to come across as cliquish or exclusive, this policy is made with good reason.  We have a good thing going here with the Westenders, and we have seen examples where the chemistry in a group is spoiled by the sudden appearance of an abrasive personality or a reckless/inconsiderate rider.  We expect all members to be able to assume financial responsibility for their actions, and expect them to carry appropriate liability insurance and any required riding endorsements as specified by the State of Washington.  We encourage all prospective members to consider membership the Vespa Club of Seattle.  Joining VCOS demonstrates one’s commitment to the greater scooter community.  Any current Westender can recommend a prospect for membership.  A prospective member should be someone who (1) is fairly well known to the person recommending, (2) be a safe and responsible rider, and (3) be the kind of person the member recommending would want to do things and hang out with (we call this the ‘guilt by association rule’; if this isn’t someone you’d personally like to be with, don’t recommend them).

How We Communicate: We have two main venues of communication.  One is our website (www.westenders.org), and associated Forum.  The website provides information on upcoming events, and links to our Photo Gallery.  The Forum is used for ‘members-only’ communication.  We encourage all members to visit or subscribe to the “Club Announcements & Info” forum to keep abreast of upcoming fun events.  We also have a MySpace page, which is our public image.  We use this site to, among, other things, share what’s going on with the Westenders with the scooter community and public at large.  We also have a mailing list to keep members updated on time-sensitive events and announcements.

Meetings: Currently, the Westenders meet about every two months.  This is flexible, based on what may be coming up on the agenda that needs to be discussed.  Upcoming meetings will be posted at least two weeks in advance in the “Club Announcements & Info” forum.

How Rides are Planned: As mentioned before, there is no formal leadership structure.  That means anyone can plan a ride/event!  Here’s an easy step-by-step:

1)   Have an idea.  It can be as simple as meet and ride for a while, or as complex as a jaunt to go do something fun (movie, dinner at an interesting place, bowling, Rat City Rollergirls, whatever).

2)   Make up a plan.  Be sure to include:

a.    Date and time

b.   Meeting place

c.    Brief description of the plan

3)   Post your ride proposal on the Forum ‘Club Announcements & Info’ section.  Be sure to ask if anyone is interested.  Be sure to note alternative plans (if any) due to weather.

4)   Unless this ride is a ‘members-only’ event, the Webmistress/master will post it on the Website, and enter it on the calendar.

5)   After the ride, prepare (or have someone do it for you) a brief summary of the ride to post on the website, so that others can know what they missed.

Don’t be disappointed if there are no takers for your ride idea.  We all have very busy lives and sometimes we all have to pass on a riding opportunity, no matter how nifty it sounds.  Keep those ride ideas coming!  The Westenders believe in the idea of member empowerment.  Any member can be a leader; all it takes is an idea, and the initiative to make it happen.

Westender Quirks (or “just what is it with the ‘portfolios’ and nicknames, anyway?”): You may have noted that each Westender is a minister of something; here’s the backstory on that: the Westenders were inspired by the ‘Mod’ scooter culture in 1960s England.  England also has a quirk in that it’s government offices are ‘ministries’ (and a ministers assignment is known as a ‘portfolio’).  The wide range of frequently odd-sounding government ministries was lampooned perfectly by the English Monty Python comedy troupe with their “Ministry of Silly Walks” sketch.  Hence, for no particularly logical reason except, like Napoleon invading Russia, it seemed like a good idea at the time, each Westender is invited to pick a ministry for themselves.  It could be something that one can use to contribute to the group (e.g., GrumpyGus is Minister of Food Operations [MoFO], he’s our resident ‘Top Chef’), a personal trait (Minister of Optimism – MoO; that’s Chewy), or whatever.  Let your creativity run wild.  The self-assignment of ‘portfolios’ is one of the things that makes the Westenders unique, sort of like the way members of the Wussys SC tattoo the word ‘wussy’ on their bodies.

No scooter club is complete without member nicknames.  Sometimes the nickname is self-assigned, sometimes it is assigned by others in the Club.  If you currently don’t have a nickname, be patient.  Yours will find you (heh heh).

Portfolios and nicknames are recorded on a MSExcel spreadsheet in the ‘Files’ section.

Westender Regalia: You may have noticed several members with Westenders logo clothing, and Westender stickers on their scoots. You are encouraged (but not required) to show your pride in the Club by wearing Westenders logo gear and having a Westenders sticker (size of your choice) on your scoot.  In the early days of the Westenders, the Ministry of Propaganda produced these products for the members.  As the Club has grown, this has become a bit of a chore, so this is now a DIY affair.  Forum section, you’ll find picture files of the Westenders logo.  You can download these files and use your inkjet printer to make t-shirt transfers, fabric iron-on patches, and stickers using products available at most office supply stores.  If you have any questions regarding techniques, please contact Bob B., the Minister of Propaganda.

Legshield banners are available as well, for availability and prices, please contact Robert L., Minister of Rides.

In closing, please remember that like the Westenders, this document is a living document, and subject to evolution and amendment as our group grows and evolves.  We encourage you to take an active role in making the Westenders an even better and more fun group than it already is.

Westenders are go!