What a year, amirite? On this day, last year, we launched our Social Distance Learning program. It seemed appropriate to celebrate that, and review how we got here. Its been bumpy, fun, exhausting and hopefully, useful.
Last March (a bit earlier) when it was obvious that we were going to be stuck indoors and unable to socialize, or let alone, go to the range, we at the LGC decided we needed to do something to keep us all connected and give us something to do in lieu of what we would rather be doing. Something with some socializing, and something to distract us from the pandemic, if only for a few minutes.
We had a pretty decent participation rate on our Facebook page and our classic Internet forums. Our twitter account was anemic, Instagram non-existent, and our YouTube channel was mostly just unedited clips from annual meetings (including this one, which is my favorite, we miss you Keith!):
Folks were creating Facebook group chats, having zoom meetings, MS Teams meetings, Google Hangouts, and generally all over the map. It felt like we needed something to consolidate and get folks an outlet for all this real time chat people. After some thinking, we decided that the Discord platform might suit our needs, and created a members only Discord server (it is members only, email us via the contact page or catch us on FB or the forums for access):
Wed Mar 18 2020 06:00:00 GMT-0500 (Central Daylight Time)
It got popular fast, and for the first time, folks from our various social media platforms were talking to one another, and much chatting was had.
Shortly after, we voluntold several of our instructors to figure out how to teach things, via Zoom. Of course we didn’t have a Zoom account, so we got one. Our mission includes a significant education component, and it was becoming clear that we were going to have a flood of new gun owners (a year later, in the many many millions of them). So we needed a way to get information to these new people, as well as maybe, entertain and educate the rest of us.
After a couple of test runs with various live stream technologies, we launched our Social Distance Learning series on 26 March 2020, with the debut of the what would become known as “The Bench Doctor” where our guy Scott Richardson, shows us the nuances of hitting guns with hammers:
Since that launch (and boy, have we come a long way!), we have over a hundred hours of content, ranging from beginners firearms skills, to more esoteric maintenance, to club specific things like lobbying and bringing some of those new gun owners into the conversation with our Experience Panel series.
We could not have done this without our volunteers and instructors, many people made this happen: Scott, Danielle, Kyle, Lonny, Alessandro, Carl, Eris, HK, Clint, Paul and too many others who have chipped in and helped, and of course our membership! Folks helping with moderation of the sessions, keeping the tech stack running, making things look good. We can’t thank you all enough!
We are still going strong (Zoom fatigue notwithstanding), and don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. If you see one of those volunteers online, say thank you!