March 2007 - They can't take our freedom!
50+ For All was started by refugees from another 50+ team, where quite a few of the members felt restricted by the strict
rules about what, where and when to post. The enterprising Davina and Dagmar (as we'll call them) hoped their new team would
have more elbow-room and freedom, where people could socialise with and support others without constantly worrying about whether
they were posting in the right place. More than fifty members joined the new team in the first twenty-four hours, and the
first man joined shortly after that.
October 2007 - The Battle of Thanksgiving
By autumn, the Team Leaders had changed as the founders took a more back-seat role, and newer members volunteered to lead
the way. One of the new leaders, lets call her Jocasta, was not (I think) aware of the reasons behind the team's beginnings,
and therefore not aware of the team's main watchword - Freedom. Jocasta's intentions were good - she felt that more organisation
was needed because some members were finding it difficult to track down motivational threads which were mixed in amongst the
more, shall we say, playful conversations. Jocasta's methods, however, were rather Draconian. Conversations were suddenly
cut off in mid-flow, and heavy rules laid down for posting. Several team members saw this as a return to the bad old days
and the type of thing they had left in the first place. Some resigned, while many that were left began to trade insults and
recriminations willy-nilly in a mounting atmosphere of unpleasantness. It was a whole bitch-fight thing.
Still October 2007 - where's Wombat?
I also left (to start up Free'n'Easy, my team with no rules - see below if you're interested), so I missed a few days of the
action. After a while, Jocasta and her co-leaders (lets call one of them Jonty, and the other Nancy, for it was indeed her)
Sparkymailed me, and asked if I would please return to the team, and at the same time give them the benefit of a male idiot's
point of view as a Leader. I agreed. A couple of hours later I clicked the acceptance, and returned to the team, but by then
even more brown stuff had collided with the air-circulation device. Jocasta had posted a vicious personal attack on a well-respected
and long-standing team member, then immediately resigned, followed shortly after by Jonty who also scattered, well, scat before
disappearing. Nancy and I were left wide-eyed in the headlights to steady the ship, smooth ruffled feathers, and try to get
things back to normal, while mixing as many metaphors as we could.
February 2008 - The Disappearing Leader
Fast forward a few months, and a hectic week of illness and family commitments kept me away from SP for several days. The
first thing I noticed on my return was that Nancy's name was missing from the list of Fifty Plus For All leaders. Checked
her Sparkpage - gone. Checked her username - gone. Checked the recent posts to find out what had happened - nothing. I thought
that there might be a clue on the site that we use for the Team Newsletter (this site you're looking at now), but discovered
that Nancy had deleted all of the files and configurations that we had worked so hard on. (Cue Twilight Zone music - doodoodoodoo,
doodoodoodoo) and to this day, we have no idea what happened to Nancy. I really do hope that she's OK, for she gave a lot
to this team. However, the deletion of the newsletter stuff indicates that whatever it was that prompted her to leave us,
she had the time and inclination to visit Tripod and wipe out all the hard work that had gone into the newsletter. Now, my
tendency to drift off occasionally, and a decidedly odd sense of humour, make me NOT the best leader in the world (maybe I'd
be about 117th). So - I needed help. I turned to my good Sparkychum Susan to help me out, and was all bobbersome when she
agreed. Thank you, Queen Susan of the Peacock Throne! Hopefully between us we can strike a balance that will help all of our
members to achieve their goals, while having a good time doing it. That's certainly what I'm after.
June 2008 - more rabbit power
As I've just mentioned, I am not a natural Sparkpeople Team Leader, and most of the teamleady stuff was falling on Susan's
shoulders. Capable shoulders though they be, we figured a little more help would not go amiss, and would help inject a trifle
more pizazz. (Is that OK? Can I say 'pizazz'? It's not a rude word in the States, is it?). We turned to two of our longer-standing
members who were known for their sensible, helpful postings and for rabbiting away at the drop of a hat (I hope 'rabbiting'
means the same in the US as in the UK or I'm in trouble) - Ellen (ELLENE1955) and Janice (FLASUN). Now we were four! (or three
and a half, cos I'm about 0.5 use).