How often should you meet?
Support groups and support group leaders have a predictable lifetime. They’ll last as long as there are people who want to help and members who want to attend.
Our local support group began with quarterly meetings. However, we were asked by our membership to go to monthly meetings because they wanted more support. This was a very demanding schedule even if with two co-leaders, particularly during the winter months when travelling is difficult. After two years of doing this, we noticed that our attendance began to decrease. We compromised on our meeting schedule and decided to meet every two months and then transitioned to quarterly. Our group functioned for about fifteen years before it was time to do other things. (i.e. like build the ICN website)
Meeting Times & Cancellations
Some groups prefer to meet on weekend afternoons while others prefer weeknights, usually for up to two hours. The challenge with night meetings is safety and restroom access. Many patients aren’t as comfortable driving at night, especially when traditional bathroom stops may not be available.
Don’t hesitate to cancel meetings if travelling conditions are poor. To make sure that everyone is informed of any last minute changes and save yourself from making dozens of phone calls the morning of the event, ask everyone to confirm the meeting by checking the blog, texting you or sending email.
If there are any other support groups within 100 miles of you, make sure that you are considerate of their times. Don’t hold meetings on the same days or weekend. Try to stagger them so that people have the opportunity to participate in both settings.