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Over the last few years, and especially now that I'm an officer, Members have always talked to me about "cliques." What is a clique?
"A clique is a group of persons who interact with each other more regularly and intensely than others in the same setting" Interacting with cliques is part of normative social development regardless of gender, ethnicity, or popularity. So what can we learn from this? Well, first we know that cliques are not innately evil. Second, we know that they are not bound by gender, race, politics or status. Lastly, I think if we come at this with an open mind, we might realize that we as HOG members are a clique.
We are by our very existence a "clique." We are a group of people who interact more regularly and intensely than others. The chapter officers may be perceived as a clique. The setting may change, but go to any biker function and HOG members are easy to find. We are a clique, and it's a good thing.
In most discussions the word is used in a negative connotation, "How can we get rid of cliques?" I think that is the wrong question. Should not the question be, "How do we engage those people who are interacting more and with more intensity?"
We may have a group that prefers to ride together, eat together, etc. That is not automatically bad for the chapter. However, if a group of members are acting in a way that is detrimental to the chapter or the sponsoring dealer, then that is an issue.
I think that if we really think about this, most "cliques" are not bad for the chapter. They in fact have little or no bearing on the chapter, how it functions, the rides we do, or the fun we have.
When I started in my chapter life I rode with two friends. They got me eventually to attend some chapter events and rides. At those events and rides I rode with my two friends, and only my two friends. I am sure, looking back, we were viewed as a clique, but we had nothing in our hearts but riding and having fun. It took a while for us and the chapter to warm up to each other, but eventually all three of us became chapter officers.
It took both the chapter members and the "clique" members to make sure the situation worked. It took both sides working together to find common ground, acceptance, and validation. It's not easy being an outsider, and in this situation there are outsiders on both sides. We as chapter members need to be inclusive, to be understanding that not every rider is the same, has the same needs and wants. So as long as those "cliques" are doing no evil.... Let's just get back to RIDING and HAVING FUN!.
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Joe Rosa, Director
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