Before long, the park director offered the group the air-conditioned, high-ceilinged recreation center. This encouraged longer and more active gatherings, and the future of the group seemed assured.
A few jugglers were already IJA members, and suggested affiliation with that body. The name, "Grove Juggling Exchange," was chosen and Dave Dodd, the library demonstrator, was elected "self-appointed president for life."
Dodd headed a delegation attending the IJA Purchase convention in 1983 that returned infused with energy. New members were sought via radio announcements and newspaper listings. Membership swelled from 20 to 50 within a few months. A newsletter was started, workshops and casual competitions were introduced at meetings and field trips were set up to see acts passing through.
Some members participated as a group in local parades, focusing on demonstration and teaching. One even netted $100, and through other donations Dodd was sent to the IJA Las Vegas convention as the Grove ambassador, charged to gather information and literature for those back home.
During the last half of 1984 the CJE grew more with the help of a cover story
The exchange also hosted an unusual church service entitled "The Blessing of Performers" at which the story "The Juggler of Notre Dame" was read and clowns presented an interpertation of the Lord's Prayer. About 25 jugglers, mimes, magicians and clowns silently performed their respective arts at the altar to conclude the service.
Late last year, monthly juggling pot-luck suppers were initiated by Tricia Allen of Rocky Mountain Juggling Supplies. These parties cemented the social side of GJE's collective activities. January's party was aboard a 60-foot yacht that cruised the coast for a few hours. Amazingly enough, only one beanbag was lost overboard!
Grove Jugglers feel like they've just begun to percolate. Membership continues to grow and more field trips and workshops are scheduled for the spring. A unicycling club is about to emerge as a spinoff of the CGE's activities. A convention is in the planning stages. Club members are proving that like juggling itself, a juggling club's activities are limitless.