I don’t want to get into a massive debate, and while I agree with you Stephen to some degree, every club I’ve been part of has this tendency of ‘splitting’ over time. There will inevitably be ups and downs in the structure of the club and it sorts itself out. However, there will be changes. It is not necessarily the fault of older club members, nor or new people. However, you are correct that maybe many of the current ‘old club’ could do a bit more to ensure smooth integration of newer members – and I do include myself in that unfortunately.
I must stress however that it not the job of older members to babysit newer members. I’m not being mean saying that, but this is a sport with a high degree of personal responsibility and I find that if someone is not willing to take responsibility for their conduct, or is not willing to learn basic etiquette, I’m not willing to waste my own climbing time on them. I will however teach what I can, provide support and spend time ensuring that people are confident with basic techniques for as long as it is necessary. And when the good(ish) weather starts again, will happily take people outside for a bit of tradding. However, this should be a means to an end – shortly they should gain the skills to be fairly self-reliant and, most importantly, safe so that they in turn can do the same for the next years new members when they are more experienced.
The wall is packed every Tuesday as is the pub and there are many faces who I do not recognise. There is not a shortage of new people. People do stick to groups but that is nothing new – there is a tendency for those that start climbing together as beginners to stick together over time. This is important as they learn together and from each other, and push grades together. The older club members have a responsibility to oversee training and the early days, ensuring safe technique and while many of us may not always have a hands on approach, we ensure this from afar.