I have been a member of a local AKC Cavalier club for many years. However, many of us felt that the needs of the pet owners and performance dog owners was not being met. Cathy T. and four others have put together a club similar to the one that you are starting. We have had two meetings, one social and one educational. The turnout has been fantastic.
I am excited about the one that Cathy has started. Our first club meeting had a canine cardiologist as a guest speaker. He did echos on two dogs, one was one of mine, Monty. Monty has a congenital heart defect and gets monitoring echos done about every other year. It was really interesting to see the echo being done. Monty was wonderfully behaved during the entire procedure. I felt so much more comfortable knowing that the people there would see Monty as the wonderful dog that he is and not compare him to "show quality" dogs. I really hate that terminology because it implies that show dogs are somehow "better". When asked, I typically say my dogs do not compete in conformation events. However, we do compete in performance events and give lots of love.
Good luck with your new club. I really feel that there is a need for clubs for people who want to learn more about selecting a breeder, keeping their dogs healthy and finding fun things to do with their dogs. I know there are more people out there with these interests than are those who choose to show their dogs for conformation. I have no issue with people who show in the conformation ring. It is just not what I want to do. I am sure there are people out there who are not one bit interested in agility....it really is and should be a matter of choice.
J. and pups, Gem, Monty, Harley and Sapphire