Category Archives: About the APEX Culture

More about the culture of the club to make you more comfortable.

Diversity and Being an ally

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Diversity is one of our greatest strengths, and APEX takes the support of diversity seriously. APEX has made a conscious effort to support every member of our community with diversity, cultural
competency, and ally training.

The 2019 Lineup Includes:

  • Dismantling Rape Culture and Empowering Consent
  • Being an LGBTQ Ally
  • Being a Good Ally and Cultural Competency of Native American People
  • Allyship to the Trans-person Community
  • How to be an ally to People of Color
  • How to support survivors of Domestic Violence
  • How to support those with Mental Health Challenges
  • How to Support Women

If you know a presenter on diversity or you have a subject you would like to see, please email: Tess@ArizonaPowerExchange.com, or you can put it in the Kinky Bucket!

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Did You Know? About our Membership Agreements?

FacebooktwitterAPEX works very hard to protect our culture and to make APEX a welcoming space regardless of your kinks, interests or identities.  As members, we are held to a higher standard of behavior than people who might meet in other situations.

Like the BDSM/Lifestyle/Kink Community, the APEX Community is made up of a wide variety of people with various education, communication, and experience levels.

While our diversity is one of our huge strengths, it can also lead to many issues in communication styles, boundaries, and levels of tolerance for conduct and behavior.

It is up to each of us to monitor our conduct and language to adhere to our membership agreements. There are lots of tools available, and they all begin with our new member orientation.

For example, below are some important things from your orientation:

  • Our orientation reminds us to mind our words. Our unsolicited opinion about other people (either positive or negative) is always inappropriate.
  • Orientation tells us how to be a non-interfering spectator.
  • Orientation helps us discover how to talk to people without accidentally being a jerk.
  • Our orientation teaches us that if someone interacts with you in a way you are not comfortable, it is your responsibility to tell them clearly and draw boundaries with which you are comfortable. It is perfectly OK to say “I am not comfortable, can we talk about something else.”, or some other similar language that draws your boundary.
  • Helps us understand what informed consent means, and makes it clear we must take responsibility to make sure our interactions with people have shared enough information so everyone is providing informed consent.
  • Orientation teaches us that “No” means “No”. If someone draws a boundary with us, it is our responsibility to respect it without question or coersion. Nothing will happen to us or with us at APEX without our consent. It is our responsibility to make sure that is true for everyone with which we interact. While “no” only means “no”, it is unequivocal and permanent. The absence of “no” does not mean “yes”…EVER.
  • Orientation tells us what to do if something you see at APEX concerns or disturbs us. We have lots of options! We can 1. Talk to the DM (at a party) or other volunteers 2. Talk to someone you are comfortable with who can explain 3. Take your opportunity to leave the room, or even the building, knowing you will always be welcomed back.
  • Each member is responsible for their own well-being. All APEX Members have “The Opportunity to Leave.” If any subject or demonstration makes someone uncomfortable, rather than stay and make others wrong, take the opportunity to leave. This may mean going outside for a few minutes, or leaving for the evening or longer. Because of the variety of subjects covered and the intensity of the subject matter, many people take the opportunity at some point or other, and are appreciated for taking personal responsibility rather than staying and making other’s feel “wrong”.
  • What consent means in our club, which is WAY more than “not touching without permission”
  • How to handle consent violations of ANY kind, because we want to address consent, EVERY TIME, with EVERY PERSON.
  • What to do when you need help to handle a situation. For example, we put up posters with our process for incident reporting. Do you remember where to find that? That process is both on the [APEX website][ https://arizonapowerexchange.org/volunteers/incidentreport/] or there are blank forms at the front desk and the front desk staff can help you to send it to the right people!

 

There are also posters up in the space with tips on How to be a non-interfering spectator, when to mind your volume, and other super useful things.

We are held accountable for our behavior at APEX.  It is important that each of us knows what is expected of us while we are at our club.

If you need a refresher, or want some help, here are some things you can do:

  • Sit down and watch orientation again! You don’t have to come to a regularly scheduled orientation, just turn on the TV and hit “play” anytime that room is not in use.
  • Talk to a member of the Executive Committee if you aren’t clear about what we all expect from one another, or have specific questions.
  • Talk to other members! Be open to feedback, and be open to providing other members with feedback. Self-policing is the how so many of us can get along in the same space. Be willing to participate in the process!

If you witness something that is contrary to how we should conduct ourselves, you are within your rights to speak up. It takes all of us to make this club the special place it is.

To support the efforts of every member, APEX will be launching “Membership” events to help everyone be more successful members.  Look for announcements about Membership 100, 200, 300 in the near future.Facebooktwitter

2018 is going to be an amazing year for Volunteering

Facebooktwitter2018 is going to be our best year yet. We are mixing things up this year with new training, and we want some fresh new blood in the program!  APEX is only as good as the people who serve, and we want to all be our best.

We will be working hard to do regular updates here and on the  APEX Fetlife.com group with some key positions that need to be claimed in 2018! Did you know, some of these can even be done from home?!
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Some things to get you started:

Volunteer Drive and Social

Every quarter in 2018 there will be a Volunteer Drive and Social
Learn about some of the things available, what needs doing this year, and how you can volunteer to help make APEX your own!

There will be snacks and drinks and lots of people to talk to!
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Volunteer Orientation

Each month in 2018 there will also be a Volunteer Orientation

All of our Volunteers want to create a safe, welcoming, and inclusive space for our fellow members. We are merely limited by our understanding and knowledge of how to do that. APEX worked hard in 2017 to support our volunteers with additional training and opportunities to learn. We are doubling down in 2018 with even more tools to put into your toolbox, only this time is it for everyone who volunteers at APEX, not just DM and Door Volunteers, but EVERYONE. We all want to be the best we can be, and APEX can help!

Each Volunteer will be given the foundation to further explore your APEX community, learn about how you can be more a part of the club each day, every time you walk into our space. In Volunteer Orientation we will look at the mission, vision, and values of APEX, and how you can contribute. This class will help you be not only a successful volunteer, but also a successful member-where your role as a volunteer falls in that, and how to be happy and successful in your position. Volunteer Orientation will also provide you the tools and support available to you on your journey at APEX.

More Training Available to Volunteers in 2018

Volunteer Workshop
 
APEX has committed to successful volunteers in 2018.  The management team at APEX has spent several years creating a healthy and functional management culture, and we want to bring this exceptional environment to all APEX Volunteers.
You don’t need to be “prepared” to attend this workshop, you just need a willingness to be the best team and club we can be, and be present and participate.
This workshop does not include silly exercises and time-wasting games, it is real work. We will work on ourselves, on our ability to be part of a healthy and productive team in order to make APEX the greatest club it can be!
While we hope every APEX Volunteer will eventually attend these training, the first few will be invitation-only while we make sure we are delivering on our goals.

Management Communications: Coaching, counseling, having hard conversations with members (June, 2018)

Incident Management: What to do if something goes REALLY wrong. Previously only available to Door and DM Volunteers, this is a great way to truly understand how to respond to a variety of things, and what our processes look like.  (First class April, 2018)

APEX Structure and Policies: Why we are structured like we are, why policy exists, and why our club looks like it does.

While our structure and policies are available to members, there’s a difference between reading something in a vacuum and understanding it.  We will talk through why we are structured like we are, why some of those funny things exist, what is a legal requirement, and what is the up for us to decide. (May, 2018)

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We hope everyone will participate this year in some small way. Many hands make light work and all that!
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There are also NEW programs in 2018 that we are very excited about.

New Member Orientation Team
APEX is committed to providing lots of quality orientations in 2018. With that goal we created the New Member Orientation Team! An hour of our time creates successful new members, and helps each of us feel more responsible for our club.
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### Remember your Kinky Bucket List!
As we start the new year, you can make APEX everything you want it to be!

Throughout the space there are buckets where you can add what you want APEX to be for you.

* Classes you want to see
* Events you would like to attend
* Changes to the Space
* Things you would like to try
* Anything APEX members can make happen!

Keep your eyes open at APEX for fun updates on our Kinky Bucket List items!Facebooktwitter

What to Expect at a Saturday Night Party

FacebooktwitterAPEX has party every Saturday night (providing it doesn’t fall ON a holiday we are typically closed) that is open to every current member of the club.

When you arrive you will be greeted by a Door Volunteer (don’t forget to thank them for volunteering!) and checked in. Grab a name tag. We offer name tags that include space to write your name and your preferred pronouns. Help people to successfully interact with you by letting them know your preferences!

After the housekeeping is done, most people move on to the kitchen. Like in our homes, the kitchen is the hub of activity at APEX. If you have brought a share-food to the party, you can put that out when you arrive. Except for special events (watch our Fetlife.com group and the Calendar for special events) party attendees are responsible for managing the food spread.  Helping clean up as we go makes a big difference!

If you need to drop off your toy bag there are racks to store them in both the Voyeur Room (just North of the front office) and also the vestibule that leads to the play floor (just North of the kitchen).

There are typically lots of people talking and socializing in the kitchen. As always, the best advice is to just jump in and enjoy the company of members close to you. At parties, maintaining situational awareness is important. If a big group of people is talking, just jump in and introduce yourself. If people have their heads together and are quietly talking, best to leave them be.

Remember, for some people, their “scene” begins when they arrive (or leave the house, or finish dinner), so they aren’t being rude, they are just doing their thing!

You can go to any of the Voyeur spaces to watch what is going on.  We encourage you to walk around and have a look, it is one of the most special things about having APEX parties! Please be mindful when you are watching scenes. Example…there is no reason to open the doors upstairs to watch (glass doors), and when you enter a space make sure you aren’t interrupting a scene.

For tips on how to be a non-interfering spectator read this. 

If you want to play, you can just ask (Click Here To Read More About How To Ask). Your DM can help you find space, give you tips on setting up based on your play choices, and help you with cleaning when you are finished. Remember, our DM’s are there to help make sure you and everyone else has the best time possible. They are a resource, and don’t be afraid to ask for help!

Before you go, please help clean up. A run through the kitchen or bathrooms is very helpful for those volunteers who have to stay until 2am. If you are there late, ask the closing DM how you can help them get out of there.

Parties are the cornerstone of the APEX Social structure, and being a great member includes being a part of your club. To read more about how to volunteer, click here.Facebooktwitter

How to Ask Someone To Play

FacebooktwitterYou can make asking someone to play very complex, but really it is fairly easy. There are a number of ways to go about this, and here we will offer some tips and approaches to help you.

The most important thing is to make sure that you are honest about your experience. Please don’t think that being new or inexperienced takes you out of the play pool, quite the opposite! New folks get the most play because they are willing to ASK!

We live and die by our reputations, and exaggerating your experience will not get you very far. An experienced top or bottom will know if you have exaggerated your experience, and word travels, so be honest, and set your partner(s) expectations appropriately. It is perfectly acceptable to say “I have never done this before, but I would like to try it”, or “Hey, I just got a new X and I would like to get great at it, want to help me?”.

Approaching people can be intimidating, but remember…at APEX “No” only means “No”. Learning to hear “No” in a positive and constructive way is one of the best lessons we receive at APEX.  It is important that we accept that as a final answer and move on. We don’t coerce, cajole, or intimidate people into doing what we want at APEX. That is predatory behavior that is not acceptable. Hear “No” as unequivocal and final. The absence of “No” is not “Yes”. Only “Yes” means “Yes”.  Consent is the most important thing that we do at APEX, and each of us is responsible for obtaining consent.

Once you obtain agreement or interest in principle, it is important that you negotiate the boundaries of consent. If you have attended APEX 101: Communication and Negotiation, you have the tools to do this. If not, make sure you take the class, or get a Lifeguard or Spotter to help you negotiate. This is a person who has a bit more experience who is willing to help you ask good questions and explore your answers so you and your partner(s) are getting informed and enthusiastic consent for your scene.  Most members of the club are willing to do this, so find yourself a Lifeguard!

It is important when you negotiate that you ask how someone prefers to negotiate. For some people negotiations are part of the scene and they have a ritualized way of negotiating. If that isn’t your cup of tea it is perfectly OK, and you can just take a pass. That means you aren’t compatible. NO problem! For some people they prefer negotiations in writing, or outside of a play environment, or any number of other things.  Before you negotiate, you have to agree HOW you will negotiate.

So, if you are new to the club, new to BDSM, or new to APEX…lots of people will be willing to help you find your way. Be honest, learn from other members, and most importantly…have fun!

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Being a Non-Interfering Spectator

FacebooktwitterWhile parties are just a small portion of what APEX does,  our behavior and consideration for other members is very important for the enjoyment of everyone attending.

Being a voyeur is a lovely way to enjoy what it is we do at APEX, but it is important that we do so in a way that does not interfere with the enjoyment of other members around us.

All of this information is from the APEX orientation. If you aren’t confident about APEX rules or etiquette, feel free to watch the video again at any time the room is not in use.

Some Guidelines to Being a Non-Interfering Spectator:

  • Stay out of play space if you are not scening, setting up to scene, or have been invited to participate (No it is not acceptable to ask someone to watch up close once they are on the play floor).
  • It is never acceptable to interrupt another member’s scene.
  • If you are uncomfortable with something that you are watching, please take responsibility, and remove yourself from the situation.
  • If you have a concern with the safety of someone else’s scene, please take it to the Dungeon Monitor on duty, and not the players.
  • Silence your cell phone, and if light pollution is an issue, dim the screen.
  • Don’t point your cell phone camera at people.
  • Keep your conversations to a low volume to prevent interfering with scenes near you.
  • Keep a reasonable distance from scenes.
  • Commentary on another member’s play without being asked, either complimentary or critical is always inappropriate.
  • Remember, scenes take priority over socializing. Keep socializing to social spaces.

It takes all of us to make APEX the special place it has come to be. Please be mindful and considerate of other members, and make sure to help other members as well. If someone forgets something, gently and politely remind them. If someone reminds you of something you have forgotten, thank them for making sure you are being the best member you can be!Facebooktwitter

How To Dress

FacebooktwitterWe get a lot of email asking us how to dress for various things. We’re going to try to give you some answers to make you feel more comfortable when coming to APEX.

Let’s start by saying APEX does not have a dress code. There are sometimes theme parties that encourage dressing to the theme, but lots of people aren’t into that, don’t do it, and it is perfectly OK! You get to be who you want to be at APEX.

The short answer is that you will see EVERYTHING at APEX. You will see over the top amazing fetish wear to very, very casual. We know that sounds like we are capitulating, so we will break this down by the kind of event you may be curious about.

Weekday Evening Classes and Events

Often people come from work, so you will see folks in business casual to suit and tie. If people have time to go home and change they often show up very casual since in some cases they will be in a chair for a lot of their evening. Sometimes people do dress up in fetish wear for classes, you wouldn’t be out of place doing that.

Friday and Saturday Evenings

People are much more likely to ‘dress up’ for a party or social event on a weekend. It is their opportunity to wear what makes them feel great. Sometimes it is fetish wear, sometimes a particular fabric (leather, rubber, latex etc) or sometimes it is cocktail or formal attire. Where what makes you feel confident! There will always be people in the club in jeans and tshirts, or shorts and flip flips…even on at Saturday Night-it’s still Arizona!

Weekend Days

Our weekend day events tend to be VERY casual. If ever there was a time to break out with the flip flops, events like the BBQ are it!

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