Do we want a structured format for each meeting?
In a standard 3-hour meeting (shorter or longer?)
<00:15> - 00:00: Lab Prep & Volunteer Business
The lab computers are routinely swept clean. So, Blender and any other applicable programs and files will need to be reloaded on the computers we intend to use. At the same time, volunteers might also conduct any group business that may need face-time, but does not require all participants' involvement.
00:00 - 00:15: Newbie Orientation, Q&A, News, Discoveries &/or Reviews
Opening w/ informative trivia should help to absorb stragglers and late-comers. Anybody with questions can hope to find fellow attendees w/ potentially have quick answers or how to find the answers. Whoever has learned of any 3D-related news and current affairs are encouraged to share them, such as the latest upgrade version releases, professional movies, games and similar CG-world events. All participants' are also encouraged to shared discoveries or other Eureka! moments that they're enthused about. The first 15 minutes might also include recapping the highlights of the previous meetings for any who missed them.
Depending on if and how many newcomers we have at any meeting, we can adjust the scope and scale of Blender basics orientation.
00:15 - 01:25: Project, Activity, Focus of the Month
To be discussed at length under other Discussion Topics and selected for each meeting agenda.
01:25 - 01:35: Quick Challenge -- 10-minute (maybe 15 minute) Refreashment break
Those who may not need or want any/all of a break-time could get a jump on a quick Blender-related brain-teaser, puzzle or mini-project, like a simple model, or the most appealing material or texture for a given model, or the most creative application for a modifier or add-on, etc. This Quick Challenge time might also be used to focus multiple minds to tackle any participants' hang-ups or problems that they just can't seem to overcome on their own. Any Quick Challenge could be one of the perplexities posed by a PorBUG participant in the "Help! I've a Blender Problem" folder in the Discussions section of PorBUG's KeepAndShare site.
01:35 - 01:45: Quick Challenge Wrap-up
Ideally, a Quick Challenge would fit into this 10-minute slot, so that all participants have the opportunity to take a break and not miss out on a challenge they are interested in. Others who need or want more than a 10-minute break could opt to skip these 10-minutes as well.
01:45 - 02:55: Continued or Additional Project, Activity, Focus of the Month
02:55 - 03:00: Next Month's Considerations
If we can come up with the next meeting's plans by this time, introducing those plans allows participants to investigate, experiment, attempt or explore the topic on their own until the next meeting. Then at the next meeting, all those who explored it will more likely have experiences and discoveries to share.
03:00 - 03:15: Clean-up, Shutdown & Tie-up Any Loose Ends
It is, of course, always appropriate behavior for guests to return facilities to their original condition. But, to show our appreciation for how exceptional Portland A.I.'s patronage is for our group, I ask that there be a couple of us, preferably not always the same ones, stay a little after to push in chairs, shut off computers, save neglected items to reunite with their owners in the future, shut off the lights and whatever else needs to be done.
Also, if there wasn't enough time &/or early-arriving volunteers to conclude business before the meeting, they could consider doing so with the closers.
We might want several different standard formats?
Any format would, of course, be only guidelines. The participants could organically adapt a given format to fit the prevailing mood or activities. For example, forego a full 10-minute break and skip any Quick Challenge to continue exceptional momentum and energy on the current activity.