It can be challenging recruiting new members to the hobby and adding more modelers to your club, but the Flying Aces found a way to add 30 new members to their club. Read how they did it and what their tips are so that you can do the same!
"There is a tendency in AMA clubs to discount demographics when seeking to add new members. Most clubs focus on young folks. Over time, that has very limited results. Getting kids interested in building and flying is a challenge. I personally discovered this when I coached several Science Olympiad teams made up of 12 and 13 year olds. I was asked many times "Can't I just buy one of these? Why do I have to make it?" Science olympiad is a great program, but it holds limited interest for building and flying model airplanes.
So, what is the right demographic? I think it's the active adult community. These folks are retired. They have time and they have money. They live in a community where they can learn new things and the focus is on having fun and socializing.
So, how did we test the premise mentioned above? Well, first we went to a community near us and asked to speak to the Community Manager. Part of their responsibilities are to offer activities for the community residents. We explained that we would like to provide a new class for them on how to build and fly model airplanes. We told them the class was free and the class members would only have to buy their building supplies. We asked the manager for a location in their clubhouse that was conducive to building and we asked for a reserved four hour timeframe on the same day each week. We made sure that day was not the day for their golf club meeting. We were well received in two Active Adult Communities, one if Arizona and one in California. Each of these locations have great free flight flying sites nearby. We used an article i the community's newsletter to solicit new builder for our class.
Over the past few year we have added two new squadrons to the Flying Aces organization and over 30 new members. In the photos below, you can see our new builders learning how to cut and pin balsa on their plan. There is also some pictures of the finished models and their flyers. The final photos of the squadrons in California and Arizona and one of our California flyers learning how to ROG off a table top at our California flying site. We named the site Taibi, after Sal Taibi."