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Written by Bill Pritchett
As seen in the June 2017 issue of
Model Aviation.

Travel is a part of my job, and recently I attended a couple of events that are worth reporting on—just maybe not in the way you might expect.

We attended the National Science Teacher Association Conference in Los Angeles, and it’s a very big show. It’s also one that members of our department have attended for many years.

This year the attendance seemed down a bit, but the people we spoke with were top-notch contacts. Science supervisors from large school districts, for example, are perfect candidates to consider our resources for deploying Education Through Aviation within their districts.

The noteworthy thing about this show is that there is almost zero chance of meeting an AMA member. And, therein lies the value—truly not preaching to the choir.

I’m always fascinated how these crowds respond to what we do, the resources we have available, and the advancements/sophistication of model aviation. Everyone is amazed at how different grade levels can engage model aviation in a classroom.

People ask great questions, like “can I engage with a local AMA club?” Of course, we always encourage that and hope that they will find a warm welcome, guidance, and a lasting relationship. The option of providing their school or district with a MASC, or Model Aviation Student Club, is really intriguing to them. The benefits of the MASC program are great and, when presented to those outside of the AMA, they are knocked out with what their kids can receive!

• Club charter program for school aeromodeling clubs
• Free AMA membership for club mentor including a free print copy of Model Aviation
• Free AMA Youth membership for club members
• Full AMA insurance benefits
• Scholarship opportunities
• Access to AMA’s educational resources and Flightline e-newsletter

The non-AMA crowd looks favorably on what the AMA is, stands for, and works toward.

The following weekend was the Toledo Show: RC Model Expo. The crowd and the people we talked with couldn’t be more different. It’s not easy to find someone there who is not an AMA member. Although we pretty much share the same message, it’s interesting to note that the reaction is almost identical.

Many of our members are completely unaware of what we have beyond insurance. Benefits of being an AMA member are many and one thing I plan to do in 2017 is everything possible to share these benefits with our own members! Here are but a few, and only from the Education department, but there are dozens more:

• AMA Flight School
• Camp AMA
• Camp AMA West
• AMA Day Camp
• Learn sUAS
• Scholarships
• Take off And Grow (TAG) grant
• Youth Leadership Award
• Commercial Operator Training
• Public Safety Training
• Mobile Experience
• Civil Air Patrol project
• AeroLab
• Flightline e-newsletter
• Arconic Foundation kits/workshops
• Event materials, handouts, and FPG-9 and balsa gliders

Among the most impressive are the benefits of our leadership—AMA Executive Director Dave Mathewson, providing real and attainable goals within a vision for our future:

• Continue to advance our government relations efforts.
• Build on the successes we have had with flying site acquisition and retention.
• Specifically work with the National Parks and Recreation Association and the Army Corps of Engineers.
• Continue to develop education outreach programs to engage students and college-level adults with the intent to be the breeding ground for the next generation of aviation and aerospace engineers.
• In a collaborative effort with the AMA Foundation, develop a long-range vision to create an indoor flying site and education center at the International Aeromodeling Center. This would be accomplished using no member dues.
• Continue to build the foundation endowment so that it can eventually support many AMA initiatives and programs such as the AMA/Charles H. Grant Scholarship program, Flying Site Assistance grant program, TAG program, etc.
• Continue efforts to create an online virtual experience for the National Model Aviation Museum and develop a long-range plan to address the growing needs of the museum relative to limited space, location, and other concerns as identified by the museum staff.
• Continue the development of the new associate management system and content management system to give both members and nonmembers a better online experience as well as to improve communications with our members.

It’s always a rewarding experience to have the opportunity to speak publicly on behalf of the AMA. I am usually about 30 minutes in when I ask a question: “What haven’t I mentioned yet?” Yep, the answer is insurance.

Spending eight of 12 nights in a hotel is a challenge, but the rewards of seeing firsthand the benefit of what we offer is worth it. I like people and enjoy meeting so many on behalf of our great organization.

Fly and have fun!

-Bill Pritchett


Great article Bill.
I was just discussing this with one of my clubs at our meeting. Taking advantage of our members and turning them all (optimistic) into ambassadors for the hobby is a goal of mine. We need to double our efforts to inform and educate members on the vast benefits and resources AMA provides. Many, as you state, have no idea. In District 1 we are planning a promotional video series to highlight many aspects of our hobby for “internal” and “external” stakeholders.
Thanks for the continued advancement of the education department.
Daren Hudson
Ps. I will be sharing this article on our D1 FB Group and website.

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