Any solutions to MAAC/Hobby Decline? - RCCanada - Canada Radio Controlled Hobby Forum
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Old 08-10-2020, 10:39 AM   #1
Sharpy01
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Any solutions to MAAC/Hobby Decline?


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With the resolution discussion thread going sideways into a bigger picture discussion, I thought I'd start a new thread based on a couple of posts from other members who suggest competition is the key to reversing the world-wide trend of declining RC Airplane hobby participation....... lets see where this one goes.

Cheers

Quote:
Originally Posted by DW_Crash View Post
Bad idea overall.....it is a nickel and dime solution to the bigger issue.....Our sport and hobby are dying. Average age, in my club, is mid sixties, No new blood in awhile. It is the same everywhere.

So....trying to save MAAC by removing our nose to spite our face is not the answer. We need to be part of and support the international organizations. Strength in numbers. So, MAAC should find a way to get new members, to replace the attrition, to solve it's issues. These bandaid solutions will only work for a short time.....

DW_Crash.
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Originally Posted by Mr Toad View Post
One of the best posts in this entire string.
Our hobby is dying. There is no new blood. We are largely composed of men in their fifties and sixties flying ready-made toys. Most do not stay in the hobby for more than a few years.
Shop classes are being pulled out of schools. hobby shops carry few building supplies. Canada has not held a Nationals in over thirty years.
Whe Carl Jadesky and I formed Mississauga Model Flying Club back in 1968, we formed it ostensible for kids, and the bulk of the membership was under twenty-one years old. We had club contests every month for everything from hand launched glider to mouse racing (An event our club initiated and which later caught on throughout North America). in the winter, we flew indoors in a local gymnasium. Enthusiasm was the order of the day. Kids like to compete. There was a route to follow - compete at the club level and move up through local competitions to the Nationals. Then, you set your sights on Internationals. I am currently writing my next column for MACMAG. It is about two boys who did just that and graduated into very successful careers that had roots in aeromodelling. The three of us just had a wonderful reunion last Thursday.
Sabotaging the entire FAI competitive situation will gain MAAC NOTHING. It will temporarily result in a roughly 2 1/2% saving cost, but will then lose MAAC a significant portion of membership.
I have watched a series of cuts, ranging from early bird crests, (I have every one on a jacket) to supplying decals. All negative changes, not positive..
If we want to save a dying hobby, we do it by building, not sacrificing sacred cows.
Spending thousands of dollars on a fancy web site will gain fewer members than a series of good shows open to the public. Another "First" for the Mississauga MFC was the first Mall Show in Canada - held at Sheridan Mall and later moving to Square One. Those shows brought in many new members.
Can we look at building rather than destroying?
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Old 08-10-2020, 11:11 AM   #2
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Re: Any solutions to MAAC/Hobby Decline?

I can fly small electric planes in my back yard. I would think that's what lots of people are doing. Or anyone who has property could make their own runway and have guests over to fly. People can go out for dinner, smoke, or go to a bar and spend $$$ but to join a club and buy insurance is just out of the question. Never mind if your Hen pecked. Most Women wouldn't understand a Man's Hobby, I've only seen two women flyers in over 35 years. I'm glad my Life understands my Hobby. Cheers Floyd

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Old 08-10-2020, 11:29 AM   #3
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Re: Any solutions to MAAC/Hobby Decline?

The club I belong too does outreach events with schools. We hope this sparks interest. any other ideas?
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Old 08-10-2020, 12:28 PM   #4
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Re: Any solutions to MAAC/Hobby Decline?

This is such a big topic. One of the big mistakes is in thinking that the number of members in MAAC is representative of the number of people in the hobby. It isn't.
There are general trends of people not joining 'clubs' or participating in club activities in general, and MAAC and MAAC clubs are seeing this. (estimates from retailers are that as low as 30% of the people flying model airplanes in Canada are MAAC members)

One of the big problems is that no-matter what MAAC does to promote interest, the 'salesman' is the local club. So any plan needs to include support and best practices right down to the club level. It could be as simple as 'if you see someone new just watching from their car, go say hi and offer to show them around.'

I also wonder how many of our clubs are currently accepting new members? (I suspect not all of them by a long shot)

I had an idea for a 'National Try to Fly Weekend' where clubs would have a trainer and buddy box on hand and people could show up and give the hobby a try. But, it would need coordination and support at all levels.

- Facebook promotion at a national, zone, and club level, with paid boosting.
- Possibly YouTube pre-roll ads, targeted to aviation and model aviation channels. (expensive)
- Outreach by clubs to their 'local' media, supported by the MAAC press release
- Sharing of experiences during and after the event by promoting participants to post and share on their social media channels.
- Maybe even 'commissions' paid to the clubs for first year 'new' members. (This was tried on an individual level with the 'sell three fly free' campaign a few years ago.)

While something like this wouldn't likely get media attention in the big cities, in smaller communities the local paper would be all over this, even if it were a submitted story after the fact.
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Old 08-10-2020, 12:58 PM   #5
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Re: Any solutions to MAAC/Hobby Decline?

Wow! Sharpy, you put forth a killer question with that one. Personally with the advanced computers and computer games we have now I don't see support for any outdoor activities stabilizing or increasing. The clubs around here as you probably know go out of their way to welcome and support any young fliers that show enough interest to come out and check things out.Diamond aces out of Steinbach hold an annual mall show which does definitely attract attention but not sure if it results in any new involvement.

I say "prepare for the worst and hope for the best" in that light I thank all Maac executives and committees for their hard work and preparation efforts for the possible continuous decline in participation to keep Macc strong and able to represent Canadian fliers.
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Old 08-10-2020, 12:59 PM   #6
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Re: Any solutions to MAAC/Hobby Decline?

Keith has some good points.
Had a father and son a year or so ago that were real gung ho but the problem was the father had the son too involved with sports and not enough time for flying. Lasted one maybe two summers . Then there was the sons attention span. He was just about the age where girls would be on his radar next.

As for the youth today; if cell phones and iPads with all the gaming programs ; disappeared , then we might have a fighting chance. Guess it’s called “evolution” and not the motor kind ! Lol.....
Also the demise of kit building doesn’t help . It’s all in the quick prebuilt foam stuff out there. “Buy it today, and fly it tomorrow” . No investment and dedication with time input into self satisfaction of seeing your efforts fly.

That’s the way I see it.

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Old 08-10-2020, 01:11 PM   #7
srxtwins
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Re: Any solutions to MAAC/Hobby Decline?

I might add, we should be careful about falling into the mind set of "attracting young fliers", the doors must be open to anyone who shows interest. We mustn't forget "young fliers" have a life to build in front of them and both financially and time wise rc flying could easily not make the cut for important things. There are interested people from all age groups so we must keep an open mind and be welcoming to everyone. I, for example was a control line flier over 40 years ago but could not pursue rc flying till it came time to look at my bucket list a few years ago.
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Old 08-10-2020, 01:33 PM   #8
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Re: Any solutions to MAAC/Hobby Decline?

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Originally Posted by srxtwins View Post
I might add, we should be careful about falling into the mind set of "attracting young fliers".
I don't have the stats in front of me at the moment, but the VAST majority of our members (including long term members) join somewhere in their 40s or 50s. The 'seed' for model aviation should be planted when people are young, but the biggest immediate return will come from targeting people established in life.
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Old 08-10-2020, 01:38 PM   #9
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Re: Any solutions to MAAC/Hobby Decline?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morison View Post
I don't have the stats in front of me at the moment, but the VAST majority of our members (including long term members) join somewhere in their 40s or 50s. The 'seed' for model aviation should be planted when people are young, but the biggest immediate return will come from targeting people established in life.
I suspected as much,but if 40 year old dad comes out and brings his youngsters the seed is planted. The rebirth and growth of our hobby will be long and slow if possible at all.
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Old 08-10-2020, 02:09 PM   #10
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Re: Any solutions to MAAC/Hobby Decline?

45 years ago I was flying u/c, I couldn’t afford the radio set ups of the day. That lasted until family came along. Fast forward 40 years and I retired. A RTF set up cost about a day’s salary (45 years ago about a month’s). After several years of stop and start I finally got my wings. Yes, we want young blood in the sport to keep it going. An obvious target would be Air Cadets in my mind. They have an aeronautical interest to start. A couple trainers on buddy boxes, Laptops with flight simulators, ground school on parade nights and out of a squadron of 40 you may get 4-5 new club members. And don’t treat them like kids if they join, nurture their interest and treat them like fellow flyers.

One problem that I also see are that many club flying fields are not convenient to town. Mine is about 12 k north of town and our pond flyers have a longer way to go yet. With this being the age of electrics let’s lobby city council to have an area in one of the town parks, noise won’t be an issue as it is with nitro and gas. And with comprehensive ground rules agreed to by the town council and club safety issues would be covered. Public exposure by curious bystanders would be generated. A mall show also is good for publicity. Advertise your swap meet so that the general public can be notified. The rail road modellers do this and it brings in the curious. Have some educational component to your swap meet, flight simulator, balsa glider competition.

MAAC could step up their game and donate magazine subscriptions to the local public library. When I was a teenager, I always hit the library when Model Airplane News arrived on the shelf (and it was for more than the cute girl modelling a plane on the cover!) MacMag could use a bit of a makeover, when I formulate my thoughts I’ll reach out to Mr. Morison.
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