Becoming A Leader Club

Print this articlePrint this article

Written by Lawrence Tougas Becoming A Leader Club Column As seen in the August 2019 issue of Model Aviation.

District News
Arizona, California, Guam, Hawaii, Nevada, Utah

At last year’s AMA Expo West, Phoenix-area Associate Vice President Jim Mohan gave a great presentation about the value of being a Leader Club. I asked Jim to write a column about the subject.

Please take a moment to consider having your club become a Leader Club, and if it is one already, well done.

Jim wrote:

Whether in business, sports, hobbies or many other aspects of life, a way of determining one’s level of achievement is to measure it against a standard. Standards allow us to see firsthand how we stack up. Because we are measuring against a standard and not just a relative ranking among a group, we can be assured we really are doing things right and engaging in the behaviors or management practices that are characteristics of the best of the best.

When it comes to AMA chartered model airplane clubs, that standard is set forth in the AMA Leader Club program.

One of the things that has surprised me is the small number of clubs that have applied for Leader Club status. The surprise comes from the fact that the standards are common-sense requirements that most well-run model clubs already meet.

For those clubs that don’t meet the requirements, it’s likely that only small changes or additions would be necessary to qualify. At my last count, using information from AMA Headquarters, only roughly 6% of AMA chartered clubs claim Leader Club status. As of late last year, District X had 272 clubs, but only 17 were Leader Clubs.

There are three levels of Leader Clubs: Bronze, Silver, and Gold. To become a Leader Club, the club must meet six basic requirements; it achieves Bronze, Silver, or Gold Level recognition based on how many of the elective requirements it meets. Please note that the district vice president can waive one of the six requirements and those electives that simply don’t apply to your club, such as noise requirements for a Soaring club. It won’t count against you, so, why bother?

Probably the most important advantage of your club being an AMA Leader Club is you have the confidence that your club is doing the right things the right way. The standards and electives help ensure that your club is operating using what are often referred to as "best practices."

AMA will provide your club with a nice plaque for you to display and Leader Club hatpins for all members in your club. Pins come in the color of the level for which you qualify—Gold Leader Clubs get gold pins, etc. Additionally, clubs that maintain Gold Level status for five years get five-year patches for club members to wear proudly on their club jackets or vests. Longevity patches are awarded at five-year intervals.

So how about cash awards? Well, your Leader Club status gives you a leg up in the scoring of Flying Site Development Improvement grants. Grant scoring is done in four categories, including "Is your club a Leader Club." Each category receives 25 out of 100 total points and since being a Leader Club is a yes or no question, non-Leader Club applicants forfeit 25% of the total score. Ouch! That’s like turning in a school term paper knowing the best grade you’ll get is a C.

I’ve helped score grant applications for the past two years and I was shocked at the number of applications submitted by non-Leader Club applicants. In those years where the grant funds available are less than the requests submitted, you’ll want to get every point you can to win.

You’ll need to recertify your Leader Club status each year, or in some cases, demonstrate that you now qualify for a higher-level award. My sense is that some clubs that had been Leader Clubs in the past have fallen off the list because newly elected club officers might not have been aware of the program’s requirements.

If that sounds as though it applies to you, please consider checking through club files or checking with Branda Manns at AMA Headquarters to see what you need to do to get your Leader Club status up to date.

If you’re not proudly wearing a Leader Club pin awarded to your current club, check out the Leader Club topic on the AMA’s website at

Thank you for this information, Jim. I encourage all clubs to take advantage of these best practices to make their clubs the "leaders of the pack."

Until next month, I wish you all nothing but happy landings.

Lawrence Tougas

Vice President

Box 276, Fairfield CA 94533

(707) 480-2053

Associate Vice Presidents

Tim Attaway, Chula Vista CA; (619) 427-6392;

Forrest Barton, Woodland CA; (530) 383-9019;

Jim Bonnardel, San Diego CA; (858) 292-5518;

Richard Bonnardel, Kailua HI, (808) 261-7046;

Kurtis Chandler, Phoeniz AZ; (602) 647-8342;

Alan Friedman, Eloy AZ; (520) 876-0232;

Dan Johnson, Preston ID; (435) 619-3112;

Kevin Houser, Oro Valley AZ; (520) 490-7657;

Tim Johnson, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA ; (562) 965-4288;

Mike Lee, Redlands CA; (909) 792-8424;

Scott Malta, Merced CA; (209) 723-4202;

Barry Mattison, Las Vegas NV; (702) 530-0900;

Dave Meriwether, Laguna Beach CA; (949) 350-4075;

Jim Mohan, Phoenix AZ; (623) 434-1351;

Gil Terzo, Las Vegas NV; (702) 523-9897;

Peter Vogel, Santa Clara CA; (408) 569-7067;

Roger Willis, Murrieta CA; (951) 249-9688;

Event Sanction Coordinators

Tim Attaway (CA south of Bakersfield), Chula Vista CA; (619) 427-6392;

Forrest Barton (CA north of Bakersfield), Woodland CA; (530) 383-9019;

Kurtis Chandler (AZ, UT) Peoria AZ; (602) 647-3842;

Facebook Twitter Share

Add new comment