A Promising Post-Pandemic Season Of Flying

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Written by Chad Budreau
View From HQ
As seen in the June 2021 issue of Model Aviation.

THERE IS MUCH PENT-UP DEMAND for hobby-related activities and events. As vaccines are distributed and COVID-19 cases continue to fall, AMA staff members are anticipating a busy year at the International Aeromodeling Center (IAC) and across the country.

Although extra sanitation and many COVID-19 protocols will likely remain in place, it is exciting to think about a more normal flying season. Here at the IAC, the AMA maintenance crew is preparing the flightlines and making repairs to the property for our members.

Thanks to the generosity of members such as Mike Barbee, we have three new, large slabs of concrete near Sites 3 and 4 for fueling stations, pilots, and tents. The AMA National Model Aviation Museum staff is also busy adding new exhibits and expanding gallery space for members and guests this season. In addition to all of the planning and preparing for a busy flying season, staff has even resurrected our employee "flight club," where many of us gather after work to fly.

If you can safely visit the IAC this year, take a look at our event calendar at www.modelaircraft.org/iac-calendar. Although the Nats is fast approaching, some Nats events might still be accepting competitors. This year we are waiving the $50 basic registration fee for all first-time contestants. Learn more at https://amablog.modelaircraft.org/nats.

Then, on July 30-August 1, come back to the IAC for the AMA National Fun Fly. Sign up by June 30 and receive a free T-shirt and meal! Register at www.modelaircraft.org/funfly.

Not only are staff members excited about a new season of flying, so are many clubs, contest directors (CDs), event managers (EMs), and members. I encourage you to search through the growing number of events across the country at www.modelaircraft.org/event-calendar.

We recognize that the success of these events heavily depends on the volunteerism spirit of our members, which is why AMA embraced April as National Volunteer Month. Do your part and consider helping as a volunteer.

For our CDs, EMs, and club officers, here are five tips for recruiting, motivating, and keeping volunteers.

1. Ask: No one wants to feel like a burden, but it is okay to ask for help. An old, and probably outdated, marketing philosophy is that it takes 3.1 times to hear a message before it resonates. Be prepared to repeatedly ask for help. It is not sustainable or fair to expect 80% of an event’s work to be done by 20% of the membership.

2. Appreciate: Don’t underestimate the value of a thank-you. During a pilots’ or club meeting, be sure to recognize the hard work of the volunteers and even consider awarding them.

3. Bribe: Incentives and perks, such as food and exclusive swag, are great, affordable gifts. Some events have a dedicated volunteer tent stocked with free drinks, food, and prime seating that are exclusive to volunteers. Volunteer shirts are also a nice thank-you gift and provide the volunteers additional recognition during the event. It’s also common for clubs to credit dues for volunteers.

4. Downtime: Too often, volunteers step down because of burnout or being overextended. Actively ensure that your volunteers take breaks and have time to enjoy the event.

5. Safety: Ensure the safety of your members, guests, and volunteers. In addition to adhering to AMA’s safety programming, clubs and events should continue to take measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 this year. Coordinate with your local health department and take additional steps as needed.

Thank you to all of our members and volunteers for making this a great hobby. I’m looking forward to a great season.

Stay safe.

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Watch Chad’s weekly View From HQ videos at www.modelaircraft.org/viewfromhq.

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RCPilot, in collaboration with the AMA, is helping CD's across the country both promote their events and consolidate all posts, videos and pictures in one place inside their event listing on the site. RCPilot automatically publishes AMA-sanctioned events to a calendar that allows users to filter by event type, date, distance and name. Users can indicate their intent to attend and view all content about the event in one place. If you have an event on the AMA calendar, zip over to RCPilot.com and claim ownership over it simply by registering with the same email as is published in your event on the AMA calendar.

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