Well, we’ve come to the end of another season. Actually, our season ends in February and our new season begins March 8, but the end of the calendar year is always a good time to reflect on the past year and plan ahead to make the next year a successful one.
So, what did we accomplish this year? Actually, a whole lot! We got new chairs and we got rid of the old, ugly ones. We installed a new controller for the charging station after the old one shorted out. We got our grill serviced, cleaned, fixed and filled. Our roller was serviced and the field was rolled several times. New tables for the electric pilots were built and donated. A fabric runway was bought, fetched from Cinci, hauled to the field, put down-TWICE! Our website was maintained and updated. Beautiful new Miami R/C T-Shirts were created and ordered. Upgraded food was brought to hot dog nights and to our main events. We grew in number and continue to grow.
From looking at that long list of achievements, I see evidence of this: Miami R/C is a vibrant, flourishing club that has members who are not only are interested in a great place to fly, but in the success of the club as a whole. In this day and age this is a rare find, but when a club has it, it’s virtually guaranteed to succeed. Again, look at it this way: Miami R/C is a successful club because of you. The chairs were replaced because someone saw the need. So was the controller. The grill. The roller. The tables. The runway (well, the runway was a two-year debate, but when it got settled, members got up and got it done). The website. The T-Shirts. The food. Members did all this, pretty much on their own, without being asked, or looking for thanks. This is Miami R/C. This is us. This is why we are growing.
But, as it is with any blessing, there’s always a responsibility attached. This responsibility can be summed up by the following questions: What can we do to involve more of our members? As I look around, I notice that those of us who are active are getting older. Everyone except Buzz, of course. I used to be the younger guy, but now I’m noticing my flight box seems to be getting heavier, I’m moving a bit slower, I’m beginning to realize that if I want to build that 93-inch Ziroli Corsair, I’d better get started. Many of you have expressed the same or similar thoughts. So, how do we keep the mission of Miami R/C-that of providing a beautiful and fun place to fly-alive and well for us and the next generation of pilots?
The problem is that this dilemma seems to be what most clubs are experiencing. But most clubs are getting smaller and weaker. We are somehow getting stronger and bigger. What baffles me the most is that I haven’t figured out why we are doing so well except for what I commented on above in the 3rd paragraph. So the question becomes, how do we continue to encourage and develop this “Miami R/C Attitude” (for lack of a better term), this “I can do that” mindset in our membership, both present and future?
I think one of the keys is, “fun.” Why do we fly R/C? It’s fun! For most of us, we’ve wanted to do this since we were kids. That’s what motivates us. So, how can we make coming to the field more fun? One thing we’ve been doing is hot dog night. It’s a scheduled time where people expect to find other members to eat, talk and fly. The activities (eating, talking, and flying) are fun, but we can do all three of those things anytime. Why is Hot Dog Night so successful? Maybe its success is because it’s scheduled. Folks know that on Wednesday at 6, other members will be out at the field having a good time. Our main events are scheduled, and we get good attendance. Our club meetings are scheduled, and we get pretty good attendance there, too. So with that in mind, I would like us to feature a few more scheduled events.
Hot Dog Night. This has become a tradition at Miami R/C. Every Wednesday from June through August, we get together to share food, fellowship and flying.
Night Fly. With all the technology nowadays, it’s easy to equip virtually any plane with lights. So, at the suggestion of some club members, we will now schedule a Night Fly, once a month, on a Saturday night, starting at 9. Sure, you can fly any other night, but on a certain Saturday (to be determined, we’ll try to make it the same Saturday of the month), you can expect to find folks.
Tailgate Swap-Meet. Look at your hangar. It’s way too crowded! We all have a plane or two that is ready-to-fly, but we just don’t fly it anymore. So, on our first Opening Day Event, everyone is invited to bring a plane that they haven’t flown in a while to sell to another member. The plane must be in ready-to-fly condition or receiver-ready. Something that another member would enjoy and be able to fly that day. It needs to be priced to sell. We’re not trying to make money, just clear out of our hangars otherwise good planes that we just don’t fly anymore, and by doing so, giving another member the chance to fly something enjoyable.
Club Fly-In. On a date to be determined, we will host members from three clubs, WORKS, CMA and SMAC. It’s just a time of fun, meeting new faces and maybe bringing folks to Miami R/C that have never flown with us, before.
Opening Day. This is our annual first-of-the-season get-together in April just to remind us of what we’ve been missing over the winter. Food provided by the club along with potluck. Always a good time.
4th of July. Our premiere event, with up-graded food, potluck and flying. We might do another tail-gate swap if members ask for it.
Closing Day. Just a nice picnic to enjoy one more gathering of our friends and fellow pilots.
NOTE: If you have additional ideas for helping our current members to become more active, please let me know!
Miami R/C is a great club with great members. But, like any organization, we’ve got to maintain various equipment items if we are to keep the high quality of our club. Here’s what’s looming for next season:
New Grill. Yes, we need a new grill. The weather just destroys our grills. This past one we even got a custom-made cover made by the folks who cover boats. It lasted less than 2 years. Getting a new grill takes work. We need to shop for it, buy it, bring it to the field, and haul away the old one. Who would like to volunteer to head this up?
Empty the Fire Ring. This was the first year I didn’t send out emails every week saying, “DON’T
PUT YOUR TRASH IN THE FIRE RING!!!” Guess what? The fire ring in full of trash. Who would like to head up the cleaning of the fire ring? You’ll need a shovel, a strong bag (or several) and some place to throw away the trash.
New Carpet on the Tables. The outdoor carpet that covers the tops of our tables has seen its best days. Whoever put on the carpet last time did an artful job. Very well fitted and it lasted about 10 years. Who would like to head up this project? It will require getting the carpet, removing the old carpet, and putting on the new.
New Wind Sock. By the end of winter, our windsock will be in tatters. I’ll take care of getting a new one, but someone will have to climb up on the roof of the shelter and install it. Who’s not afraid of climbing a ladder and getting on roofs?
Wind Break for Grill. We’ve been talking about it forever, so it’s time to install some sort of wind break for the grill. Otherwise when it’s windy (which is about 80% of the time), the grill does not cook properly. Who would like to head this up? This takes creativity.
New Table for Next to Grill. We need a table to replace the one next to the grill. It’s been repaired so many times that it’s tending to be a safety hazard for tripping people who are trying to arrange food, etc. Who would like to take care of this? It will take shopping for and bringing to the field a new picnic table and removing the old one.
Hot Dog Night. Last year, Mike Morgan was the “Hot Dog Czar.” He organized who grilled, bought stuff, etc. It would be nice if someone gave him a break. Who wants to be the next Hot Dog Czar?
Rolling the Field. Jim Dalton is the guy who keeps our roller running, and he frequently rolls the field. It would be great, at the beginning of the season while the ground is still soft, to have a team of guys roll the field several times in the early spring. Who would like to organize that?
Many hands make light work. If you’d be willing to assist on any of the above need, please let me know. You don’t have to do it all yourself, just organizing and overseeing it would be a great help.
I’m sure most everyone has heard that there is a nearby club that’s having unfortunate problems with keeping their field. When we lost our field about 12 years ago, the Clinton Model Aviators reached out to us and offered us a membership for the remainder of the season for $15. This was a great service. Should we begin seeing folks who need a place to fly, we need to be sure to extend every courtesy to them and offer our field to them should they want to become members. However, we will also want to vet any potential members carefully and wisely. We’ve already said that Miami R/C is a vibrant club because of its members. But we didn’t mention one reason why its members are so good: we all get along well. Everyone exercises courtesy and respect. It only takes one or two unpleasant, selfish members to ruin a club for everyone. Currently, we don’t have anyone like that. We want to keep it that way. Our protocol is to vet every new member application through the Officers and the Board. If there’s a question about someone, we follow up, and if necessary, deny membership. If we get an influx of folks wanting to become members, we will need your help in knowing if there’s someone out there who would not be a good fit for Miami R/C. So, if you hear of someone wanting to join and you know that person has caused trouble in the past, by all means let one of the board/officers know. We have worked too hard to let someone with no investment in Miami R/C come in and tear things down. By the same token, if you know of someone who would be a good addition to Miami R/C, bring him to the field to fly as a guest (limit: 3 times) and encourage him to join.
Miami R/C is a flourishing club, a dynamic club and an enjoyable club. That’s because of you, its members. You do what’s needed. You are friendly and courteous. With a little help from everyone, this next season could be our best season, yet!
It’s an honor and a privilege to be your president.