I keep hearing that we
have a Junior problem: Some say that . . .
. . . today¹s young people aren¹t interested in model airplanes.
. . . you can¹t get them interested.
. . . working with kids is a waste of time.
I suggest that the problem may not be with the young people, but with the rest of us.
When NFFS began its National Model Aviation Program, (NMAP), Ed Wiley, NFFS
education chairman, sent requests to more than 50 U.S. free-flight clubs, asking for mentors and any other help the clubs might provide with the new Junior program. He didn't get a single offer of help!
I hope that all of us
remember that someone took some time to get us interested and provide guidance
when we first started learning about model airplanes. Is it too much to ask
for us to do the same for our young people today? Today's youngsters are smarter
than we sometimes think. They want to be challenged to excel. They expect
to be rewarded for hard work and
They can find all these goals in free-flight model aviation. Just to fly their models and compete, they learn time management, patience and cooperation. They learn to follow prescribed rules, time flights, manage their support equipment, how to make a plane fly safely. And most important, they learn how to enjoy victory and how to graciously accept defeat. While learning all this, they also have fun.
With all the positives to be derived from free flight, it's hard to accept why it is so difficult to find adults willing to help with young peoples' model-aviation projects. Those who are willing can come from the indoor or outdoor community. Try being a mentor. If you only work with one youngster, it will make a difference.
The accompanying photo
was taken at the 2003 U.S. Outdoor Champs. The young people were competing
for places on the U.S. Jr. FAI team. Some from this group will travel to France
in August to represent the U.S. at the Jr. World Champs. These young people
had mentors or attend organized classes that were led by adult free flighters.
You can make a difference. If you are willing to help, contact one of the following:
Ed Wiley, NFFS Education Director, 2503 Atchison Ave., Lawrence KS 66047. E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rocco Ferrario, NMAP Coordinator, 2471 Solano Ave., Dept. 204, Napa CA 94558-4645. E-mail address: email@example.com
Life Member. I am pleased to announce the latest NFFS Life Member: Jon Davis of Albuquerque NM. Jon has represented the U.S. at the FAI World Champs on both the F1A and F1B teams. He is also one of the U.S. pioneers in promoting the F1E class of magnetic-steered gliders.
Remember, our goal: for
each of us to sign up one new NFFS member this year.
See you on the flight line.