This is my last report as President of the NFFS. I admit that I leave this office with mixed feelings. I am pleased with what has been accomplished during the past seven years, and I believe that our Society is better now than when I took over in 1996.

It would be self-indulgent to list all of the accomplishments during the time I have been President, and I would enjoy looking at it, but I am sure that you would find it very boring. What I would like to have all of the members remember is that during this past seven years, the ability to run an organization such as ours has been radically altered by the Internet. When the NFFS first appeared on the scene in 1967, communications were nearly entirely by US Post. Now, very little of our business is conducted by US Post. The Internet, fax machine and telephone have all replaced the old paper system. In doing so, we can realistically have an international organization, as correspondence is nearly instantaneous.

The NFFS would not be in the condition it is in without this new technology. And you need to know that we are in good condition. Financially, we are stable and have some investments that assist with scholarships, Junior Team funds, NMAP and other free flight oriented projects. Since we are now a federally designated 501 c-3 organization, we regularly receive contributions from individuals who wish to help us out and get a tax break at the same time. It is a big improvement over past practice.

At the same time as we are enjoying some improvements in our programs, we are suffering from a lack of members who are willing to step forward to assist with some of our needs. In part, I know, it is because our general membership is growing older and less willing to volunteer for projects. We are still looking for a person to serve as a Public Information Officer. We are still looking for a person who will help us with fund raising activities. We seek volunteers for CD at the Nats, both indoor and outdoor. We are interested in having our members volunteer for Symposium editor, Symposium contributors, etc. etc. Our needs continue, and since much of the work is volunteer, it takes someone who has the time and energy to step forward for these projects.

On the plus side, during the past seven years, we have nearly doubled the number of Life Members of the NFFS. Where we now have 46 members. This is a real plus and speaks well of those members who want to support the NFFS and free flight. For anyone still contemplating whether to become a Life Member or not, you have until the end of December to get your payment in. On January 1, the new dues structure takes effect and it will cost you more.

Another area of concern for me is the number of our well known free flighters who are not members of the NFFS. I am constantly amazed when I look on our mailing list for the address of a well known free flighter only to find that he is not a member. In fact, after looking at our membership list, I believe that somewhere around 1/4 or more of our active free flight competitors are not members of the NFFS. This is the equivalent of giving a free ride to these
folks. If you think the AMA is looking out for the best interests of free flighters when it makes its decision, you may be surprised to find that is not always the case. It is the NFFS which makes the decisions on the Nats, proposes the events, and runs the contests. The same with the National Cup events and awards, the same with the FAI Junior Programs, the same with NMAP, the same with the Symposium, etc. etc.

Here is a challenge for all of our members. Find out whether one of your flying buddies is a member of NFFS. If so, congratulate him. If not, pay his membership fee or browbeat him into joining. Here’s a suggestion to all clubs who sponsor contests. Charge an extra fee for non-NFFS members to compete; or better yet, give NFFS members a break on the entry fee. I will be back in the saddle now and then with a periodic Nostalgia column and other features for the Digest. I hope to be able to assist with other projects as well as time and energy permit.

As I noted in my last column, I have three new Argentinean Nostalgia models which have been approved for competition. I will be featuring them in future columns in the Digest. Look for them.And I will have the official vote count to report to all of the members in the January issue of the Digest. Right now, with nearly a month to go until the voting deadline, we have exceeded 500 ballots cast. That is the largest voter turnout since I have been in office. Thanks to all who have voted. It may be that the special mail out ballot is a good thing, even though it happened
by mistake. It seems to have generated much more interest in this election.

So, it’s not goodbye. It’s just see you all later.
Bob Stalick

Bob Stalick