03 Apr 2017

New MMM monthly “Speakers Series”.

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Ray Peacock, Speaker Series Coordinator

The number of Members in the Club has remained steady over the last few years at 75 to 80. The number in each Division has naturally fluctuated as Members leave and others join, but there has been a decline in the number attending the Monthly Meetings of the Club. I believe this is because the content of these Meetings has emphasized the “business” features and reduced the modeling topics of the get-together, resulting in a lack of interest in these Meetings for many Members.

To halt the decline in attendance at Monthly Meetings, and to increase the interest and activities in the Club, we should capitalize on the strengths that exist in the skills and interests of our Members. Sailors, Static-ers (?) and Scale-ers (?) generally have a broader interest in modeling and marine subjects than their attendance at Division meetings would indicate. Therefore we have introduced a revitalized format for the Monthly Meeting. The principle change is to add to the Agenda a regular feature of demonstrations and speakers on modeling and marine subjects.

We are calling this the “Speakers Series”. I have volunteered to organize it, and plan to make it a regular and continuing part of each meeting. A program like this however requires managing and planning, rather than hoping it will happen. There is considerable expertise and knowledge of modeling skills and techniques in the Club, and while each Division focuses naturally on its own specialization members may not be aware of what takes place within the other Divisions. Therefore I will be drawing up a program of speakers and demonstrators which will give individuals and groups a platform to showcase their skills and techniques to a broader audience in the Club than to just their particular Division. At the same time other Club Members will be exposed to a range of knowledge and capability that they otherwise might not be aware exists in the Club.

The program will draw mainly on the expertise our members have built up over their modeling years. I will call on the Captains of the three Club Divisions and ask them to “take ownership” of this part of the meeting, to talk about and present a particular aspect of their branch of modeling, and where possible to arrange a demonstration of the particular skills of members in their Division. One, two, three Division members, as they decide themselves, will be the speakers and demonstrators of their chosen subject. Each Division presently has its own “Show and Tell” session in some form or other, and these might form a valuable source of ideas for the “Speakers Series”.

I will also draw on Speakers from other ship modeling clubs who may have different expertise and skills in their field. I hope as well to have Speakers from peripheral areas, such as museums, suppliers and book authors. Most importantly, I welcome suggestions for Speaker subjects from our own Club Members.

The Club holds nine or ten Monthly Meetings each year. Hence there are plenty of opportunities to make presentations. It would be great to think that we have too many subjects and have to delay some of the possible presentations. But, and this is a big but, selected speakers may not be available for a particular Monthly Meeting, and last minute substitutes might have to be found. Managing the Speaker Series therefore will require some ingenuity and cooperation.

In addition to generating increased interest and participation in the Monthly Meetings of the Club an important benefit is that the Speaker Series subjects might be the source of articles to add to the Club website. Recently a sub-committee of the Executive has been reviewing and making positive changes to the website. Many modifications and alterations have already been introduced, and the project will soon be completed. The details of the architecture, or structure, of the pages that you see on the website are being changed, but an equally important and continuing feature of any website is the requirement for “content”. This is in the form of articles, photographs and correspondence. Members’ contributions are vital. I recognize that some of our presenters have great modeling abilities but they may not be as confident in writing a suitable article on their subject for the website. Don’t worry! I and other members will be available to help with the writing and photographing.

We have already held two Speaker Series meetings in this new format. The first presentation, at the February Meeting, was given by members of the Scale Division. Scale Captain Don Sutton and Randal Thomas were the principle Speakers on the subject of “Balloon Buster boats”. They talked about and demonstrated the construction, propulsion and control of these little craft, and during the later discussion they offered assistance to Members who would like to build their own Balloon Buster. The March Meeting event was a presentation on “Rope Making and Period Ship Rigging” by Static Captain David Nelson, and I demonstrated the making of model rope on my rope walk. I believe we removed some of the “black magic” that surrounds the subject. At the next Meeting on April 28 Rick Levick and Sailors will make a presentation on radio controlled sailing, the history of r/c sailing at MMM, and using examples of the classes of boats they sail, they will explain how the boats are equipped and rigged.

So, we are off to a good start! The success of the Series depends on the input of our Members and those I am able to bring on board from outside. I hope soon to complete the program for the Speaker Series for this year, and you will be able to see it as a general Members’ email with each event shown on the Calendar on the Website.   With an enthusiastic approach to making these changes I am convinced the word will spread within the Club, and will encourage many more Members to attend the Monthly Meeting. And they in turn will gain much from the fellowship of other Members sharing in our modeling and marine hobby.

 

 

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