MAAA Wingspan

18 WING SPAN FEBRUARY club story: INCREASING MEMBERSHIP BY ENCOURAGING THE NEXT GENERATION TO ‘HAVE A GO’ CURIOSITY FOR CONTROL LINE HAS SEEN A SURGE IN BOTH JUNIORS AND NON-JUNIORS SIGNING UP TO OUR SPORT IN WA KimParks is a veteran aeromodeller who is amember of both of the control line clubs in Perth, which, combined with the Bunbury members, make up the enthusiastic WA Control Line community. The group has been utilising the curiosity value of control line and free flight aeromodelling to promote the sport via social media, as well as undertaking flying demonstrations at schools and public fetes to further encourage the curious to ‘have a go’, which resulted in a significant turnaround last year. “So far we’ve had five newMAAA- registered juniors and eight seniors joining or returning to active control line flying and there aremore on the sidelines looking to join in the coming year,” said Kim. “2019 is also likely to be the first time since the early 1980s that there will be sufficient junior and novice numbers to run specific events for them.” Spreading awareness and following up with support were key, as Kim further explains. “While we do technically belong across the different clubs, most of us consider ourselvesmore part of the WA control line family than either club per se – clubmembership ismore than just about which field you fly at. It is very much about working together for the benefit of control line in general,” said Kim. While somemembers have been able to dedicatemore time and resources than others, the turnaround is very much a combined effort that included several initiatives. “This included advertising on social media and classified groups, (eg. Facebook & Gumtree); creating the group’s social group Facebook page where both newcomers and experiencedmodellers alike can interact and find or provide information that includes what, when and where control line activity is occurring; maintaining sufficient club trainers so at least one is always available for visitors to ‘have a go’; and holding displays and demonstrations, particularly at school fetes or fairs,” he continued. In addition, the group has been offering free ‘have a go’ incentives for visitors, both at normal club activities and also during public displays and fetes and has kept visitors and other respondents informed and invited to upcoming activities, while connecting newcomers with experienced modellers who serve asmentoring ‘buddies’. “Hosting shed nights where newcomers can learn frommore experiencedmembers has also helped to increase encouragement, as has ensuring they have the information they need to source control line gear and, where necessary, that there are adequate supplies on hand for those harder-to-get or expensive items,” continued Kim.