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Your Club. Larger, Smaller or Static?

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Percy Verance07/07/2018 22:23:03
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Hi Chaps

How many members in your particular club? Has club membership followed a steady downward trend, or is your club fairly static. And how many are members of more than one club, or indeed who isn't a club member at all?

I personally moved on from the club scene about a decade ago. My nearest club ceased being able to offer me what I wanted so I left. I fly these days with a small-ish group of people whom I've known for a while. We're not registered as a club with any organisation, and we obtain our insurance from a non BMFA source. We fly in a privately rented field on the outskirts of my village, and the set-up seems to work just fine for us.

I get the sense that club membership is down on the whole. What's the score where you are?

 

 

Edited By Percy Verance on 07/07/2018 22:26:10

john stones 107/07/2018 23:00:11
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50ish, held steady for a few years now, down to our webmaster getting us noticed, and the attitude of a hard core of lads who never refuse to help guests/new members. I would probably jack it in, and go fishing again if it wasn't for the social side of being in a club, we ruffle each others feathers at times but there you go. wink

Edited By john stones 1 on 07/07/2018 23:19:45

Percy Verance07/07/2018 23:10:52
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And that's pretty much what you'd hope for if you were new to a club John. Sadly though, I have heard of instances of outright hostility towards newcomers. How on earth can a club hope to survive in the long term without new members? It seems an odd stance.

It's good your club membership is fairly static. I have seen clubs advertising for members in the mags from time to time.

Edited By Percy Verance on 07/07/2018 23:11:31

John Tee07/07/2018 23:19:22
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65 photos

Membership has been steady at 85 ish for a few years but this year we have reached 99. just one more before we start a waiting list. Our members have been more active in the last 3 years as we have held special events in the summer months (June to Sept.) on the field instead of meeting in the hall we normally hire. We are also attracting more "younger" members in the 35 - 45 age group. The good weather has also helped get newer members out and flying.

John

David Davis08/07/2018 06:24:21
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The membership of my club in Central France has increased from 18 to 30 in three years. We put on a flying display in a village about fifteen miles away a couple of years ago and attracted two brothers who used to fly but who had given up the hobby. The partner of one of these lads now flies with us too.

In March this year we put on a static display in a local village hall which attracted people from far and wide. The event was reported in the local press which provoked more interest as did a glider weekend which was held in June. We are holding a Scale and Vintage Day on 18th August which might attract further interest.

Most of the new members are novices so there's a fair bit of instructing to be done, and the club's catering arrangements are second to none! That might have something to do with it.

club lunch journee des planneurs 2018.jpg

cymaz08/07/2018 06:37:21
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25....was around 45 about 15 years ago just before I joined. Effort has been made over the last few years to attract members. It is working....mainly with men, recently retired or kids have left home. No ladies at present, anyone who turns up gets a warm welcome.

Cuban808/07/2018 07:02:45
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My main club is holding steady at 115 but has been declining from a peak of 130 ten years ago. We don't actively seek new members at the moment. Second club has seen a more pronounced decline from about 120 down to about 90 recently. Quite a few new flyers coming regularly, but they don't balance out the losses at the moment.

Edited By Cuban8 on 08/07/2018 07:04:25

Percy Verance08/07/2018 07:03:53
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cymaz

That's a pattern/trend I've observed over the past 15 years or so. Sadly some of the older hands pass away, and replacing them isn't always quick or easy. Of course some of the larger clubs have fairly large overheads and outgoings, and as such have something of a necessity to retain a healthy membership.

I have known clubs to place information leaflets etc in local model shops with the intention of attracting new members. This can of course work, along with displays at local fetes and events. We recently had a chap and his wife walk past the field we fly in while we were mowing our strip one weekend. They stood and watched for a couple of minutes before asking what we were doing. It turned out that he flew a Wallace autogyro from an aerodome 40 odd miles away, but did live in my village having moved there a few months previously. He said he could well get interested and would like to come and watch while we flew. I said there would be no problem, and we exchanged phone numbers. We were not actively seeking more members as such, but we can happily find room for another if he decides to take the plunge........

 

Edited By Percy Verance on 08/07/2018 07:05:51

Percy Verance08/07/2018 07:15:42
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C8

What's the reason for the losses? Do people get bored and give up? Do they move to other clubs, or perhaps move house to other areas?

From 120 down to 90 is a bit of a drop.....

I think there may also be apathy involved in some instances. I know of one particular individual whom flew with a certain club for the best part of 60 years before choosing to move to another club in his area (at over double the membership fee I might add). Now to me personally that's quite a loss to have someone of such experience leave the club - he is a superb model builder - but yet as far as I'm aware, the club he left behind didn't even bother to contact him to try to find out why he chose to leave after virtually a lifetime of membership.......

I understand he's more than happy at the new club.

 

 

Edited By Percy Verance on 08/07/2018 07:20:46

Peter Miller08/07/2018 09:19:26
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We have 16 members, that is limited by the landowner due to parking issues. IT suits us anyway as we have always considered ourselves more a group of friends.

The normal turn out is between 5 and 9.

And even in a small group you do get the odd ruffled feathersdisgust

simon barr08/07/2018 09:25:35
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We've been static at around 45 to 50 for the last few years. Fifteen / twenty years ago membership was in the 70s.

We have had a few new members join us this year, a couple of which came up to our Try Fly a few weeks ago.

A couple of very promising young kids also came to the Try Fly, but, sadly their parents now seem reluctant to bring them back up... Unfortunately, parents need to be committed to bring their kids up but this never seem to happen, as I'm sure you all know!

If anybody turns up to the flying site, they are always made welcome, and even offered a go on buddy box if they fancy having a go,

simon barr08/07/2018 09:27:02
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Hey!!! My 1000th post!!

Percy Verance08/07/2018 09:28:30
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That's pretty much our own situation too Peter. We have parking for just a handful of vehicles, but as the landowner doesn't want us to park on the field we're parking on the verges in the (admittedly lightly used) country lane adjacent to the field. Small has certainly proved better for our group. We've been flying there for a few years now, and so far no ruffled feathers.......

Cuban808/07/2018 09:54:34
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The biggest factor in my first club's reducing figures is advancing age, we tend not to lose established younger fliers that often. Second club does tend to have a higher general turnover for some reason. Over the years I've noticed that advertising locally for new members or at fetes etc seldom brings results and those that have joined rarely stay around for long before taking up another hobby. The best members are those that seek us out via the Web or by word of mouth, or a local model shop, they seem to be more committed to the hobby rather than seeing it as a passing phase.

Edited By Cuban8 on 08/07/2018 10:06:09

ChrisB08/07/2018 11:37:50
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34 photos

We've seen a fluctuating but steady membership level over the last few years. One local factor for us was the merging of two other local clubs which resulted in a gain for us. We have about 18 members who are also members of other clubs.

The other big factor are the one year wonders. They join with their foamy trainers, visit three or four times and are never seen again. We usually get about four a year like that. They are what I call the bucket list flyers! Don't want to make a hobby of it, just say they've done it!

Most of our new members are individuals who've never flown before. there are very few existing modellers who join us.

We generally lose about 10 a year and recoup some back with new members.

Eight years of membership numbers:

2010: 79

2011: 71

2012: 82

2013: 90

2014: 77

2015: 75

2016: 91

2017: 90

So far in 2018: 81

Bob Cotsford08/07/2018 11:44:39
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Declining membership generally though we have had a bit of a lift with some 30-40 y.o. recruits the last couple of years. The reason for the decline? Age, infirmity and that skinny feller with the scythe.

Tom Sharp 208/07/2018 13:34:21
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And Football wink

Roo Hawkins08/07/2018 16:02:48
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You talk about decline in membership of clubs.I live in Northamptonshire and I fly large scale gliders and I travel over 100 miles to fly at events around the UK. My local slope is 45 miles away. So I thought about joining a club need to me so I can get a bit of flying in.I like to fly large models and have thought about a large scale motor glider. All of the club's I have looked at have small strips some of them are even not safe to fly. I think this is because of foamys. The only club that is OK but when I tried to join . I had to go to a club meeting fill a form out then fly 3 times to be checked out they then sent me the rules I then email to say OK. They then invite you to a interview before they say you can join. I did all this but no one contacted me for a interview. So I wasted loads of time on this and still no club. Withe this way of doing things I can not see how we can get new people in to the sport.
Keith Sharples08/07/2018 16:22:07
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Not 100% sure of my clubs membership purely as I don't really meet many at the field. I do regularly meet one member there and we have great fun with a club type atmosphere all but between the two of us, he seems to think we have 7 members. When I joined I was asked to do one flight and passed as safe to fly (not an A test). Our field has 7 day, dawn till dusk access which is great. Initially when I went up there I sometimes could not fly as the grass was to long so went home annoyed. After this happened a few times I did complain and it improved a bit. It also turned out that another member was having the same problem so offered to cut the grass which they now do every Monday so now we have a great bowling green patch. It turns out this member is one who is now my flying buddy mentioned above. I did offer by email to the committee to also be a listed grass cutter and got no responce. The committee don't seem to fly or want to get a club thing going which is a bit sad really. Anyway the two of us enjoy getting together and having some fun, when it's not to hot that is!!

Edited By Keith Sharples on 08/07/2018 16:23:12

ChrisB08/07/2018 17:35:36
1220 forum posts
34 photos
Posted by ChrisB on 08/07/2018 11:37:50:

We've seen a fluctuating but steady membership level over the last few years. One local factor for us was the merging of two other local clubs which resulted in a gain for us. We have about 18 members who are also members of other clubs.

The other big factor are the one year wonders. They join with their foamy trainers, visit three or four times and are never seen again. We usually get about four a year like that. They are what I call the bucket list flyers! Don't want to make a hobby of it, just say they've done it!

Most of our new members are individuals who've never flown before. there are very few existing modellers who join us.

We generally lose about 10 a year and recoup some back with new members.

Eight years of membership numbers:

2010: 79

2011: 71

2012: 82

2013: 90

2014: 77

2015: 75

2016: 91

2017: 90

So far in 2018: 81

Even though we have 80 members the most we see are about 18-25 at our monthly events,our evening meetings are poorly attended at about 18 and the regular flyers number the same 20 or so.

Why? Health, other interests (flying is the poor relation), family commitments, etc etc. The hardcore number about 15.

Members aged under 45 number 14

We have many novice members who, despite much encouragement never seem to progress, probably because they don't want the hobby to be the be all and end all, but an occasional past-time.

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