Youth and Newcomers

America in its entirety is aging, so it’s not entirely fair to take U.S. amateur licensee statistics out of context, rather than baselining them against trends exhibited by the population as a whole. Nonetheless, I believe our retention rate in the hobby is pretty poor, and I feel the same way about trends in our ARRL membership totals, too.

The “good news” is that the Board has begun to tackle the first issue. The “bad news” is that the League and local clubs and all other ham organizations can do much, much more than we’re currently doing to “sell” newcomers on our wonderful hobby. It seems to me that generating youth interest and mentoring new licensees of all ages is best viewed as a local activity that some combination of clubs, informal groups, “Elmers”, schools, EmComm agencies, and others can be most effective at. Because of that, I support dialog between the League and leaders of the best of those “local” initiatives that have demonstrated how to attract and retain “new blood”, and I view the League’s role as being one of “cross-pollinator”, seeing that the best programs are communicated nationwide.

Beginning in my childhood, over the years I’ve dabbled in multiple hobbies, including ones such as stamp collecting and model railroading. But none of the others have held my interest and fueled my energies as much as ham radio, in so many different ways as ham radio, or for as long as ham radio. Our hobby is such a multi-faceted one that it would boggle my mind if we couldn’t ⎯ with a little bit of brainstorming and finesse ⎯ find niches to excite virtually every individual who comes near our hobby!

Transparency

Member Responsiveness

Unwinding

Public Service

Regulatory

Frequency Spectrum