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AMA's Demographic Problem

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AMA's Demographic Problem

Old 06-09-2021, 03:55 AM
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franklin_m
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Default AMA's Demographic Problem

In my most recent issue, I noted the lengthy list of those who'd made their "final flight." I think this is another serious headwind facing the AMA as a membership organization and, to a lesser extent, the hobby as a whole.

If indeed AMA loses about 150 a month due to natural causes, keep in mind those are only the ones they know about. So the number is likely even higher. Across an entire year though, that's a minimum 1,800 members that have to be replaced just to maintain status quo. We're sad they're left us, but is this the trend that's really driving the change in the hobby? These members we lose are just not being replaced.

And that's year after year after year. Add to this that many kids extracurricular activities are now year round (gymnastics, soccer, baseball, softball, etc.), and often involve travel, it means a smaller "market" for new members. And finally, add to that technology like self leveling or "SAFE" that gives someone a reasonable chance of success learning to fly on their own w/o any need to ever visit an AMA club as the "gateway" to the hobby. And lastly, there's an abundance of decent flying small stuff that can be flown in schools and parks.

So these amount to serious headwinds for a membership based organization. I'm interested in other thoughts...

Last edited by franklin_m; 06-09-2021 at 04:34 PM.
Old 06-09-2021, 07:35 AM
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BarracudaHockey
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Just a note that not everyone appreciates you using the Final Flight list to promote your anti-AMA rhetoric

Several of us, myself included, have close friends or family on that list.

While they may be dry statistics to you to others it's much more than that.

Just my .02
Old 06-09-2021, 11:14 AM
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Dick T.
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To add to the demographics there are three active clubs locally that total almost 150 members. Ten percent are under 50 years old, the rest of us are old coots up to 88 years old. One club is down to 12 members (once had 30+) as the old timers either passed or just petered out. All clubs here gain two to three new members annually with most being retirees.

Actually Franklin's statistics are valid in spite of the vehicle used to convey it. We all lose family and friends over time so I don't think any disrespect is meant.
Old 06-09-2021, 12:04 PM
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Last edited by init4fun; 06-10-2021 at 10:45 AM.
Old 06-09-2021, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by BarracudaHockey View Post
Just a note that not everyone appreciates you using the Final Flight list to promote your anti-AMA rhetoric

Several of us, myself included, have close friends or family on that list.

While they may be dry statistics to you to others it's much more than that.

Just my .02
Andy, I can honestly say he's not being disrespectful to those that have family or friends on that list. People passing on is just a fact of life and, as such, is just something we have to deal with.
With that said, the boating club I belong to has a tab on their webpage that says "Statistics". This tab takes you to a spread sheet that has a record of all the points earned by everyone that's ever been a member of the club. There are many on that list that are no longer with us so, with that being the case, should they be deleted from the list? When I look at that list, I don't see just a name and number of points that person earned. I see a name associated with someone I knew, helped with their boat, was helped with my boat by, raced against and, in many cases, considered a friend or bordering on being family. Some of them are why I'm still involved with the R/C community and trying to live up to their legacies. I know I will probably never equal some of the point totals these people had and know that I'm not the best driver in the club. At the same time, those that I knew that are now gone have set a standard that will be my goal to reach before I have to call it quits too. The fact that Franklin used a number from a documented source may seem cold or heartless to some but he's putting out a message AND a warning that our days are finite and the amount of time the AMA is going to be around is also finite. We all can see it by looking at the financial reports. The treasury balance is dropping, membership numbers are dropping while spending is staying the same or getting greater. The numbers don't lie and if Franklin's method of putting out the warning isn't pleasant, the results of not listening should be considered even more unpleasant
Old 06-09-2021, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by BarracudaHockey View Post
While they may be dry statistics to you to others it's much more than that.
As an individual he can be emotional about those lost, but in his official capacity as a member of the EC, emotion is something the organization cannot afford.

As we see above, our EC members seem more focused on emotion than the reality they face. You see it in the reluctance to stick a fork in magazines that have lost tens of millions of members' dollars - because we have always had them. You see it in the reluctance to cut any staff positions, despite the fact that staff is serving far fewer members - because "We can't cut Jimmy-Jo's position." You see it the EC notes, where the "leadership" romance about model aviation in the 60's - despite that is as far from today as the 60's were from the Wright Brothers.

The EC needs to be governing by those "dry statistics." Like it or not. All the emotion in the world isn't going to fix the AMA's long term outlook. Realistic, pragmatic, rational, and unemotional leadership might. But they'll never know unless they try. But like others, I suspect they just cannot.

Last edited by franklin_m; 06-10-2021 at 02:43 AM.
Old 06-10-2021, 06:37 AM
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Well that didn't take long Franky. First post, your topic re demographics, soliciting others opinions. Your not interested in anyone else's opinion unless it aligns with yours of course. One post by Andy and Franky's pulling the old bait and switch back to how he hates the AMA and the EC etc.

Of course his wingmen are lining up to defend and jump all over anyone who holds a differing opinion. Right back to doing the same thing expecting different results. How short sighted can you get Franky?

For the guy who has a hard time with my handle let me help you out propworN LOL!!!!!!!!
Old 06-10-2021, 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Propworn View Post
Well that didn't take long Franky. First post, your topic re demographics, soliciting others opinions. Your not interested in anyone else's opinion unless it aligns with yours of course. One post by Andy and Franky's pulling the old bait and switch back to how he hates the AMA and the EC etc.

Of course his wingmen are lining up to defend and jump all over anyone who holds a differing opinion. Right back to doing the same thing expecting different results. How short sighted can you get Franky?

For the guy who has a hard time with my handle let me help you out propworN LOL!!!!!!!!
Have you checked the mirror lately? Your narrative is just as predictable.....

Originally Posted by Propworm
Your not interested in anyone else's opinion
It's pretty clear that Franklin is not interested in opinions, he is only interested in the facts. Facts don't have feelings.

Astro

Old 06-10-2021, 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by franklin_m View Post
As an individual he can be emotional about those lost, but in his official capacity as a member of the EC, emotion is something the organization cannot afford.

As we see above, our EC members seem more focused on emotion than the reality they face. You see it in the reluctance to stick a fork in magazines that have lost tens of millions of members' dollars - because we have always had them. You see it in the reluctance to cut any staff positions, despite the fact that staff is serving far fewer members - because "We can't cut Jimmy-Jo's position." You see it the EC notes, where the "leadership" romance about model aviation in the 60's - despite that is as far from today as the 60's were from the Wright Brothers.

The EC needs to be governing by those "dry statistics." Like it or not. All the emotion in the world isn't going to fix the AMA's long term outlook. Realistic, pragmatic, rational, and unemotional leadership might. But they'll never know unless they try. But like others, I suspect they just cannot.
Well brilliant individuals such as yourself seem reluctant to run for leadership positons.

I reckon it's easier to sit back and bellyache about what others are doing rather than volunteer your time. Shame really, maybe you could straighten out us bumbling fools eh?
Old 06-10-2021, 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by astrohog View Post
It's pretty clear that Franklin is not interested in opinions, he is only interested in the facts. Facts don't have feelings.
Exactly. And I went back and counted, 168 last month alone. At that rate per month, we're talking over 2,000 a year. And those are just the ones we know about. Add to that all the folks that just leave the hobby, or don't renew for other reasons. I find it fascinating that in the EC minutes we never hear total numbers month to month. That should be one aspect of standardized metrics that are reported to the EC and members (via minutes), at each and every EC meeting. After all, isn't that one measure for us of how well they're all doing their jobs? But instead, we get rhetorical backflips in comments about percent improvement of this or that. Really tough to know whether that's good or bad when you don't know the denominator.

And even above, our resident EC member immediately jumped on the emotional aspect, in what I believe an effort to divert attention, rather than address the facts presented. Note how he never address whether these tragic losses are being replaced 1 for 1? As I mentioned, as individuals we can all be sad. But in his role as a member of the organization's governing body, he needs to govern by facts. If he's not asking these hard questions in the EC meetings, he should be.

I encourage all members to read the EC minutes and note the obvious absence of comprehensive hard data. I submit there's a reason for that.
Old 06-10-2021, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by BarracudaHockey View Post
Well brilliant individuals such as yourself seem reluctant to run for leadership positons.

I reckon it's easier to sit back and bellyache about what others are doing rather than volunteer your time. Shame really, maybe you could straighten out us bumbling fools eh?
There's been any number of individuals who've offered the EC assistance, myself included. And speaking for myself, not once have they accepted those offers.

As for running for office, why would I want to do that? After all, you restrict who can run for office, all but guaranteeing homogeneous thinking. And even when one of the old guard dares to offer contrary views, the President and EVP use their official columns in the official publication to undermine their ideas. Hardly a balanced table. Which explains why the EC keeps trying the same things and getting the same results.
Old 06-10-2021, 08:48 AM
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Originally Posted by BarracudaHockey View Post
Well brilliant individuals such as yourself seem reluctant to run for leadership positons.

I reckon it's easier to sit back and bellyache about what others are doing rather than volunteer your time. Shame really, maybe you could straighten out us bumbling fools eh?
LOL. This is the same tired narrative we hear all the time!

We, the members, are supposed to voice our concerns to the officials that we elect, who, in turn, are supposed to be our voice at the AMA. You sir, are one of them, yet your reply is that we should run for office ourselves if we expect our voice to be heard?

Shameful.

Astro
Old 06-10-2021, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by astrohog View Post
LOL. This is the same tired narrative we hear all the time!

We, the members, are supposed to voice our concerns to the officials that we elect, who, in turn, are supposed to be our voice at the AMA. You sir, are one of them, yet your reply is that we should run for office ourselves if we expect our voice to be heard?

Shameful.

Astro
That's not what I said at all.

But when you rise to the level that you know whats better for the organization than everyone else involved, the office staff, the board, the treasurer, you really have reached the pinnacle of where you should be involved. It's not hard at all to run for office.
Old 06-10-2021, 09:03 AM
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So, the take-away from this that the AMA is a very well run organization. They are timing their fiscal decline perfectly with their membership decline.

I joke of course. We all know hobby membership is declining; witness the reduction of hobby shops, model manufacturers, magazines, and membership at local flying fields.

And I respect to those that are no longer with us. I recall the fellow who ran the first hobby shop I visited. He would spend hours showing a curious kid (me) many neat toys and gadgets, but only sold me what I needed. And I recall the fellow who first took me flying. I'll never forget his engine collection in the basement, for example. I assume both were on the AMA list many years ago...
Old 06-10-2021, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by BarracudaHockey View Post
That's not what I said at all.
Words have meaning. I comprehend words. Care to clarify what you meant?
Originally Posted by Barracudahockey
But when you rise to the level that you know whats better for the organization than everyone else involved, the office staff, the board, the treasurer, you really have reached the pinnacle of where you should be involved. It's not hard at all to run for office.
Way to spin Franklin's words into a negative!

Why not just take the facts Franklin has presented to the EC and ask them to provide an explanation/justification? It's not that hard to do.

Astro
Old 06-10-2021, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by PopeyeCharlotte View Post
So, the take-away from this that the AMA is a very well run organization. They are timing their fiscal decline perfectly with their membership decline.

I joke of course. We all know hobby membership is declining; witness the reduction of hobby shops, model manufacturers, magazines, and membership at local flying fields.

And I respect to those that are no longer with us. I recall the fellow who ran the first hobby shop I visited. He would spend hours showing a curious kid (me) many neat toys and gadgets, but only sold me what I needed. And I recall the fellow who first took me flying. I'll never forget his engine collection in the basement, for example. I assume both were on the AMA list many years ago...
Your right of course that is called contributing be it at the AMA management level or at the grass route level something these guys complain constantly about yet never seem to raise a hand to help. There is only a handful of them hardly a whisper in the wind so to speak. Or as we say up here Like a Fart In A Wind Storm LOL!!!!!
Old 06-10-2021, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by astrohog View Post
Words have meaning. I comprehend words. Care to clarify what you meant?

Way to spin Franklin's words into a negative!

Why not just take the facts Franklin has presented to the EC and ask them to provide an explanation/justification? It's not that hard to do.

Astro
What negative? The statement of Andy's you are quoting is more positive than anything else. It's actually encouraging one to take the next step, if one cares so deeply as to make it an obsession.

R_Strowe
Old 06-10-2021, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by R_Strowe View Post
What negative? The statement of Andy's you are quoting is more positive than anything else. It's actually encouraging one to take the next step, if one cares so deeply as to make it an obsession.

R_Strowe
Not something I would expect from the talking heads. You would get more out of an empty Pez Container LOL.
Old 06-10-2021, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Propworn View Post
Not something I would expect from the talking heads. You would get more out of an empty Pez Container LOL.
Aaanndd…….just as usual……right into the insults! So predictable..
Old 06-10-2021, 12:29 PM
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How can it be an insult when its truth??????? Other than talk what have you guys done/accomplished to improve anything AMA wise. Remember talk is cheap and cheap talk is nothing more than white noise.
Old 06-10-2021, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Propworn View Post
How can it be an insult when its truth??????? Other than talk what have you guys done/accomplished to improve anything AMA wise. Remember talk is cheap and cheap talk is nothing more than white noise.
Dude, calling someone an "empty Pez container" is an insult, not truth. I highly doubt an actual Pez dispenser is posting here. Calling someone a talking head might be a compliment, but again, not truthful unless David Byrne and crew are posting here.
Old 06-10-2021, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by R_Strowe View Post
What negative? The statement of Andy's you are quoting is more positive than anything else. It's actually encouraging one to take the next step, if one cares so deeply as to make it an obsession.

R_Strowe
That is not the way I read it.

To me it read that if you want change, run for office.

Andy is an elected AMA representative. He’s been asked many times to inquire about some of the concerns raised here and he says to either ask the appropriate district rep., or run for office.

Astro
Old 06-10-2021, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Propworn View Post
How can it be an insult when its truth??????? Other than talk what have you guys done/accomplished to improve anything AMA wise. Remember talk is cheap and cheap talk is nothing more than white noise.
That is precisely what we are asking of our Reps and AMA officials that CAN make changes.

Pretty simple, really.

Heck, even an empty Pez dispenser could figure that out. Try and catch up!

Astro
Old 06-10-2021, 01:21 PM
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Well, you're in an district, you have a person that represents your interests, feel free to reach out.

If you don't feel they are doing the job then run for office or find a candidate that will/can run that is more inline with your views, its a lot like the elections we have in the nation/states/counties/cites every year.
Old 06-10-2021, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by BarracudaHockey View Post
Well, you're in an district, you have a person that represents your interests, feel free to reach out.

If you don't feel they are doing the job then run for office or find a candidate that will/can run that is more inline with your views, its a lot like the elections we have in the nation/states/counties/cites every year.
So, I want to be a district VP and get on the board so that I can effect the changes we keep calling for. If I send in my membership request and dues for the rest of the year, can I be on the ballot for the next election?

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