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I have been a juniors judge for over 10 years. This year was the lowest turnout I can ever remember.The hobby if you haven't noticed is dying literally. Most of our members are in there 50's and 60's.Some of the problem this year was no make n take.A lot of kids will make something there and enter it.Now we always give lip service saying we got to get the youth involved in our hobby and that's as far as it goes.There's one group in the Detroit area that is the exception.i have a thought about perhaps giving a scholarship along with our Tom Kolk award at the convention.I know this takes money.The big hobby groups like Revell ,Tamiya,Squadron,Sprue Brothers,and ETC would have to be asked for donations this lack of young people effects them also.Now to our members getting about $5.00 a year for a couple of years gets you around $50,000.00 once you get to that amount you can give a $1000.00 a year scholarship and it will be self sustaining.I guess do we want our hobby to grow or to die with its modelers.

Rod millard

Edited by millard

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We tried to start a scholarship tradition way back when we did the Nats in '03 in OKC, and you could have gagged a maggot with the stink it rose. So you can bury that idea.

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Anything IPMS can do is spitting in the ocean: we have 4,000 National members, add in chapter members and we maybe get to 50,000 IPMS modelers vs. 25,000,000 American kids age 10-15 (prime modeling age) It will be a lot easier to reach 1-2000 new young-adult (30-something) members than 25M kids, and I think that's where we should put our limited resources.

 

Sure, we can have outreach programs, but we shouldn't kid ourselves into it thinking we're saving the hobby. I'd bet most chapters could get their members to donate 1 kit a year to run a local make-n-take, and by making it a chapter activity we could probably do a better job of teaching the hobby than slapping a snap-kit together in 30 minutes at a contest. But again, we're just out-numbered as far as having any real impact.

 

Don

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On other point, the people you mention, Revell in particular, wanted to and did kill the Make and Take on purpose. They raised prices 66% ($3.50 per kit to over $5) plus imposed a rule where they would only mail to specific hobby stores. In speaking with them, they want Make and Take to die as it is there "loss leader" financially. Asking them for scholarship money would probably be a bust.

 

IMO only, the people we need to target are the 30 somethings who have the money and time plus target military veterans and also support the chapters also

 

Dave

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To

Rod Miller please email at my email kirklandmr6@ aol.com

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The problem is not with getting the kids interested in the hobby, it's getting the parents to continue that development one the kids show interest. Most kids would love

to spend time and have a personal relationship with there DAD but instead we sit them in front of a TV, Computer, or Cell Phone and let those devices do our jobs for us.

I started my daughter doing model airplanes around 2 years ago and the time I have spent with her showing her all the little tricks has made her an awesome modeler just

to be 10. You don't have to be a 30-100 year old man that has money to enjoy this hobby. I go to Hobby Lobby sometimes and just go to the aisle where they sell plastic models

and count how many kids bring there parents to that aisle and show them something they want and they get ignored, in 1 hour on 1 particular night I counted over 40 kids

that came down that aisle and spent time looking at plastic kits. We can influence young people to enjoy our hobby if we have the desire to. Couple of things I think we can do better

and some things I noticed in Columbia last week listed below:

  • Figure out how to get the youth categories into a spot in the contest room so everyone is forced to walk by and see what the kids have done.
  • Personally hand the youth awards out to each winner at the awards presentation. Just clapping for them after every award doesn't really do anything for them but personal recognition in front of the whole group would make them feel a lot better about the work they put in.
  • Stop being so critical and sometimes it seems borderline jealous. I sit across from the youth section at this past Nationals and 30% of the older men that walked by and looked at my daughter's models would make comments like " there is no way that was done by a pre-teen and I'm sure her DAD had his hand in that." I did have my hand in it, I spent the time with her to show her the right way to do things and with spending time with her and not leaving her to herself she has developed a skill.
  • We can make a change in kids lives through this hobby if the parents want to invest the time and stop being self indulged in our own lives.
Edited by tgidcumb
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Tim,

Congratulations to your daughter for taking some items to the Nats. Although there is no indication in your post that she took home any hardware, that really isn't the point. If she received some satisfaction from entering her work then that is a valuable lesson for her to take away. Personal enjoyment and satisfaction is the goal (imho). Can you upload some images of her work?

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Recruiting children into the hobby is going to be an insurmountable task. I understand the desire given how many of us came into the hobby in our early years, but my gut tells me that the forces we’re fighting are much stronger than any outreach we can implement. (It’s shocking, if not disturbing, to see the level of addiction that kids have to video games and mobile devices these days.)


There may be some hope if, and only if, we take a very targeted approach. Look at yourself and your modeling friends. What do you share beyond your interest in scale modeling? It’s probably a deeper interest in aviation, military history, cars, etc. Our chances for success might be improved if we target children and teens who are also interested in these areas. A few ideas:


High school ROTC students

Civil Air Patrol cadets

Attendees at car shows

Attendees at air shows

Visitors at local nautical museums

Vistors at small or regional military museums

Attendees at re-enacting events


These people (children and parents alike) are more likely to engage in the hobby than random kids at a mall or other public venue.


On a side note, does IPMS track the average age of its members?


Steve

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Steve,

That's an excellent list of potential markets. One thing that most of those listed facilities/groups have in common is that they are "local". It is a "local" effort that must be made in order to attract modelers to the hobby be they young or older. Some clubs do that well, others make no effort in that regard. My local chapter, "IPMS Alamo Squadron", conducts an MnT at a local car show and we give a discount ticket to the parent so that the MnT model can be entered in our annual show, in a special MnT category, at no charge. We also conduct ABCs (Adult Build Course) for the adults and we often gain membership through the ABC. I'm not a fan of MnT, as they are usually conducted. I think that the level of engagement for most MnTs is very low. We hope to increase that level of engagement by our invitation to our MnT participants to come to our local contest. We think that the exposure to vendors, seminars, and the contest is a better "modeler magnet" than just the standard MnT in which the young one spends 10 minutes snapping parts together and then walks off with the finished product.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts...seeing "best practices" of others is a great way to share successful methodology.

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Dick,

Thanks for the comments. She did take home some hardware (First in her category). I will load some pics of her work shortly.

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We partner with the local military museum to offer make 'n take programs, and get very good turnout. It means someone in the club has to take the lead, and we fortunately have a couple people that are willing to help out with it.

 

So that might be something we can look at in areas with museums. It promotes the hobby as well as history. And I also noticed a LOT of dinosaurs on the tables at this year's nationals, so it doesn't have to be military stuff, it can be natural history, or maybe automobiles. :smiley14:

Edited by Hanson

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I was hoping to talk about some of this with the marketing discussion folks at the Nationals, but anyone who's been on a Nationals planning committee knows you can never really plan to do anything while your convention is going on, because it's always something.

 

Be that as it may, while the national organization will have a vital role to play in encouraging youth involvement in the hobby, it'll be the local chapters who really have to haul the freight. Some of the things we can all do to help (and Ralph spoke briefly about some of these in one of his seminars last week) include:

- Making sure our chapter meetings are well-publicized

- Making sure chapter meetings are something a parent would be okay with their kids attending

- Making sure chapter meetings have some kind of constructive content that helps build skills

- Working out something with local hobby shops to encourage attendance at chapter meetings. For instance, since Ralph has worked at Hobbytown, he's made a point of telling parents who bring their kids in and buy a plastic model that "we have a model club, and we meet such-and-such a location and such-and-such time," and telling them they're welcome to attend.

- Focusing on encouragement and education rather than judging and critique

- Focusing on participation in the hobby, and not judging subject matter. I personally do not understand Gundam, but young people love those kits, and if it gets them involved in the hobby, I'm perfectly happy and I want to encourage them. A young person who feels their choice of subject matter is being ridiculed will not come back. They don't have to build WWII fighters or modern jets to be part of our world, and we must not treat them like they have to. What matters is that they're building something.

- Personal to me, because I've had this inflicted upon me countless times and I'm tired of it: don't act like a girl is some sort of exotic flower, or treat her in a patronizing manner, because she's involved in the hobby. We enjoy it as much as the guys do. (And some of us win first place against the guys in blind judging, too. Ahem.)

- And overall, by being good ambassadors for the hobby. There's a hundred ways we can do that, but we need to make sure we represent a positive image of what we do, one that makes people want to be part of what we do.

 

I could be mistaken, of course.

 

Jodie Peeler

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Personally, I don't think kids are going to build models; especially the type of models (mostly military) like we do. I think the hobby WE have is a product of OUR time. It was the "activity" that was prevalent with youths when we we were young, just as video games are the rage today. Don't forget all of the historical TV shows and movies that we were exposed to (and are long gone today), not to mention our relatives and teachers who were veterans of WWII and Korea, that helped get us interested in those subjects. Also, the "hot rod" days that fueled the model car boom of the 50s and 60's was something that passed away with the gas shortage of the 70's; so kids born in the 80's and later generally don't have an interest in automobiles like we did.

 

The fact that the manufacturers are making NO efforts to attract kids to model building tells me everything I need to know about the future of plastic modeling. If they won't put time and money into trying to ensure the future of their own business, why should we waste our time and money (which is a drip compared to their cash flow)?

 

I like the idea of targeting young adults who may have tried building models and now have the time and cash to try it again. Also, Steve's list is STELLAR! Hope someone on the Eboard is copying it down! I think the point that the few kids today who are interested in history (another subject that is not emphasized anymore in education) are much more likely to try model building is on target, and we may be able to attract that small percentage towards "serious" model building (or at least get them hooked on the hobby!).

 

The hobby, as WE know it, is an endangered species that will become smaller and smaller in the coming decades. I doubt it'll ever completely die, but it will fade to a pale semblance of the glory days where models could be found almost everywhere you shopped (and is already almost there). IPMSUSA needs to concentrate on targeting the most likely people to take up model building and not worry about attracting the "general public". We are a small cog (SERIOUS builders, interested in building scale miniatures) in the big engine of model building (most of whom just want to distract themselves with building and painting a model without any "worries"). I don't feel any responsibility towards bringing the glory days back.

 

Emphasize the FUN we have, de-emphasize the competition side of things, and welcome those who do show an interest.

 

GIL :smiley16:

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Dick,
Here is a link to some of my 10 yr. old daughters work she has done in the last year. Once she showed interest I begin to show her
different techniques and away she went. We have been to 8 contests and 2 Nationals in the last year and she has won in everyone of them
including best Junior in 5 of them. I love to see her interest and it's also been a bonus for the both of us, kit collection and tool collection has
grown substantially. :smiley14::smiley14::smiley2:
Couldn't get the photos to upload to the thread been trying all day.

http://s377.photobucket.com/user/tgidcumb1/slideshow/

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Any time the subject of "why aren't we getting new blood into the hobby?" I'm always left with the same question. I see a lot of anecdotes, a fair degree of speculation, but I really haven't seen any data relevant to the question of why young people aren't getting into our hobby. And it seems to me that before we can address the issue, we need information. Or, at least, that's what I was taught back in the day.

 

Any graduate program in any of the social sciences is going to require its students to have a grounding in social science research and stat methods. (Heck, I have two graduate degrees in journalism and I had to take stat methods. I wasn't any good at it, but I had to take the course anyway as part of my program of study.) I think that may offer an opportunity, both for IPMS/USA to get some audience research and for a graduate student to get some experience in audience research.

 

I'd suggest that IPMS/USA approach the director of a good graduate program in social sciences or marketing/audience research, or some related discipline. Explain what we're looking for, and see if we can engage a graduate student to conduct some research - focus groups, questionnaires, the whole smash - on our behalf. The student gets experience in research (that can become part of a seminar paper or the kernel of a master's thesis, as well as something that can be presented at academic conferences and put on a CV) and IPMS/USA gets current data gathered by someone being trained in research methods and supervised by professionals.

 

I've been in academia for more than 15 years and requests like these are common, and can lead to great opportunities for students. I doubt that IPMS/USA would be able to fund a study of this magnitude from a professional research firm, but working with grad students in the social sciences or marketing/business disciplines might be a way to get some good data so we can pinpoint the issues and put together the right plan for the future.

 

Jodie Peeler

Edited by jpeeler
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Personally, I don't think kids are going to build models; especially the type of models (mostly military) like we do. I think the hobby WE have is a product of OUR time. It was the "activity" that was prevalent with youths when we we were young, just as video games are the rage today. Don't forget all of the historical TV shows and movies that we were exposed to (and are long gone today), not to mention our relatives and teachers who were veterans of WWII and Korea, that helped get us interested in those subjects. Also, the "hot rod" days that fueled the model car boom of the 50s and 60's was something that passed away with the gas shortage of the 70's; so kids born in the 80's and later generally don't have an interest in automobiles like we did.

...

The hobby, as WE know it, is an endangered species that will become smaller and smaller in the coming decades.

...

 

GIL :smiley16:

 

GIL, you're right that the hobby will never be the same, but what is?

 

You said that "hot rods" died in the 70s. As a long time "car guy", that's what we believed would happen in the 70s, but it didn't. Kids figured out how to hot-rod Hondas and VWs and other efficient little cars, and adopted technology like turbos and computers to build cars even faster than the big V8 cars of the 60s. And other kids came along and realized how much fun it was to drive those old V8 cars and now there is a second generation of hot-rodders restoring and modifying those old cars (and they have pushed the prices to insane levels).

 

There are car modelers out there building model Hondas and RX7s, and low-riders and other esoteric subjects, but we see such a small fraction of all the car models at most IPMS shows that its easy to think they're not there.

 

Think about the models at Columbia: 20 years ago would there have been nearly that many figures, sci-fi and space models or dioramas on the tables? Were there as many small-volume kits and detail sets and completely scratchbuilt models back in those "golden days"? The hobby has already changed, and it will keep on changing. Revell may go out of business in the next 10 years, but I'm willing to bet there will still be people building models of something - maybe not B17s and Sherman tanks - but something (although they may be stamping out kits on their desktop 3-D printers and stuffing them into their desktop painting robot).

 

Something else that has changed is the path adults take into the hobby. Its taking young people longer to find good jobs and they are starting families later. That means there aren't as many little kids pulling their parents back into the hobby, but it also means those young people have more time and less money for hobbies - a good fit for modeling. There is an opportunity there. In the future, it may be that parents are the modelers first and their kids pick it up from them.

 

Like hot-rodding, building models is too much fun to just disappear. The hobby will change, but I think there will be room for us old-guys for as long as we're likely to be around.

 

Don

Edited by Schmitz

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In my first Seminar on Thursday, I mentioned juniors in a scenario I used to illustrate someone getting back into the hobby and introducing their kid to it as well. A few things I mentioned:

 

1. The kid was probably not interested in old, propeller driven airplanes from a long-ago conflict

2. The kid was probably looking at fast cars, fast jets, or Sci-Fi and Gundam. Backing that up, I work at a HobbyTown. For every "traditional" (i.e., military or car model) we sell, we sell at least a half dozen Gundam kits.

3. I left the identity of "The Kid" gender-neutral. Young ladies are joining the hobby in larger numbers than ever before. We need to accept that and stop treating them as oddities, stop patronizing them ("Gee, honey, did your boyfriend teach you how to build models?"), and accept them as what they are--model builders.

 

Jodie has pretty much nailed the other aspects of this particular subject--if you want to attract Juniors, first take a look in the mirror. Do your meetings resemble a smoke-filled poker hall, with a bunch of middle aged men leering at a nekkid lady on an airplane or, as I once saw it put, a "painted, dainty metal maiden in her birthday suit"? Sure, a 14-year old boy will eat this stuff up. But the person who brings said 14-year old boy to the meeting (Mom and Dad) will recoil in horror, and the future of modeling will be headed out the door, never to be seen again. And, in keeping with #3, a 14-year old young lady will have a look around and see that the only thing that's happening is that she's being objectified, and she, too, will head for the exits.

 

There are many great suggestions in this thread. Perhaps, if all the Chapters out there acted on them, this will help the situation. So, what are you going to have your Chapter try in order to get new members?

 

Here's an idea, one that came up yesterday at the shop. If you have an adult member interested in Gundams, maybe you can start a Gundam club within your Chapter. Take some time to understand Gundams yourself, and then advertise. Put up flyers in the local shop--"Hey, Gundam fans! We're starting a Gundam Club!" you never know where it could lead...

 

Other ideas, such as the JROTC Detachments, Air Shows, Car Shows, and the like are excellent suggestions. So, take these ideas to your Chapter. Be the POC for these efforts. And see what comes of it...

 

Ralph

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You said that "hot rods" died in the 70s. As a long time "car guy", that's what we believed would happen in the 70s, but it didn't. Kids figured out how to hot-rod Hondas and VWs and other efficient little cars, and adopted technology like turbos and computers to build cars even faster than the big V8 cars of the 60s. And other kids came along and realized how much fun it was to drive those old V8 cars and now there is a second generation of hot-rodders restoring and modifying those old cars (and they have pushed the prices to insane levels).

 

I can't find the link this morning for the life of me, but a couple years back I was reading a piece on one of the car sites (may have been the Hemmings blog; may have been Jalopnik; I forget). The writer talked about the tendency for car enthusiasts to look down their noses at the teens and 20-somethings who soup up Hondas and Scions and such...but then said "Before you get too judgmental, do you remember what it was like back in our day? When we were bringing in our Impalas and Chargers and all, the guys with the Cords and the Duesenbergs were telling us that we didn't belong because we didn't have true classic cars. They were looking down their noses at us. Now that we are ones at the top of the hobby, we're making the same mistake with today's young folks. What they're doing with their cars is not that different from how we were customizing and souping up our cars back then. We may not personally approve of what they're doing, but look at what the side effects are: it's making more products available, it's making more technology possible, it's teaching these kids how to work on their own cars, and most of all it's helping encourage a new generation of gearheads."

 

Back at the family home-place is the very first car I ever owned, a '79 Chevy Caprice. I plan to restore it someday if it doesn't rust away before I get to it. The late '70s B-bodies are very popular subjects for skinny tires, hydraulic suspensions, loud paint jobs, and so forth. There's no way in the world I would do that to my car. But I am glad beyond words that those cars are getting attention, because it means there is a market for parts and accessories that the various suppliers will eventually pick up on.

 

And it's the same thing in our hobby. The hobby is alive - not in the way we would choose, mind you, but it's alive. I personally don't care for mecha, but it gets young people in the door, and once you learn the basic skills of plastic modeling you can build almost anything. I don't build Star Wars or Star Trek, but a terrific article in a 1994 issue of FineScale Modeler about scratchbuilding the Galileo shuttlecraft from nothing more than sheet styrene taught me how I could build anything. I don't dig World of Tanks or World of Warships, but I think Italeri's marketing tie-in with those games is a really smart move. It shows imagination - and as I've said many times, the biggest threat to this hobby is failure of imagination.

 

Jodie Peeler

Edited by jpeeler

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In my first Seminar on Thursday, I mentioned juniors in a scenario I used to illustrate someone getting back into the hobby and introducing their kid to it as well. A few things I mentioned:

 

1. The kid was probably not interested in old, propeller driven airplanes from a long-ago conflict

2. The kid was probably looking at fast cars, fast jets, or Sci-Fi and Gundam. Backing that up, I work at a HobbyTown. For every "traditional" (i.e., military or car model) we sell, we sell at least a half dozen Gundam kits.

3. I left the identity of "The Kid" gender-neutral. Young ladies are joining the hobby in larger numbers than ever before. We need to accept that and stop treating them as oddities, stop patronizing them ("Gee, honey, did your boyfriend teach you how to build models?"), and accept them as what they are--model builders.

 

Jodie has pretty much nailed the other aspects of this particular subject--if you want to attract Juniors, first take a look in the mirror. Do your meetings resemble a smoke-filled poker hall, with a bunch of middle aged men leering at a nekkid lady on an airplane or, as I once saw it put, a "painted, dainty metal maiden in her birthday suit"? Sure, a 14-year old boy will eat this stuff up. But the person who brings said 14-year old boy to the meeting (Mom and Dad) will recoil in horror, and the future of modeling will be headed out the door, never to be seen again. And, in keeping with #3, a 14-year old young lady will have a look around and see that the only thing that's happening is that she's being objectified, and she, too, will head for the exits.

 

There are many great suggestions in this thread. Perhaps, if all the Chapters out there acted on them, this will help the situation. So, what are you going to have your Chapter try in order to get new members?

 

Here's an idea, one that came up yesterday at the shop. If you have an adult member interested in Gundams, maybe you can start a Gundam club within your Chapter. Take some time to understand Gundams yourself, and then advertise. Put up flyers in the local shop--"Hey, Gundam fans! We're starting a Gundam Club!" you never know where it could lead...

 

Other ideas, such as the JROTC Detachments, Air Shows, Car Shows, and the like are excellent suggestions. So, take these ideas to your Chapter. Be the POC for these efforts. And see what comes of it...

 

Ralph

 

 

Ralph, I think you hit the nail right on the head. And that's where the problem lies. Most "kids" don't want to build WW2 armor, etc... (except for my 14 yo who is a big WW2 buff), :unsure:

Lurking on forums like Starship Modeler and the like when the IPMS is mentioned you'll read all the time how these young guys would take a Gundam, Ma.K or some sci-fi subject to a local meeting and the oldsters gathered around the 10th Bf-109 on the table would look over and sneer. Offering advice of "how about building something real." It's to the point where mentioning IPMS on these forums is like screaming profanity in church.

 

The solution is to get these oldsters to either welcome the new blood and their models, even if they have no interest in a subject, or sit in the corner of the meeting room and keep their cranky ways to themselves..

 

Local clubs should also have a "greeter" to welcome these new people and sorta stick with them until they are made a part of the group. Years ago I left my local club, as after a year+ it was still too hard to break into the clique.

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Dick,
Here is a link to some of my 10 yr. old daughters work she has done in the last year. Once she showed interest I begin to show her
different techniques and away she went. We have been to 8 contests and 2 Nationals in the last year and she has won in everyone of them
including best Junior in 5 of them. I love to see her interest and it's also been a bonus for the both of us, kit collection and tool collection has
grown substantially. :smiley14::smiley14::smiley2:
Couldn't get the photos to upload to the thread been trying all day.

http://s377.photobucket.com/user/tgidcumb1/slideshow/

 

Those are some really nice models!

I started by son off with some Snap-Tites when he was 7, and 7 years and a bunch of models later (Including a few wins at local shows) I just showed him the basics of an airbrush last night.

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Dick,
Here is a link to some of my 10 yr. old daughters work she has done in the last year. Once she showed interest I begin to show her
different techniques and away she went. We have been to 8 contests and 2 Nationals in the last year and she has won in everyone of them
including best Junior in 5 of them. I love to see her interest and it's also been a bonus for the both of us, kit collection and tool collection has
grown substantially. :smiley14::smiley14::smiley2:
Couldn't get the photos to upload to the thread been trying all day.

http://s377.photobucket.com/user/tgidcumb1/slideshow/

 

Those are some really nice models!

I started by son off with some Snap-Tites when he was 7, and 7 years and a bunch of models later (Including a few wins at local shows) I just showed him the basics of an airbrush last night.

 

Kevin,

Thanks for the kind words. I let my daughter try some of the different airbrushes at some of the shows we attended, the one she took a liken to and could control the best is the one I bought for her.

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From what I have read most being negitive.Sorry to wasted your time.

Rod

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Rod, I don't see negative in the thread, only people trying to make suggestions.

 

You mentioned no Make and Take--IPMS has ended the program. You mentioned the big manufacturers throwing in some money--but these are the same people that led to IPMS having to kill the Make and Take due to them raising the costs to IPMS.

 

The juniors are out there. Each Chapter has to court them. All the Make and Tales in the world won't cause a young person to stop in at your meeting and say, "Here I am!" You need to go out and find them.

 

Junior-only Chapters work in some areas--if they'll work in yours, go for it. In other areas, there aren't enough interested Junior modelers to form a sanctioned IPMS Chapter, so the existing Chapter will have to do what they can to entice the kids to join.

 

So, I don't see negative except your "Sorry to have wasted your time". You didn't waste anybody's time, and the people who responded added a great deal to the conversation.

 

Ralph

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From what I have read most being negitive.Sorry to wasted your time.

Rod

 

Rod, I don’t think this thread is negative at all, maybe just a bit realistic. Given the huge number of aftermarket companies and products on the market, and the many releases from mainstream manufacturers, I think the hobby is a long way off from dying. That’s my OPTIMISTIC view of our hobby!
That said, you’re right about lip service being paid to recruiting young people — hell, anyone — into the hobby. The task of executing any of the ideas we’ve listed here rests on our local chapters. The best thing any of us can do is to take these ideas to our chapters and execute on them.
Individually, any one of us could approach your neighborhood library and offer to host a model building class. Etc.
I’m glad you started this thread.
Steve

 

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Your right Ralph i shouldn't have said Negative. There are some great suggestion.I guess i was a wee bit set back by the first two responses.I'll keep listening to the ideas.

Rod

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