This summer Rocketry Organization of California has marked it’s 20th year of launches at Lucerne Dry Lake and supporting rocketry activity in southern California. We just hosted a successful ROCstock launch and some good smaller monthly launches as well. The ROC board of directors recently met to discuss the past, present and future of the club, and some of the challenges that lay ahead. This seemed like a good time for me to share with you, the members and friends of ROC, some thoughts about the status of the club and how we can keep it running well.
It was clear from our board retreat discussions that when it comes to some issues, there is a wide and divergent range of opinions. For example, some people’s ideal vision of ROC is of a large and diverse organization engaged in a wide range of public outreach and educational activities, reaching out to youngsters and newcomers as well as supporting the community of elite high power flyers. For others, it is more important to focus on doing fewer things better, and to concentrate on the needs of our core membership. Key to the future of the club’s long term health and continued growth will be to strike a proper balance between these sometimes conflicting ideals.
One area however, where there is not disagreement is in the matter of club involvement. It can’t be overemphasized by those of us that have been associated with the club for some time that ROC is not a service, it is a club. Although some of our “daily members” who pay their launch fees on a month-to-month basis may treat it as a “pay to play” service, that’s not how it works. ROC is a member-driven volunteer organization that lives and dies based on the willingness of its members to step up and participate.
Like any sizable organization, ROC benefits from the special talents and expertise of its members who bring their particular skills and talents to the table. But it’s not wise or fair to exclusively rely on those critical individuals to be able or willing to do those jobs always and forever. To remain healthy, ROC needs to cycle in new knowledge and enthusiasm to keep the flame burning. I have not personally always been involved in ROC’s governance, but after flying with the club for a few years and seeing the roles played by the founding and core members, I realized that I needed to contribute as well and as they say, “pay it forward”.
As many people no doubt also feel, I didn’t at first think I knew enough to contribute meaningfully. Of course, this was not true; not only could I contribute in areas that I did have some talents, but I also quickly learned new things that helped the club along the way. (I’m always quite amused when someone acts as though I’m some kind of expert by virtue of being the current ROC president; in fact I’m just as clueless as the next person, but I’m trying to act like I know what I’m doing!)
A common misconception is that in order to help ROC, you need to sacrifice your ability to enjoy our launches and fly your own rockets. In fact, all it takes is for each member to contribute just a little bit of time and most of our problems are solved. It might mean doing one small thing every month, or setting aside one month to contribute one larger task. It’s a little hard to list all the big and small ways in which we need members’ help, but I’ll take a shot at mentioning some of them in no particular order:
- towing the club trailer to/from launches
- running registration desk and taking money
- communicating with government (FAA, BLM, CSFM etc.) concerning permits, compliance and activities
- helping with club record keeping and calendar events/monthly responsibilities
- bidding and organizing for national events
- communicating with members via newsletters, social media, etc.
- training our fellow members in the technology and art of rocketry
- maintaining and repairing electrical and mechanical equipment
- range setup and teardown
- roaming range helper and safety assurance
- crowd and parking control at large launches
- RSO and LCO duties at launches
In just a few months, the terms of a few of our board members, including my own, will be expiring. I’ve served on the board for six years now, and although I’m not leaving ROC, I’m ready to pass the baton to the next group of ROC’s leaders. It has been fun, but the healthiest thing for ROC (and for me) will be to get some new ideas and leadership cycling through the board. I would like to personally appeal to each of you to consider running for one of the vacant board positions this fall. Look for an announcement coming out soon concerning the nomination and election procedure. Any of us on the board would be happy to answer your questions about the position, and offer our cheerful encouragement!
No…we don’t allow the type of drones pictured here, even though there is a missile in the photo!
We have been asked in the past about drone usage at ROC launches. With hobby drones in the news lately, we thought that we’d let everyone know what our policy is. The first and foremost concern at all ROC launches is SAFETY! Drones are normally flown under RC Aircraft rules and conventions, which means that you can’t fly a drone over the parking area, spectators, or safety zones.
We do allow drones to the South of the parking area, please be careful.
We also allow drones on the range for special purposes like getting a cool video of a launch from above. Drones on the range require prior coordination with a ROC Board Member and are at the discretion of the LCO and RSO at the range head.
Thanks, and let’s all have safe fun!
Fellow ROC members and rocket flyers,
This weekend, Friday 13th June to Sunday 15th June is ROCstock 39 at our normal launch site on Lucerne Dry Lake, Lucerne Valley, CA.
Weather forecast for Lucerne Valley looks very good for June with a day time highs of 91F and night time low of 56F. As those of you who attended before this is just an indication and the lake bed has its own special climate! My source of weather is http://tinyurl.com/lmbjtzk. As always the wind is forecast to be lighter first thing in the morning increasing strength during the morning, we always recommend you arrive early ready to fly.
Range setup will be on Thursday 12th June and based on the available help we plan to have the range open for flying at 8:00am Friday. When you arrive please take care to look out for the safety areas and any areas reserved for vendors, club equipment etc. In addition to keeping the safety zones and access roads clear please do not park RVs or high sided vehicles on the front rows to maximize the safety and visibility for everyone.
As always we need as many volunteers as possible, please come to the registration table and we will find you some way of helping, learning more about rockery and even make some new friends
Discount Rocketry and Bay Area Rocketry are expected at the launch and ‘Two guys and a Grille’ to be selling food. Lucerne Valley Market has almost anything else you will need for a day/night on the lake bed. What’s up hobbies will not be attending this month’s launch.
Both NAR and Tripoli certifications can be conducted for those interested.
We are always looking for volunteers to help in all aspects of the launch and it’s a great way to learn and make friends with the ROC family. Please come to the registration desk and let us know you want to help.
*** GENERAL INFO ***
Non-member daily launch fee is $15 and the paid-up member fee is $5. Everybody needs to register and get a wrist band to fly. All participants and spectators need to sign a liability waiver. Please be aware of the requirement to follow all safety rules and procedures while attending the launch, and make sure that children are supervised by a responsible adult at all times. Overnight camping is allowed as usual, but be sure to keep all campfires in above-ground containers to comply with BLM rules, and pack your ashes and wood debris out with you when you leave. Let’s always try to leave the playa a little cleaner than we found it. Portable toilets should be delivered on site by Friday to support overnight campers and setup.
We look forward to seeing new and existing members and having a safe and fun weekend of rocketry.
ROC Vice president and board member
Tripoli and NAR Level 3