To my fellow rocketeers, we are experiencing some issues in the club that need immediate attention. The problem is lack of volunteers to help with the duties required to run our launches.
I do not want to diminish the efforts of the volunteers who do step forward and give of their time at every launch. Without them we would not have the launches we do. But it is always the same members, and frankly its not enough. Too many of us are working too many shifts, sometimes the entire day for your enjoyment. Many times forsaking their chance to fly.
With that I want to remind each one of you that your Board Members are also volunteers. We do not get compensation for our efforts in running the club. There are many things we do behind the scenes, such as deal with the BLM, FAA, NAR, TRA, equipment maintenance, manage the website, answer questions, order porta potties, etc. As well as making sure we continually meet the qualifications required to be a not-for-profit entity.
For some reason, many of our members and daily fliers assume that it is our JOB or DUTY to also run each launch and personally fill all the necessary positions. THAT IS NOT THE CASE! We are rocketeers first and we also come to fly. With the size of the club and only 9 board members it is impossible for us to do it alone.
Some of the comments I have heard are “I pay my dues or flight fees, therefore I am doing my share!” While the board members may not have to pay flight fees while they serve, we still have to pay our BLM, TRA and NAR fees just like everyone else. We pay for out T-shirts and other items. We do not get discounts just because we are on the board. The funds we collect go to pay for things like storage of our equipment, the porta potties we all use, maintenance on our equipment and trailer, etc etc. It does NOT pay for us to run the launch for your benefit.
Another comment “I don’t know how to be an LCO, RSO, pad manager, etc.” We all had to learn sometime. Every board member is willing to take an interested party under our wing and show them how to do any of the jobs they can or want to do. All the procedures and requirements are listed on our website, on the volunteer sign-up link. You do not need to be a ROC member, and in many cases you don’t even need to be a flier to help out. I personally have volunteered at every launch I have ever attended here or elsewhere over the last 15 plus years I have been a rocketeer. Even my very first launch. It is a great way to meet your fellow fliers. If I can do it, so can you. We need you to use this sign-up sheet and prepare in advance to help out.
The board has been trying to come up with ways to encourage volunteer participation. From range duty, to set-up, tear-down and trailer towing. To that end, beginning in July we will be using a smaller trailer for our regular monthly launches. This means less set-up and tear down time, and the smaller trailer means more people will be able to tow. But it also means less equipment, fewer launch pads and longer lines.
We are going to experiment with a new RSO program, that Greg will explain in his next launch announcement.
Here are some other ideas we are flirting with:
- Cancel the launches
- Raise launch fees, volunteers will get to fly at our current rates.
- Collecting a fee from fliers that can be reimbursed upon completion of a range position.
- Making everyone that flies sign-up for a volunteer position as part of their sign-in procedure.
We need your help and your feedback on what can be done to increase volunteer participation, before we implement a more drastic plan.
Thank you for your time,
Veni Van Norman