This is a large project that includes engagement with hams in all of Oregon’s 32 counties as well as the public. The project entails a focused, direct engagement in each county to address two key problems in the amateur radio community: a leadership shortage and membership stagnation.
The project has been developed to reach out directly to all hams in the section, ARRL member or not, to engage and enable all groups by providing solutions to these common problems, and resources to address them. The project addresses these problems by presenting solutions through in-person presentations, and a research component The research will demonstrate the effectiveness of the project by the publication of the results publicly.
There are a number of problems that continue to come up in conversations and in surveys, most of them boil down to two main issues: the lack of a leadership pool and group member stagnation. The leadership issue manifests in several ways but two are very common, a handful of people end up doing most, if not all of the work for a club and at events, or a leader leaves a group for one reason or another and no one knows how to fill the position. The membership stagnation issue often manifests as declining membership, an increase in average age, poor attendance at meetings and events, and difficulties in finding replacements for group positions. Both core problems often manifest in multiple and interrelating ways. Fortunately, there are simple solutions.
There are 5 key tools that can solve many of these common problems for clubs and groups. This is not a pick-and-choose solution for a specific problem because most of the problems that plague groups interrelate. The solutions are Succession Planning, Leadership Training, Active Recruitment & Retention, and Community Engagement.
These are building blocks in a specific order. A group that builds a succession plan knows what positions need to be filled and what skills need to be addressed. Now they can plan the training of the next-in-line leadership. Having engaged leadership with a second tier of leaders in training the group can shift focus on keeping current members engaged, keep them learning, and keep them participating, one good way to keep hams active is to ask them to Elmer new hams, teach classes, and become VEs. To recruit new hams, it’s always good to have available classes and exam sessions. Now that you have a leadership pool and trainers lined up it’s time to get out in public. Field Day is only one day a year; every successful group gets itself out in public view regularly. Public visibility brings in new hams. This is just an overview but with a little thought you can fill in many of the blanks.
The project will be executed by the Civil Defense Communications Auxiliary, an Oregon 501(c)(3), nonprofit corporation whose charter is to support emergency communications and emergency preparedness groups through training and support. The organization is based in Klamath Falls Oregon and conducts regular ham license classes and exam sessions as well as public presentations.
This project was developed to benefit all hams in the Oregon Section and the section field organization. Some of the success metrics are organizations developing succession plan programs and increases in exam sessions, new licenses, ARRL membership, club affiliation, and PIO activity.
After planning and outfitting, the primary engagement is through in-person presentations on the problems and solutions. Each presentation will be an opportunity to gather additional data about preferences and perceived problems at a grass roots level. During each visit, the presenter will be engaging individuals and groups in each county and population centers.
An expansive area will be covered throughout the course of the project, the entire state of Oregon. For this reason, the project also includes the acquisition and outfitting of a rapid response vehicle for display at presentations and events. The vehicle is a practical tool for attracting attention, presenting a professional appearance to other hams, and agency representatives. It also serves as transportation of the presenter and materials ready-to-go. When not on the road for a presentation, the vehicle will be available for emcomm deployments. After the project has been completed, the vehicle will be available for emcomm deployments, and will be deployed to public events throughout the state to promote amateur radio and emcomm.
The project includes two field tours. The first tour involves setting up meetings with amateur radio clubs, affiliated with ARRL or not, and emcomm units, ARES or not, in each county. Counties with multiple population centers may require two or more meetings. Each county visit is expected to take 2 to 4 days depending on the travel distance required.
Each meeting will consist of an opening survey of no more than 10 questions, an interactive presentation, a Q&A session, a feedback survey, and closing out with gift bags and a door prize. The actual presentation will be 30-45 minutes. After the presentation, the presenter will remain as long as the group requires.
The second tour will focus on public engagement by attending public events, and providing presentations to a wide array of organizations throughout the section and scheduling meetings with emcomm groups and agency representatives.
A report will be generated between the field tours and after the second field tour. Information gathered during the tours will be incorporated with statistical data gathered before the first field tour, between them, and after the second tour. The final report will be compiled and prepared for publication and made available publicly.