President's Letter for Issue 198
by Mike Wyatt

First off, on behalf of all of the AMYA, I want to thank Doug Hemingway for his nearly nine years of service as AMYA Executive Secretary. Doug took over the Executive Secretary job from John Hanks III. During the last more than eight years, Doug has been a tireless voice of reason within the Executive Board and the Board of Directors, and a sounding board for three AMYA Presidents. He also assumed the control and management of the AMYA database, and over time, that became a big part of what he did for the AMYA, as well as a source of frustration at times when the system broke down for one reason or another.

An AMYA member since 1972 and before being selected as a national officer, Doug was the AMYA Regatta Coordinator, the Model Yachting Regatta Reports Editor, and ran the AMYA Chevrons program, all while being a tireless volunteer for model sailing locally in the Buffalo, New York area. He is also a Member of the AMYA Hall of Fame; you can read more about his contributions on the HOF section of the AMYA website. Doug will continue to be active in the AMYA leadership, running the organization's Internet technology support functions as IT Manager.

Thank you, Doug!

Committee Activity This year, the AMYA as developed a number of committees, of both short-term and long-term duration, which have been meeting over the months.

Our first, the Competition Committee led by Chuck Millican of Region 3, was formed in January 2019 and is one that will be permanent, at least for the foreseeable future. The Competition Committee advises the Board regarding issues about and around our racing. Also, they provide assistance and advice to clubs, classes, and those who manage issues involving Class Rules, regatta management, training, and pretty much anything related to RC model sailboat racing. They will also advise the leaders of the AMYA on interactions with US Sailing and World Sailing, for example on the Racing Rules of Sailing, to be revised next year, and the all-important (to us) RRS Appendix E, regarding radio sailing.

Other committees are more temporary and oriented to specific tasks.

Growing our clubs, both the number and the size of clubs, is the best way to grow the AMYA. A healthy club is a constant source of new members, as well as providing regattas and programs that make our sport more fun and rewarding. The Helping Clubs Prosper Task Committee, led by Jeff Hawley of Region 7, is to provide the AMYA and club leaders with a well thought-out set of ways a new club can form, organize, and succeed. With respect to our Bylaws, how does a club organize? What officers might be needed, and what are their jobs? How might a club choose a boat, or boats, to support in its racing program?

This committee will also define common issues that come up over the extended life of a club, and how the club might deal with those issues. As an example, many clubs have failed after facing a leadership gap when its founder or main leader, after serving for 5, 10, even 20 years, moves away or for some other reason leaves the club. Is there some set of things that can be put in place, as the club is formed, to handle these inevitabilities? The Helping Clubs Prosper Committee is developing documented information for these club leaders to be more effective and their clubs to prosper, as the name says.

The AMYA's current Bylaws were developed over our first 50 years, and we periodically see examples of where they no longer fit the current realities. The Bylaws Review and Recommendation Committee (led by Jack Ward, now AMYA VP and also from Region 7) is looking at how the AMYA is organized, AMYA Officers' duties, and the organization's practices. This committee is considering Bylaw issues and providing recommendations that the Board will use to turn into Motions for vote as part of the 2020 Ballot cycle.

The AMYA needs a cohesive marketing plan. The Marketing Committee, led by Gerry Cobley from Region 3, will be making recommendations regarding how we sell our sport, to whom, and how we communicate with our members, and how to find and approach prospective members. How should the AMYA advertise? Should we advertise at all? This committee will provide recommendations in these important areas, and the AMYA leaders will use these to run our communication and outreach activities in future years.

There are other, smaller, and shorter-term duration committees that have been formed to look at one or more specific areas. One group of volunteers is looking at the evolution of our magazine and other communications.

There is no plan to drop the print magazine, repeat, no plan to drop Model Yachting as a printed quarterly of about 64 pages, as it is today. Most of our members like a printed magazine, and we on the Board of Directors know that.

However, we want to develop a digital version in addition to the printed one. This will add user capabilities such as a searchable set of articles from the magazine to be accessed and downloaded, probably from our website. Also, a digital magazine would be all color, because while color photos are the norm when originally taken; the cost of printing them in a magazine is a limit. That is not the case in a digital format.

Digital media also appeal to many of our prospective members and to a surprising number of current members. So, I see us having both, and that will probably mean a two-tier dues structure with the digital-only membership being at a lower cost level than the one where a print magazine is provided.

There are many interesting and exciting things coming to the AMYA, as we celebrate 2020, our 50th year as an organization! Read Model Yachting, watch your e-mail, the AMYA Bulletin, and of course, read my President's Letters. Fifty years later — there are more reasons than ever to be an AMYA Member!

Mike Wyatt
AMYA President

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