Members , New Members

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tom fraser
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Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2009 7:39 am

Members , New Members

Post by tom fraser » Thu Jun 27, 2019 5:45 am

This might be an interesting discussion!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

To what extent does the composition of Glider types have on getting new members???

Many of us learned on simple Glider types such as the SWG 2-33. Did the Glider type of trainer cause us to either change clubs or diminish our wish to take up gliding? In the end, obviously not. That is not to say that a clean and pretty 2-33 is not greatly superior to a 2-33 that now looks like it is just about to be retired. Look at YSB and CLC compared to YSW and YSY. No comparison! Those 4 lonely aircraft produce nearly 50% of all flying at YORK. They have for decades and still do. Some think we should get rid of them and shift to K-21's. You might make a down payment on a used K-21 with what you would get for FOUR 2-33s. The 2-33 has been the savior here and it is not the problem. The economics prove this over and over each year.

For those that wish a more modern trainer, over the last number of years, Twin Grobs and now K-21 are available. The training will take longer and cost more on the advanced trainers but it is now available to any member wishing to learn on those types. Has the addition of having advanced trainers made a significant difference to the number of new pilots getting in the sport? In the big picture, every club is suffering a long gentle slide in membership over the last 30 years. Not just us or SOSA but every where in North America and I suspect World wide. We had a slower decline as we slowly inherited two clubs that closed and their members came to York. It slowed our recognition of what other clubs and the sport has been suffering.

When we got the Twin Grobs, everyone shifted from the Blanik. Newer and cooler. When the K-21 came , we shifted again. cooler plane. If we had a fleet of DG1000 we would Shift yet again. We have experienced a SHIFT but we have not grown the numbers of students taking up the sport or increased the number of flights on two seaters by any significant amount. I conclude that it has minimal effect having an expensive fleet of the newest aircraft in either attracting new students or retaining members. It has some effect but not dramatic effect!

We currently have a very good fleet, perhaps one of the best Glider fields anywhere, modern kitchen, washrooms and camping! Think what the place looked like 20 years ago compared to today. Has the membership grown here or at any other Soaring club. No.

Where and how do we connect with the next 50 members of York Soaring? Something has to happen to connect with a tiny handful of the 4 million population on our door step. More later.

tom fraser
Posts: 181
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2009 7:39 am

Re: Members , New Members

Post by tom fraser » Thu Jun 27, 2019 7:47 am

It will take a creative form of marketing to get to our very small target audience. About 1 in 25 people have any real interest in learning to fly. That is a potential audience of only FOUR percent. Of that 4 percent; less than 5% of those interested in flying go gliding as opposed to 95% in Power aircraft.

We are aiming for a very, very small target. Some clubs have spent a lot of money on marketing with little payback. We must connect with the 25 to 45 year old audience and that will not be done by the majority of us Old Dudes! Social media of some form is where we need to be. Perhaps a social network and invite those interested to a social beer and burger night at York. A fun event and exposure to our Club and Aircraft. I don' t know but put forward your ideas and ask Young people their ideas. How do we connect with Air Cadet types that learned how to glide, 10,20 or 30 years ago? Maybe some want to get back at it.

Over to YOU!!!!!

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Stan Martin
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Re: Members , New Members

Post by Stan Martin » Thu Jun 27, 2019 11:34 am

Some forty-five years ago when I was learning to fly power and then 40 years ago learning gliding I would say it is 1/10,000 would take up power flying and 1/100,000 that would take up gliding. It has not changed much except becoming harder to find that person. It is a constantly changing world and there is so much more to compete with for peoples time when they are not thinking of a career. It is easy to get lost in the noise of a ever complex environment and its is literally like prospecting for gold to find a new member for a club.

There are lots of things we do well, but one of them is not communication. We do not do it often enough and when we do the message is not filled out well, it can be confused or even threatening.

Glider pilots don't think we are in the entertainment industry. Well we are are. Much of what starts someone coming in to door is a curiosity and the expectation of a worthwhile fully realized experience. As such every part of the experience has to be as right as it can be or we are loosing to the odds. We are not prospecting for that nugget, we are looking for that tiny grain in a barrow of sand and tying to hold onto it without letting it slip through our fingers. It is as easily as a wrong word or not meeting an expectation. We must do what we can, in every way that we can, as best as we can. Every successful enterprise understands that or you loose out to those that do.

So what do you do to improve the odds? You do absolutely everything possible and repeat and repeat.

tom fraser
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Re: Members , New Members

Post by tom fraser » Fri Jun 28, 2019 2:38 pm

A great example of how to SELL flying and York, follow Charles Peterson around and he could give a great course to all Intro Pilots and general members on how to greet and give our Guests a positive experience. He is gifted at selling York to anyone coming on the field. We need to give a POSITIVE and FRIENDLY first visit!

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Tim Wood
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ysa membership #: 391
Location: Toronto/Pincher Creek/Invermere

Re: Members , New Members

Post by Tim Wood » Tue Jul 02, 2019 6:01 pm

Hi Tom,

Thank you for opening an interesting discussion. It is worthwhile to step back and recognize who we are.

With respect to equipment it is a fact that YSA has a better fleet than it did, say 30 years ago
The club also has better physical infrastructure, but still very lacking in certain respects
It has a great field and safe quiet location (no scheduled WestJet flights buzzing the field)
It has a relatively wide range of social activities
It still has a very strong operating emphasis on ab-initio and early-stage training of youth
It is host to a wonderful humanitarian program - Freedoms Wings
It has a very weak presence in cross country, competition, badge and record flying-disproportionately so considering the size of membership
YSA still has enough volume of flying to support 7 days a week availability of air tows.
YSA has a mission statement that in my view is totally inappropriate in expressing who we are, or what is our purpose. It needs urgent revision.
Our inability to communicate and convert the general population towards an interest in our sport is probably no different than it ever was, and is not
the reason for the gradual decline in membership. Complex social and economic trends are at play
Overall, we are heavy on early stage training and all the paraphernalia of social activity. We are stunted in the ability to offer development of our
members into the higher achievements and commensurate enjoyment of the sport of soaring. We have lost the plot.
We do not cater to the growing body of older private owners who need to keep their ship rigged throughout the flying season (no hangar or T-hangar
availability.

WHERE DO WE WANT TO GO IN THE FUTURE?

Apologies for my slow response Tom. Thank you for your tireless efforts in our club

Tim Wood

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Ivor David
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Re: Members , New Members

Post by Ivor David » Tue Jul 02, 2019 9:55 pm

If I recall correctly, there was once a group of private owners working towards building a row of "T" hangars. What happened to that initiative?. The club has the land for the building but it needs someone to "drive the train". An endeavor such as this takes far more work than most are prepared to put into it. Just ask Jim and Stan what they had to go through to get the new facilities built at the campground. While it would be nice if the club could build it, the club is not in a position to do so so it would need to be financed by the P.O's So round 'em up, prepare the plans get the money; a building permit,and a contractor, and you're in business.

As for membership, it is not only the number, but the amount of money each person is prepared, or is able, to put into the club through fees, and increased flying. Most of our members, especially P.O.'s' fly very few times a year, to the point where their insurance cost per flight is far in excess of what they pay the club to get them into the air. While for some members (the minority IMHO) money is not a major concern, i believe the majority fly on limited disposable income (my years as treasurer and office manager enable me to make this statement with a fairly high level of confidence). We can never expect the youth to spend a lot and those with YFC scholarships do very little, if any, flying once their scholarship funds have been used up.

As we all know, times are getting tougher out there in the real world. Many now work on contracts with no job security, or have several part time jobs. Such people must be very hesitant to spend money on non-essentials because their rainy day may not be too far away. There is no question that the pool of people from which new members can be obtained is very small. An d it is not just "members who want to fly" that we need. We need members who will run the show and not just turn up for a few hours to fly - and these are even harder to find. We need more towpilots and instructors (people who will instruct on a good soaring day rather than go flying themselves) In essence, we need members who will be committed to keeping the club operational rather than expecting it to be operating for them when they decide to turn up. On a positive note I believe our efforts through the marketing committee and on-site efforts to make people welcome i.e see earlier reference to Charles (members and visitors) and give them a place that they want to come to will help strengthen the club as time goes on.
Ivor David

tom fraser
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Re: Members , New Members

Post by tom fraser » Wed Jul 03, 2019 6:42 am

Ivor,

Do we have records of the Air Cadet and youth types we have trained over the last two decades. Perhaps if we could track them down, some might be ready to get back to gliding, Few if any seem to drift back into gliding even though we all hoped they would.

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Ivor David
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Re: Members , New Members

Post by Ivor David » Wed Jul 03, 2019 10:01 am

Yes, we have files going back over 20 years although they are not all identifiable as air cadets or youth. Course members are identifiable by membership #s but general youth members are not. So it is not a simple matter of pressing a few keys and out pops the list. However, initially, such a list would be unmanageable anyway as it would contain far too many names to chase all at once. It would be necessary to do some degree of sorting and this will take some thought, keeping in mind specific criteria.
1. The older the file the less chance of it containing useful info, phone no's and addresses change, and most old files will not have e-mail addresses.
2. How far afield should we be looking; There will be many from addresses over 100 miles away. It might be best to set an initial radius from Arthur and then expand it later
3. There are probably some that will have joined another club. If we are aware of this they should not be chased for fear of being accused of poaching
4. There are probably some we may not want back anyway (I have a couple in mind already without thinking too hard)
5 Tracking method? obviously e-mails would be a good start although there would likely be many undeliverable.

So, as I see it, while it is a worthwhile initiative, it will be a hard slog where perseverance will be important. So we need a volunteer or preferably volunteers to take this on. Who will they be? Perhaps the marketing committee should be asked to take the lead on this? Some preliminary discsussions on the methodology would be a useful place to start

Ivor
Ivor David

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James Kingdon
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Re: Members , New Members

Post by James Kingdon » Wed Jul 03, 2019 10:13 am

I hate to put a damper on things, but we'd need to check that contacting members that have not been active in several years doesn't contravene the CASL regulations (my quick look suggests it does):

https://www.fightspam.gc.ca/eic/site/03 ... 00013.html

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Stan Martin
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Re: Members , New Members

Post by Stan Martin » Wed Jul 03, 2019 11:42 am

We have had that discussion several times at the Board. It is not a problem generally if you ask them is they would consider as a former member coming back for a visit, or consider taking up the sport again. It is not the same a pushing ads to someone you don't have a connection with.

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