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Last updated: Nov 11, 2000
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Minnesota Rocketry Network
Alan Estenson, Webmaster

Uncle Russ needs YOU! (10/22/2000)

A Webmaster Editorial

(With apologies to Mr. Durkee.  His new look put me in mind of a certain well-known recruitment poster.)

Last week, I discussed the lack of constructive participation by a large portion of the MASA membership.  I also suggested a few simple (and easy) activities by which anyone could make a positive contribution to the club; enhancing the experience for everyone.

Mars needs women!  Errr, strike that.  MASA needs volunteers!  Uncle Russ needs YOU!

MASA has three elected officer positions.  Unfortunately, over the past three years, these three individuals have ended up doing the lion's share of the work involved in running the club.  Along the way, they have been supported by a few long-term volunteers.  In the first year, I volunteered to do the website - a task which had previously been on Russ' shoulders.  This past winter, Art volunteered to do the printed newsletter - a task which had previously fallen upon Damian.  To thrive, succeed, and grow, the club needs more of these "official volunteers"; people who agree to champion a specific task for the year and remove a little of the burden from our elected few.  To use military terms, a great general must be supported by an effective staff of officers; he (or she) must also be willing to place responsibilities (and trust) upon those officers.

Here are some of my ideas for "official volunteer" positions:

  • Summer picnic organizer.  A person to arrange a picnic site, organize people to bring things, activities, doorprizes, etc.  I performed this duty last July.  It was a lot of work, but I received a lot of "thank you's" from appreciative people.
  • Holiday party organizer.  Similar sort of thing, different time of year.
  • Launch equipment wranglers.  Right now, the MASA VP has gotten stuck with the duty of hauling the launch equipment to and from the launches and storing it between times.  I think that the ultimate responsibility for this duty should remain with the VP, but I also think that he should have help!  I think that we should have 2 additional wranglers to share this duty.  They would haul and store the equipment, check it over before a launch, etc.   If they took turns, each of the three people would only have to do it a couple times per year and it wouldn't be the great chore for one person that it is currently.
  • Launch special event organizers.  This person (or persons) would propose fun competitions, special themes, etc for MASA launches.  This could also be a person who wants to introduce official-style NAR competitions to MASA launches.
  • Head LCO.  Helps line-up LCO volunteers for launches.  Provide a resource to train & reassure new LCO's
  • Head RSO.  Similar sort of thing, different acronym.
  • Newsletter contributors.  We need a set of people able to contribute items for every edition of the newsletter.  If you look at the NIRA newsletter, "The Leading Edge", they have people who contribute to every issue.  I say that we create a list of contributors.  For every new issue, these people would be canvassed for contributions.  Perhaps they have a simple tip to pass along, perhaps they'd like to write a regular column, contribute rocket plans, write reviews of rocket kits, pass along great photos, write a description of that recent trip, etc.  (I could've just as easily called this "website contributors".  Hint, hint.)
  • Magazine reporter.  If you look in the back of any of the three rocket magazines, there are always reports there from rocket clubs.  I think that it would be great to see reports there from MASA launches!  This could be as easy as, every other month, collecting and condensing the launch reports from the website and then sending them in to the magazines.  (See your name in print!)
  • I'm sure that there could be many more!  What are your ideas?  What could you do?  (FAA liaison? Launch coordinator?  High power mentor?  School/group contact person?  Junior membership representative?)

Would you be an official volunteer?  How could we, as a club, justify not doing something like what I've outlined?

Next Sunday's editorial will discuss further concepts and some of the feedback that I've received on these editorials.  And remember, Uncle Russ needs you!

What did you do for the greater good of MASA, this month?

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of the MASA organization or its current officers.  They're all mine, mine, MINE! (but I'm willing to share).  If they've made you mad, perhaps mad enough to do something, GOOD!  If you wish to discuss this topic by email.  This editorial was brought to you by the letter E and the number 4.  Refreshments provided by Sprecher, soundtrack by No Doubt.

IMHO, Alan Estenson

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