Are you an ambassador for your hobby? We can all help promote Model Railroading in our own way. I was a Boy Scout merit badge counselor for years without anyone asking for my help. Eventually I made some effort and I found an opportunity to help teach Boy Scouts about Railroading and have now helped pass off over 100 boys for the Railroading merit badge.
When I first joined the NMRA many, many years ago I figured I could just run my own trains and have my own fun doing so. With that thinking in mind, I thought the Association Volunteer certificate would be one of the ones I would not earn. I liked the AP program from early on and saw that my sills could benefit from it. Recently, I’ve come to know a great group of guys which I touched on last month. The one thing I never expected was that the one certificate I thought I would never earn turned out to be the FIRST one I earned! There are many ways to earn “points” for the volunteer certificate but the fastest, by far, is being a Boy Scout Merit Badge Councilor for Railroading. Now that I’ve earned it, I don’t count the “points” anymore but I still keep on helping just as much as before.
I am sure there are many of you who have probably “earned” the volunteer certificate but just never kept track of the “points” required. That’s OK. You don’t have to volunteer for the “points” just keep track of what you are doing, let me know and when the time is right, I will sign you off so you can receive the certificate. You don’t need to do it for the recognition but just as one more step towards being as a well rounded model railroader as possible.
Now that my son is in Boy Scouts, he is “required” to do a certain amount of service hours and is finding it rewarding (and fun) to help even more than is required. As many of you know, he protests that he does not like trains. Well, as I need his help, I tell him it’s not about trains, it’s about helping the kids younger than you. In January he helped run the boxcar races at the train show and then last month he helped me present the subject of Model Railroading at a Pack Meeting to Cub Scouts (boys age 8-10) and their families. He really had a great time helping those younger than him and I think seeing them so excited about model trains has him a little less adamant about not liking them. In any case, he is learning a valuable lesson: it isn’t always about what we are doing to serve as much is it is about actually serving others!
I like helping Scouts and anytime someone wants me to talk about trains I’ll be there! For you, it might be something different but I encourage you to find a way to share your passion of Model Railroading with others. Starting this month we will be meeting at the Discovery Gateway children’s museum. This is a great time to invite a friend to see what we are all about. Besides, the clinic is going to be fantastic!
There are a lot of “needs” for volunteers in our Division. Some of us wear a lot of “hats” in what we do and want to share the opportunity with others. If you can spare some time (or make some time) ask one of the Board Members where you can help out, or if you have an idea let us know!
Take the time to get to know your fellow model railroaders. We know that there is at least one thing we have in common: we love trains! Who knows, you may find out you have a lot more in common and that way we can enjoy the journey together!