Jerry Begel, W9NPI, Education Chairman of Hazel Park Amateur Radio Club offers these (very pertinent) remarks:
Things are going well for the Hazel Park Amateur Radio Club. We have started our September semester, teaching Technician, General, and Extra Class Licensing courses in the Detroit Metro Area. It’s an adventure, with venues to find, instructors to recruit and inspire, and hoping, hoping, that enough people “come in from the cold,” to attend.
This September, we have more than the usual number of students, especially for our Technician course. I should be happy about that, but…
Why do people have to force themselves to drive two hours or more, in rush-hour traffic, to come to Ferndale, a Detroit Suburb? Over the past few years, I have seen fewer and fewer Michigan clubs offer Licensing classes. This month, the ARRL lists our Ferndale classes, a standard Technician class in Kalamazoo, a Ham-in-one-Day in Ann Arbor, and a 6-week course announced in Southgate. There is a VOID around many population centers that have large clubs, unless I missed something.
We have a terrific opportunity to recruit new hams. We are getting our students from many interest areas: the conventionally curious, Hackers/Makers, Preppers, CERT groups, and even Drone Racers!
Can your Club fill the VOID? It does take commitment on the part of your club members. Through five years of experience running Hazel Park courses, I have found that it is fairly easy to find people who want to teach. They want to Give Back, in the same way that I’m giving back for the 60 years of pleasure that I’ve gained from our hobby. I have automated our registration process, set up publicity to make that part of the job easy. The hardest part for me is getting classroom space–for free, of course.
I would be glad to share any “tricks” that I have to start off a fledgling Education Chairman, or suggest ways to make the job easier. Remember– there is the emotional “rush” that anyone involved in Ham Education gets when they see their students pass the Exam–and then clamor for upgrade courses!
Jerry Begel, W9NPI
Hazel Park Amateur Radio Club