President's Letter #201
As I write this in mid-June we in the AMYA, as everywhere in the USA and Worldwide, have faced "the virus". Every Member and Club has struggled with what is the appropriate reaction to this unprecedented event, one which has a unique perspective for AMYA Members. First, model sailing, as much as we love the sport, is still something we do for fun. So, we have to consider what health risks we are willing to take to play a game. And, many, even most of us, are within that group most at risk for serious illness from Corona Virus.

In mid-March when the pandemic began to ramp up, the AMYA Board began to take action. The Executive Board and then the full Board solicited the help of an AMYA Member and retired medical doctor with a background in epidemiology (and a practice in Neurosurgery). With his counsel and looking at the reports in news media aspects, we took into consideration the age of our Members, the typical regatta activities which would promote exposure to sailors from many areas, the travel which requires staying in motels, driving great distances, eating in restaurants, and group off-water regatta activities such as award ceremonies. The Board felt that "travelling regattas" place us at significantly greater risk than club sailing, so we decided to prohibit "National and Regional Championships -as of April 1- initially until July 1, 2020. In May, it was extended to August 20.

On the other hand, the Board felt that in consultation with their State and municipalities, that local AMYA club leaders are best able to take appropriate measures to try and keep club sailing as safe as possible.

Realizing that nothing in the game of sailing is so important as to be worth taking extreme risks with our health, I think the AMYA took appropriate steps.

I am grateful for the thoughtful consideration of your Regional Directors and Officers during this process of making the hard decisions about a tough issue. I urge all Members to respect others' choices to participate or not based on personal considerations and local conditions. But, if you choose to sail- sail safe.

In other AMYA matters, we are experiencing some growth in numbers of Members, and even seeing a few Members from the past returning to the AMYA. Membership was +10% for the fiscal year to date through May. AMYA finances remain sound, with expenses under control, and income in proportion to expenses.

Board decisions- (other than matters concerned with Covid-19) the Board took several actions through the first half of our fiscal year:

- The Board: passed a new AMYA Hall of Fame policy, clarifying that more than one person may be elected to the HOF annually.

- Approved a new set of Bylaws (those are up for vote with the ballot included in this issue of Model Yachting.)

No doubt there will be certain wording or even some issues in the proposed new Bylaws that individual Members may disagree with. However, the document as a whole will fail if less that 50% of those voting approve. So- let's have consensus- we should agree that we can accept the document as a whole. If necessary we can change details later. The Board and I encourage a YES vote.

- Related: many individual "practices"- things defining how AMYA operates- do not appear in the new Bylaws document. These will be covered in a new "Policies and Procedures" document, to be developed after the new Bylaws are passed starting on October 1 2020. They will be presented to the Board in time for issuance by their January 1, 2021 effective date, then published for the Membership.

- Communications: In December the Board heard and approved several recommendations from the Communications Task Committee. Relative to Model Yachting- there is no plan to discontinue and there are no major changes anticipated to the print magazine. But effective with Issue 201 (this issue) we will begin publishing Model Yachting in digital format, available to all Members for the next 12 months. The digital version will be all-color, (the print magazine cannot be in color because of the approx. $12,000 increased cost to do that in print format). By summer 2021 the Board will consider availability of the digital magazine going forward.

- Marketing: in January the Marketing Task Committee presented an extensive plan to "market" the AMYA and RC sailing. Their recommendations include MANY initiatives, ranging from easy ones that could be done quickly at low/no cost, and some that at this time would be cost and effort prohibitive. Many, if not almost all, measures require local Club activity and would result in local Club growth. The list includes:

Outreach to the public

- use of social media such as FaceBook, and a YouTube channel for videos

- improving the AMYA website to attract and track non-Members to our sport w/ leads for Clubs

- advertising for awareness of the sport to model flyers, full scale sailors, and other groups

- youth outreach, to include parent/ child activities

- a "landing page" within the AMYA website for each AMYA Club where website surfers can locate Clubs easier than searching the "Club Directory"

Club growth

- a lead management system for contacts made through the AMYA website

- promotion of local AMYA Clubs through local libraries

-Club-led participation in local boat shows

-Clubs providing news releases and stories to local news outlets

- Club "roadmaps"- documentation of steps for successful Club organization and management

Connecting the AMYA to World Sailing and US Sailing

"Marketing the AMYA TO the AMYA"- many AMYA Members do not realize all of the benefits they receive from AMYA Membership.

What stands between us and getting these things done? VOLUNTEERS!! Do you have specific knowledge of or expertise in ANY of these marketing areas? Can your Club do the things above that have to be done locally?? YES- - contact marketing leader Chuck Millican, and he can suggest how you and your club can help itself and the AMYA.


Sail safe, and take a friend to the pond!

Mike Wyatt

AMYA President

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