Starting a New Section
Why form an NAR Section?
Being part of a recognized NAR section also gives you important benefits:
- Insurance coverage. Through the NAR, you obtain free liability coverage for your club and for your launch site landowner. These policies provide coverage for rocket-related accidents, and their associated personal and property damages. This insurance coverage makes it easier to get launch sites, run launches, and conduct demonstrations. This insurance isn’t just “more affordable” through the NAR — it’s practically unobtainable anywhere else.
- Backing for Dealing with Government Permits. By working as part of a team backed by the insurance and credibility of the NAR you can navigate the government regulation bureaucracy for important permits such as an FAA Waiver for high-power flying or a local fire marshal permit to fly rockets on a particular site.
- Experienced Support. NAR Sections have many NAR volunteers supporting them. Our Section Activities Committee can help both new and established Sections. They have experience in getting launches and demonstrations organized. They are in continual contact with other committees within the NAR that provide services to members. Finally, they have a lifetime of experience to answer questions you might have.
- Funds for safety equipment, launch equipment, and publicity efforts.
- National Competition. NAR Sections can compete in our national contest structure for the title of National Champion Section. Someday, your members may end up on the top of the competition heap. The drama and fun of competition rocketry can fully involve you and your NAR Section as you go onward to the NAR’s own Super Bowl: NARAM, the National Championship Contest!
- National Recognition. Active Sections with healthy, dynamic service programs within and outside their own membership qualify for the NAR’s annual “Section Excellence” awards.
How do you find other rocketeers in order to start an NAR Section?
- Contact NAR Headquarters. NAR Headquarters will supply you with a list of NAR members in your state upon request. A direct mailing/e-mailing to these members could well generate all the members you’ll need to form a section. A simple note to the prospective members is your best bet, telling them who you are, what you want to do, and why. Invite them to an organizational meeting at your house, or any convenient meeting place.
- Contact local hobby shops. Most hobby store owners will be valuable sources of information. They often have customers ask if there is a rocket club nearby. Most hobby store owners will let you put up posters or distribute flyers in their shops. It’s good business for the owners. They know that the members of a local rocket club are ready-made customers. Some will even give club members a discount, and special-order merchandise for rocketeers. It pays to maintain a good relationship with hobby store owners.
- Put up posters and flyers. Posters and flyers in public places that are likely to have lots of traffic from the target population you are looking for (normally parents with 4th through 8th grade kids and/or people who go to hobby stores) can be a cheap and effective means to advertise your club. Remember the “Three C’s” when creating posters – Colorful, Clear, and Critical. Colorful means steer clear of plain old white poster board with black lettering. Opt instead for colored poster board and/or colored text. Graphics help to draw the eyes of your intended audience. Try including some photos of launches, meetings, or construction sessions. Avoid the “crash & burn” shots, and try to show people smiling. Family shots can be quite effective, too. Clear means to keep your poster uncluttered. A few graphics or photos are great, but too many can detract from your message. If you are forming a new section, the posters should include information about your organizational meeting. This is where you’ll actually form the club, and it’s important to make the first meeting a good one. An obvious point, but often overlooked, is to put your name and phone number on the poster or flyer! You do need to know how many people to expect. Critical, of course, refers to critical information. As mentioned above, make certain that you include all of the information needed by your prospective members – Where is the meeting? Who should attend? What’s it all about? When is the meeting (date/time)?
- Check for existing rocket clubs. Sometimes there is already a functioning rocket club in the area in a school or a youth group such as 4-H or Scouts that has never heard of the NAR. If they are open to expanding their membership outside their current community, then this can serve at the nucleus of a new NAR section.
- Hold a demonstration launch. If you already have a couple of friends with whom you fly, but do not yet have enough people to be that “critical mass” to form a good Section (remember that it only takes two NAR members to form a section!), then you can try to build your starting core with a public demonstration launch. This takes good publicity; some equipment (particularly a multiple-pad launch system so you can fly at a fairly fast pace to hold interest); a public address system or bullhorn so you can get your message out to the spectators; and some form of crowd control (flag line, etc.) to keep the spectators at a safe distance from your launches. Remember to have publicity fliers to hand out, and have a signup sheet for people who are interested in being part of your group. Finding a launch site that is close to lots of people where you can get permission to fly before you have NAR site owner insurance might be tricky; try working with a school or hobby shop as your sponsor.
- Hold an open meeting. If you can get some publicity going but cannot find a good place to do a public demonstration launch to draw initial interest, then try holding a public meeting at a community facility (library or civic center meeting room, or school) to attract people who might be interested in starting a rocket club. Have lots of “show and tell” rocket stuff at the meeting to make it interesting for those who may choose to attend.
How do you charter your group as an official NAR Section?
You must have at least two (2) NAR members to charter an NAR Section and five (5) to renew the charter once the section has been chartered for two or more years. At least one must be a Senior (adult) member. This Senior Member is invaluable in assisting a club through the maze of legalities and local government contacts during its operation, as well as dealing with merchants, a bank, and other officials. Your club may choose to accept “associate” members who are not NAR members, these members cannot officially belong to your Section, and they gain no insurance benefits through your club.
Fill out the charter application form carefully. The form lets us know to whom to send your Section’s mail and information. The contact names you supply for your Section will not only be used by Headquarters, but will be published to other clubs and to people in your area looking for a Section to join. Make sure these people can be reached and are responsive.
Your Section will also be added to the list and locator of NAR sections on our web site, which is updated regularly. Help us put NAR members in touch with you by providing correct address, phone and e-mail information. Keep your list of launch events current on the NAR website “Launch Windows”, this is a great way to get the word out on launches.
You can send the form to us online, or you can fill it out and mail it to NAR Headquarters.
There is no fee for chartering a NAR section, for renewing a charter, or for getting a section insurance certificate for your launch site landowner; it is all FREE because you are a member of the NAR and we think that Sections are important!
Your application will be processed as soon as we receive it. A Section number will assigned to you and you will be an officially NAR Section.
Please note that due to the mechanics of our insurance policy, all insurance expries on April 4th with a new policy effective imediately to all active sections. Land owner copies are also reissued automatically to all active sections.
Section renewals are made each year prior to April 4th. We are currently mailing renewal information to the President or Senior Advisor each year prior to insurance renewal time.
How do you get your NAR Section “up and running”?
Once you have enough people interested in forming a club, you must hold an organizational meeting. See the “Administration” page for details on how to do this. This meeting will be the formal kickoff for your NAR Section. Here you will put up a formal structure for the club and write its bylaws, the rules for conducting club operations and business. You should publicize this organizational meeting, using the same methods described above. If you used posters, flyers, or a demonstration launch prior to forming the club, you may have already advertised this meeting. If not, it’s time to put up the posters and print up the flyers telling everyone about your meeting.
If your publicity methods got the names and addresses of rocketeers in your area, touch base with these folks. Give them a call, see if they’re still interested — shoot the breeze about rockets, and remind them of the meeting. You can also get ideas about your club from those interested before the meeting as well. If you only have an address and can’t find a phone number in the book, try a mailing. A postcard with the date, time, and place of the meeting, plus a person and phone number to contact will work well. It’s also cheaper than a letter.
Next, do the “posters and flyers” bit again. There may be modelers who missed your first run of publicity. Don’t deny them the chance to get involved. There will be a lot of work and a lot of fun for them to participate in, so get the publicity machine working again. It’s also a good time to touch base with the hobby shop owner. Let him know how things are progressing. He may have ideas that will help.
If your club is mostly youngsters, choose an adult leader to run the first meeting. An adult is more likely to keep things under control, and often has experience getting things organized. He or she will be able to keep the meeting moving toward its objectives. It’s all too easy to fall into shooting the breeze about rockets instead of getting the club organized!
|2013 Section Guide||May 27, 2014, 10:58 pm||940 KB|
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