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Amateur Radio and Youth:

from Tom Loughney on September 7, 2012
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Getting more young people involved in Amateur Radio is essential for the growth of the hobby. The pre-teen and early teen years are the best time to get involved. This is the time when Amateur Radio can change your life and the world around you. This concept is explained on the website Take a look and give some feedback with your thoughts. This concept is not new or revolutionary but it seems to have been missed by a lot of people.

Now I know a lot of Hams SAY they want to get more kids involved but then they follow that up with the idea that the Internet, Smart Phones, Facebook and Twitter are all these kids care about and do not think Ham Radio will interest or involve them. Or their parents will not support them (despite buying them computers, iPhones, iPads, and paying monthly service bills) Well sitting and tuning an old radio for hours trying to make a contact does not excite or interest most kids, at least not in the beginning. They live in a world of instant gratification. But using a modern radio that is graphical and digital does excite them. And being able to make an easy QSO is thrilling. I know this is true from first-hand experience. And once they have made a few easy QSOs they are willing to work a little harder and learn a little more to make more. Kids can get really excited about Ham Radio and kids LOVE code! We had a fund raising project about a month ago showing that. There were over 4000 unique visitors and hundreds watched the short 9 minute video on the site. 98% of these came from Ham related websites (like eHam). I received over 400 emails telling me what a great job we were doing. A grand total of 8 people actually made donations!

So the problem I see is that Hams really don't care about getting kids involved, at least not enough to donate a buck or two. They talk the talk but will not walk the walk. Oh I know the economy is tough and charity begins at home and all that. But please prove me wrong and give it a try. We set up another funding site at Visit it and take a look. And if you do not care about the future of Ham Radio enough to give $1 or 5$ then just admit it. DO NOT send me Emails telling me what a great job we are doing. If you have a reason why you do not want to give a little then send me an Email and tell me why. Maybe it is something we need to do or explain better or maybe something we can improve on or fix. Or maybe it is just because it is not in your own backyard. Whatever the reason if you do not want to help I would like to know why. That will be a help for our future efforts. If you think the future of Amateur Radio is going to be just fine without getting a lot more kids involved send me an Email and tell me how.

If you are an equipment manufacturer or vendor that can give or loan high quality equipment for kids to use let us know. All contributions need not be in cash. We also take older equipment, refurbish it if needed and loan it to kids until they can get their own rigs or sell it online to raise cash. You will see our success or failure on our websites and those who have supported us.

Tom Loughney
President, West Palm Beach Amateur Radio Group Inc.

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