President's August Update

Observing season is in full swing. The weather is about as good as it’s going to get in a year. RCA has a full calendar of observing opportunities. Now is the time to load up the scope and get out under the summer skies to figure out how to sail around among the stars on a glorious night of fun and friendship. Nothing could be finer.

At the same time, we’re getting more and more invitations to do outreach events in the community. When I first started with the club almost twenty years ago, we would get a few requests from elementary school and scouting troops per year, someone on the board would take on the assignment, and that was the end of it. But over time the number of requests has steadily risen, and more requests are coming in for larger and more elaborate events. To tell the truth, we’re about as stretched as we can be in meeting these outreach events.

Outreach is an essential component of the mission of this club. We have always gladly gone out to the community, near or far, to events small or large, but with the growth in the size of the club and our greater visibility in the community, we’re close to being inundated. Like all volunteer organizations, we can only do what our members are willing and able to do. We need to have more members signing up to do one or two of these volunteer events per year. Out of a club of 500 members, we have a list of 75 people whom we contact when we need volunteers for outreach events, and about 35 – 40 of them have done more than one event this year. A hearty thanks to all of them, but it’s not enough. Roughly ten percent of the club is carrying a growing load of obligations. We need more.

It’s time to start thinking about volunteering at least once a year as part of the dues we pay the club. So consider this a stump speech to motivate all our members to do our part in volunteering for the good of the club. If we can’t expand our list of volunteers as we also expand our list of events to go to, we’re going to have to cut back on how much contact we have with the community. That affects our 501c3 status, our public image, and our ability to attract potential members or influence tomorrow’s scientists. One outreach event per member per year is all it takes. Contact Jim Higgs at outreach@rosecityastronomers.org to sign up. Thanks everyone. Let’s get it done.