I was reading The ARRL Contest Update for January 23, 2019 and the Conversation by N0AX “Let’s Have Some More Exuberance” caught my attention as two points came into sharp focus. As the ARRL content is copyrighted, I can’t repost it here. But all hams interested in the survival of our hobby into the next and the next generation should go read it. Then you may better understand the two points of focus I’m going to address.
The first point is the tradition of elmering and mentoring. For most of us, throughout our lives we have had mentors, coaches, teachers, role models. Parents and relatives, neighbors, pastors, school teachers, athletic coaches, scout masters, employers, etc. The list goes on. If you give pause for thought, I’m certain that you view their contributions to your life’s journey as having impact, perhaps even significantly impact or even life-changing impact. So in the spirit of elmering, and knowing that everyone has something to contribute to the whole, I ask, “What efforts have you made to elmer or mentor another person in the sphere of ham radio?” The other question is “What effect has a mentor had on your enjoyment of amateur radio?”
The second point is the sharing of resources. Growing up, our home was the gathering place for many neighborhood kids. We shared the yard, our swing set, the swimming pool, our toys and bicycles, and the cupboard! Why? It was the right thing to do, and provided opportunities for my parents to mentor their children as well as the community at large. The adage is “It takes a village to raise a child.” If we were to apply that approach to our ham radio community, I believe we would see a positive shift in growth and participation among new hams, and also our less-active hams
So what to do? Volunteer to share your resources! Share by teaching a skill. Coach by using your station as a resource. Mentor with on-the-air coaching and discussions. You do have something to offer and contribute!
P.S. Back in 1997, only 6 weeks after I was licensed as KD5CAS (a Technician Plus with 5 wpm Morse code), at a club meeting Jim W5LA challenged me to a Worked All States contest. By that simple friendly competition, Jim created an environment that gave me purpose for becoming more active on HF. I thank Jim and give him credit, because his mentoring during those early QSOs became a foundation upon which I have built much of my enjoyment of amateur radio.