Sunday, December 11, 2016

considered growth

Read with interest Uncle Rod's latest blog entry.

He was speaking to the greying of the amateur astronomy hobby. And in the end he made a strong argument for continuing decline. He attributed some of the effects to modern distractions, the lack of attractive astronomical events (like a big comet), lack of time, lack of funds. And then he wondered about something else: the space race (or lack thereof). Wow. I hadn't really thought about that. On Facebook, a lively discussion started up. Another person suggested the light pollution factor. Indeed.

This made me think about our efforts, for the RASC Toronto Centre, within council, around strategic planning, about membership retention and acquisition. Something I've felt but this helped put a point on. If our membership numbers are staying roughly the same, we seem to have flat numbers from the last few years, then isn't that amazing? Growth may be very difficult at this time. Also, maybe it is not the measure we should be using, headcount. Perhaps we should be paying more attention to duration.

I did wonder about photography. Would this not be very attractive now? Of course, there are challenges here. Even though Rod Mollise dealt with costs, and how now when can get into the hobby at a fairly advanced level, without spending the equivalent funds for a car. That said, many rookies are attracted to deep sky imagery and high-quality results which can not be achieved without some expense.

Mike W in the Ottawa RASC said he was buoyed by the youth at their events. Ah. So what are they doing differently?

I forwarded the article link to the RASC council group on Basecamp. I hope it might generate some discussion. And I will suggest we be careful about the metrics we use.

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