Wednesday, March 09, 2005

SAMAA Special Interest Groups -- Bart Diaz

I have for some years attended the meetings of one of the SAMAA SIGs.
This SIG, the Venerable Register of Old Timers, or to use its acronym, VROT, held a most successful World Champs in SA in the late nineties.
VROT members from around the country supported this event, some travelling thousands of kilometers at their own expense to help. Morale was high. The objective clear; hold a notable World Champs.
This they did, receiving accolades from across the globe. It was a high point in the affairs of the group.
Alas, since then VROT has slid steadily down hill. The meetings lack a clear objective, The members spend more and more time contemplating their navels; there have been no landmarks of success.
So what is to be done? How can VROT scale the heights again, make its members proud?
I'd like to suggest two objectives for consideration.
Firstly, since the World Champs, few new pilots have appeared at the top places of national events. It's the same half dozen more or less. A worthy objective would be to develop over the next few years at least another ten, capable of representing SA. This will require considerable time and effort at a National level. But what a morale booster it would be.
Secondly, where are the black faces in VROT? There are none.
We are, after all, living in South Africa. Whatever your political persuasion it must be clear that failure to transform will restrict government financial support for overseas teams. It may even jeopardize the award of colours.
I have sat in a number of VROT meetings that considered transformation. Mostly the talk turned to the establishment of committees and sub-committees to plan and control the issue. There was even a suggestion of funding a full-time Transformation Officer to handle the matter. (In this way neatly making it some one else's problem).
Needless to say, all this hot air led nowhere.
However, I know of two individuals who are quietly and effectively exposing disadvantaged youth to the joys of aeromodelling. If there are two, there must be more. These people deserve our support. If only a few of their protégés go on to club flying there will have been a useful increase.
This concept was too simple for VROT that preferred its own grandiose pipe dreams.
What a pity. How are the Mighty fallen.

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