Minutes submitted by Clerk Harvey Heyser
Following an open house at the Frederick Society of Model Engineers, Division members met at the HobbyTown USA Frederick, MD store. 23 were present. After looking around the store and socializing, Superintendent Alex Polimeni called the business meeting to order.
20.1-1 Paymaster’s Report: Paymaster Ray Price (not present) submitted a report that the Division has $4115.08 in its bank account, the same as in November, 2019.
20.1-2 Clerk’s Report (Meeting Minutes): Clerk Harvey Heyser summarized the draft minutes for the December meeting (previously distributed by e-mail). Ron Polimeni made the following motion (second by Jane Clarke):
Motion: That the draft Minutes for the December 2019 meeting be approved as submitted. The motion passed unanimously.
19.9-7 2020 Mini-Con will be April 18, 2020: Chair Pete Clarke reported the following.
a. Informal Clinics: 1 slot remains to be filled. 2 or 3 back-ups (in case of no-shows) would be helpful. Suggested topics – Kadee uncoupling and hands-on model railroad photography (with attendee’s own phone).
e. Attendance: Chair Clarke indicated that the 220 or so attendees at recent Mini-Cons is about the limit of what the venue can handle. Consequently, the current promotion is successful.
f. NMRA/SMD promotion at the Mini-Con: Discussion indicated that the Division has gotten some new members from Mini-Con attendees but not as many as we would like. It was observed that many attendees are not yet at the point of their hobby “lives” when they want to become NMRA members. (They are most interested in information that helps them build a layout.) The following were suggested:
1) Brief announcements at breaks regarding the Division and the NMRA (stressing Rail Pass and the layouts in the SMD),
2) Invitations to attend SMD meetings (noting the limit of three before required membership),
3) Efforts to determine what attendees are looking for from the Mini-Con (check-the-box type survey forms better than ones requiring written response),
4) Directions to Division “specialists” who can help answer their questions (including the many at the Mini-Con),
5) Display of the banner advertising the MNRA /SMD (Bob Morningstar), and
6) Handing out the SMD promotional pamphlet (tri-fold as discussed earlier) giving specific information about Division activities – layout visits, clinics, etc. (Bob Johnson).
19.10-6 White Elephant Table: At this late time of the year, it was the consensus that this issue should be discussed during the Planning Meeting for next year (summer 2020).
20.1-3 Host Richard Benjamin welcomed everyone to HobbyTown USA. The SMD expressed thanks for having the meeting area nicely arranged for a discussion between all present.
20.1-4 Guest Attendance at Division Meetings: It was noted how important this is to promoting new members for the NMRA and the SMD. Almost all Division activities happen during the meetings held during visits to members’ homes. Wheel Report Editor Tom Fedor reminded all present of the NMRA’s policy limiting to three (3) guest visits to Division meetings. There was discussion of how this policy makes the SMD look unwelcoming and hampers promotion of the NMRA through invitation to Division activities. Editor Fedor reminded everyone that meetings (and clinics, when known in advance) are listed on the web-site. With regard to Mini-Con attendees, the consensus was that when they are ready to participate in the SMD, they will join the organization.
20.1-5 SMD membership: The Superintendent indicated the Division is in a good place right now and does not need a major effort to grow. The following was reported:
Current SMD membership around 80
Meeting attendance between 15 and 30
Number of people involved in the Mini-Con around 42 (most are SMD members)
The event reaches about half of SMD members.
20.1-6 Cross-bucks: Don Florwick distributed the 4 remaining. (The SMD paid for these.)
20.1-7 Nominations Committee for the May Election: Bob Law was suggested for membership on the Committee (to report at the March meeting). Tom Fedor will facilitate communications. Job descriptions (including the Superintendent’s) will be in the Wheel Report.
20.1-8 Spring Wheel Report deadline: February 15, 2020.
20.1-9 Frederick County Society of Model Engineers’ layout status: Nothing to report. They still have to relocate at an undetermined future date.
Adjournment: The Superintendent accepted a motion to adjourn. The next meeting on February 9, 2020 will be held at 2:00 p.m. at the Cumberland Valley Model Railroad Club in Chambersburg, PA.
Following the meeting, those in attendance expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to have a wide ranging discussion of the SMD and its activities and again thanked host Richard Benjamin for his efforts facilitating the meeting.