Last night we made some Peace Planes at the Squirrel-O-Rama. I made up a new template for Peace Plane.
Was a huge hit. I also rolled it out today at a couple of my activities. Paper planes make every activity more fun!!!
Here it is!
Last night we made Squirrels, Daytons and Peace Planes.
I learned a lot about the new Squirrel Instructions plus the Dayton Instructions got their first test run!
Don’t forget there’s a Squirrel meet-up tomorrow night. There are currently 7 people who have RSVPed. If you want to come please send your RSVP to me today.
If you have a younger crowd you can use paper planes instead of Squirrels (or both)
Here is the Peace Plane which is an awesome simple paper plane.
They actually work a little better with recycle paper because the printing process removes some of the water content in the paper.
My regular volunteer work is often for drop-in programs for youth community centers. For instance a Boys and Girls Club may have a time for model planes once per week for a couple of hours. Perhaps a bit of overtime if the gym or craft room isn’t too busy. Some kids come for a whole season and others drop in.
This is a great offering for a community because it accommodates kids with varied schedules (and interest levels). This is a challenge for program leaders since the kids will have varied skill levels and needs.
Here are a few points that help to grow a community as an organic ecosystem. You have to feed it!
If you get permission forms signed you can take pictures of the kids and release them in the venue newsletter and other publications. Not only does this make the kids feel special, you might recruit more helpers!!!
Many leaders want to do a mass launch. Instead try a serial launch!
Children line up. One child launches. As it is landing the next child in line that’s ready will launch. You’ll be able to get better video and the whole event will be longer. Instead of a bunch of planes going in all directions (many landing quickly and some staying longer), you’ll have a longer event where more of the kids get noticed. Put the kids with better flying track records last. This will ensure that all the kids get the best applause at the end from whatever audience is present.
Save the mass launch for when your community achieves mastery and you have lots of planes flying well.
How do you know your program is successful?
When you drive through the neighborhood and you see children playing in the park on their own with model planes.
One of my favorite success stories.
A parent had plans conflicting with their child’s model plane night. The parent came to investigate because their child was crying and was adamant about not missing . I invited the parent to stay and attend the activity. He made his own model plane and flew in the gym successfully along side his sons (and other model planes). He was overwhelmed to see how much fun it was for him and his child and expressed much gratitude for the time I spent with him and the children. The community center wins too since this parent now values their programming more.
Here’s a video from one of my programs here in Ottawa. It’s a hand-wound Squirrel flight. This isn’t the community from my story above but this is one of my favorite fields to visit!
Live in Ottawa? Come join me and bring some snacks for yourself and the kids!
A common mistake existing model airplane enthusiasts make is to take on complex or traditional projects that take long (so the kids can do it “right’ and learn traditional methods). Some kids will go for this if there’s lots of time and lots of mentors. Especially with parental pressure or if they are especially interested. But this doesn’t work as well for the wider audience and our sport needs more than a few kids being micromanaged to do things the old way. We need lots of people having fun in their own way. And in new ways. Kids also need free play time to experiment and contemplate rather being just shown what to do from tradition. Don’t forget we’re competing with the immediate fulfillment of buttons (computer games, TV remote and microwaves). We can’t fight it through constraint. We need to be open to new ways of making things. Things are changing in the model airplane and wider industries. In fact there is a movement. We can bring a little of it back but we can’t force it on people.
Eventually kids will come forward that will want extended mentor-ship for complex projects. First build your community then wait for these awesome opportunities. If you start trying to discover or create prodigy in the beginning you’ll have less success and sustainability in your community than if you build the community organically.