Sometimes you just have to go back to basics.
Ockham's Razor, devised by William of Ockham (c. 1287–1347), states that among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected. Other, more complicated solutions may ultimately prove correct, but—in the absence of certainty—the fewer assumptions that are made, the better.
This is how I feel about the crisis in confidence many Amateurs are experiencing when it comes to our National Organization and how to "fix" this uncomfortable feeling many of us have about RAC. There - I said it - as a national director, representing Ontario South, I don't feel very good about where we are with Radio Amateurs of Canada.
I'm not completely sure how to label what is wrong, and I sure as hell don't know how to fix it if I can't diagnose the ailment. So, after months of discussions with my constituency here in Southern Ontario, Lex Parsimoniae, I'm going back to basics with a principle, three priorities and a project.
First, the Principle - that RAC exists as a national organization to serve all current and future amateur radio operators. let's break down the important words ALL, SERVE and FUTURE.
ALL radio amateurs, dues paying or not. (Don't misunderstand - I hope you will join RAC to make your needs known and to participate) Regardless RAC can only claim to represent amateurs if they actually take on that stewardship role. Which brings us to
SERVE - anyone with the smallest leadership experience (leadership, not management) knows that the leader role is really a leader/servant role. Looking for glamour, power, a cool uniform? You came to the wrong place. Leaders get this. The reward for a leader is accomplishing a vision WITH their constituency. We need more leaders.
FUTURE - serving not just the current members, but setting up to grow he hobby with newly licenced Hams. Without new Hams the hobby dies, that simple. We need put our marketing hats to evolve with our new markets, and grow our market share. Take a page from Darwin, adapt or become extinct.
Three Priorities ( I've mentioned these before)
Grow the hobby
Protect the resources
Serve our communities
These simple priorities seem to be reflecting the needs of southern Ontario hams, so I'm sticking with them. The most important, if I have to choose one, is Grow the Hobby. Which brings us to an important project supporting the first priority.
Amateur Radio College (ARC)
We need a national infrastructure to support the education of new hams of all ages. (We have built out enemic youth education programs before, this is not my suggestion.) We need to build out a self funding, remotely accessible Adult Education system complete with a club and Elmer matching system to initially deliver "Basic" level content. This infrastructure can be quickly extended to deliver "Advanced", CW, ARES and even D-STAR content.
I envision this project built on a rentable software as a service (SaaS) infrastructure, including virtual classroom, messaging, discussion forums, content management and whiteboard technologies. I have a basic design document which I will post shortly, and I have a bold goal - to have it operational for the fall of 2014.
If your are reading this and thinking "there is NO WAY we can possibly deliver this!", then please stay at home - we don't need your negative thinking. Let's be honest, you were not going to help anyways. You are a spectator, waiting to be entertained in the circus of cynicism.
ON THE OTHER HAND, if you are thinking "Wow that looks tough, but we do need this to grow the hobby, to build a healthier Amateur Radio Community in Canada... Maybe I could help in some small way" THEN you are exactly they type of person we need - some one willing to contribute their skills in some small way. Small contributions from talented people quickly add up to great achievements. Like space programs - "moon shots", if you will.
Stay in touch, we are going to do great things together.