York's Great Relative Strengths

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Tim Wood
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Jul 04, 2020 12:52 pm

York's Great Relative Strengths

Post by Tim Wood »

Having been around a bit, I would like to observe a few things about YSA. This combination is unique in Upper Canada:

-7 DAYS A WEEK TOWING THOUGHOUT SUMMER backed up by a robust portfolio (Mr Trudeau's words) of tow planes and dependable tow pilots
-An adequate fleet of club gliders, presently in excess of membership's demands
-A superb airfield. 200 acres of safely located land (no Westjets around)

This is quite a combination. It will attract new and returning members, once we can run charm school courses for existing members, and make it a fun place to be and to fly.

I am very optimistic about the future of YSA.


Cheers, Tim Wood
Kenneth Voort
Posts: 36
Joined: Mon May 24, 2021 8:15 am

Re: York's Great Relative Strengths

Post by Kenneth Voort »

Having come back after a long time, allow me to play devil's advocate and present a counter argument:

- An aging membership. Time is hanging over our capacity to instruct like the Sword Of Damocles (sorry).
- A poor first impression. The road sign on highway 9 is falling down, and the "Welcome to York Soaring" sign looks like it survived a war. Then, that old house (I do remember that house vividly). The deck and picnic tables are in desperate need of stain (and I'm happy to help with that).
- A lack of social media presence. Where are the YouTube videos? The Instagram posts? The Twitter updates?
- Sure, the currently insured fleet is more than adequate, but would it still be, at 2019 activity levels?
- This one is tricky - it's a very whitewashed membership. There's nothing inherently wrong with that, but it does suggest to me that we're missing out on a lot of potential members; I hear the accents on 126.7.
- Don't put me in a tow plane, or you can probably drop "dependable" from the description there.

Well, sorry about the negativity. But with that s**t sandwich in mind, do consider that York was not my only option when returning to soaring - so belive me when I say we have something to offer. Sure, coming back to the field where I learned to fly certainly was a factor, but it was far from the only factor. I too see the potential that we have as a club. So, why did I return to York, as opposed to Toronto Soaring, Great Lakes, or SOSA?

-7 DAYS A WEEK TOWING THROUGHOUT SUMMER. You're quite right there. That's something I couldn't find anywhere else within driving distance.
- A superb airfield. The runways are wide enough to land sideways - and we have five of them.
- York is the most heavily invested club in training up new pilots that I'm aware of. We're charitable as well. I can't speak for everyone, but that is important to me.

Yes, it's quite a combination. It did bring me back, at least. I too am optimistic, so please forgive me for offering up a few well-intentioned observations from a "new" member.
With grace and beauty, Strength and cunning She’ll stay aloft — until; Inevitably — she loses. And must glide earthward. And lie there helpless, Lovesick for the sky.
Stan Martin
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:12 pm

Re: York's Great Relative Strengths

Post by Stan Martin »

Yes and yes. There is a new sign coming for the Highway. There is a new sign coming at the Club road. The Board is talking about all the things you mentioned and more.

Having said that, there are those that feel strongly all that really matters is the flying. That’s fine for them. We have an adequate experience that way, but there are many of us that see everything else as you do and find it disappointing that we don't do better. York has become my stand-in for vacations and a cottage. I like my rec time without these distractions and compromises normally.

The last year has been worse than normal for upkeep. So it is going to take an effort equally as robust to get things sorted. It is my hope solutions are at hand for those things that in a good environment would be attended too. It can be done here, it just takes a coordinated effort.

It certainly helps when members get vocal about their concerns.

Runaway 30 should be back in service mid summer. It is flat and smooth. Seeding took place last week.

PS
If you check out our Facebook pages and the Twitter account you may be surprised :D
https://www.facebook.com/yorksa
https://www.facebook.com/groups/339394773765051
https://twitter.com/YorkSoaring
Last edited by Stan Martin on Tue Jun 08, 2021 8:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Kenneth Voort
Posts: 36
Joined: Mon May 24, 2021 8:15 am

Re: York's Great Relative Strengths

Post by Kenneth Voort »

Thanks Stan. I was getting worried I was being too negative.

In principle, I agree that flying is primary, and everything else is secondary - including my observations about the signage and peeling paint. We're a flying club first, and a vacation spot/social club second; there is no York Soaring without soaring, and money doesn't grow on trees.

Personally, I don't care about the state of the signage or the minimal social media presence. I come to fly, and to hang around with pilots. But I *do* think a poor first impression could be limiting our membership - and it hasn't taken me long to figure out we need new members. While, yes, the flying should come first, our appeal to prospective members should come a very close second.

As for Facebook, I don't use it, for myriad reasons I shouldn't get into here. To be honest, I didn't even bother to check for a Facebook page. As for Twitter, the last update was 2019. We certainly do have a social media presence, but I certainly do think it's something we could improve upon.

And, to be totally fair, last year totally sucked. I tried to rejoin last year but couldn't. I understand.
With grace and beauty, Strength and cunning She’ll stay aloft — until; Inevitably — she loses. And must glide earthward. And lie there helpless, Lovesick for the sky.
Stan Martin
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:12 pm

Re: York's Great Relative Strengths

Post by Stan Martin »

We have made real progress in the flying experience. That was the focus for many of us over so many years and it was hard fought. I can rest on that progress now. However, membership is another hard fought trial. Members with families are 10 time harder then young students. There is a lot to say about that, but members with families will already understand from where I speak. Because I have built and designed things for most of my life, I appreciate the lasing effects of environmental factors. I have seen why enterprises struggle and fail and others thrive. It was not for the reasons they thought it was. It was simpler than they realized.
Kenneth Voort
Posts: 36
Joined: Mon May 24, 2021 8:15 am

Re: York's Great Relative Strengths

Post by Kenneth Voort »

Well speaking again as a "new" member, the flying is great. It really is. I'm getting that it wasn't always so, so thank you.

You're speaking about members with families - I can speak somewhat personally to that, and also tangentially. Personally, I'm begging my wife to come to the field. The thing is, as someone who's not keen on flying, there's nothing for her to do once she gets there, aside from charming people with a smile that could melt an iceberg. She gets very bored very quickly; it's difficult to convince her to come up. We don't have children, so I can only imagine how hard it would be for a young family with kids to entertain themselves. Succinctly, I'm quite sure I could be there more often, if only I could convince my wife.

I don't have a solution for that dilemma, I can only point to the problem.

Then, tangentially, I'm trying to sell my (power) flight instructor on coming to York. He's in his early fifties, with a family. All he's ever wanted to do with his life is to teach people to fly. He is the kind of person we need and want at York. If he would make the time, he would love it. But he has family commitments, and he's trying to build a flight school. We haven't had that much time to talk about it, but I do think that, perhaps, if we could make a day at York into a family outing, he would come; improving the cabins might help there. Maybe even a horseshoe pit...

If we want to entice new members, we need to entice their families as well. I think we fall short there.

I too have built and designed things for most of my professional life (hey, I'm only 42). Mostly I've worked for tech startups, and before that, I was a general contractor but mostly a plumber. I too have seen big ideas fail, and I've seen little ideas succeed. That "we need a better image" voice in the membership is a small voice perhaps, but I think it's an important one that will become more important, and sooner than we think.

I realize that this post is all about problems, but let me for the record state that I'm willing, able, and eager to help with all of them.
With grace and beauty, Strength and cunning She’ll stay aloft — until; Inevitably — she loses. And must glide earthward. And lie there helpless, Lovesick for the sky.
Eitan Rotbart
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2021 11:14 am

Re: York's Great Relative Strengths

Post by Eitan Rotbart »

I agree with Kenneth, doing this while having a family is extremely hard, each time I come to field, I leave my wife with 2 little once at home alone... if it was up to me, I would would come everyday to fly, help with maintenance or just hang out with others.
To bring more young people (I'm 38 which is probably among the youngest in the club, and I'm not really young) we need as much as social media presence as possible, younger adults (in their 20's) get all their information from Instagram, Facebook, tweeter etc... I'm planing to buy myself a gopro and post videos flying, that might help a bit with ringing in fresh blood to the club.
Don't forgot that only crazy people like myself and a few others will specifically look for soaring clubs to fly at, others won't know that it exist without any social media activity.

EItan
Charles Petersen
Posts: 69
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2020 1:59 pm

Re: York's Great Relative Strengths

Post by Charles Petersen »

Unfortunately, Covid cancelled the more-or-less monthly club dinners, which were something I could invite my wife to.

They will return. Let's not forget that Covid has put many, many social activities on hold. But Covid will almost certainly not be a factor next season. And, for this one, we will just have to do the best we can while preparing for the future.

But, if you do bring your family, nearby Elora is a destination trip for many. There's a trail (I am told) in the Luther Marsh. And many other 'tourist' attractions in the area (see:https://www.inthehills.ca/2019/03/the-n ... s-tourism/)

The small PlayStation for kids needs sprucing up, but it'll wait too until we can use it.

So, not much this year until the club dinners can resume.
Eitan Rotbart
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2021 11:14 am

Re: York's Great Relative Strengths

Post by Eitan Rotbart »

Just to make myself clear - I didn't mean to say anything bad about the club (Israelis mean what they say, and they say mean things ;) ), on the contrary - I'm having the blast of my life! Wayne is an incredible (and very patient) instructor so as every single personI met at the fields so far.

Anyway, see you allin the weekend. . .
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