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Younger generation outlook on AACA?

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Hi, Tom...

Without doubt there is a strong movement to generate the interest of the youth. (I totally agree, having witnessed it many times with Doug and Fran's programs at meets, observations of such venues as the Regions and Chapters...)

How many would respond to a "mailer"? Right now, we have a small percentage that are in the "computer/internet" media, compared to the "total AACA membership".

If only 5% would give us their suggestions, experiences, we would have a certain 5% more than we have by depending totally on this Forum...

Regards, Peter J.

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I probably should start a new post, but in reading the Buick section this morning, I noticed the guys posting are young people. They go to college or school and they are already in our forum. With their own section perhaps, but here none the less. They already have cars, which will be antiques sooner than they think. OK, so they're Buicks, but you've got to start somewhere. <img src="http://www.aaca.org/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/crazy.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://www.aaca.org/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> Sorry, I can't help myself. Anyway, maybe we need to converse with these guys more. It's not like we have to go looking for them. The thread about the "start, won't run" got my attention. Wayne

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Hey, what a bright idea to bring the cars to the kids! As a teacher, I think any school would be willing to have someone bring in a car and explain how an engine works, etc. And, I plan on having a pre-war Buick visit my classroom. Not only does it make history tangible to today's generation, but enthusiasm for these topics and exposure to antique cars is also very contagious.

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My son aged 25 uses antiques as daily drivers. His collection is a 1970 Chrysler 400, 1960 DeSoto Fireflite, 1975 International pickup and 1946 Cadillac hearse (not running). When it comes to automobiles, he definitely marches to a different drummer as compared to his peers. One of his major statements is that he can work on them.

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Stanley, my son, now 19 ( he had a birthday a couple of days ago) does the same thing.

He uses his 1972 Eldorado or the '67 Mustang...and soon will be driving the 1970 Dodge Charger once he has finished working on it. He has been driving cars like this since Junior High School and working on them too! Talk about walking to the beat of a different drummer!!!

Does your son have an interest in the Classic Car Clubs? What does he think of older people and their experiences? Are they considered valuable?

The reason I ask, and maybe others can help shed some light on this, is that Jonathan and his circle of friends (both here and in Texas) all shared one common thread, if not interest.

They feel the experiences of age are worth no more than say book data and that a different point of view has no more value than their own opinions.

This is COMPLETELY contrary to my own views and upbringing, and try as I might I cannot instill that sense of respect.

I thought this was a failing in our parenting until I realised it is endemic to the youth that he has been and is exposed to. Some of it is being a teenager, I suppose, but it is pervasive. Neither he nor those of his friends interested in cars feel any need or reason to join the clubs.

Has anyone else seen this attitude in knowledgable, intelligent and otherwise mature young people?

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Only every day I'm at work... Some of the young ones around there have the same idea that they can take a powerplant curriculum at any of the several trade schools that offer them, and then come in and tell me what's what about the place. I say, fine, go out and learn the place and then come back and tell me not only how it works, but what you've learned to make your life out here easier. Then, two months later, not only can they not tell me how it works, they can't even tell me where major equipment and systems are located. And they do everything the hard way. I've got one right now that graduated from a trade school with honors, and the boy still cannot tell me the principles of how the ash conveying systems work and what will happen if he does something out of sequence. He started work in August, and he's enrolled in the company's own basic operations training course right now.

Being the resident dinosaur and unofficial new hire trainer, I find that I am often the only one in the work group who remembers the original design specs and why the component was installed. The young bucks are totally lost on pneumatic control systems since all they're taught now is electronics. For some odd reason, they have trouble accepting that they HAVE to go out and trace pipe-and-valve arrangements- they want everything in a procedure, in black and white, detailing where everything is so all they have to do is walk directly to it.

I often tell them I can teach them everything I know in 15 minutes. They're finding out it takes much longer than that. I also don't give up all my secrets about the place. They can learn their tricks of the trade same as I did. What was the old saw about age and treachery always overcoming youth and skill? <img src="http://www.aaca.org/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://www.aaca.org/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" /> Thankfully I'm not really like that.

Few weeks back, I saw a couple of young hotrodders I know in a parking lot with the hood up on another kid's ricerocket. Stopped to talk and see if there was trouble, since I keep a toolbox in the wagon. The owner of the ricerocket (who I didn't know) immediately got an attitude about the old guy in the station wagon who couldn't possibly know anything about fast cars. The ones I knew then asked him if he held an IHRA class record. "No." "He does. Reckon he knows anything about fast cars?"

I laughed and excused myself, telling them that if they needed any tools or help, I'd be inside Sheetz.

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Good story, Rocket. I see the youngsters in your neighborhood aren't any smarter then the ones in mine. Had to take my daughter to her part time job at Food Lion grocery today, wouldn't dear let her drive. Her first comment was turn the heater on wide open. I asked her if she liked cold air. Then she wanted to know why I had the defroster on, instead of the lower heat. Let's see, 6 months driving experience on her own, 1 wrecked car(plowed into the back of a guy sitting in parked traffic), but she knows all about driving. Like Danny Glover said, "I'm getting too old for this....!" <img src="http://www.aaca.org/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> Wayne

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> They feel the experiences of age are worth no more than say book data and that a different point of view has no more value than their own opinions.

</div></div>

This raises the question of if the younger/less experienced folks think an elders/more experienced opinion is worth less than their own. If they see others opinions as of equal value, well that may be fair.

Age and experience doesn't necessarily give us a superior point of view or even knowledge base upon which to offer advice.

It might very well, but there's no guarantee that it will.

You know, even the less/more experience thing has problems. <span style="font-style: italic"> differing experiences</span> might be a more fair way of looking at it.

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Does anyone have any good ideas on how we could possibly attract 25 to 45 year old members and somehow keep them involved ? We have an average age of over 60 years old and need some new blood to increase our membership. I would like to hear what you all have for ideas.

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Tom, I don't know where you are from, but I would think this will be a very important issue at Philly in February. Wayne

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I am from Southern NJ. I am trying to find out what is on everyones mind about this topic. I realize that there will be discussions in Philly, but I think in a face to face situation a lot of people tend to clam up and not say what is on their mind. I would like to see some of the thoughts that are out there and possibly get something going before Philly and carry it right into the event. What I would like to see or hear is how those of us on this forum really feel about the young adult topic. I mean the ages from 20 thru 50. What can we do to attract these people and try to keep them involved. Please speak your mind and be honest. Not everyone can make it to Philly and I feel that this is a good way to sort of let it all hang out without anyone having to face the powers to be so to speak. We need ideas and feedback in order to get this young adult program rolling. Some of us feel that now that we have a youth program, although there is still a lot of room for improving on this, that we also need to focus some of our efforts on these younger adults that have families and kids. These people may not necessarilly have the financial where with all to be able to restore an antique. We need to make these people realize that there are a lot of other things that make up the AACA that don't cost a lot of money or time. Someone mentioned on one of the forums about starting a class for the younger crowd and possibly reduce the 25 year requirement just for one show class, on a trial basis. some of the other thoughts I've heard involved an advertising campaign in some of the national magizines that deal with a specific make or model and highlight what we are all about in a very visual way. We need to shed the nasty old mens club image. But getting back to what I said earlier these are some of the things that I have heard and they are certainly viable options. This is the place to lay it out and talk about it without being sliced to pieces in front of a lot of people. So Lets hear it!!!!

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Tom, I'm in Sothern Connecticut and have been in AACA since @1970 and do not understand this "Got to get the younger people in the Club" deal at all. AACA has never been a club for young people, and never will in my opinion. I got dropped off at a local Horseless Carriage Club show in 1961 at the age of 10 because I liked old cars, and things grew from there. I've always been the youngest guy at an event.You can't force this hobby on people at any age, you either have an interest or you don't.Forget the dropping of the 25 year cutoff, that has done more to drive away older members than anything, and split the Club into Pre WWII, and late model. You'll have a hard time competing with Street Rod & '50's Custom owners since that is where most fun events are held.

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Tom, Bob is right about not being able to compete with the rodders. They tend to be more exciting without all the serious judging issues to worry about. It's really ridiculous that at age 57 and having 2 kids still at home in school that I can't offer any help with kids. I'm afraid the younger people are interested in the new foreign cars that don't appeal to me at all. I guess I'm on a different wave length. Wayne

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Tom, Bob and Wayne, this hobby will continue as all things do through time. There will always be interest in old cars. The proof is in the years you all attended and showed interest. Were it really sliding into obscurity, I think it would have died by now. Sure things may not be the same as current members remember it, that is the nature of time and change, but I really do not see it simply dying off. Just look at the faces of kids and adults when they see an old car tooling up the street...smiles, thumbs up or just wide open stares.

Admittedly I know very little of the AACA or its members, traditions or history. I do know people and can make a reasonable hypothesis. I did not join just because I wanted to be an administrator..that I offered on my own. I joined because I love old cars and I think they represent as much a historical insight into our society and development as any historic building.

They are ALL worth keeping.

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Oh this younger generation! Drugs, sex and rock and roll. No wait that was us! Sorry forgot where I was. Wayne is right, whatever He said I am sure He was right. grin.gif

Oh yeah, now I remember (after looking) the hot rodders and rat rodders are in it for the fun, laughs, pats on the back. Not clipboards, rules, point deductions, trophys, meetings about rules,meetings to make new rules, meetings to schedule meetings. grin.gif

Damned Hot Rodders. confused.gifsmirk.gif

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Tom and all who have been commenting,

I am a very new member of the AACE. I joined in May of this year and have made most of the meetings every month. I have a very deep passion for automobiles and a very high interest in developing, maintaining and presenting the hobby of classical, antique and collector automobiles. When I was reading the posts in this forum on the "Younger Generation Oulook on AACA", it struck a cord in a couple of ways. First, at the age of 52, I am the youngest member to attend the meetings. I have seen another person younger but only once at one of the summer picnic meetings we hosted. So I could relate to everyones comments on this subject. Secondly, this problem of membership and bringing in newer blood, so to speak , is not new to me. In my profession, I have been active in my professional association and served in many positions including president of the local chapter when I lived in Chicago area. We had much of the same problem, maybe not the age issue, but membership in general. I would like to relay some of these things we did to increase membership and how it may apply to the AACA chapters.

I have read in the forum that this issue needs to be brought to Philly. It does but, in a way that national will give the support and that we can walk away with a starting point to work on this issue. The structure of this association seems not much different from any other so I think what I am about to say is mostly true. It is not and will not be viewed by nationl that this is there problem to solve. However, if there are people and I mean names and addresses and phone numbers and a skeleton of a chain of command for an ad hoc committe, that I would assume go under memebership, with a general committe directive or mission statement of the issue along with a general narrative of how this problem could effect the association in general, then we have a better chance of being taken for real. A motion would have to be put on the table for a ad hoc committe to look into this issue. If this can get passed , we would have the support of National along with being networked into on going business at the national level. If national sees we are organized with participates then our chance of getting a foot in the door is much greater.

Now for some general ideas on how to bring in potential member and then on how to keep them. Lets keep in mind that this problem is going to be left to the chapters to resolve. However, an Ad Hoc committe can gather, compile, organize issue guidlines and programs that the chapters can use as a guide to help them develop a more diversified membership. It can be brought to the region level as a seminar for chapter officers to attend.

You can never have enough advertising and advertising does not always mean spending money.

- At any shows always have a table with applications and a synopsis of what your AACE chapter has to offer a potential member.

-Parades should have a AACE magnetic sign with a phone number on the last car.

-a half hour to hour antique automobile cirriculum so this can be presented to intermediate school shop classes, high school and adult community college auto mechanics and welding courses.

-4-H club is a very good vehicle for this . Seems Tom has done an exceptioanl job in starting this and this should be presented to every chapter. I know of very few areas that dont have a 4h club.

-Book stores are a good place to place a good looking poster advertizing the club.

-Make sure each chapter sends there newsletters to area car clubs.

-local chapter web page

-fund raisers, food closet, different charities in combination with lions, rotary or other clubs

These are just a few idea along with the many good ideas I read in the forum postings. However, once you get them in the door the problems is keeping them. In my professional society there were a few things we implemented to do just that. It worked for us.

All chapters are made up of a chain of command. Make sure a new member knows who is who. We developed deparment heads. In the AACA this could people that are knowldgeable about body work , engine repair, electrical, chassis, interiors, etc.. Each department or committe had a chairman or co-chairmen and a small group under them to field any questions on that subject the membership had. There names and numbers were published in the news letter each month. We also implemented a mentor program. When a new member came in we would assign him or her a person to help them with the club issues , questions, etc. The mentor would also follow-up with the new person with phone calls to make sure they had any questions answered and to promote their attendence at the next meeting. We had a hisrorian in our association but I think it would work well in the AACA chapters. It would be there responsiblitiy to document the member automobile(s) with the owners and other histrorical facts. This with photos would go into the chapter archive automobile directory. All of these are pretty simple but they worked. Maybe they already exist in many chapters.We had results the first year of about 6% increase. Each year after that for three years we had increases until we had increased the membership about 31%. Of course it depends on the people and following through and being active to accomplish anything. These ideas also made more of the members active in the chapter and increased the membership at the meetings.

These are just some suggestions from what I have seen work in different asociations I have belong to. It may or may not help. However, I think everyone has concerns in these postings that are viable. The main thing is to get oraganized and to act.

Mike lovell

Northern Nevada Chapter AACA

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> the hot rodders and rat rodders are in it for the fun, laughs, pats on the back. </div></div>

You forgot one Dave, <span style="font-weight: bold">driving.</span>

For crying out loud, one more time: the antique hobby has lost the ability to recruit new members because you simply can't buy a $3000-$4000 car and drive it on local tours as readily as once was the case. Even where there are local tours, they generally keep to out-of-the-way roads where few people see them <span style="font-style: italic">(and they are therefore largely incognito to the novice).</span> The hobby has been gravitating toward $30,000 trailer queens and 6 day tours for so long it's impossible in most areas to reliably entertain yourself otherwise with an antique car (unless you're a lone wolf).

In the meantime it's hard to be left alone on the road with a $5000 Nova as long as it has some aftermarket chrome stuck to it somewhere. Coupled with the lack of historical perspective many people have, and the very popular perception that nothing with less than a 327 V8 can be driven on the public roads these days, and we really don't have that much to offer someone who still works 48 hours/wk to pay the orthodontist.

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Thank you Mike for your ideas and review. I picked up on one item, we can use right away here in Virginia...free advertizing at the local library. The local regional newsletter placed among the monthly magazines in the library would make certain that more people know we exist. Thank you. Wayne

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I'm no longer "young" being 58, but as a fairly new AACA member I've found it hard to find the local folks and get "active". Suspect many "younger" folks do too. I'd love to do more day tours, attend historical or technical meetings, and start to help with "events". But most AACA members I've met or seen do seem "older" and very focused on their own make or specific club interests. No "visible" recruitment of new members in my area I've seen.

Local AACA club (Hornet's Nest - Charlotte, NC) seemed "remote" and "focused" on their Charlotte Auto Fair each year. I'm still waiting for someone to actually tell me where and when their meetings are so I can try to attend one. I've shown my car for years in the Charlotte Auto Fair AACA show, won some awards there, but never have had any local club member "invite me" to a meeting. When I stopped by their club tent, I heard all about "how you have to really be willing to work hard at this event in order to be a member" but little about the club and events - not very encouraging to someone wanting to join. Have been promised a call from a member, but still waiting. Not giving up yet, hoping after New Year I'll finally hear back from them.

Sounds like gripe session, but I really hope this is constructive - antique auto hobby seems to have great folks in it, but often seems very closed to "new" members. And some clubs appear "too judging focused" for one who wants a "driving car" instead of a pristine museum piece. I must say that doesn't seem to apply to local AACA. I've found Hornets Nest AACA shows very open to any antique car being shown and fairly judged, but they seem to forget to "go the next step" and invite participants to seek membership.

Hope I haven't offended local guys and will be welcomed to a meeting in new year.

EdA

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EdA,

From your post you seem to be interested in touring as well as showing your car. I do not not know where you live in NC but there are 2 very active touring Regions in NC. Over in the China Grove area there is the Mid Carolina Antique Drivers Region, which is a geographical region for cars twenty-five years or older. There is also the Brass-Nickel Touring Region, which is a non-geographical region with membership from 3 states.We focus on cars manufactured on or before 1931. If you email me your address, I will be delighted to send a Brass-Nickel newsletter to you.

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//From 37// Tom, I'm in Sothern Connecticut and have been in AACA since @1970 and do not understand this "Got to get the younger people in the Club" deal at all. AACA has never been a club for young people, and never will in my opinion. [unquote]

Actually, what we need is a new thread here. Who in the world is going to sit and read 95 posts? But anyway, let me just say this. I joined AACA in 1962 at 23 and I was the youngest guy for a long time. Yet, there were quite a few guys near my age even then. I met Howard in '62 or '63 at a club meeting and he was only 5 years older than me ... we always considered ourselves contemporaries. By the time I was 35 there were quite a few other people in our club at, near or below my age and around AACA. At that point many of us had cars 30-35 years old that weren't yet accepted in AACA. Some went their separate ways, some waivered, some stayed. Others stayed but became active in one car clubs that began to blossom around 1965 (Buick, Early Ford V8, etc.) By the time I was 60 and looked around, almost everybody seemed to have the same color hair that I do - white. Somewhere along the way the people my children's age (46 and 42) joined one-car clubs, got into computers or some other new electronic gadget, or something...and I don't know what something might be. I think the fact that during those years parents of high school kids started buying them new or newer cars might have something to do with it. Youngsters didn't have to figue out how to keep old junkers going anymore and they surely couldn't work on their computerized new jelly bean cars. You are right, 37, either you like cars or you don't, straight or street rodded. But there are a lot of straight stock Fords, Mustangs, Chevies, Buicks, Pontiacs, Mopars and others out there in marque clubs (one or more makes), owned by people younger than my 65 years by a lot, who don't belong to AACA. I sure would like them to be members of AACA too; so I think it is important to learn more about why they aren't. Now isn't too soon. There's never anything wrong with learning more about how you may be able to do better at something.

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Earl, I reading your post about the other marque clubs, I'm thinking performance. I don't know why, but that's what I'm thinking. "Super" Chevy Clubs, "Heavy" Ford clubs, even the V-8 Ford guys are interested in early racing flatheads with blowers, multiple carburators. All seem to be relating to speed a lot more than the AACA. Just my feeling, but you see this in rodding get togethers too. You almost expect those guys to lay a little rubber while cruising around town. I went to a major rod show in Massachusetts back in September with spectators lining the one-way only "entry road" to the show field. On the way out after the show, the fans were going nuts trying to get the guys to lay rubber even though we had been warned not to, or suffer the consequences. The nearest I've seen this at an AACA meet is at Hershey as the cars come down the back road from the trailer parking area. Same type of feeling, just not as much rubber on the ground. Wayne

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Not so. The one-car clubs are more particular about authenticity than AACA is. I'm talking about the Mustang Club, the Buick Club, the Early Ford V-8 Club, on and on. In some of the one-car clubs even the paint color has to match the VIN plate. The Buick Club is all stock, for example, but they are considering a separate Division under the main club for modified Buicks.

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I was speaking more about the Super Chevy type guys Earl. The fellows that like to put all that chrome under the hood that never came from the factory. Nothing against that, but the young "rice burner" guys are into the same thing, show during the day...race at night. All of this is just an observation by me, nothing more. Tired, night!!! Wayne

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I may be a little late to this party, but thought I'd offer up some more 'outsider' perspective.

I can partially echo some sentiments expressed above. In my mid-30s I decided to join AACA just to see what it was all about as I have a strong interest in old cars and history related to them, plus a couple vehicles I'd term special interest. Don't own nor can afford to own true 'antiques' though certainly wouldn't mind.

AACA sent me glossy magazines with various articles on cars, some well written, some not, and a lot of pictures and listings of show winners. I knew there was an active chapter near me but was never provided with information to contact them nor did they contact me. "Sitting around in lawn chairs hoping for a dash plaque" is how I view most shows I've been to and this holds no interest for me. Got notices of tours but they seemed awfully rigid about what cars were permitted and other things so never went to one. After my year was up I asked myself what benefits I got for my money over my 'marque' clubs and couldn't think of one, so didn't renew.

I don't know if I'd call it an age issue as much as a problem with how the club is set up. What worked for them in the 1960s may not work in the 2000s. I think the perception of the AACA as a bunch of retired guys obsessed with rules is pretty strong. Even a good friend who shows Pontiacs won't bring his own car to Hershey because he has the 'wrong' tires on it and gets tired of people telling him so. With the popularity of hot rods and rice rockets, there is competition out there for people interested in cars in general. Maybe it's time AACA took a long, hard look at what the hobby should really be about.

I'll vote for driving the cars over parking trailer queens on grass every time.

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