By Jim Lank
Most Model A hobbyists have experienced International Model A Ford Day by participating in their club activities during September. This wonderful annual tradition celebrating Henry’s Lady didn’t just happen. Bruce Adams had the idea in 2009. It grew at the grass-root level and then got the heft of MARC and MAFCA. The Model A Youth Restoration Award (MAYRA) is proposing to start a new tradition.
MAYRA is kicking off May as Model A Youth Month. We encourage clubs to select one day during May to conduct an activity for youth by displaying, demonstrating, explaining, teaching about, giving rides in, and experiencing the Model A. The goal is to expose and interest youth in the joys of the ownership, maintenance, and operation of Model A’s.
Why focus on youth? Because involving youth and the younger generation is essential to the hobby’s future. Most Model A’ers are concerned about that future and would be willing to do something to help keep it growing. Clubs need to take the lead in reaching out to youth. Articles in newsletters and magazines don’t have the same impact.
We Model A’ers have been surrendering the old car restoration interest to the ‘muscle cars’ or the ‘rice rockets’ for too long now. But many of us know that our grandchildren, having been exposed to our Model A’s at a young age, continue to hold them in a special place in their memories. That’s not to say they don’t want a GTO or Mustang Boss 302, but the Model A stays dear to them. Our thinking is that if we can widen that circle of grandkids through programs where we invite youth to sit in our cars, honk the horn, go for a ride, help in the maintenance, and just be part of the Model A ownership for a time, they, too, may get a soft spot for Model A’s that will last a lifetime.
We know that some clubs are very steeped in encouraging youth interest and participation while others are not. We certainly don’t want to change the plans of clubs that are. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every club would hold at least one youth-oriented event during May – at a school, a scouting event, in a Boys and Girls club setting, a park, to give these kids a real hands-on experience with Model A’s, instead of merely watching and hearing them in parades. MARC and MAFCA have already endorsed the plan. The rest is up to us to make it happen.
Start small this May. But start! Designate an interested member to spearhead the effort, and everyone get behind the program.
If your club has a thriving youth program or if you have an idea for one to try in May, please share it with us by emailing David.Sheehan1999@gmail.com.
We look forward to your help in making this campaign a great success!
Jim lank is treasurer of MAYRA, editor of the San Fernando Valley Model A Club MAFCA newsletter, The Rumble Sheet, and the auctioneer for the San Gabriel Valley MARC.