Monday, October 23, 2006 at 1:54 pm

Merrickville Model Railroad Club

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Model railroading has always had a reputation as an old man’s game — and old, curmudgeonly men with funny hats at that. So it’s no surprise that model railroaders are concerned about keeping the hobby alive by drawing younger people into it. (Actually, as it turns out, it’s an old man’s game because people join the hobby when they’re older, and have more leisure time, disposable income and basement space, so recruitment is going on.)

Anyway, some model railroaders in Merrickville, Ontario — about two hours from where I live — have started a father-son model railroad club, and it’s been pretty well received. It’s an awfully good idea, but it does kind of reflect the traditionalist biases of many hobbyists: it meets at, and is sponsored by, the local Anglican church, and it’s a father-son club. Relying on father-son relationships to grow the hobby may be self-limiting when many children grow up in single-parent households (and may or may not be in contact with their fathers). And it might not hurt to make an attempt to attract women and girls to the hobby, to say nothing of people who wouldn’t be caught dead in church. Still, no one solution can cover all bases: this is a very good start. I’d like to see what else is being tried elsewhere. Via CanModelTrains.

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