We hear a lot about the benefits of being an NMRA member.  Most people want to know "what's in it for me"?  Why should I shell out $44.00 or $66.00 they ask.  I think we are all aware of most of the tangible benefits: 

  • Access to the world-class Kalmbach Library
  • Access to standards and recommended practices in all scales
  • Ability to participate in the Achievement Program
  • Ability to attend national and regional conventions
  • Calendar and address labels
  • Subscription to a fine hobby magazine focused on NMRA members and activities.

These are all great.  But, to me, the biggest benefit by far has been the fellowship and knowledge I've gained from getting together with people from around the world, or from around the corner, that share my love of model trains.  Granted, I am fortunate to live in an area that is rich with model railroaders and to be a part of a very active NMRA division.  But whether you live in a hot bed of activity or one where only a few folks reside, the first steps are up to you.  Steel City Superintendent John Stewart summed it up about as well as I've heard in a recent article he wrote for his division's newsletter.  John offered the question "If you bought a ticket to a movie or play, would you decide not to attend the performance?"  Of course you wouldn't.   Why would you shell out your hard-earned money to buy a ticket to a show, movie, game, whatever, and then not attend?  Makes no sense, does it?  But in a way, that's exactly what folks are doing who pay for NMRA membership, and then don't attend or participate in any of the activities (the "show"). 

So go ahead and use the "ticket" you've paid for.  Attend a convention, clinic, open house, op session or just a lunch with some like-minded modelers.  I am confident you'll enjoy the show!

Joe Gelmini, Eastern District Director