Ed Zimmerman, Puget Sound Antique Tractor & Machinery Assn., teaching Matt Orr of Anacortes, WA how to run a wood lathe.
Orr1617 32nd Street, Anacortes, Washington 98221
One of the problems that remains to be solved in the present day show atmosphere is the problem of education. Because of restrictions of insurance, OSHA, etc., people today do not have the same opportunities to go into a shop and look over a workman's shoulder that we had thirty or forty years ago. Because of this we are running out of people to help man the exhibits at the shows that we have all worked so hard to bring into being around the country.
This does not mean that the interest is missing. As we get into the age of the computer, more and more people are finding great satisfaction in hobbies that require hands-on. Just look at the proliferation of hobby magazines to discover the truth of this.
The problem lies in making the old technology accessible. This involves a seventy year man passing his knowledge on to a fifteen or twenty year old person. It involves a tractor or engine owner allowing a young person some hands-on experience.
Some clubs have made the effort and conduct schools. Other clubs still have a long way to go and boards of directors should realize that education is just as important at a show as making sure that the buildings are painted and the grounds are clean.
The day of the $20 engine and the $100 tractor are gone with most of the old equipment now being in the hands of collectors. How is a young person going to get this hands-on experience if he does not have the money for that steam or gas engine? How is the city apartment dweller going to get hands-on experience when he has no place to store or work on that steam or gas engine? The club is the correct answer to both of these questions.
I do not wish to paint a picture of roses and sunshine without telling you that there are some dark clouds. In any teaching situation, there are students who are really interested and work hard and there are students who could care less. There are students who are sure that they know more than the teacher and there are teachers who do not know as much as they think they do. Student and teacher alike should approach the learning situation with the understanding that we are all 'only human' and subject to everything that that means. This is especially true in the volunteer teaching situation.
One suggestion that I might make is any club setting up any type of instruction program, charge the students a fee. The things we are given we tend to discard, but the things we paid $2 for we tend to keep. These monies can be used to pay for the instructors gas expenses or for any club project.
When you pan for gold, a lot of dirt is washed away to find those small grains of gold. In an educational program, out of ten students, maybe one or two will become valuable club assets. Isn't it worth the effort?