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How we stated a model train club in our city of the "Valley of the Sun"

I myself belong to TCA organization for the past 6 years. I'm more of a toy train operator then a collector. I do have some trains I keep separate from my train layout. My Classic American Flyer Cabinet-top Train Layout is 5' x 16' which features *mountain to desert detailing. I started a blog "web site" about my American Flyer train layout back in August of 2010. This site has gradually grew in scope where it has over 125 plus views per day from 87 countries around the world. I found out over the years a lot of people enjoy operating there trains on there layouts like I do.

September of last year I talked with members of the TCA club, mostly American Flyer collectors and operators. Talking with Marty Wik, who has a very nice layout thats been featured in Classic Toy Train Magazine and Karl Wuepper who is building a very large s-gauge layout, the three of us decided to try and start an informal club with membership open to American Flyer and hi-rail S gauge operators and collectors. There would be free membership, no dues.*We decided to meet once a month on the 3rd Saturday of the month at a members’ home. The club would be informal and we would welcome visitors, followers, along with members to this informal meeting.

I mentioned to Marty and Karl that I would lay the initial ground work by starting a blog page (web site) and call our informal club*the "Valley of the Sun S-Gaugers" We contacted collectors of American Flyer, American Model, S-Helper, and S-Gauge here in Arizona. We mailed out invitations to TCA, NASG members who we could not get in contact by E-mail. We have completed a data base of over 75 individuals that have some connection to S Gauge. Starting a club is all about getting the word out any way you can (Club Flyers, E-Mail Invitations, Club Mailings, and word of mouth). You may be surprised how many people would like to join a model train club that has a operational layout at every meeting with discussions and educational programs.

We had our first informal club meeting in October of last year at Karl Weupper home. Since then we had a meeting at Marty Wik's in November and Chuck Eral's in December. Our next meeting will be at Nelson Steinmetz's home in Scottsdale. Nelson brought some pictures of his scale layout just to entice us on what we are going to see. According to the pictures we saw we all will be in for a treat! If you don't know of Nelson Steinmetz accomplishments all you have to do is pick up an "S Gaugian" magazine. He has won numerous awards for scale modeling over the years.

With our club membership doubling at every meeting we are looking at everyone to bring their own folding chair. Standing room only!

We know have our official "Valley of the Sun S-Gaugers" web site at: sgaugers.com

We still have our informational "Valley of the Sun S-Gaugers" blog site at: sgaugers.blogspot.com

I have my personnel web site "My Classic American Flyer Cabinet-top Layout" at: az-flyer.blogspot.com

Az-Flyer
 

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Every great venture starts with small, initial steps. Sounds like you guys are off to an exciting start. Best of luck / success!

TJ
 
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