It was the late Summer of 2015 when two local Radio Control (RC) model enthusiasts, Doug LeRoy and Jason Guetgemann, met to discuss the idea of forming a chartered park flyer RC club in Holly Springs, North Carolina. Both flew together in one of the town parks and discussed the benefits of officially organizing as a club and seeking a charter from the Academy of Model Aeronautics. They knew of other nearby parks where modelers gathered in an adhoc way to fly their models and they felt there was a better approach.
Doug and Jason shared a common concern that the RC hobby was under attack and not being viewed in a positive way in the public eye. Both had observed modelers flying in open spaces in adjacent towns in what they both felt was an unsafe way. The lack of organization and lack of rules lead to chaos and problems. Almost weekly there was yet another report of people flying a model aircraft where they shouldn’t be. Many municipalities were writing restrictive rules regarding where model aircraft can and cannot be flown.
The concept Doug and Jason envisioned was simple, organize a club, charter with the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) and leverage the resources of a community based organization to promote safe model aviation activities to the community. Like-minded modelers would join the ranks and provide a unified voice to the local community regarding the many positive attributes of this wonderful RC hobby. With this foundation, Doug and Jason believed a partnership with the local Parks and Recreation Department should be possible. In October 2015, the Holly Springs Skyhawks Radio Control Group was born.
Newly chartered, the next challenge was to figure out a way to build advocacy within the town’s leadership. Opportunistically, the Skyhawks participated in a local community festival by renting booth space where they were able to network with town leadership while promoting the positive message of the club and educating the general public regarding the virtues of the radio control hobby. They quickly made an impact. Within a few months of the festival, leadership from the Holly Springs Parks and Recreation department approached the club officers to inquire if the Skyhawks would be interested in becoming a recognized club in town. We eagerly accepted.
Partnering with the town meant the the Skyhawks needed to officially incorporate as a non-profit organization. The Officers of the club pooled their resources to quickly become an official non-profit corporation. Shortly thereafter in the spring of 2016, the Skyhawks signed a one-year/annually renewable contract with the Town of Holly Springs. As part of the contract, the club performs community service for the Parks and Recreation department and participates in park festivals throughout the year. In 2017, Town established a designated section of the Jefferson L. Sugg Farm park complex as an officially recognized radio control model flying site. Through our contract, the Skyhawks establish field rules and oversee modeling activities in the park by educating and setting the example for the community. Club membership has grown steadily, adding one to two members per month. The Skyhawks are achieving their goals and living their dream while members and the general public are benefiting from a quiet environment for electric park flyer operation!
The Holly Springs Skyhawks Radio Control Group, Inc. is a registered non-profit corporation in the state of North Carolina and a chartered club of the Academy of Model Aeronautics. Our Club, founded in 2015, is organized and operated exclusively for pleasure and recreation and for the purpose of promoting Model Aviation as a hobby and worthwhile recreational activity in our community and to allow for socialization among its members. We do not discriminate in terms of race, color, creed, national origin, gender, age, or disability. The purpose of the Club is to provide members a forum to enjoy fellowship among members and promote model aviation as a worthwhile recreational activity in the Holly Springs community. Through club activities and community outreach we support Meg’s Smile Foundation (www.megsmile.org) and the Holly Springs Parks and Recreation Department.