Sterling Mann, N0SSC, has been named as the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) Region 2 Liaison for Youth, the IARU Region 2 Executive Committee (EC) has announced. With the support of IARU Region 2, the Liaison for Youth will reach out to young hams throughout the Americas and their member-societies to develop and promote interest in amateur radio on the part of young hams through self-sustaining groups and activities.
“Our first set of tasks primarily revolves around collecting information to identify strong leaders and points of contact throughout IARU Region 2 member-societies,” Mann told ARRL. “Ideally, these leaders are young hams who are willing to help drive the initiative forward by performing various roles.” One of those, he said, is to come up with and put into action way to “get ham radio into the public view in a positive and engaging way.” The initiative also will coordinate and collaborate with other communities with similar goals. On-the air activities, online meetups, workshops, competitions and mini-contests, brainstorming sessions, and speaking invitations are all envisioned as future events.
“Amateur radio is often viewed as a passion of an earlier generation. Features that attracted many current hams, such as providing a real-time social network, have been supplanted by advances in technology virtually available to anyone anywhere,” the EC said. “Wireless communication is an important aspect of modern life, with amateurs having the opportunity to experience it in a unique and personal way. Developing and promoting this experience is key to attracting interest from younger people of all genders and is key to ensuring the future of amateur radio.”
The Liaison for Youth role is unique. It is not a coordinator of a formalized, highly structured committee or set of working groups. Rather, this function implements a novel “Young Ham Action Plan” to connect with, engage, inspire, and mentor young hams throughout the Americas. Mann’s role is to be a point of contact for building links to and among the many groups already developing organically via internet discussion platforms, on-the-air nets, and virtual clusters of interest — even before the COVID-19 pandemic.
The liaison will help to set up, develop, and grow self-sufficient communities of young hams connected through common cultural, lingual, and geographic backgrounds, assisted by IARU Region 2 and its member-societies. This initiative builds on the successful examples of other youth groups, such as Youngsters on the Air (YOTA) in IARU Region 1, Youth on the Air — a youth ham radio camp in the Americas, the Young Amateurs Radio Club — a large online community of young hams, and several others.
“The goal of creating this liaison position is to encourage and expand the level of peer-to-peer interaction among young hams all over IARU Region 2,” the EC explained. “When in-person gatherings are again possible, activities might include summits, regional camps, and even conventions.”
Contact Mann via email or Twitter (@r2youth).