The International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) Region 3 conference has highlighted youth as a key growth area for Amateur Radio. The 16th Region 3 conference in Bali, Indonesia, wrapped up on October 16.
“A potential growth area for Amateur Radio is involving younger people as a wonderful ‘for them’ and ‘hands-on’ communications activity,” said a report to the conference from the Region 3 Directors. “An underlying theme for all of us is where will be next generation of radio amateurs come from, so that what we enjoy today can continue to provide benefits to the community.”
The Region 3 Directors pointed to examples of programs in other IARU regions that promote youth involvement, such as Youngsters On The Air (YOTA) in Region 1, and ARRL Kids Day in Region 2. In Region 3, the directors’ report noted that the Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA), through its Foundation License, has found that the entry-level ticket attracts some younger new hams, and that the JARL Ham Fair includes activities for younger people.
The Region 3 Directors also pointed to other potentially effective ways of growing Amateur Radio, including relicensing lapsed radio amateurs, broadening Amateur Radio’s appeal “in a crowded marketplace that has many other activities,” and tapping into the like-minded attendees at DIY Maker Fairs.
In her report to the Region 3 Conference, IARU Region 1 Youth Working Group Chair Lisa Leenders, PA2LS, said the YOTA group is growing fast and spurring more national and local activities as the young participants become more active in Amateur Radio. She said the first Youngsters On The Air summer event to be held under the sponsorship of IARU Region 1 was so popular that a second YOTA summer event should be considered.
The Region 3 Directors suggested that all IARU member societies consider embracing youth, and that this be the theme of the 17th IARU Region 3 Conference.