What is TAMR?
The Teen Association of
Model Railroaders was founded in 1964 by David Burris. At the
time, most model railroad clubs were reluctant to allow younger folks to
join the club. Because of this, model railroading
has become a "graying" hobby where the average age of
hobbyists are over 50 years old. To rectify the situation, Burris
started a small, informal club for teenagers called the Teen Association
of Model Railroading. It would be at least three years before dues
were even considered and no one at the time believed the group would
live much past the first or second year, let alone ten. The group,
much to the founders' amazement, blossomed into a very active,
national--at times, international--organization.
The 1980s hit the TAMR hard, with few conventions held and
a lack of active membership. Somehow, though, the 1990s spurred a
phenomenal growth that saw the first official national convention held
in Dayton, Ohio, in 1994, over a span of three days. Since that
time, the national convention has grown to be at least six days long and
locations visited in Indiana, Colorado, Vermont, Texas, California, and
New Jersey. Also during the 1990s, the group officially received
non-profit status, adopted a constitution, and received a code from the
Library of Congress for the organization's national magazine--the Hotbox.
Today, the group is still managed by teens with some help
from the veteran members that have stayed with the group over the years.
A winter convention is held each year in West Springfield,
Massachusetts, in conjunction with the Big Railroad Hobby Show at the
Eastern States Exposition and this event attracts, on average, at least
twenty-five members. Also consider that many of those who attend
come from as far away as Ohio and Wisconsin for just three days.
So, why should a teen consider joining the TAMR? The
number one item at the top of list is the friendships and connections
that develop with those many miles
away. Members have developed lasting friendships that span over
2,500 miles who may never see each other face to face. Yet there
is a sense of community, where teen "train nuts" can connect
with other "train nuts" in the same age range. Members
also receive a monthly subscription to the TAMR's official publication,
the Hotbox, which contains articles and photos by fellow members.
Additionally, members may also receive a quarterly newsletter from the
region in which he or she resides. There are five regions in the
TAMR, those being
the Northeast, Central, Southern, Western, and Canadian/International.
In addition to the publications, members are invited to attend an
unlimited amount of conventions so long as they have the means to do so.
There's nothing quite like actually getting to see and interact with
other TAMR members at a TAMR event.
The dues are rather affordable considering all that the
group offers. For those under the age of 21, an annual membership
within the United States is $15; those outside the U.S. are $20.
Anyone over 21 who may wish to join, can do so for $20 in the U.S. and
$23 elsewhere. Considering how much one can pay for quality model
railroad rolling stock, we think this is quite a deal.
If you'd like more information about the organization, or
would like to print off a membership application, log on to www.tamr.org.
If you still can't find what you need, visit the Contact page located on
the TAMR website and one of the officers would be glad to help you.
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