Well stated, Mark. Attendance figures for the last several SMSC national meetings have gradually diminished and the task of organizing them has fallen on a dwindling number of dedicated volunteers. Unfortunately, COVID forced the cancellation of the scheduled 2020 meeting in San Diego and has put a halt to further such efforts for the immediate future. At present, SMSC is virtually mothballed until circumstances allow us to resume activities.
In the meantime, there are other opportunities for collectors to "meet" if not in person. John Walravens has revived Thad Constantine's 1250 Facebook group as "The New 1250 Waterline Ship Models", which is now up to 1,600 followers. Local collectors groups in California and the Boston area still host small get-togethers and there have been efforts at organizing regular Zoom meetings by collectors both here and abroad. All I can say for now is "stay tuned" . . .
Just catching up here. I have been a member since the beginning, or within months of its inception. Have done all the east coast shows/meetings and indeed was the host/organizer for the Norfolk one. Have only made the San Diego one otherwise. It has always been great to see friends, and to buy and sell models. The shows have been great, but of course no one needs to be a member to attend, all of the good parts are open to all comers. In fact, one of the prime reasons for the events was to expose the hobby to "others" and grow the base. That goal has not gone very well.
The SMSC events have been terrific for attendees. But over time, the attendees became "round up the usual suspects". No fault of the SMSC, just factual.
My other observation is that though SMSC has a long list of names as members, it has really been a core 7-10 collectors and a handful of dealers who have done any/all of the grunt work. The balance of the membership are just names on a roster.
Setting up a good show takes a lot of effort, and some dealer participation. A display/sales room venue, a restaurant for a large group dinner, perhaps a block of hotel rooms....and in the 2016 Norfolk one, we set the dates to coincide with a Blue Angels airshow and also a Naval Base Norfolk tour....so logistics all have to be arranged. Again, only the very few worked at making these events successful....you know who you are.
Remember the ad "membership has its privileges"? Well, other than an-impossible-to-keep-current mailing list, there really is not much, or any privileges. And that's ok.
Personally, I hope there are many serious collectors "out there" that are not known to SMSC.
Members, non-members....meh....what we need are 1250 collectors!
All the best to all, Mark