Youth Philatelic Leaders Fellowship is on pace

Youth Philatelic Leaders Fellowship is on pace
By Alex Haimann

Since November 1, 2008, fundraising for the Young Philatelic Leaders Fellowship (YPLF) has been underway. While these efforts continue, we must now turn to the hard or fun part (depending on how you look at it) to make the YPLF a success.

The goal of the fellowship is to take enthusiastic young stamp collectors and engage them in a program that will bring them to the places that make being a stamp collector exciting like national stamp shows, the National Postal Museum and the APS Headquarters in Bellefonte, Pa. Throughout this program these Fellows will be mentored by, and experience these various events with, seasoned stamp collectors, dealers, exhibitors and authors from across the spectrum of the philatelic world.

So the next part beyond fundraising is fi nding these enthusiastic young stamp collectors and getting them to apply for the YPLF. Obvious challenges could make this the hard part including the fact that there are not as many young stamp collectors at local stamp shows and clubs as there used to be.

Along with collecting stamps or covers, philately is also about collecting friends. For this fact, I believe that the effort to find young stamp collectors to apply for the YPLF is the fun part of the preparations for getting this program underway. There is one thing more rewarding than helping a young person discover the pleasure of stamp collecting—introducing a young stamp collector to an opportunity to make their passion for philately permanent.

The success of the fellowship requires its participants to work with adults involved in the organized philatelic world. What better way to set the tone for their future involvement with the YPLF than having an adult stamp collector who they are familiar with in some way introduce and encourage the idea of applying? At the ASDA Mega Event this past October, Colin Fraser, Vice President of the ASDA, brought two teenage stamp collectors to the show.

These two young men were family friends of the Frasers. Colin and his wife Pamela realized how exciting seeing a big stamp show in New York City would be for the two young collectors, so they made arrangements for them to come to the show on Saturday. I was introduced to these two collectors and we spent a few hours at the show walking around and talking about stamps.

I was impressed by their enthusiasm and careful eye as we were looking through various dealer stocks around the room. Towards the end of my time with them I told them about the YPLF. Their eyes lit up with the possibility of traveling to bigger stamp shows and encountering other young stamp collectors along the way.

Starting today, I implore you as an ASD&C subscriber to look more closely around your local stamp club or stamp show. These enthusiastic young stamp collectors are out there. We just need to locate them and encourage them to look into the stamp collecting opportunity of a lifetime—the chance to see the biggest events and most important places in the stamp world with other young stamp collectors.

If you know an enthusiastic young stamp collector between the ages of 12-24 who you think might be interested in the YPLF, email me at haimanna@si.edu. Find out more about the YPLF at www.stampfellowship.org, The stamp hobby can have a bright future if we all pitch in now to make it happen.

 
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Alexander T. Haimann
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