Before Your Time I Suspect…

Two weeks ago I tried to wake up the three sleeping giants..the FMDACTFMDR and WWATS.   I caused a little stir within the Task Force and Allyson Cohen, Vice-President,  Treasurer and pretty much the glue that holds everything together, responded.  Thank you Allyson .   As for the FMDAC and WWATS?  Nada!  Zilch!  Nothing!  Both groups are apparently missing in action, or inaction to be more precise.  So let me see if I can find another way to poke them and get a response.



When we started the Federation back in the early 80’s we had no intentions of becoming a ‘national’ organization. We were only concerned with forming a small regional coalition of metal detecting clubs.  Our goal?  To try and tackle a few problem areas in the Northeast and to share ideas, programs, events, etc..  We met the 3rd Sunday of every month in Haddon Heights, New Jersey, with delegates traveling from Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and of course New Jersey.

We elected officers, formed committees and everyone involved went the extra mile to make sure the group met it’s goals.  As we continued on our accomplishments were being noticed elsewhere, and we started receiving letters from clubs all across the country, asking how they might join our effort.  We grew quickly and in a little over a year we represented well over a hundred clubs.

How did we accomplish this?  By communicating and let me remind you that back then personal computers were few and far between.  As I remember Archie and Rosalie Ray, our Legislative Chairman and Secretary respectively, had an Apple IIE, as did I.  It ran on a DOS OS and the only thing I was able to use it for was printing out lists on a gigantic dot matrix printer.  As a result I communicated with everyone via US mail (you do know what that is right?).

I suggested we have a newsletter and we decided to call it “The Quest”.  I enjoyed doing it although when I look back now I have no clue why.  I would type the newsletter on my trusty IBM Selectric (loved that typewriter), use trace-on letters for headlines and graphics, then take it to work and print it (I paid my boss $20 per month for the paper and ink used). Then in order to save paper, I would copy and reduce two pages at a time so that they would end up on one 8×10 sheet of paper. The difficult part was copying on the reverse side so that when folded the pages were in order.  Once folded the newsletter wound up being 5½ x 8 inches is size.  When I finished this I took the pages home, collated, stapled and mailed them out to each club (one for every single member).

Way back when....preparing a copy of The Quest

Way back when….preparing a copy of The Quest



Fast forward to today and pretty much everyone has a computer, ipad or smart phone and we have this neat thing called email. We also have blogs and websites, quite a few of which are free and easy to use if one is inclined to put their brain to work.  So why aren’t our national groups communicating?  I have no clue whatsoever. They profess to represent us but consistently keep us in the dark about their efforts. As a result few if any tekkies are inclined to part with their hard earned money when anyone floats the idea of financially supporting ONE national group and hell I can’t blame them.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has”. —Margaret Mead

So come on big three….speak up. Get pissed. Call me a troublemaker, rabble-rouser, antagonist, instigator, whatever.  In this case you would be correct. That’s my purpose in writing this and as I said before if you are having problems, no big deal. Every organization has them.  Don’t hide them. Tell your members. They will understand, trust me, and if you don’t have the manpower and need help say so as well. I can’t  guarantee that you will have a zillion people rushing to help but hell give it a shot. Likewise if you are not all that excited about the job, the challenge and the effort needed to make things happen, dissolve your group and ask your members to join forces with one of the other two. There’s just no excuse for not communicating.

If we don’t come together and if we don’t start being proactive, we will soon be out of business and I know for a fact that there are people out there working overtime to make sure it happens. I don’t mean to paint a doomsday picture but the writing is on the wall. Hopefully I have pissed off a few major players in each organization that I get some sort of response.Time will tell.



Filed under Metal Detecting

12 responses to “Before Your Time I Suspect…

  1. Um…er, why are you even bothering with these outfits? Their effectiveness is there for all to see.

    Best, I would have thought, for concerned and switched-on individuals (like you and Roger Barbrick) to start from scratch, bin the impotent ones and all the rest of them, and get stuck into recruiting support at grass-roots level. This hobby of ours only gets the defence it deserves and in the US that ain’t much! Ordinary Joes out there want representation and I have to say they have been sadly let down.

    What about commercial interests? Well, they depend on a successful hobby too…it ain’t rocket science. Jesus H Christ, you’ve done your bit over the years and it’s about time others carried the baton.

    Now, it’s surely a task of harnessing the talent that resides ‘out there’. You guys were quick enough to kick British arses out of America led by George Washington…so where is that same ‘fire’ today?

  2. John I am just the instigator or as Diva said, the troublemaker. I have no interest in getting into all that again. Been there, done that and right now it’s all I can do to get out of the house. I would however love to see an effective and representative organization before my ashes are strewn to the wind.

  3. Well, you bloody well should be! Yeah, we’d all love to see an effective and representative organisation, not only here in the UK but the US as well. It goes without saying.

    If people like you, with your wealth of tactics and political experience go tits up, then all US detectorists are in deep, deep, shit! There has to be another cerebral layer out there capable of pulling things together. Cometh the hour, cometh the men (or women). Judging from the way current issues are being handled, the present incumbents charged with protecting the hobby are unfit for purpose. We need a professional, paid, lobby body.

    We also need a stronger, more acid archaeological lobby, who’ll pull the plug on the hobby in one or two States to ram home the message that the hobby is in danger and unite the hobby.

    Better still, we need to get round the table with the likes a Lisa and get on with the business of getting a PAS style scheme in place. I live in the UK and can’t advise to any extent…this is a US problem. The beneficiaries of such a scheme, will be, like the folks over here, the common heritage record. It will put this great hobby of ours firmly on the map.

    Oh yeah, before they throw your ashes to the four winds, how’s’ about that $20 you owe me for that round of drinks in AC in 1986?

    • John I don’t have tactics anymore….too old for stuff like that. I just like to keep people on their toes. As you can see from the overwhelming response no one really seems overly concerned….

      As for the $20, I’ve instructed Fay to spread my ashes in your front yard. You should feel honored.

  4. Bob K

    Dick Thank you for trying again with FMDAC, WWATS and TFMDR. Keep it up & have fun with it. My thoughts If they can’t keep up there web site, how can they keep up with Facebook Twitter & whatever else? Not everbody is on Facebook &/or Twitter. Computers can be challenging for most folks.

  5. Eddie Black

    Wonder why Louisville has not received help with parks Dept. banning metal detecting. Is this a no win situation?

    • Eddie, that’s a good question. I have been wondering the same thing. Can someone from the Task Force (or the other two groups) answer Eddie’s question?

  6. Well Eddie the silence is overwhelming….especially since I know the major players read my blog. Apparently your particular situation is not on their list of things to do, even though they said it was.

  7. Avery Marder, as president of the Task Force, can you please answer Eddie? If I remember right you were taking on the Louisville problem along with Cook County and New York city in the summer of 2013.


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