The Buddy is the go-between that supports a Newcomer in their journey from novice all the way through to a fully engaged member of the Club.
It has often been said that Newcomers emerge from the Foundation training, somehow bypass the Club and are never seen again. From the Club’s point of view, the Buddy’s job is to ensure that the Newcomer sees and experiences the Club as an obvious extension to their journey.
What does the Buddy do?
Assuming that a person comes into our environment as an interested novice seeking training then sometime during the Foundation training (as provided by Dave/Mike) the Buddy is introduced to the Newcomer and the transition begins. Buddying is not a substitute or alternative to the training offered by Dave and Mike but it can support it through on-air demonstrations and inclusion in the Clubs events.
When a Newcomer achieves their Foundation Licence they will probably need a lot of help getting used to being on-air and it is the Buddy’s job to help them through this challenging time, particularly regarding the equipment, its aerial system and its operation. It can be a confusing time for the Newcomer with lots of advice plus the whole issue of being mic-shy. This is probably the point where the Buddy adds most value, where the relationship between Newcomer and the Buddy is cemented, and by extension, where the relationship between the Newcomer and the Club is established. The Buddy can expect backup from other Club members to loan equipment and to help install and test aerials and antennas. A measure of success is when the Newcomer is comfortable operating the Clubroom station in front of Club members.
For a Newcomer to fully engage with and enjoy what the Club offers they must feel confident amongst the longer established an more experienced members and this additional aspect of the Buddy’s job is to ensure that this transition happens successfully.
As a framework, the RSGB’s Beyond Exams scheme (now renamed Brickworks) offers an experiential way of getting more out of our hobby. The proposal is that the Newcomer is introduced to the scheme and with the Buddy’s help, encouraged to have a go. The scheme provides for recognition at various levels of attainment and the silver level could be considered as the formal end of the individual Buddy/Newcomer relationship. At this point, the no longer Newcomer has become a fully integrated member of the Club.