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One of the topics that always comes up at the chapter meetings is the benefits of AAW membership. In chapters which are not STAR chapters, the membership can range from nearly all chapter members being AAW members to a relatively small number being members. Deciding about AAW membership is always a value judgment on the part of every turner. What is in it for me? Why should I pay the dues for a magazine and a few other benefits? There is a pretty exhaustive list of benefits on our website. As you look at the list, it is pretty easy to think that it doesn’t apply to you. Personally, I think that the fact that AAW is the parent organization and structure for the 300-plus chapters that encompass woodturning worldwide is a pretty good reason alone for joining. Much like you might support public television for what it brings to the community, you support the AAW because it brings a lot to the woodturning community. Take a look at the list when you have a moment. I hope you’ll agree that it is a great idea not only to maintain your membership but also to encourage those who feel that they’d like the benefits that shower the woodturning community without helping share some of the load. Out of all of the numerous benefits that members enjoy, let me touch on two of the most commonly thought of when you speak of the AAW.
For many, it is the American Woodturner, the journal, that is most significant. We do have an electronic or green membership now but a substantial part of our membership still receives the printed copy. Of course, the age-old complaints, that it is too artsy, too basic, too advanced, too fill-in-the-blank will always rage. Regardless of the balance of articles overall or for individual issues, there will be those who are on one side or the other. The journal provides a huge benefit to the members. It informs the membership of current, past, and future events, as well as providing inspiration for all from beginners to professionals. The information can range from how to safely use a tool to what is happening in some facet of the artistic world. This is a big requirement to fulfill, considering that we have over 15,000 members, some of whom have never turned and others who earn their living from turning. On top of that, they live in virtually every corner of the world.