The Model Railroad Club, Inc., is a 501 (c) 3 tax-exempt organization registered in New Jersey as a public charity. The Club’s mission is to educate the general public and the Club’s members about the railroads, and the industries they served, in the New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania area. This is accomplished through the building and operating of the Club’s scale model railroad displays, interpretive displays on the railroad industry and the hobby of model railroading in our gallery area and by conducting research.
Through a unique arrangement with the Union County (NJ) Department of Parks and Recreation, the Club designed, financed, and built a large building in Lenape Park in Union Township. Club members did nearly all of the work. The building, which has since been expanded several times, is owned by the County of Union. The club’s arrangement with the County allows the Club to occupy the building to build and operate model railroads and related displays. In return, the Club operates and maintains the building at no cost to the County, and meets other civic requirements such as offering public visiting hours and maintaining an open, non-discriminatory membership policy.
Club Organization and Structure
The Club’s corporate responsibilities and day-to-day activities are managed by a Board of Directors elected by and from the membership. There are no outside directors. The Board comprises four officers: President, Vice-President, Treasurer, and Secretary, and two Directors, all elected annually by the Active membership at the Club’s Annual Membership Meeting. In addition, each Activity Department elects a Department Head from its members at the annual meeting. These Department Heads are full voting members of the Board of Directors. Current Activity Departments are HO Scale and N Scale.
The Board of Directors meets regularly and as necessary to review Club activities, address Club issues, and set overall Club policy. The officer’s specific duties and responsibilities are described in the Club Constitution and By-laws. The heads of the Activity Departments are responsible for day-to-day operation of their respective departments. In addition, corporate responsibilities for one of the club’s Administrative Departments are assigned to the Vice-President and the two directors. These Administrative Departments are Building, Development, and Membership, and are described in detail in the Member’s Handbook, which is issued to each new member as part of their orientation.
Within these five departments are committees which carry out the tasks necessary to manage an organization of our size and complexity, ensuring the Club’s ability to meet its obligations to the government, the public, and it’s members. Participation in the activities of these committees affords an excellent opportunity for members to learn how the Club operates and develop new skills or show off your existing skills.
The Club’s Responsibility to the County and The Public
As previously mentioned, the Club is affiliated with the Union County Department of Parks and Recreation. The Club is therefore required to be open to the public each week, and to have an open house each year. Currently, the Club is open to the public every Saturday from 1 to 4 PM. Each Fall, beginning Black Friday and continuing for three weekends, the Club holds its Annual Light & Sound Show. The Club also hosts events of the National Model Railroad Association (NMRA) and its affiliated Special Interest Groups (SIGs). Club facilities are also available for other public activities that fulfill our mission. Club facilities are not available for activites unrelated to our mission, in accordance with federal regulations. From time to time, the Club also offers to its members and the public a series of workshops on all aspects of the hobby. Member participation in all of these events is a vital component of the Club’s success.