You might ask what am I talking about? The NMRA Achievement Program is composed of a set of skills or goals in several different the categories that help us to become a better model railroader. Once the level of achievement for each category is completed, a certificate is awarded to the modeler. Without even knowing I was doing so I had begun working on requirements for the NMRA Achievement Program.
I was becoming more involved in the Central Indiana Division (CID) of the NMRA and was volunteering to help with shows and other local events. The past president of the Midwest Region asked me about putting my name in for Director at Large on the region board and I was elected before I knew it. I was asked to be a trainmaster on the CID board as well. I am now well on my way to having the requirements for both the Association Volunteer and Official AP certificates.
I am apt to forget things, being an old guy, so I put together a PowerPoint with the wiring diagrams and how-to’s for the layout for my benefit, not knowing I had most of the requirements for the Model Railroad Engineer – Electrical AP already done. I also had the requirements for Master Builder – Scenery done, I just needed to write a description of what I had done.
A couple of years ago, during the pandemic, I could not get some of the semaphore signals I needed. This led me to build my own using 3D printed components and brass tubing and rod. I wrote an article that appeared in Model Railroader not knowing it was giving me points toward the Model Railroad Author AP. With an article just accepted by the NMRA magazine and points from this website, I hope to complete the Author AP this year. I have built several structures that should allow me to get my Master Builder – Structures AP as well.
If I can complete all these and get one more AP certificate for a total of seven, I will be able to apply for Master Model Railroader. With MMR you get a nice plaque to put on the wall, but the knowledge gained along the way is the true prize. Most of the work to get this accomplished will have been done in the pursuit of knowledge and participation in the hobby and with the help of those who have gone before. That is what it is all about, after all.