Amazing Grace leads youth movement at ONA show

Seven-year-old Grace Lombarczki stole the show at this year’s Ontario Numismatic Association  convention.

When she came to Canadian Coin News’ tables with her father, we couldn’t resist but to jokingly offer her a job to help us sell subscriptions and coin supplies. She would have been a hit.

With her beaming father at her side, this little cutie, with ponytails, was a hit on the bourse floor and at the Coin Kids auction.

“This little avid collector stole everyone’s heart,” event chair Lisa McPherson told CCN. “She spent the whole day at the convention and at least a couple of hours at the junior table.”

Little Grace was among a dozen or so wee collectors who participated in the ONA’s Coin Kids program, which included the auction and a junior table.

This was the best showing yet that I have observed at a show and bourse. Credit for the program goes to McPherson, who is also the national youth co-ordinator for the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association (RCNA). And knowing McPherson, she’ll be quick to point out the help she receives from other volunteers and, in particular, the donations she receives from businesses such as Charlton Press, Colonial Acres, CCN and others.

“The auction and sales table gives youth an affordable if not free way to get into the hobby and stay in the hobby,” she said in a recent CCN article. “It’s also a great way to get kids hooked.”

Organizations like the ONA, RCNA and CAND (Canadian Association of Numismatic Dealers) all have a vested interest in “hooking” youth into the hobby. And they deserve a thumbs-up for making such great programs like Coin Kids available at shows.

The biggest challenge, of course, is getting youth to attend the shows. It was great to see such an enthusiastic turnout at the ONA convention, held this year in Niagara Falls. However, I have also attended shows where attendance at the youth tables was sparse to nil. I feel bad for the volunteers who lug all the materials to the shows, only to receive a few visitors. We need to do more.

The key to attracting youth is parents. This is where I believe coin clubs, and other currency collector clubs, can play a bigger role in urging their members to take their kids – and their friends – to the shows. It’s fun watching parents and their children interact at coin shows. It gives hope of a strong, promising future for our hobby so that wee collectors, like Grace, have a strong hobby they can enjoy in the future.

(Co-incidentally this week’s column by Peter Mosiondz also offers some great advice on enticing our youth into the hobby.)

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