Each letter of the EAGLES acronym stands for an important element of advocacy: Education, Activism, Growth, Leadership, Expertise, Skills.
Through AMA EAGLES, members learn about the AMA and become better public relations representatives, grassroots activists and membership advocates. AMA EAGLES empowers members with knowledge, tools and resources tailored to their interests and provides a firm foundation for helping to promote the motorcycle lifestyle and protect the future of motorcycling.
The AMA initiated the EAGLES training program in 1989, but it later fell dormant.
“The AMA Congress wanted the program revived to help train volunteers,” Wuelleh says.
Wuelleh updated the EAGLES training materials, gave the AMA Congress an overview, made a few more tweaks and began recruiting activists for the program.
“The current program has been updated to reflect what is relevant in today’s motorcycling world.” Wuelleh says. “It has evolved and is still evolving.”
Already, three individuals have completed the new program—AMA Congress members John “Byrd” Levy of Scarsdale, N.Y., and Dennis Deeter of Miamisburg, Ohio, and AMA member services representative Christina Dolin, who works in the Pickerington, Ohio, headquarters.
Levy was one of the AMA members who lobbied for reinstatement of the EAGLES training.
“New technology has allowed a much more in-depth program, and we can spend much more time absorbing the information,” Levy says. “The major change to the program, in my mind, is the depth of information about the different disciplines of competition and the government relations aspect,” he explains. “When I first joined the AMA, we didn’t have a government relations department!”
Levy says the EAGLES program provides volunteers with the information they need to emphasize motorcycling’s “positive effects on traffic and society in general.”
“Part of the EAGLES program is devoted to activism and, as a grassroots organization, we need to take an active role in forming the agenda moving forward,” he says. “The EAGLES can be a positive force for growth in the AMA.”
Deeter agrees, saying the EAGLES training provides a path for involvement for all AMA members, but especially the younger ones.
“Paul Uhlman was an AMA rep in the early 2000s, going to motorcycle road rides promoting the AMA,” Deeter says. “I thought that was cool back then and wanted to be able to do it. By becoming an EAGLE, I now have the opportunity to do just that.”
Deeter, who joined the AMA in 1983 and became a member of the AMA Congress in 2008, is “happy to serve the AMA and District 11 any way I can.”
“The EAGLES program is a great way for young AMA members to become more involved,” Deeter says. “I am glad to see it come back. I have already encouraged four of my brother riders to go through the training. They will understand the AMA and why they should stay members. Getting involved is the only way to get the most out of any organization you belong to.”
It’s equally important for AMA staff members to understand the history of the association and the functions of its departments, whether to better assist members over the phone or to effectively communicate the AMA position to a friend or an elected official.
“I learned about government affairs, how to write letters to my government if I have an issue and how to address my congressman,” Dolin says. “I learned the difference between the different racing disciplines, also, which was so helpful with my job. I also took the referee training test, which I passed.”
EAGLES training consists of two levels, the “EAG” and the “LES.”
Level One is the core program that provides background about the organization and skills for effective activism.
Those continuing to Level Two make a commitment to 24 hours of volunteer service during a 24-month period.
“The intention is for EAGLES leaders to be able to train others,” Wuelleh says. “Outside the AMA staff, our goal is to train 100 people a year. We are going to look to you to be a volunteer in your area.”
EAGLES graduates will serve as well-informed volunteers at AMA events and sanctioned races, providing participants with accurate information about the racing program, the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, American Motorcyclist Political Action Committee, AMA Congress and position statements on important issues.
“We are going to fit your interests with the AMA’s needs,” Wuelleh says. “We want you to help the AMA in an area that excites you.”