It used to be that an "Amateur" was someone who was not paid for something they did. The Olympics were Amateur Sports. The best of the best but no one got paid to train and compete. The definition of amateur was:" 1. a person who engages in a pursuit, especially a sport, on an unpaid rather than a professional basis." Then somewhere along the line a second definition was added: "2. a person who is incompetent or inept at a particular activity." this seems to be the more accepted definition.

I am looking at two of the more successful "amateur" organizations. Volunteer fire fighters and Volunteer Search and Rescue. Neither group has the issues Amateur radio does and I think it comes down to 3 things. The name "Volunteer", their dedication to training and their dedication to a professional attitude. I am sure we strive to meet the last two items but cannot get past the first one. Hence the "Oh they are just a bunch of amateurs" comments I keep seeing people complain about in discussion groups that talk about ARES and HAM Operators in General.

Branding Amateur Radio and ARES as more than a casual, inept organization will never happen with the connotation of the word amateur and it being the first component of our name.

Should we be renaming ourselves to "Volunteer Radio Operators" or something similar to shake that definition of incompetence from our hobbies name?