This summer, APS Development Assistant Erin Seamans spoke with Andrew Shaw about the Young Philatelic Leaders Fellowship program, a scholarship program run by the American Philatelic Society. YPLF supports young philatelists, offers them unique opportunities to attend stamp shows across the country, and connects them with experienced mentors in the philatelic world.
Andrew graduated from YPLF in the Class of 2011 and currently is in the Air Force in Oklahoma City.
Erin: Why did you choose to apply for YPLF and what did you expect to accomplish?
Andrew: I was very interested in the hobby and excited to learn more about it. My dad got me into collecting when I was in middle school and I just had fun doing it with him as we collected United States plate blocks. It just seemed like a broadening experience to get to know other stamp collectors, especially young ones my age. I just expected to learn more about the hobby, meet other young people and get the overall experience of YPLF.
What did you learn about philately through YPLF?
I did the Dealer track and enjoyed learning more about what goes on behind the scenes. I always had my list of stamps and would go from dealer to dealer when I attended shows. It was interesting to hear and learn how individuals became dealers, what dealers collected and what it takes to get into a show - such as up-front cost for the booth, hotel and obtaining inventory. Learning about the business side of things was really interesting to me because I had no clue about any of that. I'm still learning years later . . . and you know, it's a lifelong hobby that I enjoy.
Can you recall a moment or memory from your time as a Fellow that was significant in your learning process?
The one moment that really stuck out to me was working with the Miley family at an APS show. When people came up they had all sorts of questions and they were surprised that I (being young) had the knowledge to answer most of their questions. I just remember being able to help customers during that whole show and when they bought a stamp, it was exciting to see their face light up. It was nice to have a face to face interaction rather than just ordering stamps online.
In what ways have you been involved in the philatelic community since graduating from YPLF?
I continue to attend APS shows when possible. I have also moved a couple times, so I always make sure to find the local stamp club to get involved. I also sell stamps online at Hipstamp and even though I can't get that face to face interaction, I can communicate with people all over the world and be able to provide them with stamps that they can add to their collection.
How has your time as a Fellow informed your work in the Air Force?
I would say, overall, communication skills and the ability to relate to different people. The military is a diverse career field and it is important to be able to communicate and relate to people of all ages and backgrounds.
What are your long-term goals in philately?
I would like to always stay engaged somehow depending on where I am in life. It can range from selling stamps online, attending APS or local stamp shows, or keeping in touch with young adults in YPLF.
What would you say to someone considering joining YPLF?
It's cliché to say, but I would say the sky's the limit. I would encourage them to reach out because no matter what track they do, there are so many people and resources out there to learn from. I continue to learn by asking questions and learning about different areas in the hobby. Whatever you have envisioned for the YPLF or want to get involved with, stick with it and do not get overwhelmed with just how much information there is to learn.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with the audience of fellows, alumni, donors, and potential applicants?
I would like to thank all the donors and stamp collectors who provided donations, help, time and resources through the year that I was in YPLF and the ones that continue to fund and support the YPLF to help get young people involved in the hobby.
Are you wondering if you or someone you know should apply for the Young Philatelic Leaders Fellowship Program? Check out the exciting perks of being a Fellow!
- Receive a one-year APS membership
- Choose an area of interest: Author, Curator, Dealer, Designer, Exhibitor & Analyst
- Learn from an adult mentor
- Attend the Great American Stamp Show and Spring Meeting
- Attend Summer Seminar on Philately at the American Philatelic Center
- Interact with stamp collectors from around the United States