@GG1 4877 posted:
The original purpose of the rule as I understand dates back to the early days when TCA was a small club and members truly knew who they were sponsoring. As TCA grew to its peak of over 20,000 members, the two signature rule became anachronistic as anyone would sign anyone's application to bring in a prospective member. One perspective is two signatures speak prestige while another perspective is they speak elitism. I can be objective and see how both sides of that coin can be perceived.
It is a bit ironic in my personal situation as my sponsors were my father and my uncle and I am proud to be third generation model railroader. I also became a member at age 32 which is considered a child by today's standards.
I can see how the two signature rule could be interpreted as elitist. I would also concede that the TCA was more of a closed group of buyers and sellers back when it was founded and perhaps it made sense to have members you know and trust.
I also think that towards the end the spirit of the rule was violated by people signing for total strangers.
The slow and steady decline of TCA membership is probably due more to demographics than any membership processes.