The U.S.S. Star League chapter in the C.S.R.A. boldly goes where no one has gone before with Star Trek culture, and the members have been enjoying science fiction in general for more than 25 years.
However, the organization, particularly the local chapter, has encompassed so much more during this time, including many charitable, outreach and educational efforts.
Carnell Eubanks, current chapter president and member for 31 years, said, “the episode ‘Star Trek – The City on the Edge of Forever’ introduced the quote ‘Let Me Help,’ a theme which runs through Star Trek, and which is also deeply rooted in our chapter.”
He said the longest running charitable commitment is a yearly Golden Harvest Food Bank drive which has been held for several years in conjunction with December science fiction movie releases. Members staff a table in uniform or crew shirts and take up collections.
The chapter even does its own fundraising to keep activities going, including something called the Ferengi Market, a raffle named for the alien race obsessed with commerce in Star Trek: The Next Generation and later Star Trek series.
“STARFLEET International has a small yearly fee — less than a dollar per month; our chapter is free to join with your STARFLEET membership. “The Ferengi Market” is a yearly raffle of items donated by the crew. Proceeds go to fund certain ship’s activities and supplies,” he said.
Also, U.S.S. Star League participates in the annual Columbia County Christmas parade, which will be at 1 p.m. Dec. 3.
“We have a float and also some members walking in uniform,” he said.
Also, the chapter does outreach events at ABX, the comic and gaming store, in Martinez. At a recent one, all the members wore uniforms and gave out organization materials.
Member Ingrid Warren has a collection of the 1997 Playmates Star Trek figures. She said she takes them to decorate the chapter’s table at events such as the one at ABX. Eubanks had a plush toy of a furry, ever-reproducing Tribble at the organization’s table.
They also participate in a large educational event each year.
“For the past several years we have sponsored, along with the Augusta Richmond County Library, an annual science event. This (coming) year’s event will be March 3, 2024, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.,” Eubanks said.
The event is open to the public. In previous years, presentations have focused on the United States Space Force, a submarine captain giving his experiences and comparing it to life on a starship, real life technology that was once only science fiction, displays, crafts for children and robotics demonstrations, he said.
He said the local chapter has had some amazing experiences through the years, such as an invitation to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum for Star Trek’s 50th anniversary and attending the launch of Space shuttle Columbia.
Members come to meetings in uniform or costumes and may eventually need to make or purchase them.
“We have a few members like Ingrid who can make their own uniforms; most of us buy them at conventions or by mail order. The species represented are as diverse as our membership, including federation and non-federation. Over the years, we have had Borg, Vulcans and Klingons,” said Eubanks.
Eubanks said there’s a cadet program for junior members.
“Like all of our events, they and their parents or guardians have input on proposing activities such as museum trips, etc. for their enrichment,” he said.
Events are updated at the website or Facebook page. Activities include crew briefings, seeing a movie, having dinners at the Captain’s table and attending conventions.
“We have had an incredible journey of ‘friendship and service through fandom’ over the years. We come from all different backgrounds, and I would probably never have met these people who have become dear friends if not for this organization and our love of science fiction,” he said.
“I like to think we have made a difference in each other’s lives and benefited the community,” he said.
Member David Palmer said, “Being a part of the Starfleet International and U.S.S. Star league brings to life the love of Star Trek that I’ve had for my entire life. I’ve made new friends who share a common interest, regardless of other differences we may have. I love that I’ve made connections that I otherwise may not have.”
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