Friday, February 21, 2014
Sounds like people on all sides of this quarrel have legitimate complaints and grievances with each other. So where does that leave us? Are we going to let that disband us? Are we going to continue with another year of us vs them, whoever us and them are? People are people and I am sure we aren't always going to agree with each other and get along.
Mountain Bikers of Michaux - We are part of a club that rides in a beautiful part of Pennsylvania forest and uses a resource for enjoyment, recreation, exercise, and social gathering. Notice that last part...If we didn't want to socialize we could all ride alone without the club. We're not all going to be great friends who invite each other on every ride or things outside of mountain biking. If people find good friends, great. The club's purpose is obvious and I think we all agree on our main priority. I met the folks that are officers of the Nittany Mountain Bike Association over the summer and they were having similar issues a few years ago. They had a lot of hard feelings and people fighting back and forth about previous transgressions and inconsistencies. Along the lines of what Larry said, they also had numerous trails that were unmarked and off the grid. In a few years, they have secured tourism grants, permission to build trails, purchased trail building equipment, and have also grown their club in number and in influence. How? Among other things, they got back to what they originated for in the first place....get a group of likeminded individuals together to protect their hobby/sport. Nobody here is getting paid for their time so this thing isn't going to be perfect or to everyone's perception of what it should be all the time. I am okay with that and I hope that others can be okay with that imperfection as well because it is our reality. I haven't noticed that re-hashing old grievances and telling each other what we do wrong to be incredibly helpful, correct me if I'm wrong. So can we forgive/forget/shake hands, and have a beer on Sunday to go forward and not backwards? Here are my 1.5 cents worth of suggestions for what I hope we move toward in 2014 and beyond.
1) More official meetings - I agree with what someone else said that once per year is not enough to air these issues--maybe quarterly, monthly?
2) Legitimize what we do so we can perhaps mark trails with signs, get accurate maps created and encourage a formalization of our trail system
3) Secure tourism grants just as Nittany Mountain Bike did (I'd be glad to lead that charge) so we can improve our visibility and positive impact in the forest
4) Regular input from members as to how things are going and how they can improve (people do pay dues after all) through regular meetings/gatherings
5) Groups separated by more/less hammering for larger group rides with occasional FULL GROUP rides for cohesion that may be slower but include everyone (Army does this with Company Runs)--It is obvious that ride choice is something people are interested in
6) End senseless banter and bickering--nothing brings down an organization quicker (club or company) like talking behind each other's backs or sniping on a message board--let's please stop (self included)
These are just suggestions of what I feel are the more important things that could help our club for next year and beyond. Feel free to agree or not and please don't feel like my suggestions are a slight to anyone who is or has been in an officer position. These are just one man's opinions and I wasn't sure I'd be able to articulate them in the meeting well enough. Anyone up for progress?
Thanks for reading if you made it this far,