The meetings in Antigo with enthusiasts at the TrailCon event in Antigo, WI were an incredible experience for me. Hosted by the Wisconsin ATV Association (WATVA), the Association of Wisconsin Snowmobile Clubs (AWSC), and the Wisconsin Horse Council, this was the first year for the TrailCon event, but I can guarantee it will not be the last. (Read about it at http://www.trailcon.us/. They also have a blog on that site.) If the intent of the event was to bring enthusiasts and enthusiast groups from both the dirt and snow side of recreation together to work toward a more effective communication and cooperation, they well succeeded. Stay tuned. I know there will be much more to come as the TrailCon event moves forward. It is also likely to set a standard for others to follow in other states. I am glad the BlueRibbon is included and part of this. I don't know if you've spent much time looking at what the organized groups are doing here in Wisconsin, but I can tell you they are on the move and innovative in their efforts. They have got it going on here.
For my part in the event, I know I was billed as a keynote speaker for both days, but I am the one who came away the better for having been there. The presenter was presented to. The point of this tour is to hear from the grassroots and hear from them I did. We held two days of town hall type sessions where I did a short presentation and then turned the microphone over to them to listen. I know I've joked a little about giving myself a new title at BRC for the next couple of months while I'm on this tour, but I am serious about being the CLO (Chief Listening Officer). Wearing the hat of CLO of BRC during these sessions was exactly where I wanted to be and exactly what this tour is all about.
Thankfully I found someone to act as scribe taking notes for both sessions. I literally came away from the event with pages and pages of feedback. Not only did I get a lot of good input on their concerns for taking to DC when the ride is over, but these folks brought a lot of good suggestions for what BRC can do to grow our effectiveness into the future. With suggestions and discussion on topics ranging from communications, education, and advocacy to how we can better assist the grassroots resolve the issues they face, I know the Board of BRC is going to be able to use the feedback I am getting to enhance our effectiveness for the next 25 years. I am excited about that.
During the sessions, I was also able to answer a lot of questions our folks had for me about BRC. You know... the "BlueWho?" questions. It's all good and goes a long way toward helping the grassroots understand how they can better plug in as members of the BlueRibbon Coalition. They are who make our world go around. Good stuff I tell ya... actually, great stuff!