What if everyone was like me?
by: wayoffroad (cory)
I recently had a conversation with the president of a local 4x4 club in New England. We were talking about the important aspects of the sport (Land use, public image, club participation, etc.), and how difficult it is to get people involved, and keep them involved. This got me thinking about all the excuses I have made about being to busy to get involved in anything that did not benefit me directly, such as hard core wheeling trips. And it made me think, "What if everyone was like me?" What if people like Stephen Gallagher, Roy Van Gemert, Scott Hatch, Shane Beard, and so many others, didn't take the time to get involved. Where would the sport be then? What if there were no clubs, or associations looking out for the best interest of the 4x4 community? What if these people made excuses, and didn't take the time to go to meetings, do research and set up events? Where would we all be then?
Another thing I have noticed is, that the people who seem to be the most involved, are people who have the busiest schedules in their day to day lives. What I mean is, these are not people with nothing better to do. These are people with careers, families and other obligations, who still take the time to get involved in making our sport better for all of us.
I've also been watching other similar sports lately like Snowmobiling, and noticing how organized and politically involved they are. And I wonder, what would it take for us to have the trail network that they have? The kind of political power and say that they have in their local government? Does all this seem impossible? Think about it. Snowmobilers are just enthusiasts, just like me and you. They aren't any smarter than us. They don't particularly have more, or spend any more money on their sport than we do. So why has Snowmobiling grown to be a multi-million dollar industy in New England? One word. Organization.
So what am I going to do to increase my involvement? Realistically, honestly, probably not a lot more than I already am. But for starters, I am going to try to do more to support the people who do. I am going to join another club, and continue being a dues paying member in the clubs I am involved in. I'm going to remember how frustrating it would be to try to get people organized and keep things rolling productively, and get no appreciation whatsoever. And most importantly, I'm going to remember to say thank you to the people that try so hard to make things better for all of us in the off road community. And I hope you will too.