By Del Albright, Ambassador Sharetrails.Org/BRC
Do not just volunteer; but rather up-purpose your volunteerism! In today’s world when we are all torn in many directions by multiple jobs, kid’s school games, community involvement, paying bills, family commitments and more, we must stop wasting our precious volunteer time. Too many of us have become trapped into the status quo of losing ground in the long run. Herein I will explain purposeful volunteerism and how we need to push beyond just holding our ground when it comes to access to responsible motorized recreation.
First of all, we must embrace the concept “think globally; act locally.” If you want to up-purpose your volunteer time, I suggest you always consider the big picture before you invest your time. Ask yourself, “in the big scheme of things, will this project I’m about to undertake make a difference worth my time invested?” If it will, then do it. If it won’t, then don’t do it – find something better to do with your volunteer time. But it must start with a serious and purposeful consideration of the global picture – the overall future of motorized recreation in America.
Working Association Events: Yes, I believe that working (volunteering) at state association or club events does make a difference in the long run to the big picture. When the event is geared towards raising funds to help the association/club accomplish its mission, you are helping the global cause by being involved. The extent of your involvement is not as important as the purpose of your commitment. If all you can do is run the sign-in table at convention, which frees up other people to do more complicated jobs, then smile proud and do your job! You are helping the global cause.
Curing Toenail Fungus: No, I don’t think investing my discretionary off road time and money into curing fungus among us is the right way to be a purposeful volunteer for motorized recreation. Even if you do cure the fungus, you’ll be lucky to get a 1/16 page blurb in the newspaper and a fleeting thank you in some newsletter/website that people might remember for a week. You will not be curing our loss of lands and access with this supposed image-enhancing effort. The trick here is to invest your time in events and causes that MOSTLY support off-road recreation and also to a smaller extent support a feel-good cause. There are exceptions to every "rule" and please don't be offended if you are supporting or working one of those events dedicated to a particular cause that really makes sense to you.
Being a Club or Organization Leader: Yes, for sure I believe that taking on a leadership role in a club or association is a key factor in being purposeful in your volunteer efforts. The entire motorized world does not have enough people with the time to invest in being a leader. So if that is you, jump all over it and do it with gusto – but also do it with the global picture always forefront in your mind. Ask yourself, for example, if being part of an ego squabble is the right way to protect our access future? Play your own “devil’s advocate” and challenge the actions you are taking or about to take. Will your next step really help the big picture – are you being purposeful in your volunteerism? As a leader, this is a key component to inspiring others to do the same. When you can influence the actions, beliefs and productivity of several other volunteers, then you have become an unstoppable force in the future of motorized access.
Taking it to Court: Only by escalating to more offensive strategies will we win the battles for access. This means we need a war chest that will allow us to take it to court when needed –to go legal and go strong! Those who oppose our way of life have the funds and legal teams to file lawsuits at the drop of a hat. They tie up land management agencies in fearful legal engagements and threats that tie up our access in the meantime and many times in the long run. We must get ahead of this curve and be preemptive where needed. Donating to legal efforts like those of the BlueRibbon Coalition is the primary thing we can all do to take it to the next level – or at least be willing, prepared and able to go on the offensive.
Joining and Donating: There is nothing more fundamental to up-purposing your involvement than joining, renewing or donating to everything you can afford that helps protect recreational motorized access. If you do nothing else, an on-going donation program or an annual contribution on top of your renewing memberships is globally significant! We must unite our voices and build our access forces, as well as our war chests if we are to win these battles.
JOIN -- VOLUNTEER -- DONATE -- SUPPORT
Summary: Continually ask yourself if you are making progress to the global picture, or just staying trapped in the status quo of losing ground. Remember to be purposeful in your volunteer efforts by investing your time where the payback is worth it to the big picture of keeping our access to responsible motorized recreation. And let’s go beyond just holding our ground!
More on ShareTrails.Org/BRC legal program: http://www.sharetrails.org
More on volunteer/leader training: http://www.rltc.biz
Original author: Del Albright