Tuesday, January 12, 2016

NATIONAL AND STATE-LEVEL COOPERATION AND COMMUNICATION -- NAMRC

 HOW MANY ORGANIZATIONS DO WE NEED?

WHAT IS NAMRC?

By Del Albright

Originally published 1998; re-published with additions January 2016


 I had my new TJ Jeep hung up and somewhat wounded in a “crack” in Moab not too long ago, about to get out the duct tape and bailing wire, when a couple dirt bikers came by.  They saw my delimma (mechanically disadvantaged that I can be at times) and stopped their bikes to watch the show.   I was grunting and moaning and shaking my head like a guy who must know what he’s doing.  They smiled, pulled off their helmets, and settled in for a long show.



Well, the gist of it is, they were not only mechanically knowledgeable, but also very helpful.  I gave up on the duct tape and got out the Hi-Lift jack.  Between the jack, a few tools I had, the trusty winch on the front of “C UN RD” (Seeing Red), and the three of us, we got the Jeep out in no time and back on the trail. 

As we stood around and celebrated our engineering feat, I told them how much I appreciated their stopping to help.  I don’t remember the guy’s name, but he did have an AMA (American Motorcycle Association) sticker on his bike.  But his comment to me has stuck with me (get it, stuck?) until this day.  He said: “Hey, pard, all trail users gotta stick together!”  Boy, ain’t that the truth?

Well, sticking together means more than just helping each other out on the trail.  We’ve got to band together politically as well in order to keep our trails open for all to use.  The importance of this cannot be over-stated.  All motorized users need to come to the realization that the only cure to resisting the current trend to close everything, is to band together in a unified multiple use voice.

When the radical enviro-protectionists say they want public land closed to motorized use, they aren’t just talking about four wheelers.  In fact, if it’s got a motor or a mechanized way of motating (like a mountain bike), they want it OFF of public lands.  Heck, this even applies to quiet forms of transportation like horses in some areas.  In other words, if you’re not doing it on foot, some folks would just as soon have you not do it!

So what’s the solution?  Well, in my opinion, it means dirt bikers, four wheelers, snowmobilers, ATVers, equestrians, and anyone else who wants public lands open to their recreation (and their children) MUST come together to the same table.



Yes, you’re saying, the Blue Ribbon Coalition is just such a group.  And BRC does one heck of a great job of being political activists on a national level.  They are one organization I think we should all belong too because they are activists for multiple use.  We also have many fine, and very effective national/regional/state organizations fighting similar battles.  But until now, no such group existed that brings us all together at the leadership level just to share information, set common strategies, identify common battles, and unify our efforts back within our parent organizations.  I say no such group; because this group I’m talking about has no dues, no structure, and no members. 



NAMRC, the North American Motorized Recreation Council is just such a group.  It is a coalition of national leaders who come together like Knights of the Round Table, to share, inform, exchange ideas, develop strategies to common problems and unify the efforts of all motorized recreation.  At first, NAMRC was four-wheel drive oriented, with leaders from all over the nation gathering at a common table.  It didn’t take but two meetings for the realization to set in that NAMRC needed to include all forms of motorized trail use.  That’s the key to the future.  All of is working together, getting the most out of our individual and group efforts.

Many folks have contributed to the initiation of this Council.  Leadership from the East Coast Four Wheel Drive Association suggested a similar 4wd council years ago.  I started the Land Use Network (LUN) as an email version of this very same idea back in 1994.  Leaders from national snowmobile groups have kicked around this idea in the last year.  So we’re all saying the same thing.  Let’s get together a few times a year and unify our efforts.  Rest assured, this group, NAMRC, steals no members from any organization.  It is merely a collection of leaders of already existing groups.  And the activist’s activities that we do STILL take place within our parent organizations. 

At the last meeting of NAMRC in Las Vegas on Nov. 4th, 1998, it was resolved to include leadership from all forms of motorized recreation on our council. As of now, we’re inviting many new groups, from all forms of motorized trail use, to join our group.  If your organization would like to participate in NAMRC (2 meetings a year), then contact me or any of our supporting participants.

Tom Crimmins and myself are the NAMRC facilitators for the meetings.  We make sure notes are taken and the group stays on track with the meeting.  It’s a very productive gathering.    I take a little personal pride in the fact that it was through the LUN (neutral, no dues, non member stealing group that it is) that I was able to get all the major four-wheel drive leaders to the first meeting in Vegas back in November 1997.  Back then we called it the Meeting of the Minds (MOM).    It took the help of a lot of folks networking on the phone and email to get us started, but once we hit the ground, we hit it running. 



NAMRC has now taken its place in the world of trail use coordination/cooperation.  Leaders from all sorts of groups will be involved and helping to build an Action Plan to take back to our parent organizations to fight to keep public lands available and open to the public.   Our parent organizations still have the option how much they want to be included; but the handwriting is on the wall.  We all want the same things.

Here is the adopted MISSION of NAMRC: an alliance of many organizations that accomplishes many purposes to include: facilitate communications; share information, expertise and resources to enhance unity; and help the organized motorized recreation community and other interested groups become more effective in their efforts to maintain, improve and expand opportunities and experiences in our many forms of recreation.

 The future is now.  Please offer the support of your organization/interest to ensure the success of NAMRC.  We can make a difference.   Can you imagine the strength of all motorized recreation groups banding together to unite our battles against those who oppose our form of recreation?  Stand by radical protectionists, there’s a new kid on the block with a big (and effective) mouth!!

Feel free to write or email if you have any questions or concerns.
Del Albright
NAMRC Facilitator, www.namrc.com


AFTER NOTE:
We later, as a group, established this foundation:

PURPOSE: The NAMRC group proclaimed the strengths and resources of NAMRC to be:
·         Sharing of Newsletters and information
·         Ability to collaborate and do fund-raising events
·         Developing equipment manufacturing relationships
·         Regional Networking
·         Volunteer force building
·         Web page sharing and development
·         Youth Program sharing, ideas and development
·         Core workshops for volunteers
·         Internet mailing lists
·         Ability to transfer and share knowledge and resources
·         Legislative and regulatory tracking
·         Building a cadre of youthful leadership
·         Ability to monitor CFR and Distribute Information
·         Able to tap into Dedicated Executive Boards
·         Special Event participation
·         Affiliations with Peterson media (at the time)
·         Training and other materials/resources from groups like                        NOHVCC and BlueRibbon Coalition
·         Sharing of experienced competitive infrastructure, safety and       sanctioning
·         Lobbying expertise and ideas.


 ##
Del
NAMRC Facilitator

Monday, January 4, 2016

SUMMARY OF SIGNIFICANT LAND USE BLOG POSTS

AVOID CHASING SHADOWS: FIND IMPORTANT BLOG POSTS HERE.


A Summary of Links to Significant Blog Posts


By Del Albright, BRC National Ambassador





FOUR E's: Four “E’s” of Protecting Access: http://delalbright.blogspot.com/2015/09/four-es-of-protecting-access.html

EGOS: Egos and Personalities Killing our Access: http://delalbright.blogspot.com/2015/12/they-are-killing-our-access.html

NAMRC: How to Form a State-Level Recreation Council like NAMRC: http://delalbright.blogspot.com/2015/12/forming-state-level-recreation-councils.html


LETTERS: How to Write Effective Letters to Politicians and Bureaucrats: http://delalbright.blogspot.com/2015/01/how-to-write-effective-letters-to.html

JULY FOURTH: uly 4 Independence Day: What does it mean?: http://delalbright.blogspot.com/2013/07/july-4-independence-day-meaning.html








SUCCEEDING: How to Succeed in Volunteerism (and land use): http://delalbright.blogspot.com/2014/11/how-to-succeed-in-volunteerism-and.html


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Del

Sunday, January 3, 2016

ASK BUSINESSES TO HELP US SAVE TRAILS IN 2016

OFF HIGHWAY, OFF-ROAD BUSINESSES NEED TO HEAR FROM YOU THE CUSTOMER

Saving Trails in 2016 Will Take us All Doing Our Part.

By Del Albright, National Ambassador, BRC

I ask for your help as we start 2016 to get a TON more off-road, off-highway businesses to join or renew in BlueRibbon Coalition. I just reviewed this list of member business and dang, I'm a bit disappointed.

Please take a look (by state) and if you don't see YOUR favorite business, shoot them a personal email, post on their FB page, do whatever it takes, but we WILL NOT save trails and keep our sports alive WITHOUT our businesses fully behind us. Period.  This job of keeping our backcountry motorized recreation sports alive and our trails open will take all of us doing our part.  BUSINESSES ARE KEY -- they may also be busy and not remember to join up or renew.  Let's help them help us.

LINK to current BRC business members (and clubs) 

https://www.sharetrails.org/about/member-organizations




While you're at it, you can also check your listing of businesses on your state association or other group you believe in. Find out WHO in our business world needs a reminder from YOU, the customer. Give them that nudge; and thank them when they do renew (or join).

I will be happy to help if you need my assistance.
##
Del

Thursday, December 31, 2015

10 TIPS FOR VOLUNTEER LEADERS


10 THINGS TO KEEP HANDY AND REMEMBER AS LEADERS OF VOLUNTEERS

Excerpts from the Recreational Leadership Training Course (RLTC)

By Del Albright

By the nature of the title "volunteer leader" there is never enough time to do all the things you want to do, or thought you should do.  Being a volunteer is a part time job at best.   Thus we must learn to prioritize and get those things done that accomplish the most bang for our buck, and get the most action out of others we influence.

Here are 10 tips to remember and keep handy as a volunteer leader, always strapped for time, always on some sort of time-crunch, and never fully supported for what you need to do.  (smile).

1.  Deliver what you promise; and don't promise what you can't deliver.

2.  For speeches, remember to: Tell them what you're going to tell them; tell them; then tell them what you told them.

3.  When dealing with bureaucracy, never take the first three "no's."  Be persistent in what you want.

4.  A leader doing one thing gets one thing done; a leader motivating (supervising) 7 people to action gets 7 things done.

5.  The Leadership Triangle reminds us to: Inspire, Motivate and Facilitate volunteers.

6.   A complaint is never legitimate until it is voiced to someone who can fix it.  

7.  Aerobic listening is more than active listening -- give and receive feedback with volunteers.

8.  Draw a picture -- most volunteers are visual.  Give them something to "see" of what is in your mind you want done.

9.  A leader makes things happen; as they say, lead, follow or get out of the way.

10.  Never forget that a volunteer is giving you their most precious commodity -- their time. Treat it with respect and never waste it.


Leading volunteers to victory can be learned; you are not necessarily "born" with that ability.  With a volunteer you are asking them to do something -- not bossing them around.  Use your nice voice and be patient.  And most importantly in any volunteer effort, always say THANK YOU when the job is done.

I offer more in depth training and tips on leading volunteers in my online training course, the Recreational Leadership Training Course (RLTC) explained here:  http://www.rltc.biz
##
Del



Monday, December 28, 2015

FORMING STATE-LEVEL RECREATION COUNCILS LIKE NAMRC

FORMING STATE LEVEL MOTORIZED RECREATION COUNCILS

Following the national NAMRC formula

 By Del Albright, BRC Ambassador


OVERVIEW: The solution to a positive future for motorized recreation lies in more unity among users.  Statewide cooperation and coordination between different modalities (like dirt bikes, 4x4, atv, utv, etc.) are key to ending the dauntless onslaught of anti-access propaganda and closure efforts. This short article will explain how to set up a state level group following the example of the national effort NAMRC – North American Motorized Recreation Council.

NAMRC has brought together dozens of off-highway groups, melding all modes of recreation, making a huge difference in our national approach to securing a future for our sports.  The same thing needs to happen at every state level, with all state groups coordinating with NAMRC.  No chain of command or change in authority is suggested; just information, communication, coordination and cooperation -- from a multiple-use perspective. 



NAMRC is an alliance of organizations that facilitates communications, shares information, expertise and resources to enhance unity. NAMRC helps the organized motorized recreation community nationwide and other interested groups become more effective in their efforts to maintain, improve and expand opportunities and experiences in our many forms of recreation.

A founding principle of NAMRC that has proven successful to its effectiveness for nearly 15 years is the face-to-face element and human interaction – not just on forums, webcasts or internet video conferencing. Bringing people together, at the same table, knowing each other’s face and tone of voice, along with the “extra” interaction that takes place during the meeting breaks have shown to be significant.  States can and should do the same thing.

By way of example for states considering a state-level council, here are some accomplishments of NAMRC:

1.   Helped establish several kid’s programs in multiple states from examples brought to NAMRC meeting.
2.   Broke down barriers and cured misunderstandings between several off-highway groups that were hampering successes in gaining access in several regions of the country.
3.   Established completely new lines of communication and cooperation between dozens of state and regional groups.
4.   Gave new land use and club leadership folks a greater network for accomplishing goals and improving access opportunities.
5.   Cleared the way for more and better grant funding opportunities in many states/regions.
6.   Shared untold number of “how to” tips in land use and leadership from different areas of the country.
7.   Facilitated better communications and land use networking nationwide.


STEPS: The author’s simple formula has worked in forming coalitions and other groups all across the country, beginning with the Friends of the Rubicon (FOTR) in 2001. The concept began as a way to establish “an alliance of factions formed for a specific unified purpose.”  Knowing that in off-highway recreation, enthusiasts shy away from relinquishing authority or responsibility of their own organization, it is a simple matter to ensure that doesn’t happen and make your state level group non-threatening to existing efforts – but rather enhancing.  Here are the steps.

 1.   Step up to the plate.  One person with credibility, or a small core team of state level users can begin the process.  Someone just has to make the first move and get things rolling.

 2.   Communicate.  Begin collecting emails, perusing club websites, finding club leaders and all affected sports, harvesting emails/contacts from forums, and start an email network about unifying the state efforts. Set up a Facebook page if appropriate.  Make sure your message is non-threatening to existing groups. You are not stealing memberships and you are not taking away anyone’s authority.  You are merely enhancing state level cooperation and coordination. 

NOTE: It may be helpful to immediately schedule a state level “summit” to introduce the idea of statewide cross-modality coordination such as the one in California (March 2003): http://www.delalbright.com/access/summit.htm. Another idea is to hold a field trip/event bringing all modalities together like the Multiple-Use Shared Trails (MUST) Workshop here: http://www.delalbright.com/access/must_workshop.html


 3.   Advertise.  Pick a (tentative) name like “California Motorized Recreation Council” (CMRC), and make sure your state’s name is included.  Social networks and websites can be helpful in this step of the formula. Just make sure you have enough support in the core team before you launch too strongly on a name.   But start getting the word out that state level multiple-use coordination is about to take a new turn.  Core team members may have to set personal meetings or calls with existing group leadership to ensure there are no perceived threats to membership, dues, or their mission.

 4.   Develop the organization.  Build your alliance with word of mouth, emailing networks and forums, etc.  Set up a state level meeting for your inaugural launch, and don’t worry if not all groups are represented yet.  The national group NAMRC started out with 15 people in the room and now we have over 60.  Encourage participants to reach out to other groups to bring them to the table, and in the meantime, add them to your email network.  If you think your email network will get fairly large, you may benefit from an emailing service like iContact or Constant Contact for a few bucks a month.   

                                                                        
Run your meetings well, with a trained facilitator or someone who is good at making meetings productive. Always end your meetings with an action item list for follow up.  Appoint someone to do the follow up and keep track of the action item list. Post your minutes/notes on a public forum/website (like NAMRC does at http://www.namrc.com).

IN GENERAL: The group can decide if dues, officers or any other officialdom is necessary, but the success of NAMRC has partially been the lack of bureaucracy and the total focus on communicating, sharing and finding solutions to common problems without a bunch of “rules of order.”   NAMRC has no dues, no structure, or officers or anything that would make it appear to be distracting from existing groups, associations and clubs.  It is a Knights of the Round Table approach.

You can get some great additional help/information from the National Off Highway Vehicle Conservation Council (NOHVCC) here with their Club State Up Kit: http://www.nohvcc.org/Materials/ClubStartUp.aspx

Here is a very thorough list from the BlueRibbon Coalition of advocacy resources that may be useful as well: https://www.sharetrails.org/about/advocacy-resources

NATIONAL COORDINATION: Once your group is started, automatically put on the calendar to have someone take a report/update to the NAMRC meeting, usually held with the SEMA show in Las Vegas, NV, the first week of November (www.namrc.com).  Appoint someone to be the national point of contact to sharing information and being on the national NAMRC email list. Further enhance your efforts by setting up joint meetings or trail recons with adjoining states where similar problems cross state boundaries. Enlist national groups as appropriate to assist where possible.

SUMMARY:   Like NAMRC, state level motorized recreation councils can break down communication barriers and set new significant actions in motion for a better off-highway recreation future without jeopardizing existing group/association missions.



National groups like the grassroots oriented BlueRibbon Coalition (www.ShareTrails.Org) is always available to help establish state level cooperative efforts. NOHVCC (www.nohvcc.org) has a wealth of helpful web resources and materials as well.

Some day in the future we may have the funds to hire full time land use and leadership people in every state, fighting for access every day and helping to keep trails open.  But until that day comes, volunteers and existing club/association members must band together with other modalities and clubs to ensure we are all on the same page with unified voices, carrying the same message, and protecting our access as a team.   The author feels the best way we can do that is to have state-level cooperative groups that cross not only club boundaries but also modality differences – a multiple-use front of united voices.
##
Del


Sunday, December 20, 2015

Folded Flag Tribute Jeep Tour with Team Albright

Team Albright, Del & Stacie are Driving a special Jeep from Maine to Florida this spring.
Del and Stacie are rockin' the east coast in tribute.
We are PROUD to be part of the inaugural launch of the Folded Flag Tribute Jeep being built-up right now at Clayton Off Road with the help of some great sponsors like BFGoodrich TiresRaceline WheelsFactor 55,WARNNorthStar BatteryJeep TweaksFOXTom Wood's Custom Drive ShaftsReid RacingClayton Off RoadRugged Ridgeand JcrOffroad, thanks to the the incredible team, Josh and Jen Schwalb of the The Great American Jeep Rally and Great American Charitable Events.

We plan to stop at several places to pay tribute to veterans and their families, war memorials and museums. We will also incorporate visits with motorized recreation enthusiasts, associations and clubs (as per your suggestions), to pay tribute to our access to responsible recreation and freedom!
We have a little over a week to make the drive and end up in time for Jeep Beach in Daytona Beach, FL, where the JK will be on display as well.

There is still room for a few select businesses to help sponsor the actual tour from Maine to Florida, and be part of the promotional media. Just drop me a pm if interested, or email Del at del@delalbright.com

NOTE: we hope to touch the ocean in all 14 states of the eastern seaboard, and pose the Tribute Jeep at dozens of famous places on the east coast. Of course, our purpose will be to carry our message of land use, responsible recreation and motorized recreation freedom where ever we go -- it's all about access and keeping our trails and riding areas open, and paying respect to the veterans who have given us our freedoms. 
PLACES TO STOP: we want your suggestions. PLEASE go over to the Folded Flag Tribute Jeep page and make suggestions as to places to honor veterans, events, war memorial/museums, club events, club/association meetings, or just ideas where we could link up with motorized enthusiasts and spend some quality time talking about the future of our sports. 
Website here: http://foldedflagjk.org/



Friday, December 11, 2015

They Are Killing Our Access

They Are Killing Our Access!


How Egos and Personalities Could Be Our Downfall


By Del Albright, BlueRibbon Ambassador
Is your club ticked off at a neighboring club?  Are you drifting away from your club because of the behavior of a few folks?  Do you find yourself attending fewer club/group meetings these days?  Do you feel like your opinion does not count? Are you ready to just say to heck with it and walk away as a volunteer?  Are you tired of the politics and clicks in your club?  In other words, do egos and personalities ruin your recreation?


In my travels around the country helping folks to get organized and keep trails open, I have seen too much of the above problems. Don't get me wrong, there are tons of great clubs that are doing just fine.  But I've seen my share of egos and personalities driving folks away from organized recreation.  There are ways to fix that.

I am convinced that our future lies in folks joining and staying active in organized recreation.  The more we band together and stay tuned into what's happening with our trails, the better our chances of having a sport in the future.  The more we separate or alienate from each other – as in not joining groups -- the less chance we have of surviving as a recreational pursuit.  We must be together at every opportunity. 

This means that our local clubs/groups must be viable and effective.   I am always reminded of the anti-access (radical environmental groups) slogan of “think globally; act locally.” They have got it figured out.  They preach keeping the big picture in mind, while taking baby steps at the local level towards achieving the big picture.  It works!

In large business corporations and management, there's a concept called the “Swiss Cheese” approach.  Swiss cheese has a lot of holes in it to make the cheese what it is.  When a manager is faced with a tremendously complex task, the Swiss cheese approach is to make one hole at a time until you have your block of cheese done.   In other words, like a long hike in the back country, it's just one step at a time until you reach your destination. 

This is where the local level involvement is so important.  If we're all taking baby steps, punching holes in the big block of Swiss cheese, eventually we'll achieve the big global picture -- responsible access for all!


It starts with your local club or group.  It starts with a few folks deciding to get past personalities and get something done for the greater good.  It starts with a commitment to not let someone else control how you feel about your sport or your club.  It starts with you making sure “they” don’t kill our access!

If you have personality issues in your club or group, I suggest that before you give up, you confront them head on.  Let folks know how you feel and what you expect.  Only then can a group or club decide if they want to make changes to accommodate your wishes.  But to me, it is such a shame to see someone drop out of a group without letting people know the reason why.  It's similar to telling a boss at work what's wrong from your perspective so the problem can be fixed.  Many times bosses don't know what the employees know.  So by letting someone know there's a problem, at least you give them a chance to fix it.

There's an old saying I use a lot: “A complaint is never legitimate until it's voiced to someone who can fix it.”  If personalities are ruling your recreation, then I suggest you speak up and clear the air.  Get to the “peace table” and talk it out.   Go face to face and don’t try to solve in on the forums. Find solutions or compromises that all the parties can live with.  But whatever you do, give it a shot before you give up.

When I help folks get past personality issues, I always remind them that we are not out to change who someone is, only how they behave in our group. If a certain behavior is alienating other club members, then we need to find a way to change that behavior.  It can be done, but only through communications that are pretty open and honest.  


In the leadership training I give folks, I drive home the point that we must let folks know our expectations -- those things that make us smile and enjoy our sport (or our job or anything else).  The same holds true for a club or a volunteer committee.  If you have expectations that are not being fulfilled, then let someone know.  , By doing so you increase your chances of staying in the game and helping to punch holes in that big block of cheese.
Del
More articles on my website about landuse, personalities, clubs, and keeping our sports alive: http://www.delalbright.com/article_list.htm