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
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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.
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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


Thursday, December 10, 2015

First East Coast Motorized Recreation Leadership Training VLLS

VOLUNTEER LEADER & LAND STEWARDSHIP (VLLS) WORKSHOP #6

IT'S ON FOR THE EAST COAST IN APRIL 2016




Thanks to Josh Schwalb of the Great American Jeep Rally and Great American Charitable Events, with awesome sponsors Omix-ADA and Clayton Off Road, we are conducting the first of its kind leadership and land stewardship (VLLS) workshop in Ashland, MA, April 7-10, 2016.

APPLY NOW!: Student Application here: http://www.delalbright.com/RLTC/vlls_student_application.doc