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Saturday, July 7, 2018



Why Are We Not Good Followers?

By Del Albright

Why would you expect a person like me (four wheeler, dune buggier, old dirt biker, wanna-be snowmobiler) who is living the American Dream of Freedom of Expression to be a good follower?  Why should I not be completely skeptical?  Why is it we have such a hard time following another volunteer?

Here is what I have found that hinders us from being good followers.

Well first off, we are pretty territorial.  Turf battles are not uncommon in the OHV world.  Membership struggles are a constant reminder that we want to hang onto our own; no matter what and no matter how ineffective we or our group might be.

Secondly, we’re self-serving sometimes. We want our own kingdoms (and trails and freedoms).  We certainly, again, do not want to lose our memberships to other groups or organizations.  I experienced this first hand when I helped start NAMRC.  All NAMRC does is coordinate, facilitate, and find common solutions to common problems.  But it took several YEARS to even have the first meeting.  I, personally, had to take one public bashing at an annual convention that I will never forget over starting NAMRC.  People get pretty possessive about the sport and organization they love.

Third, we have learned in today’s society to distrust.  We do not trust government.  We do not trust the anti-access folks.  And many times we do not trust each other.  And if a big national group is not doing something immediately recognizable for a local group, the distrust surfaces instantly.  And distrust certainly does not generate unity or donations.

Fourth, we do not have enough money.  The anti-access folks have tons of folks working full time for their cause.  Do we?  No.  Do we even find room in our budgets to send folks to important meetings?  Sometimes; but it is always a struggle.  We are not there enough when we need to be.  We do not have enough full time folks working for our cause. Yet, we still have wins, especially large national groups like the BlueRibbon Coalition and their legal team:

Fifth, I have to address personalities.  Yes, I am suggesting that we are susceptible to personality management – managing by personalities.  You joined your local club probably because you liked the people in it.  It is only natural.  We like to associate with folks we like. We operate in clicks.  So if a national figure or group does not wrap your winch, you most likely will not consider him/her a leader for you.  (Read more on Do Personalities Rule Your Recreation?).

It would be nice if we could get away from personalities, turf, self-serving, and all the other things that hold us back.  We need to hitch our horses to one lead horse/group, while still maintaining our individual places on the team. Old timers who refuse get it, or young whipper-snappers who will not follow the rules, need to park their junk and stay off our trails until they DO get it.

The bottom line is money.  At one time, I ran a large volunteer fire department as part of my other life.  Volunteers were hard to come by. Volunteerism throughout the nation is on the decline.  The solution inevitably seems to be paying volunteers to volunteer.  

People have too many priorities these days and are just too busy to do everything.  So we provide an incentive -–money.  It is the way the anti-access "greenies" operate.  It is time for us to do it too.

Yes, I would rather put more bucks in my rig.  Yes, I would love to have a new RV.  But just maybe, it is time for me to kick some more money into groups saving our trails rather than get that new goodie this year.  Heck, if I do not, maybe I will not have a place to use my junk before it is all over?

It is time to talk as one; to fight as a team; to be good followers; and to have a united front against those who want us to park our rigs in the garage and leave them there. Freedom is at stake.



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