Our community seems to have a tough time communicating with each other. (I do know that this is not an exclusive situation - many, many other "communities" experience the same thing.)

It appears to me however, that because our community seems to be filled with "A" type personalities that we have a tendency to "Go it alone" and hence we have a bit of a rougher time getting assistance.

I have been working at building communication tools for riders for 6 years now and over those six years I have heard one common comment over and over...
We have 100 members but only 5 or 6 seem to do all of the work, or we have 1000 members and only have 10 that are active, present and involved.

Why is that? I know lives are busy but honestly, if you had the desire to join a group or support a cause then why wouldn't you want to be involved? Signing up and paying a membership fee is not where the participation should end. It takes far more than just money to make an event successful or a ride or a riding club, group or association successful.

It takes people - actively participating, bringing forth ideas, assisting with the fund raising, sponsorship, set up and tear down and all of the myriad of details that go with any kind of community event or recreational event.

Events do not happen by themselves. Neither do ride nights, or anything else.

If we want our communities to benefit, if we want events to attend, we need to be engaged. The old adage that A burden shared is a burden lightened is very true.

Take our local AIM-Can event coming up this weekend at Rock City and Centre 2000 this weekend...

We have somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 members.

We have had very little assistance from the membership at large - yet we have a wonderful event planned...Our board of directors has worked hard to get it together BUT I found something out yesterday when I was making calls to all of our membership.

If you actually ask for the help, pick up the phone and get members engaged and make them feel like their input is wanted, needed and valued - there are many who will step up to help.

We have a lot more people who would have helped out had we simply asked the question.
Forums, newsletters, newspapers, web sites are all wonderful for informing people about something that is happening HOWEVER - there is nothing like picking up the telephone and TALKING to people.

Another thing I learned is that some people are small and petty minded and NO AMOUNT of talking is going to change them or their opinions and you can't let those type of people get you down or discourage you, not if you really and truly believe in what you are trying to accomplish. Some people's sole purpose in life seems to be to knock down everything else that others do.

They attend an event and then whine, snivel and complain when things are not to their liking but when you challenge them to get involved - to be a part of the solution....they very seldom do - they are content with pointing out the faults or shortcomings of others.

I believe in the Alliance for Injured Motorcyclists - a network of people who help fellow riders when the worst thing happens and you go down. I believe in Toys for Tots - helping our children to know they are special, loved and cherished.

I work for these causes because I believe in them - they have touched my life at one point or another and for me it's not about me - my ego or anything else - I am involved because it feels good to make a difference - it's NOT about me and whether I like the volunteer I work beside - I do what I do because I believe in the cause and the impact it has to the community at large. While I can not attend every meeting or every event - I do everything I can to help. I make the time because these two causes are extremely important to my heart.

So what does it take to get people active, engaged and on board?
A cause they believe in, and a Board of Directors that is willing to ASK their members for help, input and information.

We have to work the phones, and we have to be consistent at it.
We have to put some FUN into it and we have to tug at their heart strings.

Communication is an art that we all need to be better at, myself included...

Another lesson learned - ASK the question and you might be surprised at what you can learn and the assistance you might glean!

If you are riding today, PLEASE - ride like everyone around you is blind...

Belt Drive Betty

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