We had a ” MeetUp.com” group that shared its name with this blog. We tried all kinds of activities to get people involved, but despite having over a hundred members, we were often hard pressed to have anyone attend anything besides the organizers. Since the organizers all knew each other, after three years of efforts, we decided that the rising price tag wasn’t worth the effort anymore.
We’ve dropped the Meet Up group. It seems that if its too easy to “join”, then people regard joining about as important as clicking “Like” on Facebook. They put an equal amount of effort into their activities with the group too. Perhaps that’s why so many groups on Meet Up now charge a fee for joining or participating–to prevent the hours that organizers put into activities only to sit and stare at each other with excessive amounts of supplies and no one to participate.
We’re going to essentially focus our online efforts in simply providing information, and our offline efforts will focus on providing opportunities for hands-on participation, in hopes that we achieve a better balance of effort versus participation than we observed during our efforts with Meet Up. We may include upcoming events in our blog posts and on our website, but participating is going to require being in the area of the activity and making your reservation via the telephone or mail.
So what kinds of things do we intend to do via our offline activities?
Obviously, when we’re planning a camp out, it’s an offline activity. But there are a lot of other things that go hand in hand, not only with Get Ready GO but also with our primary focus, the Exogeny Center. That can include anything from traditional skills to socializing, and it’s all important as part of a sharing concept that makes the world of difference when exposing newbies to an activity.
Organizing is important, but on a small scale, it doesn’t have to have a lot of formal trappings. Someone has to choose an activity, a location, a time/date, and get the word out. Sometimes there is the need to bring in an “expert” to help with the activity too. That means that someone has to be the leader, the person in charge. That doesn’t mean that they become a little dictator and everyone marches on their orders, or soon no one will want to help or participate! With the leader changing with the activity, that means a number of people have an opportunity to learn leadership skills, an important skill set no matter what endeavor one is undertaking. By helping the organizer, people can learn these skills without the stress and weight of the entire event on their shoulders too. All good leaders know the importance of delegation and the ability to flex with different personalities, issues, skills, and desires too.
We hope to soon start planning activities once again, with a wide variety of options, but we’re going to focus on quality versus quantity. Four good activities are far better than twelve not-very-interesting ones, and having people participate is the ultimate goal. Those of us who are outdoors fans really have a hard time understanding why anyone wouldn’t find the woods and streams far more interesting and entertaining than an afternoon at the mall! At the same time, for those who haven’t spent time participating in the past, what seems simple to experienced users becomes incredibly intimidating and mysterious to the neophyte. Sharing is how we can let others learn about the things we are passionate about, increasing interest and support for natural spaces outdoors rather than the latest and greatest in parking lots! If we are exclusionary in the activities, fewer and fewer people will see their merit and support preserving the parks and national forests we treasure so much.
So, if you haven’t taken a novice camping this year, what are you waiting for?
The same goes for fishing and hunting and everything else. Have you shared your skills and passions with anyone?
Share a skill with someone, introduce them to the values that you treasure, and who knows…you may make a lifelong friend, have another hunting buddy, or discover something new yourself. Don’t wait–tomorrows are never promised either.