In a final post regarding the opening of Ginger Gully I would like to present Andrew's view of the opening day. Yes, I am banging on a bit about this but honestly I put so much effort into this build(as did everyone that came along) not to shout it from the blogospere.
You will see my kids and might even catch me trying to stay off camera for everyone's betterment. The numbers of rider that turned up (at our request) was very impressive and everyone looks like they are having a great time...apart from the little fella on the blue bike who clearly thought he was going to DIE!
We have been promoting our trail building efforts in a positive light, trying to encourage more participation and the proof is in the pudding. Pretty much everyone loves the trails.
So, fast forward to the next Saturday morning and our monthly trail care day where we do minor repairs to existing trails. After having about 60 people at the free BBQ we hoped there might be a flow on effect at the trail care morning, a mere 6 days later.
Well, (insert tumbleweed emoticon here) we had a massive turn out of 5. Yep, thats right, 5. Three regulars, one new bloke(thanks Kevin) and one 12-14 year old boy who was actually at the trail opening day and decided not to do his usual ride but to come do some digging this week(thanks Ryan). I had to run off after just one hour to get to my kids sporting commitment, leaving just 4. Riding the trail a few days later and not surprisingly almost nothing had been done. Three small fixes of the ten to twelve that were on the list. No slight on the guys that were there. They just couldn't do it in the time allotted.
So what is the answer? Somehow we need to engage the volunteers so that they feel a connection and want to come back. Unfortunately we are working with a local government organisation that is setting an inflexible standard and our volunteers(me included) feel excluded from any decision making. Yet we provide ALL of the elbow grease that makes the build happen.
Maybe the volunteers need to be more charitable as well? Social commentator Hugh Mackay puts the case for "giving back" very eloquently in this conversation with the ABC's Richard Fidler. I find that Hugh puts into words the feeling that I have had for the last couple of years and couldn't articulate, even to myself. Don't worry, it isn't religious but please take the time to listen. It is thought provoking stuff.
Or perhaps W.C. Fields famous quote of "never work with children or animals" should be expanded to "Never work with children, animals or volunteers". Actually, it may not be that catchy.......
Cheers and thanks to all of the guys and girls that put so much personal blood, sweat and beers into making some freakin' awesome trails.
You know who you are.