Building Your Organization; Growing the Movement
September 10-13, 2010 — Delta Queen Hotel — Chattanooga, TN
From September 10-13th, the Alliance hosted our biennial gathering of bicycle and pedestrian advocacy leaders in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on board the Delta Queen and in the wonderful space provided by Outdoor Chattanooga. The incredible turnout exceeded even our highest expectations. In total, we had 106 leaders from 37 states and four Canadian provinces. Even more exciting, though: more than half of the leaders were experiencing their first Leadership Retreat.
Over the course of three days, advocates from across the continent got to know each other in a way you can’t replicate on conference calls or webinars. Whether lounging in the sunny park during the day or chatting long into the night, we shared ideas, challenges and solutions that will undoubtedly make our movement stronger. To prime the pump on crucial issues, like diversity and federal policy, we convened large group discussions. To exchange insight and explore topics in smaller groups, advocate leaders and national experts led more than 20 workshops. Be sure to check out the Alliance Resource Library to download all the materials from those workshops.
But we didn’t just learn and strategize. We had a blast, too. Bolstering the longstanding Thunderhead love affair with Ultimate Frisbee, we gave each participant a snazzy, glow-in-the-dark, Alliance-branded Disc. It certainly came in handy on Sunday night, as we squared off on the lawn for a lively Ultimate game before a hilarious talent show and rocking dance party.
Ali Mangkang of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition nailed the power of the Leadership Retreat by saying it allowed her to “see the big picture for biking and walking, to feel connected to a movement that is growing, and creating real change.” Carol Sildorf, Executive Director of Bike Maryland, told us how wonderful the retreat was, how much she learned and how she was re-energized. “I told all the new Executive Directors there how lucky they were to start their jobs with this retreat,” Carol said. “I wish I had been able to come to this event two years ago… I can’t tell you how much I learned this weekend - it really was incredible.” It was truly gratifying to hear her further describe how the new leaders had a two-year lead by simply coming to this three day retreat because it was packed with so much information and networking focused on bicycle and pedestrian advocacy leaders.
The Alliance staff, board, and more than 25 leaders who shared their expertise in engaging and interactive workshops all did an amazing job. A very special shout out goes to Jeremy Grandstaff, the Alliance’s Member Services Director, who coordinated everything from the curriculum to committee input to the significant logistics of housing and feeding more than 100 people for three full days. Jake Knight, a 2010 Alliance intern, came down from Indiana to lend indispensible, behind-the-scenes assistance that kept the Retreat running smoothly.
The evaluations shine with enthusiastic comments and high scores showing that the Alliance delivered another Leadership Retreat that has surely energized and inspired all who attended. Those of us on the Alliance staff are both proud and humbled by the incredible crew of leaders we get to work with. Thank you for being part of this People Powered Movement! And stay tuned for details on the 2012 Retreat!
Invest in biking and walking advocacy where it matters most... on the ground!
U.S. Federal Transportation Policy Briefing --Call on March 11
Twitter for Media Relations --Call on March 19
Collaborating with Health Stakeholders --Call on March 26
03/12/2014 - Campaign Spotlight: The Little Trail that Could
03/07/2014 - This Week in Biking & Walking
03/04/2014 - Consider Biking Wins Biking & Walking Vacation