Author Topic: Ways to help First Timers {and others} enjoy the National more  (Read 7897 times)

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Offline connie_rider

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Ok, I opened my big mouth and said I'd work to find ways to better include First Timers at the COG Nationals.
So, here is the place to discuss idea's...

I'll start with the most important thing;  First Timers are very welcome at all COG event's..
      The problem is (being new) they don't know others and often are not included as "all" would prefer.

With that in mind, let me know your thoughts.

Ride safe, Ted
« Last Edit: June 22, 2017, 04:44:47 pm by connie_rider »
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Offline ron203

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Re: Ways to help First Timers enjoy the National more
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2017, 04:11:32 pm »
When they register, have the registrar send you an email, then send the first timer an email  of welcome and introduce them to their AD/AAD and/or someone to touch base with at Nationals. I'll volunteer to be a point of contact for the SE.

Get their emails together and do an interest survey using Survey Monkey (free & easy www.surveymonkey.com) and ask for a few volunteers to organize a "ride to see" or "Ride to Do" something on Monday or Tuesday, so they meet folks earlier in the week instead of later. Let anyone come to this so you get some "not first timers" who might not know anyone except on the forum. (BTDT - three years in a row. Not all of us are extroverts, some of us are not.) Follow up after the rally and see how it went.

There was a First Time attendee meeting at one of the nationals I went to. Do that on Monday morning about 9:30 because Sunday might be too early,  but don't call it that. Call it a Rally Orientation Social and let anyone come, but the secret sauce is that it is aimed at the first timers, so ask the contact volunteers  and the ED be there, too. I heard long ago, "feed them and they will come" so have biscuits or something cheap. Get it  sponsored by a vendor or a local restaurant to save money.

Next idea? If you were a first timer this year, what would have worked for you?

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Offline fred-houston

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Re: Ways to help First Timers enjoy the National more
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2017, 04:46:37 pm »
I just want to add that the 2018 Rally Team has been discussing this very issue for the last year.  We have some new ideas that we think will help in reaching out to the first time rally attendees, new members, and lone riders.
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Offline Robby1953

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Re: Ways to help First Timers enjoy the National more
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2017, 05:49:16 pm »
It's not just a first time rally problem, it's an inclusiveness problem. The popular answer in this group is that you must insert yourself into the group and ask to join the ride, that's not the norm in most social situations but anytime someone brings it up on this forum they are encouraged to believe that it is their issue to resolve and conform to what is actually very uncomfortable for them. After all why should anyone go out of their way to include others, when they've already got a "comfortable"group. Let them come ask us is not very inviting.
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Offline Bob H

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Re: Ways to help First Timers enjoy the National more
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2017, 06:01:10 pm »
Robby1953,  100% agree.
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Re: Ways to help First Timers enjoy the National more
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2017, 06:18:18 pm »
If we are going to make it more enjoyable for First Timers we need to know what their expectations are.

I was a first timer long ago somehow I thought it was fine as I kept coming back and I met people I had never met before.

SOOOOO what are your expectations.

BTW I totally disagree with the inclusive observation but that is not this thread.
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Offline ron203

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Re: Ways to help First Timers enjoy the National more
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2017, 06:27:21 pm »
Exactly right, so that's why we need both a "system" and a personal, conscious effort made by members to reach new(er) people. I'm still meeting new people and really appreciate it when people I do not know, come up to me and ask who I  am, where I'm from, what I ride, and so forth.

We do a thing once a year at our work place when we all get together as an icebreaker that's like a "personal scavenger hunt" that makes it both acceptable and required to approach people in the group we don't know. We have a list of things that are known about the attendees (someone needs to gather that in advance-Ted....), both new and old and ask about stuff like "Is your bike red?", "I'm looking for someone who's a reverend, what do you do?, etc.  Give a NICE prize for most points. Do it at the Orientation social, for instance, early in the week.

Yes, this is a little corny, but it gives people an excuse to break out of their personal space if they don't do it naturally. Key will be the event is planned and some existing members commit to participating.
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Offline Rev Ryder

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Re: Ways to help First Timers enjoy the National more
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2017, 06:42:45 pm »
It's not just a first time rally problem, it's an inclusiveness problem. The popular answer in this group is that you must insert yourself into the group and ask to join the ride, that's not the norm in most social situations but anytime someone brings it up on this forum they are encouraged to believe that it is their issue to resolve and conform to what is actually very uncomfortable for them. After all why should anyone go out of their way to include others, when they've already got a "comfortable"group. Let them come ask us is not very inviting.
There's my 2 cents, if I'm alone in this then so be it, but at least I expressed my self.

Robby1953,  100% agree.

This is something that we are hoping to try and figure out how to make work best in the future.  Some rallies have actually done this rather well and others less so.  We'd like "all of us" to do better at it on every level and will be trying to implement some ideas for 2018 and beyond.  It's been tried before and with some success... It's also be tried before with limited success.  To many scenarios to make it all work well every time, but we hope we can find some good measures to take. 

One of my fav's from a rally passed, is the schedule of events being texted to registered participants a little before the appointed time.  It's a time consuming job, but when it happens, it's very helpful to newbs and experienced rally-ers combined.  I'm NOT in charge of this rally so cannot say for sure what is going to happen.  But I have "listened in" on a little conversation and know that the hosts are aware of and hope to step some of this up a bit. 
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Offline Jim_Sherman_ID

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Re: Ways to help First Timers enjoy the National more
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2017, 06:52:08 pm »
One of the best methods I have found is organizing a ride. The ride isn't just for newcomers, but for anyone. Many newcomers don't know the area so they join in a group ride and meet others. I've made lifelong friends from rides. Stopping for lunch and breaks lets them get to know the other people. Advertise those rides so everyone knows where and when to meet. There should be different rides each day,(long, short, scenic, etc.) so everyone can find one that interests them.

Offline Rev Ryder

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Re: Ways to help First Timers enjoy the National more
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2017, 06:57:34 pm »
One of the best methods I have found is organizing a ride. The ride isn't just for newcomers, but for anyone. Many newcomers don't know the area so they join in a group ride and meet others. I've made lifelong friends from rides. Stopping for lunch and breaks lets them get to know the other people. Advertise those rides so everyone knows where and when to meet. There should be different rides each day,(long, short, scenic, etc.) so everyone can find one that interests them.
I do know this is on the rally folks radar.   :great:
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Offline ron203

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Re: Ways to help First Timers enjoy the National more
« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2017, 07:05:09 pm »
It's not just a first time rally problem, it's an inclusiveness problem. The popular answer in this group is that you must insert yourself into the group and ask to join the ride, that's not the norm in most social situations but anytime someone brings it up on this forum they are encouraged to believe that it is their issue to resolve and conform to what is actually very uncomfortable for them. After all why should anyone go out of their way to include others, when they've already got a "comfortable"group. Let them come ask us is not very inviting.
There's my 2 cents, if I'm alone in this then so be it, but at least I expressed my self.

Robby1953,  100% agree.

This is something that we are hoping to try and figure out how to make work best in the future.  Some rallies have actually done this rather well and others less so.  We'd like "all of us" to do better at it on every level and will be trying to implement some ideas for 2018 and beyond.  It's been tried before and with some success... It's also be tried before with limited success.  To many scenarios to make it all work well every time, but we hope we can find some good measures to take. 

One of my fav's from a rally passed, is the schedule of events being texted to registered participants a little before the appointed time.  It's a time consuming job, but when it happens, it's very helpful to newbs and experienced rally-ers combined.  I'm NOT in charge of this rally so cannot say for sure what is going to happen.  But I have "listened in" on a little conversation and know that the hosts are aware of and hope to step some of this up a bit.

That's a good idea. There's a texting service that's available called SMS (Short Message Service I think?) that you pay for based on the number of numbers broadcast to and it's a "per message" cost so it's totally controllable. Explaination here:  https://www.lifewire.com/definition-of-sms-text-messaging-578676  I think there are many different providers. It would have been helpful for instance when Kurt Brown and I were offsite getting some supplies and the location of the Sandwich Social changed. We only accidentally ran into Gary Mazzoli who gave us the word.  I've seen it done very well, but if it's done too close to event time, system delays can result in the message coming too late for the participants to adjust. Had that happen at a conference I attended and I wound up in the wrong spot at the right time.

It's an "opt in" meaning that the recipients agree to give you their cell phone #. The messages generally can be pre-programmed and even scheduled so it can be done in advance and not in real time. But real time is available too because event details and locations change.
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Offline ConcoursKZ

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Re: Ways to help First Timers enjoy the National more
« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2017, 07:54:32 pm »
Just put up a route and the time it will be leaving. And say all Riders welcome. Groups will form in quantities of 6. Once 6 Riders are found that group will leave. And another will form until all Riders have left. Or make Wednesday scramble ride day where everyone puts their name in a hat. Draw six names and the group leaves. Continue to draw names until all groups have formed and left.
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Offline ConcoursKZ

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Re: Ways to help First Timers enjoy the National more
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2017, 07:58:20 pm »
The scramble ride might work real good. It would only take place one day and it would not inconvenience those who like to ride with they're normal groups. Two new members or an outsider the Cog group can appear to be territorial.
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Offline Rev Ryder

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Re: Ways to help First Timers enjoy the National more
« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2017, 07:59:40 pm »
Just put up a route and the time it will be leaving. And say all Riders welcome. Groups will form in quantities of 6. Once 6 Riders are found that group will leave. And another will form until all Riders have left. Or make Wednesday scramble ride day where everyone puts their name in a hat. Draw six names and the group leaves. Continue to draw names until all groups have formed and left.
I kinda like that, Tim.  Reminds me of the "Date for 8" meal sharing thing we did at church a few years back... only with motor sickles.  :great:
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Re: Ways to help First Timers enjoy the National more
« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2017, 08:36:05 pm »
The thing that scares me being a newbie in this group is only knowing people by their forum name having not meant any of you in person its a little hard to intrduce myself becase for me I fill out of place when I come some where new and the look you get when your a newbie its like who the heck are you . So speaking as a neewbie anything that would make me or the other neewbies would greatly be apperciated :) :)

Offline Robby1953

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Re: Ways to help First Timers enjoy the National more
« Reply #15 on: June 18, 2017, 09:12:28 pm »
Just put up a route and the time it will be leaving. And say all Riders welcome. Groups will form in quantities of 6. Once 6 Riders are found that group will leave. And another will form until all Riders have left. Or make Wednesday scramble ride day where everyone puts their name in a hat. Draw six names and the group leaves. Continue to draw names until all groups have formed and left.

I think this is a great idea, similar to what I suggested to Ted, a known location and time where solo riders can group for rides, if established groups don't mind new blood they could check to see if any solos are looking to ride and invite them to join, would take the scare factor out of not knowing many and contribute to being inclusive.
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Offline LSGiant

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Re: Ways to help First Timers enjoy the National more
« Reply #16 on: June 18, 2017, 09:42:45 pm »
I like the idea of drawing names out of a hat but maybe add the sixth name out is ride leader.  I have been in this situation many times and no one will lead. When you show up for this and put your name in a hat you have to understand that you maybe the group leader so come prepared. This also means everyone arriving should be capable of riding the route if things go awry.  I go to many, many COG events and when it comes time to lead no one will do it.  I think it is asking a lot of Rally Hosts to supply ride leaders for all these folks.



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Offline ConcoursKZ

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Re: Ways to help First Timers enjoy the National more
« Reply #17 on: June 18, 2017, 09:53:16 pm »
And the scramble ride could be made very easy. Maybe a trip to lunch and back. Maybe two hundred miles or so . Something along those lines. It would allow other riders to establish relationships with Riders from other areas. God forbid six Riders sit down and plan a ride together for a couple hours.
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Re: Ways to help First Timers enjoy the National more
« Reply #18 on: June 18, 2017, 09:57:34 pm »
You can make a ride from Kerrville Texas to McKinney Falls. Also find a place to stop for lunch. That would be approximately three and a half to 5 hours.
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Offline connie_rider

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Re: Ways to help First Timers enjoy the National more
« Reply #19 on: June 18, 2017, 10:52:02 pm »
I've been letting ya'll discuss and monitoring the posts.
Can't answer all the idea's, but here is what I picked up.
    * All want to somehow be included in rides/etc..
    * Want the door to swing both ways. (Not just new guys asking to be included)
           (Old Guys need to express interest in new folks riding along).
    * We need to develop a way to encourage participation from both sides of the door.
          Group/Led rides, ride drawings, New rider meet-up location, ways for folks to meet.
    * We need a way to get the word out better.
    *  More that I didn't type. 

I'll start with, most of what you posted,,,,  has been tried.
  It made things better, but didn't accomplish what we wanted.
      We need to do better in Kerrville!

We have a big Hurdle. COG has not allowed Group Rides because of our insurance.
 So,,, COG did not do group rides.
         {Being Inventive} Some of us posted info that we were leaving to go XXX at a certain time.  >:D
            "and" If anyone just happened to be going to the same place, they were welcome to join us...

As COGgers, We can do that again, and maybe, {just maybe},,, we can find a way around the insurance problem.

NOTE: I'm not part of the rally Team, and I don't have any authority to decide anything..
        So, I can't promise anything, but I'm willing to try to arrange some things. 
            It might be possible; to arrange a First Timer / Orientation meeting on Monday of the Rally.
                        to arrange a sign up Board.
                            {Individual groups could post where they intend to ride on a given day, and allow folks to join in}
                        to arrange a daily meeting point where folks can get to know others.
                            {For instance; Parking lot, my bike, at 6:00 PM) {or Rev's room, & he's buying)   <sneaky grin>
                        I assume, COG can give First Timers a Red Tag on their Name Plate again.
                         post signs encouraging Old timers to include the new Folks in their plans..

Keep the discussion going..
Reply to my thought's.
Need your thoughts!

Ride safe, Ted
« Last Edit: June 19, 2017, 02:29:57 pm by connie_rider »
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Re: Ways to help First Timers enjoy the National more
« Reply #20 on: June 18, 2017, 10:57:02 pm »
I like the idea of drawing names out of a hat but maybe add the sixth name out is ride leader.  I have been in this situation many times and no one will lead. When you show up for this and put your name in a hat you have to understand that you maybe the group leader so come prepared. This also means everyone arriving should be capable of riding the route if things go awry.  I go to many, many COG events and when it comes time to lead no one will do it.  I think it is asking a lot of Rally Hosts to supply ride leaders for all these folks.
You're right LSGiant but leading on strange roads can be dangerous, shouldn't the lead be someone familiar with the area?
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Offline Rev Ryder

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Re: Ways to help First Timers enjoy the National more
« Reply #21 on: June 18, 2017, 11:11:52 pm »
We have a big Hurdle. COG has not allowed Group Rides because of our insurance.

It's a new day, Ted. 
This does not seem to be an insurance issue.  Unless someone can show me otherwise, I see no particular cause for concern regarding our insurance through AMA.
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Re: Ways to help First Timers enjoy the National more
« Reply #22 on: June 18, 2017, 11:17:07 pm »
I like the idea of drawing names out of a hat but maybe add the sixth name out is ride leader.  I have been in this situation many times and no one will lead. When you show up for this and put your name in a hat you have to understand that you maybe the group leader so come prepared. This also means everyone arriving should be capable of riding the route if things go awry.  I go to many, many COG events and when it comes time to lead no one will do it.  I think it is asking a lot of Rally Hosts to supply ride leaders for all these folks.
You're right LSGiant but leading on strange roads can be dangerous, shouldn't the lead be someone familiar with the area?
A safe leader will be riding any road safely the same as if not on a led ride.  If you can navigate a road safely, you should be able to lead a ride safely.  It's not a race.  It's riding down a road the same as you and your small groups (or privately) have been doing since you started riding.  Instructions at the outset as to being able to be a part of a group and not crowd or otherwise follow too closely are all a part of regular riding etiquette.  It's when these things are NOT observed that things can go awry.  Safe distance, reasonable speeds, paying attention.  Just like going to the grocery store, but with better scenery and curves (well, for most of us it'll be better.  Some folks have it all out their front door).
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Offline Robby1953

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Re: Ways to help First Timers enjoy the National more
« Reply #23 on: June 18, 2017, 11:24:29 pm »
I like the idea of drawing names out of a hat but maybe add the sixth name out is ride leader.  I have been in this situation many times and no one will lead. When you show up for this and put your name in a hat you have to understand that you maybe the group leader so come prepared. This also means everyone arriving should be capable of riding the route if things go awry.  I go to many, many COG events and when it comes time to lead no one will do it.  I think it is asking a lot of Rally Hosts to supply ride leaders for all these folks.
You're right LSGiant but leading on strange roads can be dangerous, shouldn't the lead be someone familiar with the area?
A safe leader will be riding any road safely the same as if not on a led ride.  If you can navigate a road safely, you should be able to lead a ride safely.  It's not a race.  It's riding down a road the same as you and your small groups (or privately) have been doing since you started riding.  Instructions at the outset as to being able to be a part of a group and not crowd or otherwise follow too closely are all a part of regular riding etiquette.  It's when these things are NOT observed that things can go awry.  Safe distance, reasonable speeds, paying attention.  Just like going to the grocery store, but with better scenery and curves (well, for most of us it'll be better.  Some folks have it all out their front door).
:)
That's me, beautiful scenery, mountains, rivers, twisty roads all over the place we should have a rally here (NY/PA) just still too new in the area to have found riding partners working 10 and 12 hour days cuts into the fun time.
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Re: Ways to help First Timers enjoy the National more
« Reply #24 on: June 18, 2017, 11:35:47 pm »
We have a big Hurdle. COG has not allowed Group Rides because of our insurance.

It's a new day, Ted. 
This does not seem to be an insurance issue.

Hmmmmm.... You never drank the Kool Aid, did ya?
The Elite ummm Royals ummm COG Management has been preaching the NO Group Ride Mantra since I can remember.
Whatever insurance we got has prevented/discourage a lot of things normal adults are known to do...
<--- is there any mechanism in place to deal with a non- productive, antagonistic, former non- member such as this?