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BY MARK TAYLOR
By the time this column is published, many of us will be making final preparations for OWAA’s annual conference at Chena Hot Springs Resort in Alaska.
For most of us a trip like this is too big and too important to not make it a planning priority.
Two months out, as I write this, it’s planning crunch time.
Yes, some of the biggies are out of the way. Flights have been booked. The RV that friends and I will share for more than three weeks — pray for us! — has been reserved.
We have a backcountry cabin on a remote lake reserved for a week of fishing and bear and grouse hunting. A few day trips are penned in on the itinerary.
We still must finalize a few specific trips, and arrange for shipping of gear, fish and game.
Local chair Chris Batin, who has been a huge help in our efforts, sent me a friendly reminder note by email the other day. It was short and to the point.
“You got it figured out?” he asked.
Figuring it out is part of the fun.
As I have pored over the pre- and post-trip offerings, and done lots of my own research on where to go and what to do, I feel like I did 40 years ago paging through my Sears Wishbook catalog.
So I guess maybe the reason I still have a little planning to do is because I’m enjoying it so much I don’t want to be done.
In our planning, we approach our forays into the woods and onto the water with a realistic vision that things might not go as well as we’d like, but we also harbor optimism that things will go better than we can imagine.
As this process has unfolded I’ve noticed parallels to another planning priority: my next year as OWAA’s president.
Like the Alaska adventure, the upcoming year with OWAA promises adventure, excitement and fun.
We will have maps to guide us through the wilds of Alaska, and OWAA has a new map — the recently completed Strategic Plan — to guide our organization through the next few years.
Both in Alaska and during the next year of OWAA, there will be challenges and the stakes are high if things go bad.
Most importantly, both adventures aren’t solo affairs. They will be team efforts.
And the teams are strong.
Not only are the men I’ll be wandering with around Alaska good friends, they are the kind of trusted, solid friends I want by my side if stuff hits the fan.
The same goes for OWAA as a whole.
The other day OWAA Executive Director Robin Giner sent me a list of OWAA committees, their members, and names of association members who have volunteered to serve on committees this coming year.
Talk about a Dream Team.
Collectively, the members of the committees and the volunteers probably have more than 500 years of experience in outdoors communication, much of that time spent affiliated with OWAA.
Serving on a committee, or on the OWAA board or executive committee, doesn’t take a massive amount of time. But it does require a commitment.
That so many are willing to take on this commitment says a lot about who we are.
We are ambitious.
We are optimists.
We like challenges.
We like adventure.
And we like fun.
Here’s to the great times we will have together in Alaska in September, and to the exciting year ahead as we work together to ensure that OWAA remains the nation’s strongest professional group for outdoors communicators.♦
— OWAA President Mark Taylor, email@example.com