I wanted to touch base with everyone to fill you in on the latest happenings with GROC. Since the beginning of the New Year, things have been moving and shaking in our leadership / volunteer ranks and out in our community. Let me start off by telling you about our reorganization efforts.
As many of you know we hosted a volunteer meeting back in Feb. to recruit new volunteers into various areas of GROC. This meeting, as well as volunteer info we collected from our Jan. survey, produced many new volunteers that have now founds places on our committees. And, I’m happy to report that all the positions we identified for our Communications Committee have been filled, our Trails Committee is staffed and also has many new contributors from the downhill community. We found new volunteers for the National Mountain Bike Patrol, and we’re looking forward to training lots of new trail crew once this weather begins to cooperate!
Another area we have focused on is our operations. We have spent a good amount of time on producing a variety of documents designed to clarify job positions within GROC, as well as guidelines that will help us function more effectively now and into the future. We also have been examining our practices & procedures from a liability perspective to ensure GROC and our volunteers continue to operate safely and without incident. And finally, we developed an evaluation system for assessing potential properties we are offered to build trails on…not all are suitable for shared use trails, so we needed a system to identify the good candidates.
From a membership perspective, we decided that we wanted to be more transparent and improve our communications. So, we made it a priority to consistently post meeting minutes on our website, and have also developed a communications plan that will utilize a variety of platforms: social media posts, newsletters, emails, and videos. We are even working towards producing articles that we hope our membership will not only enjoy, but will also find informative. And, in keeping with the idea of transparency, we want to share with our membership how their dollars are spent so, while I have your attention, let me tell you about that.
First off, you need to know that being an IMBA chapter means they are responsible for handling our membership transactions and information. For this, and some other services they provide for us, they get 60% of your membership fee. Of the remaining 40% we get, half of it goes to covering our insurance costs. That generally leaves us with a few thousand dollars to pay for event expenses, volunteer awards, and tools. Most of our building materials are provided by the Towns / Counties we partner with. We have comfortably operated within this budget for many years, but rarely have any excess. Looking to the future, if GROC and our membership wish to take on new projects – new trail networks, bike parks etc. - we are going to need more paying members, and this has been on our radar too!
Speaking of looking to the future, we have some cool stuff in the works I’d like to share with you…some of you may have heard that we are looking at new areas for trail development, and that’s true. We recently walked through Greece Canal Park, and several Chili properties. Most of these properties are not well suited for trails, but we are still in talks with Chili about one undeveloped property that has some promise. We will get back to you on this once we have more info. We have also walked a 300 acre property in Sodus, and though it is quite a way out there, this property has potential too. We are currently waiting to do a second walk through to assess the area when it is dry. We expect that a decision about whether we take this project on or not will come by the end of spring.
Another potential project that is in the very early stages of development is the construction of a new bike park at Dryer Road. Many of the details of this project are still up in the air, but we have spoken with Brian Emelson, Victor’s Parks and Rec. Supervisor, about our ideas and have been given a green light to put together a formal proposal for the project. The board will be voting on whether to proceed with creating this proposal at the end of this week. However, everyone should know that putting together a proposal does not mean the bike park is a done deal. If it is to move forward, A LOT of work will need to be done on our part, and we will absolutely need your support. We’ll be sure to keep everyone in the loop as things develop!
And last but not least, we are planning to have co-sponsored trail work days once a month with some of the local bike shops. We are still working on the details, but these work days would be fun filled, work, ride, eat events that we hope will bring the mtb community together, not only to get some trail work done, but also to enjoy the great trail networks we have built!
Looking back over the past 4 months we have accomplished a significant amount. I’m really proud of the progress the organization has made and know it was only possible with the work of our dedicated volunteers. THANK YOU to all that have recently stepped up to fill areas of need, and for the die-hards among us that have kept, and continue to keep, the GROC torch burning. I’m excited for the future of this organization, and mountain biking in our community. Let’s continue to envision what we want it to be and make it happen!
See you on the trails,