Some months ago, at a meeting with some folks from the Rails to Trails Conservancy, I was bemoaning the difficulties of sustaining our outreach efforts in Friends of Lafitte Corridor. As an all-volunteer organization, we often run into limits of time and energy, and burnout is an ever-present danger. Kelly Pack suggested the idea of creating an “ambassador” program, and while I might have been skeptical at first, I soon saw the light.
See, over the last couple years, our annual hike of the Lafitte Corridor has gotten so large that we’ve been thinking a new approach is necessary. In 2009 I essentially led a group of 200 people on a three-mile hike all by myself. Oh, I had some help, but it was mostly me. It’s a far cry from how we started in 2005 with just three people.
And so it dawned on me that an ambassador program could solve this problem. Our primary outreach event is the hike, and so that could be the first thing for ambassadors to do. We could break the single monolithic horde into small groups, each led by a Greenway Ambassador.
A fantastic idea — which would have remained as nothing but an idea if it was just me. I don’t have the capacity to make that idea a reality. Fortunately FOLC has recently gotten an infusion of fresh blood. Our years of organizing seem to be paying off. We now have a critical mass of committed people working together such that ambitious ideas like this can be realized.
I saw the proof Saturday morning at Delgado, at our first Greenway Ambassador training.
Look how many people are in that photo! Adding in the off-camera organizers, we were at capacity with thirty people in attendance. I hasten to add that I didn’t do a damn thing to put this together. I just showed up and made my standard presentation. This event was organized by other people, namely Maggie Tishman and Matt Rufo. I can’t express how excited I am by that fact.
I mentioned being at capacity. We had two vans, fifteen people each, and every seat was full. We shuttled down to Armstrong Park and started walking.
You never know what you might see when you get out and start walking.
Thanks also to Rails to Trails Conservancy for underwriting lunch at Bud’s Broiler.
If you’re interested, you can see even more photos of the day’s events.
Please note this was not the annual hike. Think of it as a pre-hike. The real deal is April 16. I hope you’ll join us — you can register now.