Monday, March 26, 2012

The Fly-In – How’s it Going

As you may remember, a while back we put out the call for help with the fly-in. From our perspective, the time had finally come for everyone to vote up or down on the event. But, there was a problem with that idea.  Getting a good even sampling of the fly-in population in order to get a quantifiable outcome would be difficult. Therefore, we resorted to an old standby method used by many groups facing the same problem. Put out a call for help and see how many people show up. The number of people that actually show are compared to accepted percentages that relate to the larger group. Then if the total crowd falls above the line, your results fall in the “highly support” area. And, of course, if it is below the line it is in the “not much support” area.

Then the day came for the meeting.

As people began to arrive, Ginger and I began to feel much better about all the effort we had put into this thing. Lining the walls were giant post-in sheets.  On these pages were the areas in which we needed someone to take responsibility.  Out to the side, people were given a place to post their ideas. It is hard for someone to understand how many different things need to be considered for such an event and just writing them all down was a chore. Yet, with more people coming in by the minute, we were sure the critical areas would be covered and our efforts would yield some results.

During the meeting we discussed everything. Should we have the event? Should we continue to have Sinful Sundays? Should we have more or less of each? Should we do something else all together? Were there any other ideas? Whatever the answers were, they needed to make sense for the future of the airport and the bottom line. Ultimately, everyone agreed we should have the events and we moved forward.

Next, attendees were told that sponsorship was critical to the bottom line of the fly-in. And once again people stepped up and agreed to find sponsorships. Things were moving right along.

Finally, to round out this abbreviated synopsis, it was explained that we would meet once a month and that since Ginger and myself have to be here for all important events, anyone who was agreeing to be part of this was also agreeing to do the same. It was ok to say no but if you said yes you agreed to it. This meant that for someone to miss a meeting on a date not already on their schedules would be a no-no.  Further explained, this means that family members don't get ill, daughters don’t get married on these dates, and a deep gash to the leg or a broken bone is certainly not an excuse. We have been and would have to be here despite all the above and so if they were going to get us to keep holding the fly-in by agreeing to volunteer, then they were in it for the long haul themselves. Oh yeah, I forgot that one; helping for one year is not the help we need. Every year someone drops out is a year we have to train people and therefore short term sympathy volunteerism is of no help to us.   Yeah, we appreciate everyone who wants to help but we're trying to make some long term plans and we need people willing to do the same.

Ok, so there you have it.  That is what the meeting was about.  Some of it may have seemed rather blunt be we wanted to be clear about what we needed while also making it clear there would be no foul if someone wasn't up for it. Then we ended with everyone signing up for items and offering ideas.

Within ten days were we a third of the way to our sponsorship goals, people were working on improvements, and ideas were flowing freely. Then we were hit by the tornado. Two full weeks is what we spent on clean up and it still is not complete.

Naturally, this put our fly-in efforts on hold. Thus having worked non-stop on clean up, we decided that at the next meeting we would discuss where everyone was with their goals and how to move forward with much of our critical infrastructure destroyed. There was just one problem; would anyone be there? We wanted to believe but our education told us otherwise.

Our education won out.  Only a quarter of those at the first meeting were at the second.  It was a tough blow considering all we've been through recently.  But, that's how things go I suppose. 

On the up side, a new friend of ours came early to get briefed because she has a thousand other groups she helps on the same day (something we knew in advance) and if she couldn’t stay for the meeting, she wanted to come early to uphold her commitment. Seven other great friends and volunteers also made the meeting. These people can always be counted on, they always give their all, and we simply cannot thank them enough for being who they are.

With that out of the way, our next fly-in meeting is April 17th.  How many people do you think will be there?  Enough?  Tune in next time for the answer.

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