[meetup-group-MZTA] This week we will begin national outreach to form chapter organizations
April 16, 2018
Good morning everyone, this week we will finally begin to do some of the media relations and outreach needed to start a process to form about 20-30 Mile Zero Trail Association chapter organizations in seven states (and possibly two optional states) to connect the Link Trail between the Appalachian National Scenic Trail and Continental Divide. I've planned to work on it for a while now, but I worked in our parks for 45 days straight without a day off. I'm hopeful that my schedule might now lighten up a bit and allow me to work on the organization for part of a day or two each week this summer.
The Meetup group will not do this work. I'm not even certain it will be possible to form an active Meetup group, but we'll give it a try. The larger and more significant goals will be achieved by a national organization. The trail connections in the DFW area are already planned and being built. So, the Mile Zero Trail Association (MZTA) Meetup group is more of an opportunity to organize local social, cultural and recreational activities. And to possibly do some of the community educational and charitable projects, like youth camps and tree programs, that Mile Zero Trail Association chapter organizations will be involved with in the future. Of course, it would be great to discover a couple of visionary and capable people through our Meetup group.
There are things members of the MZTA Meetup group can do to help. If you are the kind of person who is inclined to get involved in the effort and not stand around on the sidelines wondering what's going on, please let me know. There are ideas and efforts to plan and organize. For the work I hope to accomplish this week, please let me know if you have suggestions for media we should be in contact with, especially direct contacts you may have. It can be local or national media, and does not need to be on the Link Trail corridor. Also, let me know if you've ever worked in media, marketing or public relations.
Another very helpful thing Meetup group members might do is to plan small events for outreach or fundraising. Obviously, the kinds of events and the needs we would support are wide open (and can serve specific local needs), since our effort is just getting started, but I'll give a couple of past examples so people realize this it is not overwhelming hard work and that it can be rewarding and fun.
To support kids going to camp, we held a periodic fundraiser called Camp Dinner, where we served a camp meal for 5-20 people in various outdoor art spaces, parks or backyards - a slightly more elaborate camp meal with a dessert, but a menu that is easy to prepare and that we typically served at camp (e.g. salmon patties, which the kids will happily eat if they are convinced the patties are round fish sticks).
To support outreach events and local artists, we organized workshops, where nominal fees for participants paid artists to give talks (usually with an author or faculty member as a moderator) and performances in small settings - coffee shops, art galleries, living rooms, etc. We've also offered these activities as components of larger festivals in Texas, and even the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Workshop groups were usually about 5-15 and performance audiences were about 30 - 100+ people. There are some amazing possibilities for this in the Metroplex or other towns and cities, but some leadership is needed to organize them.
During this week we will discuss where some of the larger activities will take place and where we believe we should concentrate the grassroots efforts that we will grow into the work of the national organization; for instance, where camps will benefit communities and where our outreach efforts might take place.
If you have ideas for any similar activities, or the energy and time to help with them, please let me know.
[meetup-group-MZTA] Welcome to all new members of Mile Zero Trail Association
April 11, 2018
Greetings, and welcome to Mile Zero Trail Association. Some may receive this message twice. I apologize for that. I've changed our group's email subject and sender setting since I sent the first one. The subject line should now begin with "[meetup-group-MZTA]", which I hope will make it easy to identify messages from Mile Zero Trail Association (MZTA).
I also want to be sure new members receive the welcome message.
I would like to invite all members of Mile Zero Trail Association to share your ideas with me and the members of this new organization. An initial planning meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, April 17, from 6-8pm. It is very casual and will take place in downtown Plano. See our Meetup group calendar for details and please RSVP if you are available.
It has not been determined where future meetings will take place - in the Richardson/Plano area, or all across the Metroplex. I'm open to whatever members of the group would like to do.
I also imagine we will plan Meetups around cultural activities in DFW. I'm interested in small festival events and concerts. The Levitt Pavilion in Arlington has a strong lineup this season. Of course, that's my opinion since I like New Orleans and Gulf Coast music. But I'm open to many other kinds of events and we have opportunities in our Meetup group for other organizers.
In addition to input and advice about cultural and social activities, I'm interested to hear ideas about some bigger projects I would like the group to be involved with, including travel, recreation, youth camps, educational events, workshops and other organization possibilities. I have experience with most of these things, but I would really like to hear about the experience and interests of others.
At the initial planning meeting on the 17th, I will try to keep my overview to a short, but hopefully informative introduction. I'm hoping some very interesting program possibilities will emerge from the Meetup group members. I also hope we can work on outreach ideas and events so that the group will grow over time and develop an extraordinary level of capability. With that, I should probably note that I view the organization as more than a typical Meetup group. I envision it will be possible to become a registered non-profit organization with some substantial goals and programs in the planning stage within a year.
This will be an exciting and fun adventure. Please join us from the beginning at the initial planning meeting, if it is possible for you to be there.
PS: Please note, the Mile Zero Trail Association Meetup (MZTA) group has a Discussions page (where I hope this introduction message will appear, though the character limit may prevent that). I urge members to use it as actively as they would like to contribute ideas and help the group set and meet worthy goals. Comments on this, as well as new posts are welcome. You may also message me by using the "Contact Organizer" button on the MZTA Meetup group home page.
MZTA Meetup group and Chapter Organizations will plan and present programs of local interest.
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