Leadership Retreat on the Queen Mary
Jeff Miller and his Alliance for Walking and Biking hosted a Leadership Retreat in Long Beach this weekend. It was a 3-day conference attended by leaders of bicycle coalitions from across the country.
One feature of registration: accommodations were included — on the Queen Mary no less, but each of us would have a roommate. It’s been awhile, since college days, when I had an arbitrarily selected roommate. I hit the jackpot with Matt VanSlyke. Matt’s with the NY Bicycling Coalition in Albany, so of course, he had to hear of my Erie Canal tour of one year ago. We attended many breakout sessions together and to start each day we joined Pete Van Nuys for a sunrise bike ride.
Long Beach is the host for this Leadership Retreat and the immediately following Pro Walk/Pro Bike conference because of its great leadership in building bike infrastructure. Pete and I took Matt on a whirlwind tour to see the many bike friendly streets.
The Retreat, just as you’d expect, offered many sessions on biking and walking. Together with Jeff, I facilitated a session, “Innovative Funding Opportunities in the New Marketplace” where I discussed projects like Ted Johnson’s Tuba Trailer on Kickstarter.
Other favorite sessions included April Economides, Erin O’Melinn and Daren Flusche describing their projects relating to “Engaging the Business Community to Support Your Work”.
At one quiet moment when Matt and I were sitting in the shade over a beer, we both had the same sense: there are a lot of bike advocates present who are doing amazing work, undertaking big projects, building membership organizations, supporting large events, reaching out to the business community all while offering bike repair and education across their communities. It was easy to compare and come up short. Matt was attending with his Executive Director and they were discussing their objectives and fund raising plans for the short term; they had many options to consider after this amazing Leadership Retreat.