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I have posted it on my web site, with links to a .pdf version for your
convenience: <http://www.delalbright.com/Articles/basic_training.htm>
http://www.delalbright.com/Articles/basic_training.htm
Please drop me an email if you want it in WORD.
Thanks,
Del


Basic Training for Life
(Rules for Recreationists)
By Del Albright, BlueRibbon Ambassador


Does it seem to you that not all recreationists follow the same rules?
Have you ever encountered an angry land owner upset with someone who did
not close his gates? Have you ever had a loaned piece of equipment
returned to you broken? Can you recall meeting an inconsiderate trail
user? Are you tired of picking up after others?

I'm sure you answered yes to most of these questions because these
things are common in our sports. In my opinion, these things need to
stop! Well, I have some suggestions that might help. In fact, I'd like
to share with you these rules of life I found the other day posted in an
RV park. I think if we all followed these, we might find our lives and
our recreational pursuits in better shape. Check these out.

Basic Training for Life:
1. If you open it, CLOSE IT.
2. If you turn it on, TURN IT OFF.
3. If you unlock it, LOCK IT.
4. If you break it, FIX IT.
5. If you can't fix it, CALL SOMEONE WHO CAN.
6. If you borrow it, RETURN IT.
7. If you use it, TAKE CARE OF IT
8. If you make a mess, CLEAN IT UP.
9. If you move it, PUT IT BACK.
10. If it belongs to someone else, GET PERMISSION TO USE IT.
12. If you don't know how to operate it, READ THE DIRECTIONS or DON'T
MESS WITH IT.
13. If it doesn't concern you, DON'T MESS WITH IT.

I don't know who made this list up, but I do know that many of these
rules make sense to me. I can clearly remember my folks laying some of
these rules on me as I was growing up. It had a lot to do with manners
also. Seems like we spent more time learning manners in those days.....

Some of my readers have complained to me about the need for rules on the
trail. They ask: "what happened to the days of just going out in the
woods to get away from it all and have a good time?" I answer: "They're
gone."

Yes, it's too bad that we've had to take more and more rules to the
trails. But it's a fact. There are too many of us out there enjoying
the great outdoors not to have rules. Besides, some folks just don't
behave well unless there is a punishment for being bad. It takes rules
to make that happen.

You might ask, "What happened to common sense, Del?" I would answer,
"It's mostly gone too." I say that because there seems to be little
left of commonality in our busy lives these days. Diversity, freedom
of choice, hundreds of cultural blendings, cyberspace, and so on have
elevated our society into one of many choices and many different
approaches to life -- which is good, right? Well, maybe not on our
trails and lands...

In order to keep our trails and lands open, we need to follow the rules
that will keep our opponents off our backs and our friendly supporters
(politicians) out of trouble. In order to do that, we have to develop
the rules we can live by. We have to follow them; and we have to
enforce them.

So what else can we do? Here are my suggestions from what I've learned
around the country in my BlueRibbon Ambassador travels.

If your association or club has a code of ethics, learn them and live by
them. If you don't have a code, develop one. Make up laminated cards
of your code and make all members carry one, or post them on your rig
where you can see them. Print out this list of Basic Training for Life
and adapt it to your area. Make it part of your code. Put your code on
the back of your business cards and club flyers. Post your code where
you recreate. Make it part of your daily recreational life.

If you have kids, teach them these or similar rules and make ethics part
of the common sense you'd like them to have. Explain to them how this
will help keep our lands and trails open in the future.

In the leadership training course I offer, as well as in the Strategic
Planning I help folks with, I emphasize the importance of having an
organizational Mission, Vision and Values. Now I think I will add Code
of Ethics to that list. I think we need more of them. I believe this
will help us instill a feeling of stewardship towards our lands and
trails, as well as our recreation. Heck, maybe it will just plain help
re-instill those things we used to call common sense, courtesy, manners
and respect for others. Hopefully, it will go a long ways towards
keeping our lands and trails open well into the future for all of us to
enjoy.

Here's a final Basic Training for Life rule I made up myself that I'll
leave you with:
14. If you want something to change, ACT NOW -- CHANGE IT!
### END ###

Del Albright
BlueRibbon Ambassador, BlueRibbon Coalition Life Member
State Environmental Affairs Coordinator, CA4WDC
Trail Boss, Friends of the Rubicon (FOTR)
PO BOX 127, Mokelumne Hill, CA 95245-0127
Del's Web Site: http://www.delalbright.com/
Sponsored by: the BlueRibbon Coalition <http://www.sharetrails.org/> ;
ARB 4x4 Accessories <http://www.arb-usa.com/> and the Off-Road Business
Association <http://www.orba.biz/> (ORBA).
 
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