Retreat To Go Forward

Posted on July 7, 2014
by Dave Schlabowske, Deputy Director

A week ago the Bike Fed board and staff went to camp.

Virtually all of the staff and most of the board met up at a beautiful spot on the shores of the Wisconsin River near the Dells for an all day (and for some the previous night) retreat.

Board member Peter Gray hold the camera for a selfie after he and staff hiked to the top of Louis Bluff at the board and staff retreat along the Wisconsin River. Pictured (ltr) are Sarah Gaskell, Shea Schachmeyer, Betsy Popelka Massnick, Chris Aalid, Peter Gray, Melissa Vernon, Jake Newborn, and Clay Griessmeyer.

We took care of some routine business and then we discussed the kind of big picture topics that retreats are intended for. Afterwards one of the staff members commented to me that it wasn’t what he expected. He had expected a long discussion about money, as in the lack of it.

Truth is, while funding always needs to be a concern for any nonprofit or business, the Bike Fed is doing fine right at the moment. We're not swimming in revenue, but there's no crisis either.

That gives us room to think about what we want to be and where we want go as an organization. While I wouldn't say we came to a consensus on that, I also wouldn't say that it was contentious. Every board and staff member shared a passion for cycling and no one felt that we should exclude any kind of cycling from our mission.

Meetings were held outdoors thanks to good weather and a big crowd. Deep Woods Off was the scent of choice.

Our challenge as an organization isn’t that we lack energy, ideas or projects. Our challenge is to keep all that energy focused and not allow ourselves to get pulled in so many directions that we start to do things half way. The hard question isn’t about what we want and need to do; it's about what we need to not do.

Anyway, even aside from the good discussion, the retreat was a success, I think. We mixed up staff from around the state (and we have staff members in La Crosse, Chippewa Falls, Wausau, Stevens Point, Appleton, Sheboygan, Madison and Milwaukee) and board members from around the state. It drove home the point that we are one organization, it blurred the lines between board and staff and separate offices. We strive to represent all forms of biking in all parts of the state, not just Madison or Milwaukee, with a staff and a board that all pulls together.

Board member Daniel Goldberg and I leading the staff and team out the gravel road that leads to compound where we had the retreat.

We'll do this again in the fall, except this time it will be our traditional Bike Summit. And in addition to the board and staff there will be, well, you. Our members will join us. If this summer retreat was like camp, the summit will be the family reunion. Details will be coming soon, but I can tell you that it will be on Friday, October 10th in Madison. So, mark your calendars. You don't want to not be in the family picture.