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jbeletti
10-13-2014, 07:24 AM
Several people over the last year have suggested that we have a program (orientation) at the National Rallies for "first-timers". First-timers in this sense, being those who are registered to attend a North American Heartland Owners Rally (aka - the National), where this will be their first time at a National Rally, but not necessarily their first Heartland rally.

So I throw this out there to all who have been to the National Rally. Thinking back to your first time at one of these:

What was the most mysterious, going into your first event?
What questions did you have going in, that was not answered online or in the rally packet?
If there would have been an Orientation Meeting of some sort for first-timers, what items would you have liked to have seen covered in the meeting?


Below is what I'm thinking right now, but I really want to hear from others.

The upcoming 2015 North American Heartland Owners Rally in Goshen will officially start at 8 am on a Tuesday and will end after breakfast the following Sunday.

Traditionally, and planned for 2015, we'll have an All-Attendee Welcome/Dessert Reception Tuesday evening at 7 pm. We do a complete agenda walk-through that evening for everyone an we take questions. So, I'm thinking a First-Timer Orientation Meeting would be something we'd want to do "before' Tuesday evening. In fact, I'm thinking about having it at 8:30 am on Tuesday in a private meeting room with coffee and donuts. The meeting style would be relaxed/informal. All First-timers would be identified during the rally registration process and would be invited to this meeting. They'd be asked to bring their agendas and wear their club badges. Julie and I would run the meeting and we'd have a couple of seasoned Rally Veterans on-hand to help.

A quick bulleted list of agenda items might be:

Welcome
Introduction of speakers
Suggestion to wear club badges* during the entire rally
Go through the rally agenda
Take questions
Just generally give the First-timer a sense of what they can expect during the rally and give them ideas on how they can get the most benefit from their rally


* It has been suggested that First-timers be easily identifiable to others in some way. Most suggestions are similar. Some sort of badge hanger or ribbon. So I am thinking through that, but I like the idea. Not so much to be a target but really, to be an identifier so all the Rally Veterans can go out of their way to welcome the First-timers and ask if they have any questions or need any hello with anything. You know - putting the Heart in Heartland :)

Give me some feedback you National Rally Veteran!

Thanks!

jassson007
10-13-2014, 07:46 AM
I think it would have been a nice thing as this past year at urbanna was not only our first national rally but first rally overall. We did have an advantage I like to think in that we were friends with jay and Stella along with Dave and Nancy. So that helped us to have "goto" people that had an idea of what was going on.


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cookie
10-13-2014, 09:03 AM
I like the idea of a first timers orientation, but we can't count on all first timers being there at a given time.
Some may be coming in later in the week.
Perhaps something like a small two person welcoming committee presenting alms a few hours after arrival.
This would be a personal welcome and no one would miss a meeting.
Just a thought.

Peace
Dave

jbeletti
10-13-2014, 09:05 AM
I think it would have been a nice thing as this past year at urbanna was not only our first national rally but first rally overall. We did have an advantage I like to think in that we were friends with jay and Stella along with Dave and Nancy. So that helped us to have "goto" people that had an idea of what was going on.

Agree with you completely Andy. I think it was in Urbanna that I heard it first about having a meeting for newbies.

I'm planning a way the First-timers can have a "go-to" person for the rally when they have questions.

Keep the feedback coming with specific thoughts and ideas on what the First-timer needs to know, apart from simply reading their agenda.

jbeletti
10-13-2014, 09:11 AM
I like the idea of a first timers orientation, but we can't count on all first timers being there at a given time.
Some may be coming in later in the week.
Perhaps something like a small two person welcoming committee presenting alms a few hours after arrival.
This would be a personal welcome and no one would miss a meeting.
Just a thought. Peace. Dave

Dave - good stuff. Yes, to the personal welcome. Hoyt and Mary, as Chapter leaders in the state we are rallying in, will be official "Rally Co-Hosts", much the same as Eric and Dorothy were in Urbanna. Last night over dinner, I asked our North Central Region Directors, Dan and Karen Halvorsen to assist in this same capacity - Rally Co-Hosts. I am still developing the job description but really looking forward to formalizing this as a permanent aspect of the National rallies.

In terms of the best time to do the Orientation, I hear you on the fact that some attendees actually arrive during the rally and miss some or all of the entire first day of the rally - due to WORK!!! < bad word but it helps with the RV payment :)

That said, the orientation is best given "before" things kick into high gear. And once the rally is in high gear, resources get scare. So for the first application of this new program, I'm favoring a single session at 8:30 am Tuesday. But I'm keeping my ears and mind open. Maybe over lunch time is better??

kakampers
10-13-2014, 09:34 AM
This is a good idea...they do this in Good Sam Rallies. First Timers are given a "first time ribbon" for easy identification...does make it easy for experienced rally attendees to meet and help out the newbies.

szewczyk_john
10-13-2014, 09:35 AM
Our first Goshen rally in 2011 was our first ever heartland rally and the very first time we had the new trailer out for a trip. We made it to a PA state rally a week before goshen but only as a day guest since it was held basically in my backyard. We had no idea what to expect. we got there early and saw trailers being worked on but had no idea that it had to be scheduled in advanced. We were along the fence and all the way on an end. We did not have any visitors and upset the neighbors as the outside speakers were on and we had no idea.

I know that I am anti social by nature and tend to do my own thing but having experienced people explain things would be a very good idea. We enjoyed Urbanna so much more than Goshen and I think it was because we knew what to expect and which seminars to attend. Putting faces to names from this site also helped.

As this club attracts younger and newer members, it would be helpful if the regional and state leaders made it around to those that they did not know just to make an introduction.

slborba
10-13-2014, 09:48 AM
Jim, I am a Heartland Newbie (December 2013) and have not attended a Heartland Rally. I think it would be great to have a "Heartland Mentorship Program", of sorts. A person/couple that is an experienced Heartland Owner/Rally attendee. They can be the primary POC for the newbie on:

1. Heartland rally "norms" (meet/greet, seminars, potluck s, etc.)
2. Ensure the newbie has their owners plaque/badges (if in owners club)
3. Reserve a site for the newbie next to them
4. Provide details on pre-rally information (why do it???)
5. Used as the individualized "welcome committee" upon newbie arrival and start introductions to others.
6. Help newbie on first day with "the lay of the land"; generally getting around.
7. What to bring?? BBQ, table (provided at site??), kayaks, hiking gear......etc.
(Just enough above to get the brain-stormin' going).......

I'm active duty USN and of the mind-set "you can't have enough information"......the more one gets before events (missions), the more successful the outcome.

i don't know if I'll be able to make the 2015 National Rally, but if I do ....... I'll be reaching out to those experienced HEARTLand Ralliers to keep me on track with information/advice so the rally exceeds my expectations.

Just my humble "Heartland Newbie" opinion.

Steve

boatto5er
10-13-2014, 10:17 AM
Jim, I am a Heartland Newbie (December 2013) and have not attended a Heartland Rally. I think it would be great to have a "Heartland Mentorship Program", of sorts. A person/couple that is an experienced Heartland Owner/Rally attendee. They can be the primary POC for the newbie on:

1. Heartland rally "norms" (meet/greet, seminars, potluck s, etc.)
2. Ensure the newbie has their owners plaque/badges (if in owners club)
3. Reserve a site for the newbie next to them
4. Provide details on pre-rally information (why do it???)
5. Used as the individualized "welcome committee" upon newbie arrival and start introductions to others.
6. Help newbie on first day with "the lay of the land"; generally getting around.
7. What to bring?? BBQ, table (provided at site??), kayaks, hiking gear......etc.
(Just enough above to get the brain-stormin' going).......

I'm active duty USN and of the mind-set "you can't have enough information"......the more one gets before events (missions), the more successful the outcome.

i don't know if I'll be able to make the 2015 National Rally, but if I do ....... I'll be reaching out to those experienced HEARTLand Ralliers to keep me on track with information/advice so the rally exceeds my expectations.

Just my humble "Heartland Newbie" opinion.

Steve

Hi Steve, next year would be a great time to find out what rallies are all about. There are two practically in your back yard. The VA chapter rally is in Temperenceville, VA, is in mid-May just across the MD border on the DelMarva. Then MD has a state club rally the last weekend in June. We love to meet new Heartlanders and you'll be more than welcome at both of these.

VKTalley
10-13-2014, 01:28 PM
Jim, I like this idea. I also like the idea presented by a couple of people who suggested having a couple of teams that their job is to welcome and "mentor" all our new rally attendees. Like you said, put the HEART into Heartland. I can understand how intimidating a large rally is to someone who's never been to a rally.

danemayer
10-13-2014, 02:04 PM
Ask old timers to save a place at their dinner table for a new couple. Also, let the new people know that if dinner starts at 6:00, you should show up earlier along with the experienced rallyers.

jbeletti
10-13-2014, 03:37 PM
Our first Goshen rally in 2011 was our first ever heartland rally and the very first time we had the new trailer out for a trip. We made it to a PA state rally a week before goshen but only as a day guest since it was held basically in my backyard. We had no idea what to expect. we got there early and saw trailers being worked on but had no idea that it had to be scheduled in advanced. We were along the fence and all the way on an end. We did not have any visitors and upset the neighbors as the outside speakers were on and we had no idea.

I know that I am anti social by nature and tend to do my own thing but having experienced people explain things would be a very good idea. We enjoyed Urbanna so much more than Goshen and I think it was because we knew what to expect and which seminars to attend. Putting faces to names from this site also helped.

As this club attracts younger and newer members, it would be helpful if the regional and state leaders made it around to those that they did not know just to make an introduction.

Hi John - thank you for sharing your story. I'm hopeful that what we end up doing us helpful and well attended. As it will be our first one, we will learn from it and do even better the next time out.

As for leaders making efforts to meet their members - they do their best, but we (myself and Julie) can do a better job of letting leaders know who in their club will be there and on what site. That will make it easier for leaders to get around to say hello. The thing we can't control though is while you can make Goshen, your chapter leader might not. This may not be the case for PA, but it is for many other chapters. Still a great point and we will work on this - thank you for sharing!

jbeletti
10-13-2014, 03:39 PM
This is a good idea...they do this in Good Sam Rallies. First Timers are given a "first time ribbon" for easy identification...does make it easy for experienced rally attendees to meet and help out the newbies.

Kathy - if you have any additional info from the Good Sam First Timer program, please pass it to me. Thank you for sharing that we're "on base" in terms of having a program like this.

jbeletti
10-13-2014, 03:44 PM
Steve (slobrba),

First, thank you for your active duty service.

Thank you also for your ideas. For the Goshen rally, we try to do our best to "cover attendees with paper". The rally packet for this rally is THICK :) Pre-rally attendees get their rally bags "when they arrive" and their bags include their pre-rally agenda.

Pre-rally and rally agendas are posted on the Rally Portal as is much of the other paperwork. I mention it constantly from about December through rally time. So on the info portion, up front and in the rally bags, for the Goshen rally, we cover a lot and do so pretty thoroughly.

For the non-Mil newbie, all that paperwork can be a bit overwhelming But - that's why we're all having this conversation.

Thanks again for all the ideas and we hope to see you in 2015 and if not then, then down the road. Stay safe and again, thank you for your service.

jbeletti
10-13-2014, 03:49 PM
Jim, I like this idea. I also like the idea presented by a couple of people who suggested having a couple of teams that their job is to welcome and "mentor" all our new rally attendees. Like you said, put the HEART into Heartland. I can understand how intimidating a large rally is to someone who's never been to a rally.

Thanks Val. We will do our best to ensure that in addition to being welcomed upon arrival (as is done now at check-in by the parking team), that each attendee gets a brief personal visit, at their site, from the Welcome Team :)

Looking forward to seeing you and Malcolm in Goshen and putting Malcolm to work as head of the photography/social media team :)

jbeletti
10-13-2014, 03:51 PM
Ask old timers to save a place at their dinner table for a new couple. Also, let the new people know that if dinner starts at 6:00, you should show up earlier along with the experienced rallyers.

LIKE! Thanks Dan.

iowaone
10-13-2014, 05:47 PM
LIKE! Thanks Dan.
I think that is an excellent idea. As a newby to rallies this pass year I think meal times are challenging to break into and feel part of.

VKTalley
10-13-2014, 07:22 PM
Thanks Val. We will do our best to ensure that in addition to being welcomed upon arrival (as is done now at check-in by the parking team), that each attendee gets a brief personal visit, at their site, from the Welcome Team :)

Looking forward to seeing you and Malcolm in Goshen and putting Malcolm to work as head of the photography/social media team :)

I understand we will see you at the NC rally at the end of October too! Goshen will be fun next year! He and I are already working on ideas for that Photography/Social Media team! I like Dan's idea too! What a great way to make a new rally attendee feel welcomed!

Silverado23
10-13-2014, 11:40 PM
A one or two page - summary of things to expect or things to plan ahead for may be good if sent out in advance such as when signing up for the rally. This could be a good reminder for all attendees. This summary could be as simple as a list of things that need to be pre-scheduled such as service or things to bring to the rally such as items for sale/trade/donation.

If chapter leaders are known to be attending - make sure the new rally attendee knows who there chapter leader is and what site they are on. A list of all leaders and the site they are on could be a useful resource for everyone.

Name badges are really nice at the rallies. New people can learn a lot from those badges. It was very nice to see everyone wearing their badges frequently at the Central region rally in Amana. It was a good reference for me.


Steve (slobrba),

First, thank you for your active duty service.

Thank you also for your ideas. For the Goshen rally, we try to do our best to "cover attendees with paper". The rally packet for this rally is THICK :) Pre-rally attendees get their rally bags "when they arrive" and their bags include their pre-rally agenda.

Pre-rally and rally agendas are posted on the Rally Portal as is much of the other paperwork. I mention it constantly from about December through rally time. So on the info portion, up front and in the rally bags, for the Goshen rally, we cover a lot and do so pretty thoroughly.

For the non-Mil newbie, all that paperwork can be a bit overwhelming But - that's why we're all having this conversation.

Thanks again for all the ideas and we hope to see you in 2015 and if not then, then down the road. Stay safe and again, thank you for your service.

TXTiger
10-14-2014, 12:58 AM
I purchased my rig one month before my first rally which was the 2012 National Rally in Gillette. I had never had any RV before. I practlly drove from the dealer to the Rally. Although I was there to get as much information about how to use and maintain my new RV at the seminars the best memories I have are of the camp fire get togethers each evening with all my new Heartland friends. I think an evening get together of all new attendees would be a way to show them how much fun a Rally is.

dbbls59
10-14-2014, 08:05 AM
I think it would be beneficial to let everyone, not just first timers, know where their state chapter leader is parked. I was at Goshen in 2013 and when it was announced the Missouri Chapter was having a gathering around the chapter presidents trailer, I had to ask someone where it was. Luckily I had been to a state rally and knew some people from MO to ask. Also at the first timers meeting introduce the Regional and state chapter presidents.

jbeletti
10-14-2014, 09:41 AM
I think it would be beneficial to let everyone, not just first timers, know where their state chapter leader is parked. I was at Goshen in 2013 and when it was announced the Missouri Chapter was having a gathering around the chapter presidents trailer, I had to ask someone where it was. Luckily I had been to a state rally and knew some people from MO to ask. Also at the first timers meeting introduce the Regional and state chapter presidents.

I agree. I am committed to including a list in the rally packets for all attendees, showing Chapter Leaders and Regional Directors and their site numbers. I won't likely include phone numbers or email addresses.

Here's a sample of what I'm thinking.

Area Position Name Section Site
Indiana Chapter Leader Hoyt and Mary Maisack South NNN
North Central Region Regional Director Dan and Karen Halvorsen South NNN

jmgratz
10-14-2014, 12:35 PM
Several people over the last year have suggested that we have a program (orientation) at the National Rallies for "first-timers". First-timers in this sense, being those who are registered to attend a North American Heartland Owners Rally (aka - the National), where this will be their first time at a National Rally, but not necessarily their first Heartland rally.

So I throw this out there to all who have been to the National Rally. Thinking back to your first time at one of these:

What was the most mysterious, going into your first event?
What questions did you have going in, that was not answered online or in the rally packet?
If there would have been an Orientation Meeting of some sort for first-timers, what items would you have liked to have seen covered in the meeting?


Below is what I'm thinking right now, but I really want to hear from others.

The upcoming 2015 North American Heartland Owners Rally in Goshen will officially start at 8 am on a Tuesday and will end after breakfast the following Sunday.

Traditionally, and planned for 2015, we'll have an All-Attendee Welcome/Dessert Reception Tuesday evening at 7 pm. We do a complete agenda walk-through that evening for everyone an we take questions. So, I'm thinking a First-Timer Orientation Meeting would be something we'd want to do "before' Tuesday evening. In fact, I'm thinking about having it at 8:30 am on Tuesday in a private meeting room with coffee and donuts. The meeting style would be relaxed/informal. All First-timers would be identified during the rally registration process and would be invited to this meeting. They'd be asked to bring their agendas and wear their club badges. Julie and I would run the meeting and we'd have a couple of seasoned Rally Veterans on-hand to help.

A quick bulleted list of agenda items might be:

Welcome
Introduction of speakers
Suggestion to wear club badges* during the entire rally
Go through the rally agenda
Take questions
Just generally give the First-timer a sense of what they can expect during the rally and give them ideas on how they can get the most benefit from their rally


* It has been suggested that First-timers be easily identifiable to others in some way. Most suggestions are similar. Some sort of badge hanger or ribbon. So I am thinking through that, but I like the idea. Not so much to be a target but really, to be an identifier so all the Rally Veterans can go out of their way to welcome the First-timers and ask if they have any questions or need any hello with anything. You know - putting the Heart in Heartland :)

Give me some feedback you National Rally Veteran!

Thanks!

Personally I do not care for the identification as a Rookie (first time) rally attendee. The Escapee group does this and the first Escapade we attended we felt like were were treated as an 'outsider' and not a member of the Escapees. Just our opinion.

jmgratz
10-14-2014, 12:41 PM
I agree. I am committed to including a list in the rally packets for all attendees, showing Chapter Leaders and Regional Directors and their site numbers. I won't likely include phone numbers or email addresses.

Here's a sample of what I'm thinking.

Area Position Name Section Site
Indiana Chapter Leader Hoyt and Mary Maisack South NNN
North Central Region Regional Director Dan and Karen Halvorsen South NNN

Maybe you can pattern the Rally after THE RALLY (Good Sam Rally). That is have the state chapters have their own flag and have their state members sit together and then have a state by state parade around the meeting hall. Then have state meeting within the rally. Seriously, if you want to have a Rally like the Good Sam Rally why not just go to the Good Sam Rally. Oh here is another idea. Why not park the same brand of rigs together then we can all meet like owners. Really, I thought the idea behind a national rally was to meet other owners (regardless of location or model) and get a chance to visit with them. The other alternative would be to have a name tag with their name, state, type of rig and member number.

mmomega
03-02-2015, 12:01 AM
Several people over the last year have suggested that we have a program (orientation) at the National Rallies for "first-timers". First-timers in this sense, being those who are registered to attend a North American Heartland Owners Rally (aka - the National), where this will be their first time at a National Rally, but not necessarily their first Heartland rally.

So I throw this out there to all who have been to the National Rally. Thinking back to your first time at one of these:

What was the most mysterious, going into your first event?
What questions did you have going in, that was not answered online or in the rally packet?
If there would have been an Orientation Meeting of some sort for first-timers, what items would you have liked to have seen covered in the meeting?


Below is what I'm thinking right now, but I really want to hear from others.

The upcoming 2015 North American Heartland Owners Rally in Goshen will officially start at 8 am on a Tuesday and will end after breakfast the following Sunday.

Traditionally, and planned for 2015, we'll have an All-Attendee Welcome/Dessert Reception Tuesday evening at 7 pm. We do a complete agenda walk-through that evening for everyone an we take questions. So, I'm thinking a First-Timer Orientation Meeting would be something we'd want to do "before' Tuesday evening. In fact, I'm thinking about having it at 8:30 am on Tuesday in a private meeting room with coffee and donuts. The meeting style would be relaxed/informal. All First-timers would be identified during the rally registration process and would be invited to this meeting. They'd be asked to bring their agendas and wear their club badges. Julie and I would run the meeting and we'd have a couple of seasoned Rally Veterans on-hand to help.

A quick bulleted list of agenda items might be:

Welcome
Introduction of speakers
Suggestion to wear club badges* during the entire rally
Go through the rally agenda
Take questions
Just generally give the First-timer a sense of what they can expect during the rally and give them ideas on how they can get the most benefit from their rally


* It has been suggested that First-timers be easily identifiable to others in some way. Most suggestions are similar. Some sort of badge hanger or ribbon. So I am thinking through that, but I like the idea. Not so much to be a target but really, to be an identifier so all the Rally Veterans can go out of their way to welcome the First-timers and ask if they have any questions or need any hello with anything. You know - putting the Heart in Heartland :)

Give me some feedback you National Rally Veteran!

Thanks!


I like the idea of the 1st timers meeting, we would be there for sure and having a newbie badge of honor to wear could be a good idea.
It would definitely make it easier to identify if we (newbs) knew others were also 1st timers this may cause us to start conversations or talk to each other more because we now have something else in common. Just a thought.

Whatever you guys decide I'm in. This is going to be a fun trip.

Also, if you see this flag below on a rig, that's us, the LSU colored Texas Flag.

2psnapod2
03-02-2015, 12:36 AM
1st timers meeting or Newbie meeting might be un-welcomed by some. How about calling it an Orientation Meeting. Also I really like the idea of a group of couples that are designated as the "Welcoming crew" that would go around and talk to everyone as they are getting set up and answer any questions anyone might have. Most of it would be "it's in your welcoming bag". But they could have a notebook with "Essential Information" that they could address any questions that might arise! If you need any help getting these notebooks together, I could help.

Herbiesrig
03-02-2015, 07:41 AM
Jim, I just had another idea.. During election time we see alot of signs on yards and street corners, I was thinking that if each state leader, and regional director has a Heartland sign to put out in front of their Unit(space) that would be easier to look for a chapter leader or regional director. I have been considering checking for one of our own.

Silverado23
03-02-2015, 09:33 AM
Maybe a pre-rally email sent to all the National first-timers would be helpful. This could include a short list of things that first-timers might not know or expect such as the rig weighing and checking in. I know that there is much information sent out through all the agendas and tours, etc. but this information could be overwhelming. The short list could be more geared towards the topic such as: Insider tips for attending my first national rally.

danemayer
03-02-2015, 10:29 AM
For first timers, I'd suggest two very important things:

1. Let them know now that if at all possible, they should try to arrive early for at least part of the pre-rally. It may not be obvious to all that a lot of the best times will be during the pre-rally. At the very minimum, that will let them meet some people before the formal rally agenda gets underway.

2. They should plan to arrive early for every event. For dinner at 6:00, arrive at 5:30. For seminars, arrive 5-10 minutes early. For anything involving driving, plan to arrive 20-30 minutes early. For bus tours, arrive 15 minutes early. If you arrive on time, your seating choices will be very limited. Also, not being familiar with the venues, you may underestimate how long it takes to get where you're going. And parking can also be time consuming at off-site venues.

Silverado23
03-02-2015, 11:36 AM
Dan,

Now those are some great tips for first-timers.

elwaller39
03-02-2015, 12:26 PM
I think that would be a great idea. This way the first timers will feel much more at home and will feel more apart of the group.

Nabo
03-02-2015, 03:29 PM
I like the idea of having a state chapter leader sign outside the front of the camper. I would make it as generic as possible so that it could be passed down to the next chapter leader as chapters change. Something like the HL logo, the shape of the state below logo and then say that's state name Chapter Leader. EXP would be:
HL Logo
The shape of the state (in my case the state of Tennessee)
Tennessee Chapter Leaders (do not put their names so that the sign could be used over and over again as leaders change)