This was taken from the “What would YOU have done differently?” originally posted in the public forum. I’m reposting it here so that next year’s folks can use it as a planning aid. The order listed below is loosely grouped by a common theme but it is not indicative of any preference or importance. It's not necessary that anyone comment on this list, although you're certainly welcome to do so. I found the past planning threads to be invaluable, more so than the public forums, so I wanted to capture all of the comments in one spot.Social inclusion/lubrication:
--I'd love to have everyone quickly round robin with their board name, real name, where they are from, etc. Makes it nice to see who is who, etc. During the dinner maybe.
--A problem was no name tags for many until late Tuesday and after many had scattered. Might be some way to do a downloadable name tag ahead of time with a little sticker to mark it paid.
--A central identified hang out area would be nice, kind of like Torrey does. We always get spread out but I for one never knew people were hanging out anyplace but the fairground so I missed a big part of the "UN".
--extremely difficult for first comers or socially shy people to feel included. I would agree, an evening of introducing folks, maybe a bit of an autobiography included in a small booklet of each attendee and provided the first night would really be a nice touch. I've always felt a part of this family in my own way and it's a bit of a disconnect to go to one of these functions and not have people introducing you to others to make you feel welcome. I don't expect a coat and tie sort of gig but it would be nice to know who's who. (Steve’s note: We did have name tags, with everyone's first name, board name and home town. I encouraged wearing of them at the casual social gatherings just for the purpose of getting to know one another. And they were also required for entry to dinner and breakfast.)
--I was hesitant to go on the un organized rides as my "performance award" quota is filled and from what I heard the speeds were high. A thought might be to designate a few rides as "speed limit" deals with signup sheets. I do a lot of off-road stuff with my Jeep club and we always have easy, moderate and hard runs. Each meeting at such and such a place and at such a time. I for one after a fast paced 850 miles to get to JD, wasn't that hot to go tearing up the turns (getting old I guess). But a nice sightseeing ride with lunch in the middle would have been fun.
--Although we are gradually getting to know a few folks, its still sort of a "disconnect" when you read and converse with many in the forums, even feel like you already know some of them, but upon arriving find it difficult to "butt in" to what appears to be "old home week" for some of the folks (you felt like you already knew). I think it would be a nice touch to have a few of the "old hands" volunteer to greet-upon-arrival apparent noobs or those who just seem "lost" (at dinner or around the tiki bar or wherever the gathering is) and introduce them to a few others--you know, "social lubrication".
--Rides: again, perhaps some volunteers (who are not navigationally challenged) would post, the evening before on the "previously suggested" bulletin board, some rides they are willing to lead the next day, what time they want to leave, the "type" of ride it will be, and where to congregate...and a place to sign up.Food/Breakfast
--It might be good to have the breakfast on the following Thursday instead of Friday since most people are trying to head out if they live a far way away. Also it might be good to know the layout of the town you are in with relationship to the gathering spot for everyone so you can better pick your motel/hotel/campsite. (Steve’s note: suggest providing in-town map at check-in.)
--Maybe: Don't do communal breakfast or do it in a middle day of the UN. Who has to leave often leaves when the sun comes up - or earlier. Designate a main motel, so we know where the parking lot party is going to be. So campers and other motel inhabitants will know where most of the folks are.
--Also, I'll second the comment that to get maximum participation at a breakfast, it should not be the first or last day of the rally. Too many folks arriving late and/or departing early.
--nearly skipped the Friday pancake breakfast but the 6 AM start time made it possible to enjoy and to say goodbyes. The line of riders at the fairgrounds as meeting hall doors opened showed others were like minded. Some UnRally participants will need to leave a day or so earlier but a final opportunity to say farewell was primo (the food was good too!).
--There seems to be an emphasis on the UnBreakfast. Why? I get the UnSupper, but why a big deal about a breakfast gathering? Considering this UnEvent is all about UnOrganization, I don't think so much effort should be placed on organized meals. One is good, more than that seems to lend itself to other, more planned, events.
--As to the timing of breakfast--tough call. I see the value in the last day for exchanging farewells and the 6 AM start time was nice and early but people do get antsy to get on the road. A more organized breakfast mid-stay might be good with a casual pastries, coffee, juice kind of thing on the last morning.
--From my perspective the breakfast would have worked better Thursday morning.
--I liked the Friday morning breakfast, gave people one last time to connect. But maybe at a fixed specific time instead of a wide time window, to get everyone there together like the evening meal?
--Another thing that's worked well in the past is a casual, throw in $5 bucks; we'll be in the campground or at whichever hotel, pizza on the first night that most people arrive. Again, just to get the group together as much as possible.Lodging
--If you have a Main Hotel/Motel please give them a Heads-Up about how "we" like to parking-lot socialize.
--It seems to me that the single biggest issue that keeps folks from getting together is proximity of motel to campground. Having attended all unrallies except Eureka Springs, it seems to me that Cody was the best in that regard (literally across the street). This unrally at John Day I believe was #2 in this regard but was a long walk one way from the campground to the hotel that turned into the big gathering spot.
--Maybe a pre-scouting of the available hotels? "American such and such is bargain basement", "Quality whatever" is upscale, new", etc. It seems every year at least one hotel is a flea bag and should/could be on an 'avoid' list.Location:
--Steve’s note: Off line, it was suggested to me that a coastal venue would have been nice. Someone else decided not to come early on because it was usually in the mid-90s.
--the idea about designating a main location is very good. For those events where there is a substantial distance between locations, would it be too far out to have a kind of shuttle? Maybe even rent a car/van and solicit non-imbibing volunteers to drive between locations, say every hour or two?
--As for the motel parking lot party/story-tell events, I think the unorganizer could just set a convenient location and let everyone know where it will be.
--maybe next time we designate the evening get-together locations between the major locations i.e. campground / motel etc... and use a different location each night, that way we know where to be for the bonding time...Random Notes:
--Some of the Unrallies have had a kind of "message central" with a blackboard/corkboard or other such thing. Unrally 6 had the complete list of attendees where said people "checked in," and were able to post messages like "meeting for dinner at XYZ restaurant at 7:00" or "taking the XYZ loop tomorrow, meet here at 8:00 am." If the designated main location has no such thing, could someone bring a large easel and board to accommodate?
--I like the idea of a central message board
--My only suggestions: include the lodging locations on the registration list so it's easier to locate folks. A big message board would be a great addition.
--If there had been a stack of the predefined printed routes instead of just one copy to look at, that might have been more helpful.Other notes from Steve:
--I think I'll suggest to the UN for next year to have the registration go live at the same time as the event is announced. If that isn't possible, then going live a month earlier (beginning of April - 3 months out) is a good idea.
to capture all of the registration data. It was easy to setup and I could download all of the registrant info in Excel format. VERY HELPFUL!
is a URL owned by Leslie. It is written in Drupal
language. Sebastian Mindling, aka "stubble" is a Drupal expert and I would suggest asking for his help to setup the initial framework, like he did for us. Whomever is reading this for 2009, email me and I can give you administrator access for the site.