As with any special interest group, people are going to be curious about the activity that has drawn you together as a social unit. It’s up to you to channel this curiosity into a positive force in your community.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking community approval and support aren’t important. Besides being home to the people you live and work with, your community is populated by the people who hold the lease to your clubhouse, make the laws that affect motorcycling, and those who will attend your events—or stay home—depending largely on how they feel about you and your friends. Your good standing in the community is vital.
The basis of good community relations begins with individual members of the organization. That is, simply by acting as responsible, civic-minded citizens you can lay a foundation on which acceptance and respect in the community can be built.
You are a motorcyclist, but you’re also an attorney, an office worker, a salesman or some other integral part of the community. What’s good for you, the citizen, is equally good for you the motorcyclist. Standards of responsible behavior are the same whether you are involved in work or your hobby.
Being a viable and valued part of the community requires more than just behaving responsibly. It means taking an active role in the programs and activities that help the community improve and grow. Fortunately, there are many such activities particularly suited to motorcycle organizations. Here are a few examples:
• Adopt-A-Highway or trash cleanup
• Distribution of material for charitable fundraising projects
• Providing guest speakers for civic and service organizations, giving your organization the opportunity to present motorcycling in a positive light to some of your community’s most influential people
• Traffic control or escorts for parades, community celebrations, athletic events and other crowd-drawing activities
After you are organized, it is a good idea to touch base with your local police department. Set up a meeting that includes a couple of your officers. Brief the local police community relations officer on who you are, why you have formed your organization and what your plans are for being involved in the community.
If you have designed an insignia, be sure the police are aware of it. Seek to keep these lines of communication open in the months and years to come.
AMA EAGLES Program
AMA EAGLES (Education, Activism, Growth, Leadership, Expertise, Skills) is an advocacy and leadership program that empowers members with knowledge, tools and resources tailored to their interests. Through it, members learn about the AMA and become better grassroots activists, public relations representatives and membership advocates. This is a great program for club members to be involved with. Contact AMASCN@amacycle.org for more information.