Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 44 Page 45 Page 46 Page 47 Page 48 Page 49 Page 50 Page 51 Page 52 Page 53 Page 54 Page 55 Page 56Summer 2016 | 13 Future groomer operator, Mack Gosselin,“drives”the Drift Dusters’ groomer at the Derby Fourth of July parade. Got a cute kid or pet photo? We’d love to publish an adorable photo of your kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews and pets enjoying the winter and club activities in Vermont! Send photos with caption information to editor@ vtvast.org. What do you want for the future of snowmobiling? A funny thing happens when you actually ask people that question… they tell you. What I heard from both kids and adults at the International Snowmobile Congress in Rapid City, S.D. in June was that we need more youth involved in the sport. That’s a point that no one can argue against. Dig just a bit deeper and you will find how to make that happen. I interviewed youth who ranged in age from 10 to 19, all of whom had been riding since age 3. I also listened to kids from Wisconsin who belong to KAOS (Kids & Adults On Snowmobiles) and have gone on to become club officers. All cared deeply about the sport and shared insights that can help you work better with youth. Here’s what I asked and what I recommend based on what I heard. What do youth love about the sport? The same things adults do! They love riding with family and friends, working together with adults to build and maintain trails and the thrill of the ride. Give them opportunities to work Creating the Future of Snowmobiling WITH you on the trails, not FOR you, to build ownership and give them the credit they deserve. What do youth expect? They expect to be acknowledged, noticed and not taken for granted. Ask them what they want to learn, accomplish and experience. The kids I spoke to wanted leadership and communication skills that they could obtain by becoming officers, serving as liaisons and leading committees. Those are valuable life and job skills that you can provide to the youth in your clubs if you let them have those opportunities to help you lead. What else do youth want? They want supportive, respectful and accepting relationships with older snowmobilers. Don’t take kids for granted and don’t expect them to be silent. Involve and engage with them and let them tackle things where their expertise shines, such as with social media. Accept them and their ideas. Judging them and their ideas shuts them down. Avoid saying things like, “We don’t do it that way here,” By Dee Dee Raap or “We tried that once, and it didn’t work.” What do youth hope for the future of snowmobiling? They hope it grows in popularity and that more people get involved in clubs. They hope it remains a family sport and that it also becomes more affordable. They like it as is and just want more of it. That’s a good thing. To say we love something and want more of it shows energy that can be tapped into to help grow club memberships. Kids want to be heard, treated as equals and praised for what they do. Isn’t that what we all want? Instead of seeing kids as a challenge, see them as the means of creating your future. Dee Dee Raap is a professional speaker and author of JourneyWords, which offers 52 strategies that can help snowmobilers build great club service. For more information on Dee Dee, and to sign up for her free e-zine, go to www. DeeDeeRaap.com. John Bosworth of the Williston Hill Hawks is instilling a love of snowmobiling in his son very early on!