Third and final day of the APPL Convention.
Last evening, we went out on the town. First we saw one of several Cirque de Soleil shows. The performances were flawless and broad. The story, the best I understood it, was The Swiss Robinson Family meets Anna and the King of Siam. Flashing lights, smoke, dancing, a little mime and of course, acrobatics. Then we had a late dinner, late for me, on top of some left-over jet lag.
But the next morning, we were all up bright and early to hear our Wednesday Keynote speaker, Juan Martinez. Juan talked about creating young outdoor leaders from those who grow up under difficult circumstances, in his case, from the Los Angeles Barrios. Apparently talking about your past is an effective tool for moving audiences. He got several standing ovations.
I went to a workshop on increasing memberships in Associations. This was a technical talk from Membership professionals – that’s a specialty. Grand Canyon Association and Yellowstone Association have huge memberships even though these are one-in-a lifetime parks.
Visitors keep coming back to the Smokies and we could use to increase our memberships and our supporters. If you’ve been to the Smokies, you should think about joining the Great Smoky Mountains Association.
Besides feeling good about supporting the Park, you’ll get 15% off the purchases that you make in the bookstores.
I took another tour through the exhibit areas. I was shocked to see that one of the book distributors was displaying my first book Hiking the Carolina Mountains. Here in Las Vegas was a Carolina hiking book. I had to have my picture taken with the book.
The afternoon workshop was Bringing Local Advocacy to the National Level, presented by two National Parks Conservation Association staff members. One talked about the creation of Fort Monroe National Monument, the first national monument that President Obama created under the Antiquities Act.
The second was Tule Springs, which is trying to become a National Monument. It’s a site with Ice Age Fossils only 30 minutes from Las Vegas. I’m going to be taken there so I’ll skip the details for now.
And the big banquet.
The MC of the end of the convention big bash was the President Roosevelt repriser. This is the third time I’ve seen Teddy and he’s as good as ever. He did a short monologue then gave out the awards, all in character. These awards are the Academy Awards of the APPL world. It goes for the books, pamphlets and multi-media projects developed by the Park partners.
GRSM won in the Multi-Media Project or Program for its Video Display for Oconaluftee Visitor Center. This was just one of several awards that the Association won. Steve Kemp was bobbing up and down to the stage several times.
Friends of the Smokies won an Honorable Mention for its 2011 Evergreen Ball.
Some of our Smokies group are going home. Others are staying to look around beyond the strip.