Happy New Year
Here’s to a year filled with more time!
We at Take Back Your Time hope your holiday season was filled with joy…and time. 2015 was a great rebuilding year for us after a fairly long quiescent period. With the help of our partner, Diamond Resorts International ® we accomplished a lot last year!
- We got our monthly newsletter going again
- Re-vamped our website
- Cultivated a stronger presence on social media—Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc.
- Started Did You Know? and Gift of Time campaigns
- Joined with Diamond for a National Vacation Summit
- We were cited in numerous national media
- Held a number of Take Back Your Time Day events, and
- Developed a new strategic and fundraising plan.
2015 was a banner year, and we plan on making 2016 even more memorable.
This month, we’ve started to work with a marketing class at Seattle University around a new campaign to promote vacation time among employers and employees. Our Seattle team of Ritzy Ryciak, Steve Nesich, Rachael Lewis and John de Graaf is excited about what’s coming next. Here’s a quick look:
Fundraising. Our end of year fundraising drive has so far netted $2400 from 35 donors (less than one percent of our membership). We want to thank all of you who gave — three donors sent us $250 each. It means a lot, but we are far short of where we need to be. Please consider a donation. We didn’t want to do multiple asks at the end of the year, because we suspect you get way too many of those at that time already. But now that it’s a New Year, please give generously. Instead of less than one percent of our members donating to us, let’s get it up to ten or twenty! If you contribute $50 or more, we’ll send you a free DVD of John de Graaf’s new documentary,The Great Vacation Squeeze—see below.
Survey. We conducted a survey which resulted in completed questionnaires from 144 of our members, about 3 percent of our total membership. That’s not enough so we are going to put the survey out again. Nonetheless, we learned quite a bit from our first responses.
What Take Back Your Time issues do you value most?
Ninety percent of those who completed the survey agree with our priority of encouraging more vacation time for Americans. Many of you have told us you’d like to write for us or write letters to your local newspapers and other publications. We’d like that very much!
Conference. Interestingly, by far the highest percentage of you, when asked how you’d like to be directly involved with Take Back Your Time, told us you’d like to attend a national conference. So we’re taking you up on that. We held national conferences in 2004 in Chicago and 2005 in Seattle, plus a National Vacation Summit in Seattle in 2009, in addition to our involvement with the 2015 Vacation Commitment Summit in New York. We were also a partner in creating a national Happiness Summit in Seattle in 2012. Now, we want to do it again. Here’s what we’re thinking:
We are looking at possible dates for a National Take Back Your Time conference at Seattle University this coming August. The conference will happen right around the actual 100th Anniversary of the United States National Park system. The Park Service was officially founded on August 25, 1916. So, right now our plan is to start with a Thursday all-day pre-conference field trip to spectacular Mt. Rainier National Park, about two hours from Seattle, followed by a conference welcoming reception that evening. The conference itself, including plenaries and workshops, would take place on Friday and Saturday. The conference will be about both ideas and activism, with a strong effort to engage you, the attendees, in strategy sessions about building a real work-leisure balance movement in America.
Holding the conference at Seattle University, with its combination of affordable facilities and food and lodging opportunities, will allow us to keep the cost of the conference low. If you really do want to attend, as so many of you have told us, please think about coming. We should have the date finalized within the month. If you can, plan to spend a couple of days in the area either before or after the conference — Seattle in August is an amazing place for a vacation, with lots of activities in the city and great recreational opportunities at nearby beaches, lakes and mountains. The weather at that time of year is grand, the snow is gone from the high peaks, and the meadows are ablaze with beautiful wildflowers! And, Seattle is easy to reach from most metropolitan airports in the U.S.
Time for Parks. Part of the conference will focus on our one of our campaigns for 2016, Time for Parks, designed to coincide with the National Parks centennial but also to emphasize the value of local and regional parks, and especially, the fact that we need time to visit these wonderful places that far-sighted earlier generations of Americans have bequeathed to us. When the average visit to the Grand Canyon is two hours and to Yosemite, five, there’s no real time to appreciate the wonders of nature. We need more vacation time to make that possible. We want to partner with any organizations that care about parks and time and nature, families, health and play. More on this campaign soon!
Great Vacation Squeeze. Finally, John de Graaf’s documentary film, The Great Vacation Squeeze, will premier on PBS stations this coming spring. Photographed in part in Yosemite, it’s a celebration of parks as well as a call for more vacation time. Be sure to inquire about whether your local PBS channel will be showing it!
Thanks for all you do to make a better world.
John de Graaf