Forty years ago in January, a call went out to save the Treasure Mountain Festival. At the time, the newspaper reported that the main threat to it came from a lack of volunteer help. Though the festival continues, the same issues bedevil it. Last month, the TMF officers released a plea to the community. Please help more, or face the possibility of the festival’s disappearance.
On March 9, concerned citizens responded to the call and packed a meeting room at Potomac Highlands Recreation Center. The officers did not call the meeting, but came to join the discussion led by Jennifer Taylor-Ide.
Taylor-Ide opened by reminding attendees that “this is not a business meeting. I am not an officer.” She explained that she was requested to run the meeting, which would help the community discuss in greater detail the problems facing TMF. It was not an official meeting to conduct the business of the organization.
“I’m very excited to see so many people here,” she said. “It’s exciting for the future of the festival.”
As attendees stood in the doorway and spilled into the outside of the room, volunteers passed out 3×5 cards. Speakers urged that attendees share ideas on the cards and not in the meeting itself.
The Treasure Mountain Festival’s main problem boiled down to a statement made by Taylor-Ide, “we need brains.” The festival has six standing committees: safety, parade, food, crafts, flea market, and activities. “These committees are not peopled,” she stated.
Most TMF committees function currently as a committee of one. Some help out part time, or as needed, but “there are people who are tired and want to step out. We need people to step in.” Specifically, the group needs the kinds of people with skills to organize and market in the 21st century.
Taylor –Ide explained that TMF needed two types of volunteers. One “level,” would be composed of those working to help put on the festival in 2023. These volunteers can help with much of the logistics of putting together the festival and its attractions. Also important, the TMF organization needs people with vital skills. For instance, one attendee suggested “people who, with the flick of a wrist, can put something cool up.” The website also was said to need attention.
Other needs include those who can come up with organizational needs, such as creating bylaws, processes, procedures, and a marketing strategy.
The work, it was explained, “is not something that you do one week out of the year. You do it the full year, or it doesn’t happen.”
Taylor-Ide suggested that while filling out the standing committees, that “understudies” should be selected. These people could step up to lead in the committee chair’s absence, or replace them if needed.
Discussion next centered on organizing regular, monthly committee meetings, as well as the need for regular and good communication between committee leaders and officers. “It can’t be heavy and cumbersome, though,” Taylor-Ide said.
Bob Horan, mayor of Franklin and attendee, asked if the group had a board of directors. The answer to his question stated that the governance committee could suggest changes that could accommodate that.
Going forward, committees can shoulder more responsibilities for decision making in their spheres. When a discussion broke out over vendor fees, it was said that this is a question that should be addressed in committees.
The next regular meeting will take place at 6 p.m. on the second Thursday in April.
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