Redwood Region has seen a lot of firsts lately. On Tuesday, April 28th, the Redwood Region Board held its first entirely virtual, regular monthly meeting. On Sunday, May 3rd, the Redwood Region Autocross Chairs, Stacy O’Connell and Drew Powers, hosted our first ever Autocross Happy Hour via web conference. Both events started off in the planning feeling like compromises forced by circumstances, but both were so successful that I think they could be considered among the very best of the meetings/events we’ve held as a club. For me, it really served as a reminder of how special our members are, and how resilient true friendship can be in the face of adversity. In the case of both gatherings, it did me well to see the faces of some of my Porsche friends.
On April 30th, PCA National co-sponsored a great webinar with Hagerty and MotorpsortReg for PCA regional leadership. Its focus was to provide ideas to keep regional club membership engaged during our current stay-at-home crisis. A poll taken at the top of the call made it pretty clear that, in general, folks believe that the pandemic will impact the scope, participation, and procedures around events for some time to come…even once regional restrictions on social events are lifted. It was good to see, as it means there is a lot of pragmatism surrounding event planning moving into the near and mid-term across the entire PCA. The focus of everyone remains on doing all that we must to secure the health and safety of our members and communities while figuring out how best to get back to some of the “normal” aspects of club life we all enjoy so much and miss so terribly.
One of the interesting points made on the call was that the broader socialization of technologies that make face-to-face meetings possible without requiring physical presence will likely open up wider-spread possibilities for member inclusion longer-term. Because our current reality has stretched people to use tools to which they might not have had prior exposure, it has opened up avenues that can be leveraged for events, board meetings, and event committee meetings even after social distancing restrictions ease. While nothing can substitute for true face-to-face interaction, it is nice to have available options that can democratize involvement, and allow those that might not otherwise be able to participate in-person to join in more of our fun.
To the primary point of the webinar, several interesting ideas on events that do not require physical presence were covered. Ideas included:
- Virtual Cars & Coffee – this could be an event where the cars are Hot Wheels and diecast models…or the real thing, but the idea is centered on the social aspects of coming together to talk about our cars.
- Virtual Concours – this idea was centered primarily around diecast models and other “toys” that match or complement the real Porsches members own along the same lines as the C&C idea with a creative twist. One thing mentioned was the opportunity for a PCA Juniors tie-in for folks that have kids that are also trapped at home, eagerly looking for something to do. This could be a way to connect to a demographic with which we seldom get to interface during typical club events.
- Virtual Museum Tours – “The Vault” (Hagerty) was mentioned specifically, but I’m sure there are several others. I think even the Porsche Museum is doing something online currently.
- Sim Racing – This can be fun for drivers or spectators. The PCA Sim Racing program has grown significantly in recent months, but there is always room for more; having an growing number of drivers from regions across the U.S. begins to increase the likelihood of folks knowing someone participating, thus giving them someone for whom to cheer.
After discussing “the now”, some ideas for approaches to hosting events using proper social distancing once stay-at-home restrictions are lifted were discussed. Even once we can start going out, there will still likely be rules in place limiting direct contact, and there will still be those that remain very cautious (rightly so) about any social interactions for a while. Some ideas:
- Tours – by virtualizing the morning briefing, moving to e-waivers (which are being worked on by PCA Insurance Chair and others w/ insurance companies), and making adjustments to post-tour meal gathering expectations, we should be able to enjoy many of the same types of driving tours that have become synonymous with PCA club life.
- Gimmick Rallies, Photo Rallies, and Scavenger Hunts – these involve puzzles, photo hunts, or other creative ways to have fun and socialize while enjoying our Porsches. Many of these can be coupled with follow-up web conferencing gatherings to share the experience. I believe that our fearless club Vice President is actively putting together some ideas for a Redwood Gimmick Rally, so if you have experience or ideas on this type of event, I’m sure he’d appreciate your input.
The Redwood Region Board will continue to tease out these ideas to figure out what might work best for our club, and then work on planning and calendaring them in the coming weeks / months. As always, if you have additional ideas, questions, or want to know how you can help, please let me know.
Thank you, be well, and stay safe out there!