My husband Jeremy and I started our business in 2007. He has been in the industry since 1997, myself since 2000, and I'm not going to lie at the end of 2013 I was feeling a little burned out. In a day and age where people want instant gratification, where they cross things off their bucket lists and move on to the next adventure, or are wrapped up in paying as little as possible for a service that costs more for the company than what was paid, it gets challenging. We had the pleasure of listening to Ira Blumenthal kick off the Confluence with "Collaborative Advantage Leads to Competitive Advantage". In less than an hour I was feeling a sense of renewal. Assurance that we are doing many of the right things through our business partnerships and providing value to our service that our guests can truly conceptualize. I was reminded that we need to begin with the end in mind and Northeast Whitewater is going there - through distinction.
It was important for us to split up and attend different seminars. We have different roles at Northeast Whitewater. Mine being the front line through public relations and online marketing and his being operations, finance and SEO. All of the featured speakers at AOA were excellent, each bringing their own expertise to their thoughtful and informative presentations. Two of my favorites were Author & Digital Strategist, Lisa Buyer and Rebecca Murtagh, Marketing Professional & Entrepreneur.
We bounced between seminars and the Outfitter Expo trade show, excited about finding new lines of retail for our shop in Greenville. We chatted with our current vendors and connected with new ones. Making that face to face connection provides so much satisfaction. You know the person on the other line now, because you actually can put a face with their name or voice. Respect and understanding elevate. This is an important addition to who Northeast Whitewater is and where we are going. Stay tuned, so that we can get to know each other better.
|Nathan - Arctic Reservations|
We met with Nathan, the creator of our online reservation system (Arctic Reservations) and have some exciting plans for 2014 to make reservation making easier for our guests and some fun networking ideas. Since returning from the Confluence, I have spent countless hours on our system upgrade and am looking forward to the unveiling this season.
|Kurt - East West Printing|
|Laura - Ouray Sportswear|
|Charlie - High Wind Productions|
We had the pleasure of getting to know the reps at Ohiopyle, Ouray Sportswear and High Wind Productions. All three of these companies are going to provide some new life and color into our rafting gift shop in 2014. From moose gifts to hard core raft shirts; with the help of these companies, we'll have you living the river life!
|Charlie Walbridge - Safety Expert|
We have worked with the next two vendors since we started our business in 2007. Without both of them, we would not have our beautiful, red rafts (Aire Inflatables) or the capability to blow up those rafts (Man of Rubber)!
|Beth - Man of Rubber River Gear|
|Aire Couch - Jeremy & Jess|
Making all of these personal connections, I felt a sense of renewed energy, my focus and motivation was back on track, thanks to my membership and participation in the America Outdoors Association. "Confluence", a gathering at one juncture, was so much more than the simple definition of where rivers meet, it was where I went to connect and meet with others face to face to collaborate, to enjoy the experience of connecting with like minded people that have similar goals, aspirations, that love rivers and the American outdoors.
The travel challenges we faced were part of the adventure of getting to Albuquerque. If I could do it all over again, I wouldn't change a thing. Arriving at your destination is all about the experience to actual get there; the people that you meet along the way, the feelings that you have during your travels; and what you learn about each other and most importantly yourself. Remember the importance of personal connections, travel, growth and we hope you come to see Northeast Whitewater in Maine this season. Thanks to the America Outdoors Confluence, we have a renewed outlook, and 2014 is going to be a great year. Daytona, here we come!
Thoughtfully submitted by Jessica Hargreaves, Co-owner Northeast Whitewater