Motorcycling Needs You—Yes, You!—Now
By Heather Wilson
This column will appear in the March 2021 issue of American Motorcyclist. — Ed.
When I say I was born into the motorcycle industry, I am not exaggerating.
After they graduated from high school, my dad and his brother opened a dealership, which my parents own and operate to this day, 44 years later.
I grew up at the shop. I also crewed for my dad at enduros and camped and rode dirt bikes with family on the grounds owned by our AMA-chartered local club.
As I got older, event organizers asked me to manage their websites, tackle social media and marketing, write race reports and even emcee championship banquets.
I loved the relationships I was building and the feeling that our customers and motorcycle friends were part of our extended family. Helping others has always been in our nature.
I enjoy riding motorcycles, both on the street and off-road, and I am humbled by the people I meet through our sport. Perhaps, you share this sentiment with me.
I bring that lifelong passion for motorcycling to my current role as director of AMA Member Activity.
I have worked for the AMA since 2014, traveling the country cultivating relationships with other riders and event organizers to find ways to better serve our members.
The AMA exists to serve its members, supporting motorcycling through rights, riding and racing, providing resources at AMA-sanctioned events, advocating for the lifestyle and communicating with members and organizers.
Six months after the AMA Member Activity Department was formed—combining the Recreational Riding and the Volunteer programs—we continue to expand our efforts to connect members with more riding opportunities, volunteer roles and fellow riders.
There is no better time to get involved with AMA clubs and promoters or directly with the AMA. You have the power to make the AMA stronger to fulfill its mission to support the motorcycle lifestyle and protect the future of motorcycling.
Here are several examples.
AMA EAGLES, the AMA’s on-demand volunteer training, will empower you with a deeper understanding of the Association and help you better educate others in the field about the AMA. You can find the free program at americanmotorcyclist.com under the Volunteer tab.
To establish best practices for organizers and riders, address common concerns and promote advocacy, four AMA Recreational Riding Commissions were created: Adventure/Dual Sport, Road Riding, Trail/Off-Road and Special Interest.
The first meetings were held virtually in January. I look forward to working closely with this diverse group of volunteers. Their experiences and skills will be assets to the AMA and to its members.
If you are thinking, “I want to help, too,” I encourage you to visit the Riding tab at americanmotorcyclist.com and submit your name for a commission seat. The application period is open through Sept. 1 for the term beginning January 2022.
On a local level, if you are searching for ways to connect with other riders and protect your right to ride, the AMA State Chapter program may be a good fit. Contact your AMA State Chapter coordinator (or become one) to meet other riders and to learn how to enjoy and protect motorcycling in your own backyard.
There are other ways to volunteer, too. From hands-on event operation, such as laying out routes or taking photos, to behind-the-scenes marketing or even remote tasks, your contributions will have a positive impact.
You can volunteer as often as you want, from a few hours a year to monthly or even daily.
I am personally inviting you to get involved, at a level that suits you, in support of motorcycling. Everyone has something to offer. If you are not sure how or where you fit, I will guide you.
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. I welcome your comments and suggestions.
Motorcycling is counting on you to share your knowledge and love of riding. Together, we can continue to build an amazing future.
Heather Wilson is the AMA director of Member Activity.