Timberland invites OIA Rendezvous attendees to work up a sweat on the French Broad River
Thanks to the generous support of The Timberland Company, the best networking opportunity at the upcoming OIA Rendezvous® this October will again involve donning work clothes, gloves and a good pair of outdoor shoes for an afternoon of getting down and dirty on the French Broad River in Asheville, NC.
Timberland considers its ongoing support and title sponsorship of the Volunteer Service Project, now on year 12, as one of its corporate legacy programs. The OIA Rendezvous, the industry’s premier annual leadership conference, will take place October 5 through 7 at the Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa in Asheville, NC. The service project is widely regarded as the highlight of the conference as it allows attendees to serve side-by-side with like-minded and equally committed industry leaders to build lasting relationship bonds while contributing to the preservation of local outdoor assets.
For years, OIA Rendezvous attendees have found there’s nothing quite like building trails, clearing brush, rehabbing parks and playgrounds, and giving back to the host community to break down barriers and preconceptions and deepen relationships. Call it “sweatworking.”
“As we re-center our brand and company back to our core outdoor heritage, we want to be involved in the critical gatherings and discussions involving other leading outdoor brands,” said Mark Bryden, vice president and general manager of Timberland. “Rendezvous is just such a gathering, we wouldn’t miss it.”
Community service projects, or what Timberland calls the “symphony of service,” are at the core of the company’s corporate culture. Through its Path of Service program, Timberland’s more than 5,000 employees can get up to 40 hours of paid time off to work on service projects in their communities. Over the last 20 years, Timberland employees have worked to enrich art and cultural education in South Africa, expand rural medicine in the Dominican Republic and build mountain biking trails in New England. In Timberland’s annual day-long Serve-a-palooza celebration, hundreds of its employees spend the day working on community service projects across the globe. The company encourages the public to contribute as well by publishing a “Service Tool Kit” on its website.
“Rendezvous provides an opportunity for us to live up to the leadership attributes that we are committed to,” said Bryden. “It’s a way to contribute Timberland’s competency of service projects and strategies that have lasting impact.”
This year’s project will focus on cleaning up the waterway and shoreline of the French Broad River, which has become a major linchpin in Asheville’s urban and cultural development. The event is being coordinated with Riverlink, a local non-profit which has been spearheading the economic and environmental revitalization of the French Broad River and its tributaries since 1987. Nantahala Outdoor Center, as a title sponsor of the OIA Rendezvous, is providing boats and gear, team leaders and support personnel as well as transportation to and from the service project work areas.
With a slippery riverbank, paddle prowess, and power tools involved, there are sure to be a few humorous anecdotes to share over a refreshing beer provided by SNEWS® and add to industry lore. In addition to hauling trash and clearing brush along the riverbank, projects will include painting over graffiti-covered walls, and building a community labyrinth. There’s something for everyone to dig into, all puns intended.
In the last two years, Rendezvous attendees have spent the last afternoon of the conference cleaning up one of the nation’s oldest urban parks in downtown Boston and the Palm Canyon in San Diego’s Balboa Park.
“The relationship building aspect of Rendezvous is both fun and useful,” said Bryden. “Each of us has the chance to think freely and clearly, away from operational distractions, to build a more centered future.”