You’re not the only one setting goals this year!  Check out what we’re hoping to do in 2017.

Goal #1: Consider global sustainability and impact.

We buy about 2,500 t-shirts and medals each year, and until a few weeks ago, I never considered where they came from or who made them.  After happening upon a documentary called The True Cost, my eyes were finally opened (which I’m ashamed to admit) to the plight of garment workers in developing countries.  Nearly 97% of clothing sold in the US is manufactured in developing countries, with little to no protection or consideration for the lives of the employees.  I highly recommend watching it – but be warned – looking through your closet afterwards will be tough to stomach.  When I started thinking about what I can do to help combat the environmental and human rights issues surrounding this, I thought about my personal shopping habits, as well as what we can do as a non-profit.

So, this year I will be evaluating the options and researching the vendors and products we offer our athletes and volunteers.  I know that this could drive up our costs, and this may end up being passed on in some form to our customers.  I want to educate myself and others on why some products are more expensive than others, and work hard to think about the global good for all, not just the most convenient for us.  Stay tuned for more information as we plan for our 2017 finisher and athlete gear.

Goal #2: Make the right move for the future, not just the quick-fix.

Thanks to our amazing donors and the generosity of corporate partners, we have the opportunity to offer more kids the chance to participate in our youth triathlons.  Over the last month, I’ve been working on identifying potential sites and communities for a fourth Dane County triathlon.  Here’s the thing – starting another new event for the second straight year can come with some trade-offs.  What if there is a bigger, underlying problem, and adding another event doesn’t solve it?  What if we push an event into a community and it falls flat?  Do we want to use our precious funding and our donors trust and risk the long-term success and ownership of that event?

Knowing Dane County, we can only sustain so many events on our warm-weather weekends.  Therefore, I’m working hard to find the best fit for our organization for the future, and won’t push something through unless it makes sense and is warmly embraced by our community.  We want to be partners that are welcomed in and are gracious guests, rather than impose our will.  This applies to all aspects of our organization, and it’s the key reason we use a rolling three-year strategic plan, and don’t just set goals year by year.

Goal #3: Start thinking BIG

There have been countless times that I’ve heard from people in other parts of the state and country “Let me know when you’re ready to come here.  This would be a hit in our city!”  Well, we’re starting our seventh year, and I’m getting the itch.  I’ve had my eye on places around the state – Green Bay, Milwaukee, Racine/Kenosha – and around the US – Denver/Boulder, Austin, Florida and Southern California – checking out the youth triathlon scene and how it’s developing.  The toughest part though is taking the leap without knowing the landscape.  I’m eager to start focusing on how we can take this concept and share it with our country.  It’s going to be A LOT of work – large-scale funding, research on franchising and affiliate structure, and finding the right person to spearhead the efforts in other cities.

But, we can’t wait forever, because our kids need this, and it won’t be long before someone comes in and does what we’re doing, likely minus the charitable component.

You in?