Public Relations and Community Outreach
Waterskiing is a community sport, best enjoyed with a friend or neighbor. As collegiate skiers, we rely on the waterskiing community to help us out, so let’s explore the best way to do so.
Skiing on public lakes, we need to be considerate of property owners. They pay to keep the lake maintained and skiable. Always be considerate of early morning or evening sets, and respectful of property. It takes years to build a good reputation, and minutes to ruin one. Be smart, and hold your entire team accountable for their actions.
How do you ensure a future full of skiing on their lake? Talk with community members. An honest conversation has limitless opportunities. Show the Lake Association that you care, have the entire team come out for a lake cleanup. You’ll get to promote your team, make connections, earn their trust, and get volunteer hours for the team, which can lead to recognition and funding from campus. Lake cleanups are a time to really get to know lake members, and those who care deeply for it. They are often boaters and can tell you all the important people to cozy up to for connections. You may even find a local business owner who wants to sponsor your team!
If your lake has a course (or better, a ramp), who maintains it? See if you can help with installation, removal, and repairs. This way you are more likely to have more control in when it goes in and out, maximizing time on the water. As well, if it is privately owned, they will more likely let you use it if you help them out, caring and respecting their property.
If you ski at a private site, you probably already have a good relationship with the owner. Continue respecting them and their property by always cleaning up the site, following all their rules, and never do anything unsafe that could endanger their site.
MSU Waterski helps install the course and the ramp at Tivoli Gardens in Gains Township, MI in exchange for hosting their annual Ripfest fall tournament
Fundraising and building community
Once you’ve met all these amazing lake people, find ways to give back, or make some money for the team! Once they know and trust you, you can do a lot. My team annually installs and removes docks from a couple lakes we ski on. Every year customers come back, and tell their friends so we grow the business. This fundraiser brings in a couple thousand dollars for our team each year, and is great team bonding.
Hold a learn-to-water ski clinic or a fun tubing event to bring the community together for some fun on the water. Talk to a local Marina about advertising the event, and put flyers around the lake to invite lake lovers to have a good time getting to know the team better, and working with kids. Pass the Handle day is July 23rd this year and is a great time to get new people on the water.
Nebraska Water ski annually helps with an adaptive skiing clinic and it really brings the community together, and gives people who often can’t even walk the opportunity to walk on water. The event brings smiles to everyone’s faces, and got them in the news!
There are so many terrible stories on the news, be a good one! Be the *crazy person that goes skiing on New Year’s Day, and tell some news outlets! Grand City Show Skiers go out every year and is great team bonding and media attention.
This is a fun article and news story, and brings in local awareness. Doing something against the norm can easily garner media attention. I’ve seen people riding their boat around town, or at a football game tailgate with the boat trailered, Be loud and exciting, and people will notice. We’re waterskiers, we’re already crazy, let’s use that to show the world our amazing sport.
Work with school radio stations and newspapers to reach on campus, reach alumni in school publications, alumni magazines, and homecoming events, and use local news and radio for community members. Find a media contact and send out press releases for tournaments and clinics, or put an ad in the newspaper or radio for a fundraiser.
Go big and go home
Reach out to hometown newspapers or neighborhood newsletters of team members. Send out press releases when you’re doing something big, like fundraising for nationals! Let family and friends know you’re making big moves, and ask for their help. Do more than just share a gofundme page on Facebook, but connect with those that helped you on your waterski journey. Make it a personal connection with the neighbor that first got you on a boat, or the friend who’s ski you borrowed the first time you got up slalom. Use memories to remind friends and family that they were part of the team as a supporter, and you need their support to make even more progress.
Next Marketing Monday’s with Molly will be July 10th discussing on-campus activities and involvement. Enjoy your holiday weekend on the water!
*NCWSA is not liable for any injuries, and in no way condones unsafe behavior