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Author Topic: Reflections from my recent FSP visit  (Read 5702 times)

ElNicoGrande

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Reflections from my recent FSP visit
« on: December 09, 2009, 08:47:46 pm »

Hi porcs,

I just finished a two-day whirlwind tour of Manchester, Concord (briefly), Dover, Seabrook, and Keene. I set out on this trip with the intention of checking out the FSP as a destination to escape the People's Republic of Kalifornia. It was such an amazing experience... I met so many cool people (more like-minded people in 24 hours than I had in 9 months on CA) and got a nice overview of the FSP. Because of this I had some reflections on the whole recruiting process. Let me preface my comments by saying that I have not yet committed to moving, but my wife and I will definitely be coming to PorcFest so that we can make our decision. Also, take this with a grain of salt as I'm sure my planning was hampered by visiting in the middle of the week for just 2 days rather than the weekend (though this did give me a glimpse of what day-to-day life is like).

I know its long but hang in there!

Planning
Definitely some high and low points here... I decided to make my NH trip as I already had a business trip to Boston planned, so I just tacked on a few days to the beginning of the trip. I started planning in Mid November. I submitted the FSP "visiting NH" form, I posted on the welcome wagon forum, and later made my way over to FreeKeene.com. It was a little difficult to plan as I didn't know what was worth visiting, who was available, what events were planned etc. It was a very serial, iterative process with a lot of calls and emails up until the minute I got on my plane. That part was definitely frustrating and had I not been able to spend nearly 8 hours planning, I'm pretty sure my trip would have suffered.

Execution
Mark W. definitely stepped up to bat and was an excellent host for the Manch/Dover part of my trip. He went above and beyond in making me feel welcome and helping me to hammer out the kinks in my planning. Likewise for Richard O. in Keene. Thankfully, since I had done so much planning, my trip did run fairly smoothly though I did rely quite heavily on the locals to get people together and set up events.

Reflection:
The community is awesome. Having so many like-minded people that share such a deep philosophical basis so greatly overshadows the minutiae of differences among freestaters. Connecting on a deep level like that meant that I instantly had hundreds of complete strangers that I could mesh with and trust far more than the acquaintances of 'normal' life. Being able to be myself without being judged for being a a crazy libertarian was great. I think this is such a high point that it bears emphasis. Even if nothing else in NH appeals to a potential FSPer, this could be enough to get people to move. Everyone I met kept telling me how awesome this support network was and how NH changed so many people... after my visit, I really can see why. Most libertarians are stuck living their lives surrounded by hostility (albeit often subconscious) and apathy, that it is nearly a spiritual experience recognizing and interacting with so many like-minded people.

Recommendations:
In terms of recommendations for recruitment, I think facilitating visits of prospective movers to NH is extremely important. Forums and videos just don't showcase the quality of people and I think that is THE selling point. It's VERY easy to spend a ton of time learning about the FSP, but except for the most motivated, I don't think that will convince people to move. Greater trip planning assistance is key: maps, highlights of the different areas/towns, recurring attractions and meetups lists, and contacts in each area. This could also benefit from having some "what to expect" testimonials.  This would take some dedicated volunteers, but having that information aggregated would definitely facilitate planning and get people on the fence about visiting more likely to come. I had to be extremely motivated to find out what I did, so this could help to get those less motivated than I to get over that initial hump.

Of course, I'm neglecting the initial aspect of the whole process... to even consider a visit you have to know what the FSP is and that has to convince you. It looks like the other threads cover this adequately, so I'll just mention my personal experience. FSP could definitely benefit from greater penetration of more mainstream liberty-esque groups (Campaign for liberty certainly, we are change, 9-12,etc.) Even if there isn't 100% agreement, we need to unify for liberty and leave the debating for later, so even if a particular group doesn't mesh all the way with the voluntaryist views or is too minarchist, too mainstream, too name-your-pet-detractor, as long as the members could identify with the FSP statement of intent, they should be aggressively recruited. the philosophical differences can and will be hammered out later, and better so in person with a beer in hand. I mention all this because I heard nothing about the FSP from the various groups I've been involved with and I think it's a shame. The main thing that convinced me to make the trip (other than the proximity of my business trip) was word of mouth and having several friends planning to move (liberty caravan this coming March). Word of mouth definitely requires the same penetration of the above groups, but also the success of things like Liberty on the Rocks are a great forum for starting that discussion. Having some friends move showed us real evidence of their commitment to the cause and spiked our curiosity. I think being too isolated and relying overly on an electronic presence can greatly damage recruiting potential. I don't want slogans or internet banter, I want good people, and to that end physical presence is key (especially for liberty-minded friends and families of movers that are FSP friendly who could spread the word in their town in the groups they're already in).

Anyway, I hope I didn't bore you with my novel. Overall I had a wonderful experience and am very excited to make the porc-fest trip. We will be bringing several family members along!

In Liberty,
Nick

Some thanks for those who helped me out with rides, crash pads, and hanging out: Keith C., JJ, Max and all the other wonderful porcs I met!
« Last Edit: December 09, 2009, 09:33:47 pm by ElNicoGrande »
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kyfornow

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Re: Reflections from my recent FSP visit
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2009, 08:55:25 pm »

You have some very well stated points.  I have a feeling they are very similar to the ones I  will make after I check out NH in a few weeks, just based on the concerns I have so far.
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1DayAtATime

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Re: Reflections from my recent FSP visit
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2009, 09:44:07 pm »

Planning
Definitely some high and low points here... I decided to make my NH trip as I already had a business trip to Boston planned, so I just tacked on a few days to the beginning of the trip. I started planning in Mid November. I submitted the FSP "visiting NH" form, I posted on the welcome wagon forum, and later made my way over to FreeKeene.com. It was a little difficult to plan as I didn't know what was worth visiting, who was available, what events were planned etc. It was a very serial, iterative process with a lot of calls and emails up until the minute I got on my plane. That part was definitely frustrating and had I not been able to spend nearly 8 hours planning, I'm pretty sure my trip would have suffered.

It seems like people are visiting pretty often now but I don't think we always had this many visitors.  As you likely know, the FSP created two in NH events so people could come to NH, talk, hang out, and get a feel for things.  People are highly encouraged to attend the LF and Porcfest.  Most of the liberty people in NH have busy lives and don't have a bunch of free time.  However, many of them take the time to be at these two events so you can meet them there :)

Also keep in mind there are calendars.  If someone can visit, following these calendars is helpful.  Mark may have linked you to these, http://www.nhlibertycalendar.org/http://calendar.freekeene.comhttp://nhunderground.com/forum/index.php?action=calendar

There are also welcome wagon folks.
1. FSP website
2. Moving to NH
3. Welcome Wagon
The FSP website is massive and hard to navigate :(  but the links are there, http://www.freestateproject.org/community/welcomewagon

Quote
Execution
Mark Warden definitely stepped up to bat and was an excellent host for the Manch/Dover part of my trip.

Mark is fantastic.  I suggest people thinking of coming to NH (all aren't needed but the order is helpful):
1. look at the three calendars above 
2. Contact 1-2 local welcome wagon folks
3. post a message about their trip on this forum and or free keene forum
4. contact Tom H. the head welcome wagon guy or Mark if needed

Quote
Of course, I'm neglecting the initial aspect of the whole process... to even consider a visit you have to know what the FSP is and that has to convince you. It looks like the other threads cover this adequately, so I'll just mention my personal experience. FSP could definitely benefit from greater penetration of more mainstream liberty-esque groups (Campaign for liberty certainly, we are change, 9-12,etc.)

In Liberty,
Nick

The FSP has reached out to the Campaign for Liberty, (Dreepa knows more on this.)  The FSP had a table at the C4L Convention and several related events in MN.  We also handed out 1000s of bookmarks at those events.  The FSP had tables at pretty much all of the C4L regional conventions.  One of the top folks in C4L loves the FSP and a great friend of her's is about to move to Keene, NH.

As for 9-12, several FSP movers are active in the NH 9-12 stuff.  The NHLA works with the NH 9-12 group on areas where they agree.  They are both connected to the local Tea Party movement.  The FSP had a table at the 9-12 Rally in DC and almost 10,000 FSP flyers were handed out at the Rally.

I don't know much about the 9-11 folks but I know a few FSP movers are involved with local 9-11 activities.

MOST IMPORTANTLY, Hey Nick.  I'm glad you came and it was nice to meet you.  I'll see you again at Porcfest.  I'm about to go to a karaoke event in Keene :)
« Last Edit: December 11, 2009, 10:46:00 am by Keith and Stuff »
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Porcupine Realtor

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Re: Reflections from my recent FSP visit
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2009, 10:52:34 pm »

Nick,
Thanks for your thoughtful comments about your trip and the feedback for the FSP recruiting and Welcome Wagon Process.  We're all volunteers, so we do what we can with limited resources.  That said, with a little initiative, you were able to find several locals to meet with you mid-week on fairly short notice.  Pretty impressive for such a small state with people scattered.

It was nice meeting you; we are eager to have you and your wife here in the Free State as soon as you can arrange it. When you're here at PorcFest next year, your wife will be so overwhelmed she'll want to go home and start packing.   :D 

Porcupine Freedom Festival:  June 24-27, 2010.  See you then!

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Re: Reflections from my recent FSP visit
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2009, 07:45:25 am »

Also keep in mind there are calendars.  If someone can visit, following these calendars is helpful.  Mark may have linked you to these, http://www.nhlibertycalendar.org/http://forum.freekeene.com/index.php?action=calendarhttp://nhunderground.com/forum/index.php?action=calendar

There are also welcome wagon folks.
1. FSP website
2. Moving to NH
3. Welcome Wagon
The FSP website is massive and hard to navigate :(  but the links are there, http://www.freestateproject.org/community/welcomewagon

Most people with spouses, family or other strong connections to their home community are going to need to visit NH before deciding to move.  When we visited last summer, we were overwhelmed by the hospitality of Free Staters.  Planning ahead and connecting through this forum worked out great.


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garthwaited

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Re: Reflections from my recent FSP visit
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2009, 12:05:33 pm »

Quote
The community is awesome. Having so many like-minded people that share such a deep philosophical basis so greatly overshadows the minutiae of differences among freestaters. Connecting on a deep level like that meant that I instantly had hundreds of complete strangers that I could mesh with and trust far more than the acquaintances of 'normal' life. Being able to be myself without being judged for being a a crazy libertarian was great. I think this is such a high point that it bears emphasis. Even if nothing else in NH appeals to a potential FSPer, this could be enough to get people to move. Everyone I met kept telling me how awesome this support network was and how NH changed so many people... after my visit, I really can see why. Most libertarians are stuck living their lives surrounded by hostility (albeit often subconscious) and apathy, that it is nearly a spiritual experience recognizing and interacting with so many like-minded people.

Permission to quote you in marketing material?  I found that paragraph moving.



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FTL_Ian

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Re: Reflections from my recent FSP visit
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2009, 02:13:04 pm »

Keith, when you want to direct people to the Free Keene Calendar in the future, please use this handy link:

http://calendar.freekeene.com

Nick, it was great meeting you.  Don't stay away too long!
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Delphina

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Re: Reflections from my recent FSP visit
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2009, 07:31:53 pm »


Quote
Most libertarians are stuck living their lives surrounded by hostility (albeit often subconscious) and apathy, that it is nearly a spiritual experience recognizing and interacting with so many like-minded people.

That is a huge selling point.  I know from the few people I have met on line that share libertarian values that it's like a fresh breath of air- I can't imagine how inspiring it would be living somewhere with a community...

Right now, we are stuck in PA, but long term plan we are moving somewhere and NH is on my short list...
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Re: Reflections from my recent FSP visit
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2009, 08:22:41 pm »

Nick, I did not find you comments to be overly pessimistic.  As an organization that is always trying to improve the experience of prospective members, we had better be able to digest constructive criticism!  Sorry I did not get to meet you during your visit...perhaps PF '10.
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Dreepa

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Re: Reflections from my recent FSP visit
« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2009, 08:23:02 am »

Nick....

thanks for those comments.

I think it would be great if we could get something (maybe based on your comments) and try to improve the areas that we need to.

Welcome to NH.
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maxxoccupancy

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Re: Reflections from my recent FSP visit
« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2009, 05:46:18 pm »

Some of us do something like Sponsor a Mover.

That is to say, if you want to be picked up at MHT, just fly in (tell us when you're arriving and leaving), and we'll try and get people to take you around the state.  It's not too difficult to cover the Manchester-seacoast circuit by hitching rides and staying at porc manors, eh.

cheap, too
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Re: Reflections from my recent FSP visit
« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2009, 06:06:30 pm »

FSP aside, I'm just curious about your overall impressions of the state, the weather and various cities. What suprised you? Dissappointed you?
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Floridian

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Re: Reflections from my recent FSP visit
« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2009, 11:12:30 pm »

FSP aside, I'm just curious about your overall impressions of the state, the weather and various cities. What suprised you? Dissappointed you?

I was there on July 13 and it was 36F and sleeting.  But that was Mt. Washington...

Seriously.  I was surprised to see a billboard along the interstate after crossing the border to NH.  It was the first one since NC and reminded me of home.  A sure sign of unbridled capitalism.  The state liquor store looked popular at the rest stop, but I didn't go in and check it out.  Lots of Mass plates in the parking lot.

I was disappointed that I missed the Porcupine Freedom Festival by about 2 weeks. 

The best thing I like about NH and New England in general is the proximity to vast rugged wilderness to contemporary urban centers.  Not a lot of sprawl like here in the flatlands. 

I was also amused at the locals delight about seeing dragon flies.  We have them around here about 9 months out of the year...

It was a nice break from the heat and humidity.  It reinforced the impression that I got from this forum that  I want to move there and be in the company of bright like minded folks.
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jessi

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Re: Reflections from my recent FSP visit
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2010, 06:55:24 am »

I'll even volunteer to distill the responses down to a nice "marketable" format and condense Keith's comments to a snazzy bullet point list. I'll have to rely on the rest of you to make sure it gets where it needs to go for stickying/website changes. Give me a day or so...
_______________
hi i am jessi ___
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Russell Kanning

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Re: Reflections from my recent FSP visit
« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2010, 08:12:16 am »

having something on the front page of the website .... it might have just been added ..... could lead to other stuph

if people want to visit one part of the state .... definitely contact one of us welcome wagon guys and the rest of the activists in that area before you come and you will be able to set things up and meet many people.

if you are touring the whole state, you can try to go to the almost constant public gatherings at night and weekends while you look at the scenery, towns, and housing. You have to contact us or scour all the possible calendars and facebook events

Here in Grafton, we have a party each month, which you can plan around .... or you can contact one of us ahead of time to meet half of us.

I do agree that meeting a variety of activists is more important than seeing the state itself.
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