{ outreach in action } & Outreach Director

Bigger & Better In B

Don’t let time pass on your membership experience

ack in the day when my locks were lush and my profile was thin, I loved working in youth ministry. It won’t surprise many of you to learn

I was always involved in some bizarre game or event designed to engage teens and be loads of fun. One such event was called “The Bigger and Better Scavenger Hunt”.

The concept was simple. We met at a central location, divided into teams, gave each team a quarter and let them loose for an hour or so to see if they could trade that quarter into something bigger and better at every stop. Whoever returned with the grandest, most valuable item was declared the winner.

Hyped up on sugar and fearless (or ignorant) by nature, we stormed off into the night to knock on doors and see who would trade us something for our quarter. It was easy to identify future sales people among our group as they found some way to get a total strang- er to take something they weren’t expecting and trade it for something of more value. It was a like a surprise garage sale in real time. I recall teams coming back with working TVs and old sofas. They marveled at their good fortune earned by some simple initiative. It was harmless fun and easier to do in the days before cell phones when people still opened their doors to a gaggle of screaming teens.

Don’t worry. I’m not advocating we play this at the next MDA gathering. But I am suggest- ing it as a way for you to look at your mem- bership year. Could it turn into something bigger and better than before? I think the raw principles from the scavenger hunt apply to membership, so let’s take a quick look.

You start with something that you might not realize the full value of. Students never dreamed that a quarter could turn into a TV. An MDA membership costs more than a

24 focus | JAN/FEB 2019 | ISSUE 1

quarter, but maybe it could turn into some- thing quite valuable to your professional life.

Next you divide into teams. No one likes a big challenge in isolation! Teams expose you to diverse talents and new viewpoints. They can energize you and give you a fresh boldness while taking you to places you can’t go alone. That’s the whole idea behind an association. We must “associate” to maximize benefit.

Next comes the hard part, taking initiative. Go to that next local component meeting. Meet someone younger or older and build a professional, mutually beneficial friendship. Volunteer for a committee or a leadership role. Try some new MDA offering. Surprise yourself. These teenagers were rightly a little anxious to knock on a strange door. Sometimes it was awkward for a minute. But bigger and better opportunities don’t come to the meek. Get out there and test drive your membership. Hang in there until it’s not awkward.

Finally, let’s share in the bounty. Those teens returned from the scavenger hunt like conquering Roman heroes. Enthusiasm is infectious. Change can come quickly when we share in our victories.

Hopefully, you are motivated now and flip- ping your membership over in your mind thinking “let’s see what I can get out of this baby”. Allow me to suggest some avenues to pursue.

Maybe you call or write your elected repre- sentative when MDA sends out an alert. A few minutes of your time could dramatically impact the environment of your professional future. Advocacy is everyone’s benefit, so it should be everyone’s responsibility. While you are at it, give to MODentPAC. Money opens relationships.

Maybe you explore leadership. Dentists by nature are leaders. Doing so at the com- ponent level is rewarding. Or jump on a committee. Check out openings on the Foundation boards. Find a way to give input. It keeps us fresh and in touch when we have new leaders.

Maybe you save yourself some money that you were leaving on the table. We have our own insurance company, MDIS, for a reason. You get great products and service at awesome rates. But there are a host of other endorsed products and offerings that could make you feel like a conquering Roman.

Maybe you volunteer. I know so many of you do, but fine programs like Donated Dental Services, Give Kids a Smile and MOMOM rely on that volunteer spirit. My observation is that you come away just as blessed as those you served with your time and unique gift.

Maybe you attend a conference. Give Connect4Success a whirl. It combines many of these opportunities into one fun event at one great destination. Maybe you just call the MDA or ADA with a question or need. You’d be surprised how helpful we can be. It’s our mission to help you succeed.

Don’t let time pass on your membership experience. Next thing you know, your locks are gone and your profile is the only thing bigger. Make 2019 the year you go bigger and better with the MDA. Let’s all share in those victories. See you down the road. f

Contact Paul at paul@modentalmail. org. To keep up with the latest news and outreach efforts of the MDA, read Paul’s blog, The Week That Was, posted on Fridays.

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