From a post in TribeNet concerning Scenic and Work Parties . . .

Why does the new owner need volunteers? Can’t he get a business loan or some venture capital together to get the springs operational without using volunteers? Can he get things operation without volunteer work?

Complete thread here

And my response after NG got finished with him . . .

Sometimes you just have to get aboard to protect what you like. I read the previous topic on Announcing the Work Party and some business mumbo-jumbo about project management and tit-for-tat. I think NG has it absolutely right. You get a feeling about a person who goes out of his way to meet the people who share his dreams about revitalizing Scenic Hot Springs. Mike, the new owner, has his complement of lawyers, consultants, experts and professionals as any good businessman should. Yet Mike goes out of his way to ask those who have experienced the special nature of the springs about what to do . . . often at odds with the advice of his consultants.

I remember one conversation we had when Mike was relating about how his lawyer . . . a technically-competent lawyer . . . just did not get what he was trying to accomplish at Scenic. If Mike had never befriended the previous-cadre of Scenic soakers would Mike have gone ahead with his consultants advice for a ‘steel-concrete-and plastic monstrosity of a resort? That is what his consultant could not understand . . . why would Mike give up the easy money for the much harder task of giving us something truly beautiful and spiritual. As Mike said . . . he just doesn’t get it!

Well, I do . . . and so do many others. Some things in life are just not slated to be the subject of Business Economics 101. I have known Mike for some time now and one thing I do understand is his love for natural hot springs in the Japanese-tradition of rock pool onsens. He is an artist with rock and water and like an artist you sometimes do things differently than in the business world. No doubt that this is, or will be a business. He must recoup his costs somehow and he must be able to pay for caretakers. But within those bounds Mike creates.

That is who Mike is. I met him because of comments I made about behavior at hot springs and we got to talking. Mike has gone out of his way to listen to what others say but I do not ever remember him asking that we volunteer to help out on the small things while major hurtles were being negotiated. I volunteered without any expectation of recompense because I believe in his concept. And if I never get a single special privilege for helping that is perfectly fine by me because I will always know that I helped bring about the re-emergence of Scenic Hot Springs. The more business astute may say that that does not make economic sense but who cares. This is not about business . . . this is about beauty.

That others make disagree and say ‘where’s my cut?’, you were not asked to volunteer by Mike. It went the other direction. We volunteered our services. Those that said, let’s OFFER our help stood up and helped. The reward was in pride and personal accomplishment. You have to make the decision on what counts in your life. Much like Mike, this is a hobby to me. Unlike Mike, I do not have to pay the bills to realize my hobby. He could have hired contractors to do the work . . . contractors who couldn’t care in the least; or he could have accepted the offers to help out with the grunt work. Mike is not a wool suit, white-shirt type of owner . . . he was right in there with us doing all the dirty grunt work and listening to all the advice we gave him, and that advice is likely to show up in the end-product. If anything is invested at Scenic . . . it is our hearts and souls and there is no place in there for a pocketbook or tally sheet.

Rick (aka banged-up-shins)

. . . after a very long day of backbreaking labor learning how to install water bars across a trail. See, I learned something new today.