Creating a Positive Lake Culture

If you’re a new owner on a lake, you might find it difficult to meet and get to know other owners. Or maybe you’ve owned property on your lake for years and find that you know very few people. I’d like to share some ideas about why it’s a good idea to have a positive and interactive lake culture and I also have a fun way you can make that happen!

Having a positive lake culture is one of those things that can contribute to making your lake a more safe place, whether it be related to boating practices or simply having someone to call if you’re in trouble.

A positive lake culture can help maintain the water quality of your lake as well. Being able to communicate best practices and educate owners about changing conditions with the lake creates an environment where everyone cares about and works toward a similar mission – great water quality. And great water quality will ultimately translate to higher property values.

But a positive lake culture can also contribute to higher property values. We know we live in a small world, we’re all connected in some way and information about everything is readily available. If your lake has a reputation for being a great place to own, that message will definitely surface with buyers as well as the real estate community. Don’t underestimate the power of the connected world around you!

So how does one begin to “right the ship” when it comes to changing or even creating a lake culture? One fun way is to organize a boat parade for the Fourth of July.

To start, you need someone to be the lead organizer and communication point. Schedule the parade on a day and time that makes sense for how the holiday falls and communicate that to your lake owners well in advance. You should also decide on a starting point and a route for the boat entries and if candy or prizes will be thrown from the boats, ask that they are items that float. The idea here is not to pollute your lake!

If you want, you can collect some prizes for the top boat entries. But I don’t think that’s entirely necessary. Fun can be had with just memories and bragging rights. If you do decide you want to offer prizes, get some gift certificates to support the local businesses.

Next, find 3 or 4 people to act as judges. They should be spaced out on the parade  route and I think it’s fun to keep their identity a secret. Create ballots for the judges, so they can easily and discreetly rate the entries. An easy method is to rate the entries on a scale of 1-5 on both theme and enthusiasm.

On parade day, put a number on each boat for easy identification for the judges and let the fun begin! As soon as the parade is over, you’ll need someone to be a runner and collect the ballots from the judges. If you’re really techy, you could develop a digital ballot and delivery system. But our mission is to keep things very simple! Once the ballots are in, you can announce the winners!

And it’s as simple as that! I promise you, the owners and their families on your lake will look forward to the boat parade each and every year. It will become a part of the memories that they create Up North. And soon, it will be etched into the DNA of your lake community – the culture! ~ Wanda Boldon

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