Hike the Hill: ‘calls on the very best’ of CU leaders’ legislative efforts

Diana Houston, LSCU, Executive Vice President of Association Services, speaks on the importance of taking part in Hill Hikes.

This is part 4 of a 4-part series giving in-depth information on LSCU’s Hike the Hill event held Oct. 22-23.

Do you remember your first Hike the Hill in Washington? For many of us, spring and fall are two times in the year where we’ve marked our calendars for a trip to the nation’s capital to visit our Federal Representatives and Senators. We read our talking points, attend our briefings and gather at the Cannon or Russell or Rayburn building at our appointed times to begin our visits.

They usually go pretty smoothly. Sometimes you actually get to see your representative and sometimes you end up meeting with an aide. But either way, we give our spiel, answer their questions and move along to the next event.

For several years, I have been an organizer for the Georgia credit union Hill visits. I’ll be honest … I usually don’t get the ‘Marquis’ names to go see. And you might think that’s a bad deal. But I really enjoy it. Mostly, I enjoy it because my group is where the new folks usually end up. And this year I had a great group of first timers.

I love these guys because they’re so enthusiastic!  And they LOVE to tell the credit union story. They LOVE to talk about how what the credit union does matters to the members back home. And they LOVE to have the responsibility of explaining how credit unions are different and more than worthy of Congressional support.

It’s not a spiel to them. It’s a privilege that they want so much to get right. They are usually a little shy at first.  But they learn fast and, by the last visit, they’re jumping right in to participate. They remind me, every year, how credit unions are Helping People Afford Life. And that message is delivered in the most genuine and authentic manner by every one of them.

I’m not sure how your credit union grows its leadership. But I hope participating in our legislative efforts either through Hikes in D.C. or local Hikes at Home or PAC fundraising or Campaign Phone Banks or Distributing Yard Signs is a key component of your leadership development. It’s a fantastic communication exercise and networking event. And it calls on the very best of us.

And if you’re an old veteran like me, it’s a meaningful reminder of what credit unions are truly all about and why we think of ourselves as a “movement.” Hike the Hill is really a great responsibility and will help all participants become more genuine leaders of our future.

And by the way, it’s also fun to just watch them get lost in the tunnels …