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Letters to the editor

Kelly Dallman

What an opportunity for the town of Vail to have the honor and privilege of hosting FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) again this past April 17-20. This is a group of high school students from throughout Colorado who have worked hard in their scholastic studies and in their community and have earned the respect of their teachers and peers to attend this leadership conference. As the title of the conference indicates, this is a group of young people working hard at becoming leaders in their future chosen professions. The type of exposure this groups offers Vail is extreme. When we ask ourselves “who is a our target market,” if it’s not the business leaders of America who are we looking to target? FBLA has been coming to Vail for almost 12 years. Recently, I was in the position to resell this group to Vail and encountered several areas of Colorado as my competition. They were all very eager and aggressive to be FBLA’s new host city. The reason FBLA was looking at other locations was not that Vail is not their No. 1 choice, because it is. They love everything Vail has to offer: a safe place for the children to walk around the town, a convenient bus schedule, affordable lodging and lodging partners that know how to manage their group and most importantly because of what Vail stands for in the minds of these hard working students. This conference is a reward these children work toward all year. Vail as a name means achievement. Vail stands out as a leader in resorts, a special place a place worth working hard all year for the chance to visit. FBLA is looking at other locations because the conference is growing in size and Vail does not have a facility large enough to hold all their attendees. Currently, they use the Dobson Ice Arena to hold their conferences. In the next few years this facility will be too small. Vail lodging partners (Marriott, Antlers, Vail Cascade and The Evergreen Lodge) worked hard to secure this conference until 2010. Unfortunately, there was one clause we were forced to add to the FBLA contract:The performance of this agreement between Colorado FBLA and host hotels is conditioned on the availability of the Vail conference center as the site for the event. At this writing, the Vail Valley Chamber and Tourism Bureau, as pre-sell agent for the Vail conference center, will protect the dates of April 20-22, 2008, April 19-21, 2009, and April 18-20, 2110, to serve as the site for the event. If for any reason beyond the control of Colorado FBLA, the Vail conference center is not able to honor the contracted dates for any reason, FBLA reserves the right to terminate the agreement without liability, upon written notice.This is just one example of why it is important for Vail as a community to recognize the need for a conference center. We as a community need to take a closely examine how our community is growing and react to those needs and changes. Our elected Town Council needs to take the necessary time to thoroughly examine all the hard work and effort that has gone into the research of the proposed conference center and why!So many times I have heard the argument that we need to utilize our existing conference space and not build more. What? I say! The only way Vail will grow is with more space to hold conferences and stop turning away conferences such as FBLA. Conferences secure badly needed mid-week and shoulder-season business, and the bottom line is Vail does not have a facility to fill these needs.I would hate to lose FBLA and other similar conferences just because we wasted valuable time and did not do the necessary and timely work needed to make the conference center a reality. I ask that the community help ensure the growth of off-peak and mid-week business and the future of Vail by aggressively supporting the proposed Vail conference center and turning it into reality. Kelly Dallman AvonThanks!I and the VVBW board wanted to thank World Styles of Edwards and Paul Cathers for holding this month’s Vail Valley Business Women’s meeting in their beautiful gallery. We appreciate Mr. Cathers’ ability to accommodate our needs at the last minute. The incredible food provided by Mary Parker’s, Pan for Hire and the atmosphere lent themselves to a wonderful night! Thank you again!Camille ThurstonEdwardsVail, Colorado


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