Vail Valley Partnership CEO: ‘Run to the roar’ to address our community challenges (column) |

Vail Valley Partnership CEO: ‘Run to the roar’ to address our community challenges (column)

Chris Romer
Vail Valley Partnership

“Run to the roar” is an old African teaching about fear. On the ancient savannas, life pours forth in the form of teeming, feeding herds. Nearby, lions wait in anticipation of the hunt. They send the oldest and weakest member of the pride away from the hunting pack.

Having lost most of its teeth, its roar is far greater than its ability to bite.

The old one goes off and settles in the grass across from where the hungry lions wait.

As the herds enter the area between the hunting pack, the old lion begins to roar mightily. Upon hearing the fearful roar, most of the herd turn and flee from the source of the fear.

They run wildly in the opposite direction. Of course, they run right to where the strongest lions of the group wait in the tall grass for dinner to arrive.

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“Run toward the roar,” the old people used to tell the young ones.

When faced with great danger, run toward the roaring, for there you will find some safety and a way through. Sometimes the greatest safety comes from going to where the fear seems to originate. Amidst the roaring of the threatened and troubled world, surprising ways to begin it all again may wait to be found.

As a poet once said, “A false sense of security is the only kind there is.”

Those who seek security in a rapidly changing world run right into the teeth of one dilemma or another. It might be better to run toward the roar and learn what it means to live in a time of many endings. In the end, the only genuine security can be found in taking the risks that the soul would take. For the old soul in the human psyche knows that the whole thing has hung by a thread all along.

— Michael Meade, excerpted from “The World Behind the World”

This proverb is relevant to Eagle County and the Vail Valley, as we have the opportunity to “run to the roar” when addressing community challenges such as broadband internet service, health insurance costs, transit, transportation, housing and workforce development.

Housing and health insurance are well-recognized issues; the others are increasingly important.

Broadband internet access underpins all of the important advances we are making in building a thriving future. Enhancing our telecommunications and technology infrastructure also positions our region to be more prepared for a future that features autonomous vehicles, drone delivery and ubiquitous wireless service. Broadband infrastructure is no longer a “nice-to-have” amenity — it is a necessity.

One cannot overemphasize the importance of transportation; it’s out “lifeline.” It has been proven by so many instances how transport infrastructure has added speed and efficiency to a continued progress. Good physical connectivity between the urban and rural areas in Colorado is essential for economic growth.

Public transit is a crucial part of the solution to our county’s economic and environmental challenges, helping to bring a better quality of life. We need to find ways for people to use public transportation by expanding public transit services. Every segment of society — individuals, families, communities and businesses — benefits from improved public transit.

Workforce development opportunities such as CareerWise Colorado youth apprenticeships enhance our economic stability and prosperity by focusing on people, rather than businesses. It is a strategy to grow our own workforce to support both our students and our business community.

It’s time for us to “run to the roar” to continue to address our community challenges.

Chris Romer is president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce. Learn more at

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