What was missing at Trees this year?

SPRING VALLEY – Having just returned from the refreshing annual WNA Trees Retreat, it occurred to me I should share a couple of quick thoughts with you all about this year’s two-day gathering. And I also wanted to note what was missing there on the beautiful Trees for Tomorrow Environmental School campus in Eagle River.

Upon arrival, one couldn’t miss the fresh air and sweet smell of the pines and the deer ambling across the Trees grounds. The weather was perfect, sunny and it was still spring in northern Wisconsin with crab apple trees and lilacs in bloom. So, the good weather wasn’t missing, nor the magnificent beauty found there.

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WNA office administrator Daryl Blumer on the tee at Eagle River Golf Course. (Photo by Paul J. Seeling, Gateway News)

In fact, the annual golf outing at the picture-perfect Eagle River Golf Course for bragging rights and an opportunity to get your team’s name engraved on the shiny traveling trophy wasn’t missing (the Eagle River team won again).

Going out Thursday night for a great networking social hour with 13 peers in our industry and the traditional fantastic meal at Eddie B’s White Spruce Restaurant & Tavern wasn’t missed or missing.

On Friday morning, the inspiring words and instruction of industry leader and educator Kevin Slimp weren’t missing for the morning education seminar.

Twelve past publishers were inducted onto the Memorial Pylon during the annual ceremony; they were missing (though they had a good excuse), but most of their families were not missing and they shared some wonderful stories about the inductees.

A tasty lunch under the tent with the families of the Pylon inductees wasn’t missed or missing.

The afternoon education session with Mr. Slimp and the “Best Ideas” session conducted by WNA Board member Randy Rickman of the (Eau Claire) Leader-Telegram was not missing. And those who were there got some great information to take back to their newspapers.

Why, even the traditional steak fry wasn’t missing.

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Checking out photos of kids (or grandkids) before dinner at the Trees Retreat. (Photo by Paul J. Seeling, Gateway News)

You know what was missing? …YOU!

So, the challenge to the bigger newspaper companies for next year’s Trees 2020 is to send some staff (at least two or more) to this priceless event. For those of you at the smaller papers, you should certainly consider coming to the 2020 WNA Trees Retreat. Maybe with your families too, there is plenty for them to do and enjoy in the Eagle River area — MEMORIES ARE MADE HERE.

It is time and money well invested and a marvelous break from the office for two days! This is a call to action to ensure that the WNA summer retreat at Trees for Tomorrow is not missing in the future.

And while I have you here, everyone also needs to put the National Newspaper Association Convention IN MILWAUKEE in the budget and on the calendar for Oct. 3-5, 2019!

Did you know the NNA is the only association representing daily and weekly papers as none others do, with items like national postal issues, tariff issues, labor laws, and plenty more that affects us?

Paul Seeling

Paul Seeling is president of the Wisconsin Newspaper Association. Seeling serves as editor and publisher of the (Spring Valley) Sun-Argus, the Woodville Leader and MyGateway.News, as well as the Valley Values Shopper. He was elected to the WNA Board of Directors as a representative of the northwest district in 2012.