By Dave Hockey
In this issue of our newsletter I would like to chat about all the people it takes to put on a safe and successful trail building or maintenance trip.
The GDTA prides itself on the quality of our trail building & maintenance trips but few people know how much work and how many people it takes to pull it off. It all starts with our Trip Communication Manager, getting the list of trips together (this year 11!) and sending out the call for volunteers. Now it gets busy, with over 112 volunteers last year, each with a few questions and the usual forms to fill out, we are talking hundreds of emails.
As the trips fill and the spreadsheets populate, some of the trip organization gets handed over to the Trip Leaders, responsible for planning the trip, getting everyone organized, trip transportation and making sure it all comes together. This is a busy position but comes with lots of rewards. Now we are developing Assistant Trip Leaders, to take the load off and learn how it’s done. This position is a learning role and lots of fun.
Safety has always been our number one priority and with the revision of the Occupational Health & Safety rules last year, our organization has an even greater responsibility to ensure the safety of our volunteers. With the Trip Leader having their hands full overseeing the crews, keeping the equipment working and day to day logistics on location, it’s hard to focus on all areas and that is why we are developing a new position, Trip Safety Officer. The Safety Officer will have the time to focus on fostering a safety culture, safety tailgate meetings and paperwork.
Next up are the Equipment Manager and Assistant roles. If you have been on a GDTA trip you have seen one or both of our trailers full of tools and equipment. Well it all has to be readied for the new year, maintained throughout the season, check and fixed at the end of the year, then prepared for winter storage. Lots to do for our Equipment Manager and Assistant!
Once out on the trip, our Crew Leaders assist the Trip Leader by supervising 5-6 volunteer crew members out on the trail when carrying out trail building and maintenance activities. They ensure our trail building is being performed to our standards and that the crews are working safely and having fun. Some lame jokes come in handy with this role.
What about the Cook? This role is specific to our Signature Trips and some would say this is the most important role. The army figured this out decades ago, but luckily, we are just fighting back against mother nature and her weeds. Cooking for 20 hungry volunteers is a lot of work so we are also developing a Cook Assistant role to learn the ropes.
I can’t wait to be the Camp Manager and or Camp Attendant. You camp in a beautiful part of Alberta, watch the crew leave camp for a good day of work and then what? You mosey around filling the solar showers, purifying the water, cut some wood and make tea and coffee for the crews return and bam you are a hero! Actually, there is a fair amount of work that goes on while the crews are away, but it is enjoyable and rewarding.
Lastly, we have a City Contact to ensure any last-minute details are handled while crews are out in the field, coordinating with Trip Leaders and handling any emergency communication in town.
Now you are asking, how did we find all these people? Well, we haven’t yet. We have been tasking the same people for a few years now but as our volunteer base keeps growing, our trip numbers keep increasing and our commitment to running the best trips keeps building, we need to recruit more people to take on these roles. Some people look at our trips and think to themselves, well I can’t swing a Pulaski for 5 days and assume they can’t contribute to our trips. I think you can see with all the roles we are looking for that there is something for everyone who would like to contribute. So, what we are saying is “We Need You”!
GDTA Trail Crew Positions:
- Trip Leader
- Assistant Trip Leader
- Trip Communication Manager
- Trip Safety Officer
- Equipment Manager
- Assistant Equipment Manager
- Crew Leader
- Assistant Cook
- Camp Manager
- Camp Attendant
- City Contact
Please consider these roles and joining one of our trips as one of the learning or assistant positions. If you have questions, you can email us for more information including a complete breakdown of each position including their duties and expectations. Help us put on the best trail trips in Canada. Thanks!