What does it take to get our Camp Dodge Leaders ready to work with trails volunteers? Well, it’s not easy to put into one sentence, but basically lots and lots of work!
From the moment our staff arrived there has been a combination of AMC info, US Forest Service info, leadership trainings, trail work skills and techniques, program policies, and much more. Our goal is to expose the staff to a variety of projects and potential situations to better prepare them for working and leading the trails volunteer programs.
We started with the basics of tools, tool maintenance. safety, and proper technique. We later began to apply these skills to a wide variety of trail work projects. Our staff wrestled large rocks for rock water bars and staircases, felled trees for bog bridges, as well as learned the basics of drainage cleaning and brushing out overgrown trails.
Because we have three weeks of alpine volunteer crews this summer, we also spent some training time up on Mt. Washington. Understanding more about the fragile ecosystem and the unique plant life in that region provides a greater scene of conservation through trail work.
Taking the time to lean about a few alpine plants, the Dodge Leaders will be able to share that same appreciation with the trails volunteers.
Other “soft skills” covered in training are just as important as the “hard skills”. Understanding our program policies, emergency action plan, medical training, teaching styles, Leave No Trace training, and leadership techniques lead to more successful programming.
We concluded our training with a 4 day backcountry experience, going through the motions of a typical volunteer vacation. We packed out to the Ethan Pond Trail, near Shoal Pond Junction and worked on installing new native bog bridges. This part of the training brings all aspects of the previous three weeks of training in one. Based on the success of the past four days, I would say that all of our Camp Dodge leaders are ready to work with the large number of trails volunteer on our one to three week volunteer vacations in the White Mountains.
If you are one of those lucky few participating on a volunteer trails opportunity you can count on quality leadership, good food, hard work, and great fun! See you on the trails!