How to become a trip leader

We are always excited to have new people on our trip leaders roster! We like to have a variety of trips, so you don’t have to  be a super strong or fast hiker to lead trips. The only requirement is a willingness to organize a trip and to help others explore and enjoy the outdoor activity opportunities that surround us.

We require that all leaders be GMC members. If you are interested in leading trips or have questions after reading the details below, send a note to gmc@gmcburlington.org. If you join or are already a member of our meetup group, let us know how you are listed there and we will also make you a meetup  event organizer.

Our trip leaders list is primarily used to solicit trips each quarter. These are published in our Ridgelines newsletter and added to our online calendar and outings page. We occasionally send out notes to the leaders list regarding other special requests, such as finding people to represent the club at Club Days at local retailers, or special work trips.

Being on the leaders list obligates you to nothing, though we of course hope folks will sign up to lead at least an occasional trip. For those who do lead trips there are sometimes perks such as getting a discount on Wilderness First Aid classes at the main GMC in Waterbury. We don’t require such training of leaders, but it is, of course, a good thing to have.

Because of the lead time needed for Ridgelines , we send out calls for trips about 2-3 months before the start of the quarter, meaning we schedule trips as much as 5-6 months out. We know that people’s plans change, so it’s OK to schedule a trip even if you aren’t 100% sure you can make it. If you need to cancel or reschedule, let us know and we’ll look for a substitute leader or cancel the trip. When you sign up (we use a doodle.com poll to help people see what dates others have chosen),m you also send me a trip description. We have a form that lists the information needed, but any format is OK. We usually don’t list meeting times and places, especially for more difficult trips, since making participants contact the leader provides an opportunity for the leader to know who to expect, and to screen people a bit for their readiness for the trip. As an example, a person who’d never done any winter hiking and had just gotten their first pair of snowshoes for Christmas asked about a Mansfield Ridge trip, and was gently steered to easier trips to start.

We encourage but do not require people to post their trips on meetup. For trips listed there we seem to be getting around half my trip participants from meetup, so it’s a great way to get new people into the section. We can also add “ad hoc” trips there without the long lead time needed for Ridgelines listed trips.

After your trip, we strongly encourage you to send in a brief trip report telling us how the trip went, who came, and add a few pictures. These get posted on our trip reports page, and a lot of people view them to learn about various trails. It’s also great to be able to point people to a past trip description for a particular trip when they ask for information about an upcoming outing.

If you haven’t been on many of our trips or haven’t ever lead a trip, we encourage you to join a more experienced leader on a trip or two to get a feel for how we do things.