From Crew Chefs to Crew Leaders, volunteer leaders are critical to the success of VOC projects. To celebrate their inspiring work and help you get to know them better, we’ll feature different volunteer leaders from time to time. Today, we’re putting Crew Leader Ryan Durham in the spotlight!
Originally from Tennessee, Ryan moved to Colorado in 2008 and volunteered on his first VOC project, Ecological Restoration at Bear Creek Park, in 2015. He quickly jumped into Crew Leader Training the next year to learn how to lead volunteers and ensure they have a fun, safe and rewarding experience. With a full-time job at Sling TV, Ryan still found time to go full speed ahead with seven VOC projects in 2016 and 10 already this year!
Volunteer Photographer Christine Carlson interviewed Ryan on our Pikes Peak South Slope Trail Construction project earlier this year. Here’s what she discovered:
Why did you choose to become a Volunteer Crew Leader for VOC?
“I really believe in VOC's mission and wanted to broaden my impact to help enable more people to become active stewards of our great state.”
What do you like most about being a Crew Leader?
“I like the challenge of managing a new crew each project. It really tests my management skills because you never know what type of crew you will get. What I realized though, is no matter what the crew make-up turns out being, every crew can be successful.”
What makes a great crew member?
“People who are excited to be outside in our beautiful state are the best crew members. They bring joy and enthusiasm to the work we do. You don't have to know how to build a trail, know the names of the tools, or be the strongest, you just need to have enthusiasm!”
What is the most rewarding aspect of being a Crew Leader?
“Being able to lead a team has made me realize that volunteering for VOC is really a win-win-win for all involved. You win; you get to have an amazing experience camping, hiking, and building a trail! VOC wins; they get wonderful people to come into the mountains to help sustain the natural beauty. Colorado wins; the state has more active stewards!”
Why should Coloradans become volunteers for VOC?
“VOC's main goal for volunteers is to have fun! Volunteers come from all over Colorado, from all different backgrounds and professions. The one commonality that we all share is our love of nature and our enthusiasm for Colorado's natural resources. The camaraderie that is built on a project can turn into relationships that can last for years!”
When he’s not working or volunteering, you’ll find Ryan watching baseball, playing softball and basketball, or binge-watching top TV shows. But if you are volunteering, it won’t be hard to find him: he’ll be attending our Austin Bluffs Trail Restoration in Colorado Springs, Red Rocks Trading Post Trail Restoration, Firefly Trail Construction in Greeley, and Fox Meadow Trail Restoration at Barr Lake State Park later this year. We truly couldn’t do our work without trained volunteer leaders like Ryan, so if you see him, be sure to say hi and thank him for his commitment to Colorado’s outdoors!