You’ve seen them on our volunteer projects: the people in blue baseball caps handing out tools, demonstrating safety techniques, and instructing others how to slope a trail or where to move a boulder. They’re the Crew Leaders – and they’re all volunteers.
We couldn’t do a single project without them: to safely and effectively manage outdoor stewardship projects, we need at least one Crew Leader for every 8 to 10 volunteers. So, whether it’s a project with 20 or 120 volunteers, it simply wouldn’t happen without the support of our volunteer Crew Leaders.
Which is why we’re always looking for the next cohort of Crew Leaders, whom we teach the ropes to at our two-day Crew Leadership for Trails training, the last of which takes place later this month on July 21 and 22 in Morrison and Evergreen.
But enough about how they help us – we want to talk about what’s in it for you! Anyone can be a Crew Leader, and beyond what you’ll help accomplish for Colorado, there are many other, personal benefits of serving as a Crew Leader with VOC:
The Crew Leader Community
When you become a Crew Leader with VOC, you join a unique community of welcoming, likeminded individuals from across the state. From retirees to millennials and everyone in between, our Crew Leaders come from a variety of backgrounds and are always willing to offer support to one another, whether you’re brand-new or have been volunteering for years.
As a Crew Leader-in-training, you’ll feel that camaraderie from the beginning as you mentor under experienced Crew Leaders on projects. Once you feel comfortable enough to lead on your own, you’ll be officially certified as a VOC Crew Leader and have a seat at events reserved for our most dedicated volunteers, including our annual summer potluck for volunteer leaders and our end-of-season Awards & Appreciation Night.
Many Crew Leaders host happy hours and get-togethers of their own, too. We’ve had people meet lifelong friends and even romantic partners through the Crew Leader community; and while we can’t promise that you’ll find your future spouse, we can guarantee that you’ll get to know some very fun and fascinating people!
First Dibs on Volunteer Projects
Forget about waitlists and setting an alarm to register; Crew Leaders get a sneak peek of the year’s projects at our annual Team Night in February and can sign up to lead on any volunteer project at any time!
Plus, since you’re only expected to lead on two projects each year, this insider knowledge will help you identify all the projects you want to participate in, even if it’s just as a regular volunteer.
While volunteers learn a lot about trails on VOC projects, Crew Leaders learn even more: after all, they’re the ones teaching the volunteers! In your initial training, you’ll learn the basics of building and maintaining sustainable trails and put your knowledge to the test in the field. Armed with a take-home trail manual, your understanding of trail stewardship will only deepen as you continue to lead volunteers on a variety of terrain and trail types.
You’ll also have the chance to learn firsthand from VOC’s Project Manager as well as the project’s land manager partner and Technical Advisor (who helps design the trail) about the different environments, their value to local communities, the threats to the trail and why it must be built or managed a certain way.
Finally, there are opportunities to take your knowledge of stewardship one step further through additional, optional hands-on trainings in trail design and technical skills – often available at a discount for our dedicated Crew Leaders!
Help Others Succeed
As a Crew Leader, you’ll work with people of all ages and fitness levels with varying degrees of experience in stewardship and nature itself; and lead them to achieve things they never thought possible.
Whether it’s lifting a large rock, feeling comfortable in a group of strangers, or simply spending a day getting dirty in the sun, one of the most rewarding parts of being a Crew Leader is guiding volunteers to break past their barriers and bask in a shared sense of accomplishment.
By the end of the day, you’ll see strangers become teammates and doubts turn into confidence – and know that you helped make it happen.
Personal & Professional Growth
Maybe you’re looking to boost your resume with volunteer and leadership experience. Maybe you’re looking to challenge yourself, learn something new, or utilize skills you don’t get to use in your day job. Or maybe you just want a reason to get out of the house and mix up your routine!
Whatever your ‘why’ is, serving as a Crew Leader is personally fulfilling: you can visibly see the positive impact your participation has on the environment and the skills you use in everyday life – communication, teamwork, leadership – will inevitably improve.
There are many reasons to become a Crew Leader with VOC, in addition to the remarkable difference you can make for Colorado’s outdoors. Find yours and begin your leadership journey today by signing up for our final Crew Leader training of the year on July 21 and 22!