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  1. #21
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    It's a restart.

    My take is that the older generation simply failed to reach the next generation. For what ever reason that is it just is, so no need to go further on that. But the younger generation has found their way on their own and continues to find it by themselves, pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps. They don't accept the old ways because for them there were none passed down to them. This means the learning process will need to start anew with all it's painful consequences. But they will, though it is a dirty learning process, they will not only continue the tradition but in the end make it much better.

  2. #22
    Registered User Spacelord's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QHShowoman View Post
    This should not be an obstacle. For anyone. If trail clubs want to attract volunteers, they need to be willing to train and utilize volunteers at all experience levels.

    Also, discrediting younger volunteers for their lacking a sense of history/place is exactly the kind of elitism that turns younger people off from joining established organizations. That's why you see so many new organizations/meetups/charities popping up -- younger folks are creating their own organizations where their contributions are valued.

    You don't need to have an understanding of the history of the trail to pick up trash ...or clear trails ... or paint blazes. Teach the younger generations how to work the trail on their own terms and they'll inherit the history from the more experienced folks they work with.
    Most of the trail organizations make it a pain to volunteer. The people that I hike with would just rather trim limbs and a saw down trees, out of the way on their own. The elitist attitude truly exist with the maintainers that I've met on work days.

  3. #23
    Registered User shelterbuilder's Avatar
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    Speaking from the perspective of a Boomer - and a trail volunteer for almost 30 years - I became a volunteer so that I could GIVE SOMETHING BACK to the trail because of all of the fun and good times that I had had while hiking. But I was also raised this way - Mom was a Cub Scout Den Leader, Mom and Dad were church youth group advisors, etc. And I think that has something to do with the idea that "giving back is important" - you know: "monkey see, monkey do". When I joined my local hiking club and began coming out for maintenance trips, I KNEW NOTHING, but I kept showing up, kept asking questions, kept helping. Eventually, I got the reputation of being someone who was willing to help. Now, I've never had a problem getting folks to come out for "special projects", but the nature of a special project is that IT IS SPECIAL. You can point to it and say, "I helped build that". But it's harder to get folks to come out for the "nuts-and-bolts" type of maintenance that HAS to be done to keep the trail open, because the only time that this type of work gets noticed is when it ISN'T done. And that's not a generational thing - that's human nature! I intend to try to get my club to utilize our website AND social media more (right now, we aren't taking full advantage of either), because most of the younger folks do seem to use their phones and devices a LOT. As for me, I'm still more comfortable with a chainsaw than a tablet, so please be patient with me....
    Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass - it's about learning how to dance in the rain!

  4. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by map man View Post
    People who don't have to work (retirees and others) do most of the volunteering. It was so when I was young, when my father was young, when my grandfather was young, and on and on. I don't think differences between generations has much to do with it.

    And yes, older generations have insisted that the younger generations won't be up to snuff for all of recorded history. And they have always been wrong.
    + 10 One of the few things in the human condition that remains constant is the deriding of youth from those who had survived it as pointed out by researchers looking at the times of Socrates in 400 BCE, who is often credited with saying “The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.”

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skyline View Post
    ...Volunteers who are Baby Boomers and the "greatest generation" before them are literally and figuratively a dying breed not being replaced one-to-one or even close to that. That's a fact, no need to debate it. But are there any practical ideas at our cyber campfire for improving that situation? (Italics provided)
    I assume you mean something other than a way to increase the birth rate? Because I imagine that's been discussed at many a campfire....

    I'm a Boomer and was raised by the Greatest Generation. All my young life I was derided for all the lifestyle choices that weren't in keeping with the previous generation's. And if you weren't there, try to imagine the National Guard opening fire on students at Kent State, the assassination of a US president and his brother, the horrible struggle of the civil rights movement and the assassination of Dr MLK, an unpopular war, the birth of rock and roll, even long hair. The world was gonna end. And that's all history and movies now.

    People will step up if society values the result. It's entirely possible that trail maintenance will not be important enough to future generations to merit the work involved. And why should that bother us? I often look at some of the new tread being built (along the CDT corridor, for example) and wonder, "Who will maintain this?" So many trails are neglected--why build more?

    But from my narrow point of view in the Western trails I'm involved with as a volunteer, I'm confident in the future. The "new" executive director of the AZT Association is a young man, surrounded by many young volunteers. Their correspondence, events, even sponsorship have a definite Gen X and Millennial "feel" to it. The leadership of the CDT Coalition is similarly very young.

    Volunteer fire departments have long faced a similar concern. The simple solution is that if a community cannot provide the personnel to staff a volunteer department, it will either have to levy taxes on itself to pay for protection, or live with a lower level of protection and thus higher risk (and insurance rates).

    If I were a working 30 year old right now, I would rankle at the tax burden required to support the aging, and the uncertainty of my ever retiring with a state-supported pension. I'd be working six days a week (being paid for five), and have zero time for outdoor recreation. Volunteer to build trail on my one day off--are you kidding? Hey, that sounds familiar--I think I was there for a while.
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

  6. #26
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    Just-retired boomer here, itching for the chance to do some trail work, but I still like to hike, and I still don't live anywhere near the AT. I've been to a couple RPH work parties (good fun) and a local trail work event sponsored by AMC.

    So yeah, while I was a salaryman, my vacations went to hiking, not trail work. I'm ready to do some paying back. The stuff I've done has been rewarding. It's cool to work with a bunch of sweaty grungy volunteers.

  7. #27
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    @Qhshowman- could you elaborate on the apps to manage vollenteers that you refered to??

    thanks!

    4r

  8. #28
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    @Qhshowoman- could you elaborate on the apps to manage vollenteers that you refered to??

    thanks!

    4r

  9. #29
    Hopeful Hiker QHShowoman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4runner View Post
    @Qhshowoman- could you elaborate on the apps to manage vollenteers that you refered to??

    thanks!

    4r

    Sure, here's a link to find out more about it:
    https://www.volunteerspot.com/
    you left to walk the appalachian trail
    you can feel your heart as smooth as a snail
    the mountains your darlings
    but better to love than have something to scale


    -Girlyman, "Hold It All At Bay"

  10. #30
    •Completed A.T. Section Hike GA to ME 1996 thru 2003 •Donating Member Skyline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by perdidochas View Post
    One possible good point for the future is that a lot of states require many high school students to volunteer, generally as part of a scholarship. There are a lot of volunteer workers out there that just aren't being tapped.

    Now THAT is an idea whose time has come, and could go a long way to resolve the dilemma I've described (based on my perceptions and the records of some of the AT trail clubs I've been familiar with). Hopefully a few will even stick with it after their obligation is met.

    I've always been a proponent of some kind of service requirement for a couple years in a young person's life. For some it might be military; for others there are myriad additional needs they could meet. Many other countries have similar programs in place.

  11. #31
    Hopeful Hiker QHShowoman's Avatar
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    Some companies even have a volunteer "benefit," now.
    My company gives us 2 paid days off each year to volunteer for a registered non-profit - doing whatever we want.
    you left to walk the appalachian trail
    you can feel your heart as smooth as a snail
    the mountains your darlings
    but better to love than have something to scale


    -Girlyman, "Hold It All At Bay"

  12. #32
    •Completed A.T. Section Hike GA to ME 1996 thru 2003 •Donating Member Skyline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shelterbuilder View Post
    ... Now, I've never had a problem getting folks to come out for "special projects", but the nature of a special project is that IT IS SPECIAL. You can point to it and say, "I helped build that". But it's harder to get folks to come out for the "nuts-and-bolts" type of maintenance that HAS to be done to keep the trail open, because the only time that this type of work gets noticed is when it ISN'T done..

    That's kind of what I was getting at. You said it better than I did.

    The everyday maintenance of adopted trail and other places like shelters has traditionally been a solo affair, with only the occasional friend along to help. If I hear a few of the participants in this (very good) discussion correctly, we're being told younger people today want to "join" things to be with a group. So maybe that's a challenge for trail clubs to re-invent trail maintenance to a degree. But how?

  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skyline View Post
    That's kind of what I was getting at. You said it better than I did.

    The everyday maintenance of adopted trail and other places like shelters has traditionally been a solo affair, with only the occasional friend along to help. If I hear a few of the participants in this (very good) discussion correctly, we're being told younger people today want to "join" things to be with a group. So maybe that's a challenge for trail clubs to re-invent trail maintenance to a degree. But how?
    Isn't the general procedure for day to day handled by "adopt a section" type work?
    As in this gal in our club covers a-b, and this fella covers b-c.
    The head of a club organizes the big stuff or calls up folks for storm damage or special project stuff.
    The solo maintainer is pretty autonomous as far as I can tell, and prefer that arrangement.

    The complaint some seem to be making with that system...
    That guy or gal doing the nuts and bolts work probably enjoys doing it solo, just as many of us come to prefer hiking solo. So (right or wrong) those folks may not want a hand as it spoils what they enjoy. In addition these folks likely do this work during the week and other off days to have the trail to themselves so other than the unemployed college kid- it'd be hard to assign a volunteer to a mentor for this type of work unless the mentor was willing to schedule around the volunteer. While a few may be willing to do this, a good manager knows you don't ruin one good worker to make 1.5 unhappy workers. Those that do this work this way should be left to do it.

    Seems that a good club could identify those members who do enjoy outreach, education, and teaching. With a few core members as the backbone, set up a volunteer based unit assigned to those club members for the odd jobs and special stuff that may require more hands than heads and work out on a weekend.

    Perhaps the solo nuts and bolts folks could call in some bigger stuff to this unit. Instead of killing themselves fixing a waterbar on their section, they could call that in and "save it" for the volunteer brigade to handle.

    Provide space and opportunities for more casual or new folks to help- but don't mess with those doing the bulk of the work efficiently.
    For those that deepen their involvement in the "fun" group, perhaps they could then be assigned or apprenticed by some of the nuts and bolts folks when they are ready and willing so that those skills are passed on as well.

    In our area we have the little red schoolhouse nature center where we volunteered as scouts. The bulk of us simply picked up garbage or did odd things that took bodies. Some of us did our Eagle Scout projects there as well. But we didn't get assigned to the naturalists or researchers doing the important stuff.

    Two of my friends were the special folks, who did catch the bug and started showing up daily. They earned respect and were eventually given access to the deeper work being done and are two folks who grew up to excel in that field.

    They found and excellent balance of keeping bodies busy while not tying up critical resources.
    As a result they found and created those 1 in 1000 who could carry on the critical work in the next generation.

  14. #34
    Registered User Spacelord's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skyline View Post
    Now THAT is an idea whose time has come, and could go a long way to resolve the dilemma I've described (based on my perceptions and the records of some of the AT trail clubs I've been familiar with). Hopefully a few will even stick with it after their obligation is met.

    I've always been a proponent of some kind of service requirement for a couple years in a young person's life. For some it might be military; for others there are myriad additional needs they could meet. Many other countries have similar programs in place.
    That doesn't sound like volunteering to me. I would guess that most people will come away from something they are forced to do with a bad taste in their mouth.

    Sent from my LG-V495 using Tapatalk

  15. #35
    •Completed A.T. Section Hike GA to ME 1996 thru 2003 •Donating Member Skyline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Studlintsean View Post
    I haven't read the whole thread due to time right now (I'll come back) but had a few things to share. I do volunteer for a few organizations (Board Member/ Treasurer of a local Dog rescue and on my neighborhood finance committee). I personally think everyone should volunteer for one thing they are passionate about (as time permits). I reached out about a local shelter being built in my area offering five 25-30 year old men (5 brothers) multiple times. After over 6 months of trying (and successfully speaking with the head PATC member on the project), I gave up. Is it possible some maintainers would rather not include us younger folks? I look forward to helping more with AT maintenance in the future but unfortunately right now, I'm not able to.

    I'm truly sorry to read of your problem with PATC. For more than a decade, I was a volunteer shelter "overseer" with them, and am a lifetime member even though I had to "retire" from that service due to health reasons and I relocated too far away to be useful.

    As you've described it, you offered a fantastic resource I know they need. Unless there are details not included here, I don't know why someone didn't jump on your offer. I'm reasonably sure the people you were in contact with are also volunteers with their own time constraints, but opportunities to pick up the services of five new volunteers all at once don't come along very often. If ever.

    If that offer is still viable, I would escalate it to the Executive Director or President, or both.

  16. #36
    Registered User dudeijuststarted's Avatar
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    I'd venture to say there isn't much of a younger population living near the trail corridor with the exception of the DC/VA region. As everyone knows, the mom-and-pops, factories, etc have closed down and created alot of dead towns in Appalachia. This has forced the younger folks to move to cities in search of employment. A trip to do trail maintenance is often hours away.

    Personally, if I could live in the country and have a stable income I'd love nothing more than to build trails in my backyard, but that is not something I see happening anytime soon (and I'm 36!) However, it would be worthwhile to raise awareness of the issue and encourage monetary donation from folks who cannot contribute manual labor. More "S.W.E.A.T" type opportunities throughout the trail would be really helpful, allowing young workers to enjoy time in the woods on vacation and give back to the trail in large doses.

  17. #37
    •Completed A.T. Section Hike GA to ME 1996 thru 2003 •Donating Member Skyline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spacelord View Post
    That doesn't sound like volunteering to me. I would guess that most people will come away from something they are forced to do with a bad taste in their mouth.

    Sent from my LG-V495 using Tapatalk

    No, the government service requirement isn't volunteering. But it's something a number of governments have in place just like we used to have a military draft. Only you aren't forced to choose military. There are many other options.

    I'm sure that you are correct. Some will not like this going in. But just like the old military draft, many will adapt and wind up staying in longer, even for a career, and look back at it being a positive touchstone in their lives. And others get out with a bad taste in their mouths, as you said.

    From what little I know, mandatory government service works well in those nations that have it, partially because everyone participates regardless of lineage, circumstance, etc. with possible exceptions made for severe cases involving physical impairment, mental issues, or criminal histories. I think it is usually just a year or two, and for a certain young age (like 18-20, with certain deferments for just cause 'til a later age).

    Does anyone here have first-hand knowledge of how it goes in a country with this system?

  18. #38
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    My high school instituted a mandatory volunteer requirement for graduation... two weeks I believe. (80 hours)

    Like anything, depends on your mentality.
    Some thought it sucked ass and cried about it, others enjoyed the opportunity and continued to volunteer.

    I cheated and killed some scouting, legal, and school requirements with one shot so had little complaints.

    As someone who has both volunteered and been court ordered to do so... I enjoyed both and was assigned to places I wouldn't have normally gone which expanded my horizons too.

    Those who complain will find something to complain about, be it community service, shop class, or math class.
    No reason to not implement the system though really provided you have the organizations that can utilize the labor- which as discussed isn't always the case.

    I know many kids who were more or less assigned to "stand in the corner" which helps nobody. But if the goal is to expose young people to the opportunity or idea- that is more useful than the work that gets done anyway.

  19. #39
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    Quite frankly, a revival of the CCC would be a wonderful stimulus for this struggling nation.

  20. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by dudeijuststarted View Post
    Quite frankly, a revival of the CCC would be a wonderful stimulus for this struggling nation.
    Agree, I'd love to see that a million percent.
    A handout with no action serves nobody, an action that results in a check is a job that builds pride and nation alike.

    Call FDR, I'd give him a fifth term if I could.

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