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Becoming a Trip Leader

One of the most important functions in a chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club is that of a Trip Leader. OK, this may sound like an exaggeration considering all the environmental good the club does, but I believe this is what holds us together as a group. It may sound like a daunting task to be a Trip Leader, but is it? Not really. In fact, I enjoy the planning almost as much as being on the trip.

So, who can be a Trip Leader? Any chapter member. All you have to do is choose an outing you would enjoy, plan an itinerary, coordinate with the chapter, and lead the trip.

It’s that easy! Well almost. Here’s what is involved.

Trip Leader

Choose the outing you want to do. This can include almost any outdoor activity except rock/ice climbing or paddling class three and four rapids, which are not allowed by ADK insurance.

Next, write a trip description. This can be accomplished by consulting guidebooks, topographical maps, or informational web sites to give the members an idea of what to expect and decide if they have the ability and equipment to join you. Some very important resources not to be overlooked are your fellow members of the chapter who may have been on the same trip or have extensive knowledge of the activity.

Submit the description to the Chapter Outing Chair. Once you have the description written up, submit this to the Chapter Outing Chair for posting on the web site. This makes it an official chapter outing.

Once you have three other people (four others in winter) sign up, you are set to go. On the day of the outing, you must have the participants sign the Liability Release Statement, and then enjoy the day. Finally, if an accident was to occur during the outing you would need to prepare an Accident Report Form. And it’s that easy!

Some points to consider when writing a trip description:

  • Type of trip - a stroll in a local forest, a hike up a mountain, a three-day backpack, paddle trips on fast moving or flat waters, cross country skiing, bike rides, family fishing
  • Family or Adults only
  • Dogs allowed?
  • Location to meet for car pooling
  • Equipment needed - crampons, snow shoes, rain gear, lunch and water
  • Elevation gain, distance to be covered, approximate trip time
  • Weather conditions

Trip Participants

You also have some responsibilities in choosing to join an outing.

First, you must register with the outing leader. You must contact the Trip Leader to learn the details of the trip and determine if you are capable of safely participating. Do not be offended if the Trip Leader does not believe you have the correct equipment, skills, or physical conditioning to accomplish the trip. Instead, accept this and learn what you need to do in order to participate in the future.

Second, you should read and understand the Liability Release form. It basically says you understand the activity you are undertaking, will act as a prudent person would, and assume responsibility for your own safety. You should also read and understand the ADK Outings Guidelines, as these are the guidelines that govern the activities of both trip leaders and trip participants on ADK Chapter outings.

On the day of the outing, be on time and prepared. Outing leadership and participation are a shared responsibility; respect the leader’s decisions. I usually research the trip myself, which adds to the anticipation and experience of the trip. The most important point to remember is to ask questions of the leader. Do not assume anything.

The soon to be launched web site will have more details to help you plan a trip. Until then, feel free to contact myself or anyone on the executive board. Now, go plan an outing and enjoy the company of fellow ADK’ers in the wilderness.

John Lynch
Outings Chair

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