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Section Leaders: Together Again (1/00)


This past November, on the first day of hunting season, GMC headquarters sponsored the second annual Section Leaders Forum at Vermont Law School. Section officers and interested members from throughout the club exchanged ideas and shared concerns.

The morning began with introductions and section highlights from the presidents. Then staff members Karen Sharpwolf and Dave Hardy led a lively discussion on group use of the Long Trail system.

As some trip leaders have found, the Vermont State Department of Forest, Parks and Recreation is enforcing regulations for group use of state lands. Organized groups are required to obtain permits before venturing into those areas. This includes Mt. Mansfield State Forest and Camel's Hump State Park. As of July 31, 1999, outings listed on the GMC schedule are covered by a blanket permit negotiated between headquarters and the State.

After a brief break, Executive Director Ben Rose led a panel discussion on ways for sections to recruit new members. Members of the panel ranged in age from 7 to 70. Montpelier Section member Randy Travis explained the origins of the new hiking group called the Turtles: Turtle outings are less than five miles in length, have less than 500 of elevation gain, and take less than four hours. They're ideal for families with small children and anyone else who likes a slower pace and a shorter day. Look for turtle trips in future newsletters.

We spent the afternoon working in small groups brainstorming ideas for a section leader's handbook. The completed handbook will give an overview of how a section works and define the roles and responsibilities of section officers. It will be a guide written by sections for sections and include chapters on recruiting members, meetings, and communications.

The forum was a great success though several sections were not represented. Rumor has it, they were out hunting.