Written by Nancy Stone, Education & Sustainability Director ([email protected])
The Trail Sustainability Institute (TSI), NWTA’s educational program, hosted its second and final Crew Leader Training of 2023 at Stub Stewart on November 20th. TSI recognizes the incredible value that Crew Leaders bring to our trails. When leading crews of volunteers, these folks make it possible for NWTA to hold multiple dig days across the region that, in turn, keep our trails sustainable and in good shape, as well as expand new singletrack for all to enjoy. In short, Crew Leaders are a big deal!
Trail work in itself is only a small part of a Crew Leader’s responsibility. First and foremost, a Crew Leader’s job is to make sure that their crew is safe. Ensuring that their crew understands the inherent risks of working with sharp and sometimes heavy tools in often remote, forested areas. Crew Leaders provide their crews with knowledge and safety practices to protect themselves and those around them.
Crew Leaders understand that when they increase the knowledge and skill level of their crew, everyone benefits! When we have more confident and skilled trail stewards, we have the ability to have more miles of sustainably built and maintained trails. WIN, WIN for everybody!
Above all else, Crew Leaders understand that their crew are PEOPLE. People are wonderful and complicated all at the same time. During training, Crew Leaders use soft skills to navigate through scenarios of conflict resolution and potential safety concerns. Practicing working through sensitive situations better prepares Crew Leaders for if and when these situations present themselves.
As NWTA continues to push for our organization to provide a more equitable and inclusive environment, we are excited that this group of Crew Leaders was our most diverse class to come through this training to date. The diversity of voices and experiences lent to rich and thoughtful discussions about why representation is so vital to trail culture. We are excited to see these 11 newly minted Crew Leaders shape the future of trails in our area!