Trail Work as Quality Family Time
Volunteering with your kids on trail can be a very rewarding experience. It instills in them a sense of responsibility, and helps them take pride in a job well done. WTA Board member Joe Gregg periodically volunteers with his kids and offered a few words of wisdom about the value of getting young ones into volunteering at a young age.
Volunteering with your kids on trail can be a very rewarding experience. It instills in them a sense of responsibility, and helps them take pride in a job well done. WTA Board member Joe Gregg periodically volunteers with his kids and offered a few words of wisdom about the value of getting young ones into volunteering.
By Joe Gregg
As parents, we often feel like we already have more commitments than we can possibly meet; the
prospect of adding another obligation is almost overwhelming. Still, we know that as our children
mature, one of the gifts we can give them is a sense of community and the opportunity to give back to that community. While it is up to us to commit the time and effort to volunteer, Washington Trails Association provides a great structure to make it both manageable and meaningful.
Over the last couple of years, our family has found that WTA provides an avenue for us to all volunteer together. Using the website, we look ahead for work parties that fit both our schedules and our location. Sometimes we choose a trail that we use as a family and other times we use the work party as an excuse to venture out to trails we have never been on. When we arrive at the work site, the crew leaders go out of their way to make sure our entire family is comfortable with the tools we are using and that we understand the work we are about to perform.
Trail maintenance is especially well-suited for families because we can all work at our own pace while still adding value to the overall effort. A twelve-year old and seventeen-year old may not move the same number of rocks in an hour, but at the end of the day they both contributed to a better trail.
There have definitely been some mornings when we woke up and bad weather made us regret having signed up for a work party. If it is cold, rainy or we are simply tired, it is always tempting to stay in bed. But part of what we are trying to teach our children by participating in work parties is that it is important to keep our commitments even if it makes us uncomfortable.
Luckily, the crew leaders make sure we're never too uncomfortable and there is always a plentiful supply of candy to keep us going. At the end of the day, the kids leave each work party with a sense of accomplishment and as a father I leave proud of my children.
After five work parties, volunteers earn their very own green hard hat with their name on it. Teens can earn up to eight community service hours each day.