GOOD ORGANIZATION MAKES HAPPY VOLUNTEERS
Imagine you are sitting there minding your own business at your local 4×4 club meeting as they are talking about a workday at the local trails. You are daydreaming of the last time you ran this trail though.
That is when your wheeling buddy elbows you in the ribs to bring you back to reality and says that the club just voted to make you the trail cleanup boss! You’re like, “What do I know about running a cleanup” on the trial.
This is where I come in and can help you have a successful cleanup or trail work party in general.
Parts of the RICS documentation
- Organize well and have paperwork/documentation recording your activity.
Any work on the trail should have planned work, and then you will work the plan to ensure everything is completed by the end of the day. Building the plan will help you determine how many people you will need at a minimum to complete all the work. If you have never developed a plan for something like this, Del Albright developed the RICS (Recreational Incident Command System) years ago after his work in the fire service.
Just about all the agencies out there use the Incident Command System (ICS) when they have an emergency. You can make this plan as detailed as you need, and scale it up or down depending on the size of your work project. If your project is on public lands, and you use the RICS plan, the land manager will recognize the forms and documentation and will most likely be more on-board with your work project.
Within the RICS system you will need at a minimum, these basic details for any good project.
Plan Cover Sheet – high level of the plan.
Plan Organization – Listing who is doing what.
Plan Summary – Plan overview and this would work for your briefing to VIP’s or the land manager if s/he shows up on the day of the work project.
Leader Assignment Sheet – List of people who are doing what project or within what. If you are doing a registration, you would have a registration team leader. If you are working on three separate trails, you may have a work leader for each trail, and they would all be listed on this document.
Plan Special Instructions – This could cover your communications plan if you are spread out over a large geographic area.
Tailgate Safety Session – Safety information for the group. This would also cover the plan if there is an injury and what to do.
Safety is an important aspect of any event or project
The more planning you can do, the better the work project will be and keep everyone happy. Within this plan, if you can feed everyone for the work that they did, it helps keep them coming back.
- Take good pics of people doing things/action shots. Be sure to take large enough pics to use in your objective magazine (online or print).
Crew working to build a log fence to keep vehicles on the trail.
You can never take enough photos of the work project. Within the work plan, identify your public affairs person who can take photos, and gather up the photos that others took during the workday. This person would also be the one to work on an article to share with the local news, magazines, your associations and such.
- Read similar project stories (and follow that lead) for the magazine/blog you want to cover your event.
The more complicated the work, the more planning and details you need to ensure your work project is done successfully. Reading up on similar projects from other areas will give you ideas on how you will make your project successful for your team and the local land manager.
You don’t want to be out there doing trail work and have the land manager show up and let you know that the work being done is not what he was expecting to be done.
End of the day, you want everyone to want everyone to walk away with a smile on their face.
Feeding the work crew
- Ask ahead of time what a magazine might want in order to cover your event/activity.
The bigger the project the more likely you are to get a magazine to cover the event or work project, especially if it is happening during a large event or a world renown trail, like the Rubicon.
- Get some good juicy quotes from the workers, and even agency folks if involved.
This helps you write a good article for sharing later with your association news distribution, the magazines that you submit your article to. If the article is bland and has nothing to keep the readers attention, they will move on quickly. Photos within the article showing people having fun will help bring in more people to the next event.
This could be a crappy job!
- Include and promote your club’s mission/motto and website.
All our clubs should have a mission or motto. If it is just to go “wheeling,” then promote that and why it is important for you. The clubs I have been associated with will have as part of their mission to work to keep trails open for recreation. To do this, they have done work to cleanup the trails, do other work to keep the trails passable and such. Promote this in your communications channels that you utilize.
- Go ahead and include fun pics like your chow time or campfire.
Del Albright briefing the crew of the plan for the day
We all like to be part of the fun and usually like to have our mug included in the photos of the fun. Try to include everyone in the photos and try to take a group photo of the whole group prior to leaving at the end of the day or weekend. Pictures tell a story usually better than words.
End of the day after the work project or event is done, if you did everything to the best of your ability, everyone will be happy and have had a great event.
Editors Note: RICS was developed by Del Albright. Contact Del for the forms and how to develop your own plan.
Working safely to build a new trail.
Assign people a role so they know their task for the day.
Hardening a trail to protect the resources.
More on the Recreational Incident Command System (RICS) here.