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Why Volunteer? (07/02)

This story is dedicated to volunteers, the people who are the Green Mountain Club. Why do they give up their free time to work for the GMC? I asked that question of several active volunteers whose email addresses I happen to have in my address book. —Ed.

I like being connected with an organization that cares about one of the most exciting features of VT - the Long Trail. By volunteering for the GMC, you meet incredible people, people who share a love of nature and hiking.

—Brenda Wright, Special Events

I like getting muddy. Sweat, mud & black flies characterize spring clearing. Plus, it’s a great way to get in shape while having an excuse to stop and catch your breath, er, I mean clip along the way.

You can see the tangible results of your efforts and remember what you did along the trail, seasons and even years later.

You meet great people and get to share your love of the mountains with them. Usually I have the best laughs and share some of the most magnificent places with the folks I meet on outings.

—Deb Brown, Director

I really enjoy being part of a group of people that are passionate about something (hiking), have a vision and actually get things done.

—Paul Houchens, Outings Co-chair

Volunteering makes you feel more involved, a real part of the organization. Volunteering on trails and shelters usually means relaxed hiking with more opportunity to relate to other GMC members, as well as being able to see the immediate results of your work.

—Dot Myer, Section Membership

I feel a special bond with like-minded volunteers who care about protecting our wilderness. As an avid hiker, I also feel it is my responsibility to give something back.

—Llyn Ellison, Ridge Lines

I do the stuff I like to do anyway and I get to meet new people.

—Phil Schlosser, Trip Leader

I like being an active part of maintaining and improving the trails. It’s nice to get thanks from passing hikers when I’m clearing a waterbar. And there is satisfaction in leaving an eroded bootleg shortcut all camouflaged with brush, although I’d prefer not to need to do it. There’s a nice sense of ownership, the non-possessive kind, that comes from being responsible for the condition of a trail or corridor. It’s a good cheap way to meet girls. I like dirt.

—John Jaeger, Corridor Monitor

I can choose what I want to do. If I want to play in the mud clearing waterbars, I can. If I want to share my love of the outdoors and practice leadership skills, I can. If I want to learn to edit a newsletter, I can do that too. And if I don’t want to clip striped maple and hobble bush year after year, I don’t have to.

Some of the best times I’ve spent in the mountains have been on trail crew, before the black flies hatched.

—Mary Lou Recor, Ridge Lines