After anyone meets the Rovers on trail, it’s often said that we’re not your average weekend activity - and there’s a lot of truth to that. The techniques we regularly employ in the field are not commonly used these days. As a result, we require substantial training and commitment out of every individual that wishes to “wear the colors.”
Do I Have What It Takes?
Depending on the project, the hike in may be near the trailhead or up to a mile to/from the project site while carrying up to 60 pounds. Once at the site, after a safety talk and review of the project, the crew will be split up to work in smaller groups of 3-4, each led by one of our experienced Team Leaders.
Crew members often camp out near the project site with minimal or no facilities, or they travel up to an hour and a half each way from where they live. The crew works 8 hour days. Trail work is hard, physical labor. Trail construction involves working with various hand tools and rigging equipment, getting dirty is guaranteed. The crew works in rain or shine, hot or cold, often in the company of mosquitoes, flies and ticks. The only time projects are postponed is when there is lightning.
In general, crew members provide their own transportation, camping gear and food for work days. Crew members provide their own clothing (long pants, rain gear, and boots). Hard hats, safety glasses gloves and other PPE is provided by the Jolly Rovers. The Rovers supply all necessary tools and training in their use.
Becoming a Recruit
We proudly open membership to all individuals willing to make the commitment to learn the skills essential to the work we do. All students are trained in traditional dry stone working and trail building over a series of workshops held every spring. In order to join, all individuals must commit to all four classes offered.
These 1-day workshops are typically held in April and May over 2 different weekends. After completing each one, every student’s competency in that given skill set is reviewed by the crew leaders and passed on to the next workshop. Upon completing all workshops, the student officially becomes a Rover Recruit.
Congrats on completing the training! At this point, you are considered a Rover Recruit. Each recruit must now attend an additional field requirement of 6 workdays with the Rovers after training is completed. Including the workshops, this amounts to a 10 day commitment requirement and is considered an apprenticeship to be completed within the same calendar year. Throughout this apprenticeship period, team leaders will continue to work with the recruit. They will tailor the education to the individual recruit's needs in order to further improve their skill sets.
Once the 10-day field requirement is met, the recruits are assessed a final time by the crew leaders before they become proud members of the Jolly Rovers Trail Crew.
Why These Requirements?
This 10-day commitment requirement (expected annually of all Rovers) allows new members to effectively participate and integrate in all of the crew’s efforts. We believe that the skills learned in this process are rooted with repetition and practice. Therefore, the crew can only improve as much as an individual member is willing to retain and build upon their initial trainings.
Along these same lines, it is important that the volunteers of this organization spend ample time together. The nature of our craft, as exhausting and difficult as it may be, is made easier through the teamwork and cammaraderie specific to the Jolly Rovers. By requiring this commitment, we find our crew is happier and more efficient. Communication becomes easier. We share more stories. We laugh more often.
So, as this may seem like a tall order for a volunteer crew, we find that our recruits and crew members meet these requirements with ease - simply because it’s fun. While the building is immensely rewarding, it's the camaraderie that keeps us all coming back for more.
If you’re interested in when the next series of recruitment workshops will be, or if you have any other questions about Joining the Rovers, feel free to contact our Recruitment Coordinator at email@example.com.