Hike and Ramble Leader & Sweep Guidelines
See below for cycling guidelines
Thank you for volunteering to lead this activity. As a leader, you have the right to refuse to include anybody in the activity you are leading, if in your opinion, they are inadequately equipped, intoxicated, refuse to follow club rules or are physically unable to complete the day’s program at a pace consistent with that of the overall group. In the event that a participant is having difficulties along the hike route, he/she may be accompanied back to the trailhead by another hiker. Alternately they may wait in place for the return of the group if the same route is used to return to the trailhead. Other actions may be possible and should be agreed upon by both the leader and hiker.
Ensure you have received the Safety Kit from the Coordinator(s) containing the First Aid Kit, trail radios, and for remote locations the InReach Emergency Beacon. For radio-controlled logging roads there is a FSR radio available. Ensure the Coordinator(s) have explained how to use the equipment.
Prior to the hike:
All registrants should have signed up with the leader via email no later than 8.00 p.m. two days before the hike/ramble. Reply to each registrant confirming they are on the list, since from time to time there may be a limit on how many hikers can be included. That evening or the following morning, send out an email to all participants which provides specific information about the hike, such as anticipated weather, trail conditions, need for poles, and appropriate footwear. Also state whether lunch will be needed. The identification of hikers in the email allows participants to organize transportation; if there are new members it is helpful if you put them in touch with people who may be willing to give them a ride.
If non-members like to join the activity as a ‘guest’, please remind them to fill in the Guest Form, available on our website, and bring the completed form and the $5 fee to the meeting place.
As a leader we expect you to be familiar with the trail and how to get to the trailhead. The club has funding available to scout the trail and, if needed, for trail clearing. Please contact the Trail Maintenance Coordinator to arrange for a combined scout and trail maintenance work party.
At the meeting place:
- In the case of local hikes and others that are readily accessible by highway, many hikers prefer to go directly to the trailhead. If they plan to do this, this should have been indicated in their registration. Otherwise, the meeting place will be at City Hall for Sunday hikes, and the curling rink for rambles.
- At the clearly identified meeting place, introduce yourself and describe the day’s activity. A brief round of self-introductions is always appreciated. Discuss any potential hazards such as bears and ticks, and any other information as required such as a description about challenging parts of the trail.
- Remind people they MUST have suitable trail footwear which includes purpose-designed hiking boots or trail shoes that provide full coverage of the foot (e.g., no open-toed sandals or flip flops allowed), and have an aggressive tread to provide traction in loose soil as well as in wet, muddy or snowy conditions, all of which may be encountered during typical VOC activities.
- Remind everyone that they should carry easily accessible emergency contact information for use in case of an emergency. They should also carry their own personal first aid items and medication they may need.
- Review the driving route to the trailhead if starting from town and provide a map where necessary. Request a count of the number of drivers and confirm the number of participants and arrange for a rendezvous enroute if appropriate (e.g., at the start of the xyz FSR off the black top). Drivers should be advised to wait for the vehicle behind them at all critical intersections and turnoffs.
- Choose a sweep and ensure everybody knows who it is and what he/she will be doing. Make sure that you and the sweep know how to operate the radios and test them before departure.
- Emphasize that everyone MUST remain behind the leader and in front of the sweep.
- Inform participants that they must tell someone, preferably the sweep, that they need to make a nature call. Ideally, they should place their pack on the trail when stepping off.
- Point out that if a person does get separated from the group, to stay put; an individual is much easier to find if they remain on the trail and refrain from wandering off.
- Mention the suggested carpool gratuity amount (listed on the event schedule) and that everybody is encouraged to pay. Point out that it is not paid to the driver until the activity is completed (again, insurance reasons - we are not Taxi Drivers!)
- If not organized in advance by email, ask if anybody needs a ride and help set that up.
- Remind people the activity will take place at the pace of the average participant. As a leader it is your responsibility to lead the group at this pace – likely slower than some would prefer and faster than some would prefer!
At the trail head:
- Do a head count and compare to sign-in sheet. Check for additional participants who may have driven there direct and get them to sign-in.
- Remind people the activity will take place at the pace of the average participant. As leader it is your responsibility to lead the group at this pace – likely slower than some would prefer and faster than some would prefer!
- Ask sweep to do a head count as people enter trail.
Thank you for volunteering to be the Sweep.
- If you have never swept before let the leader know before you volunteer.
- At the trailhead the sweep should make sure everybody is aware of who you are and what your key responsibilities will be.
- At the beginning of the hike, count the participants as they head out along the trail.
- During the activity, emphasize that everyone MUST remain behind the leader and in front of the sweep. Ask the leader to enforce this as well if they are not aware of an issue.
- The sweep should ensure that anyone who takes a nature call is accounted for before the main group gets too far ahead.
- If part of the group starts to consistently lag behind the front of the line, radio the leader and ask them to slow the pace. This is an essential part of your job as sweep.
- Radio the leader if you observe that anyone is having significant difficulty of any kind. A decision can then be made on how best to proceed.
- Be aware of any faster hikers or bikers that are coming up behind you, and pass the information along to others. (Could be up the line or down the line although for the sweep at the end of the line, it would likely be up)
- Recount the participants after any stop including lunch. At the end of the hike also do a head count to ensure that everyone is accounted for.
Cycling Leader & Sweep Guidelines
Thank you for volunteering to lead or sweep bike rides.
- As a leader, you have the right to refuse to include anybody in the activity you're leading if, in your opinion, they are inadequately equipped, intoxicated, refuse to follow club rules, or are physically unable to complete the day’s program at an average pace for that group.
- The leader should confirm with each registrant via email that their request to register has been received and accepted.
- Should the leader be unfamiliar with a registrant’s name, the leader should check that the registrant is either a fully paid-up member of VOC, or is wishing to join the group as a guest. Guests should be reminded of the requirement to follow the instructions on the calendar for the event or be referred to the General Instructions for All Activities under Resources.
- The leader must be familiar with the route that they have chosen to lead, generally scouting it beforehand in order to note any limitations such as, road closure. In addition, should the leader require any special notes added to the calendar event, the cycling coordinator should be contacted to discuss the matter.
- Based on registrants, the leader may choose to split the group into two separate groups for safety reasons or if it is determined that two different speeds are appropriate; this may be considered ahead of time or at the meeting place. Both groups require a leader and sweep.
- On the morning of the ride, should the ride be CANCELLED (e.g., due to inclement weather), the leader notifies registrants via email and requests that the coordinator update the calendar to reflect this.
- At the meeting point, before the ride begins, the leader should:
- review the route to be taken, including stressing any deviations from the posted route (e.g., due to road works). The leader may also wish to ask who has a hard copy of the day’s route (.pdf document from the calendar) or are using RWGPS on their electronic device.
- appoint a sweep.
- provide all cyclists with leader’s cell number (and sweep’s number, if appropriate).
- the leader may wish to check that all new cyclists have read and understand Members Activity Guide (under Resources tab) or Cycling information (below Cycling Calendar).
- check that all participants are familiar with safety guidelines (also part of the above), stressing any that are particularly relevant to the day’s ride (e.g., need for SIGN POSTING).
- provide cyclists with an opportunity to ask questions.
- Count cyclists as they leave the start point to confirm the number.
- If part of the group is lagging, confer with the leader.
- Note any cyclist leaving the ride.
- Confirm numbers at end of ride.
- Remain at the end of the group.