You may already rely on volunteers to facilitate group meetings, conduct surveys and interviews, and perform other tasks needed to develop and manage your Blue Trail. The use of volunteers can help increase public awareness and provide a good source of labor for the program. Many supporters will give their time freely to help their community. However, finding additional help is almost always needed.
It takes time, energy, and resources to recruit volunteers. Potential sources of volunteers include Boy and Girl Scouts, school programs, church groups, trail users, local outdoor stores and outfitters, and court workers. Also use your blue trail’s promotional materials to solicit volunteers.
Proper training of volunteers and employees: All volunteers and employees should be thoroughly trained to understand all aspects of blue trail maintenance. Safety, clear direction, a good work ethic, and proper care of equipment and tools will always be the backbone of a good maintenance training program. Volunteers and employees also must be aware of the need for positive public contact. Proper positive attitude toward public questions and concerns is important, as is the conveyance of this information to trail supervisors.
Recognizing volunteers: Every volunteer needs to have his or her efforts recognized. Giving public recognition to those who give their time and energy to the community encourages the people involved and can interest others in volunteering. It is important to understand volunteer concerns and recognize their contributions. Consider:
- Presenting them with certificates, framed photos, or items they can use on the blue trail like boating gear or guidebooks
- Thanking them at community meetings and other public events
- Recognizing them in newsletters and other communications
- Writing a press release about their efforts
- Providing honoraria to volunteers, when appropriate
For more information about recruiting volunteers read the RTCA Toolbox for Volunteers.