Guidelines for Trip Leaders
1) First of all, thank you for deciding to post a trip. This is what makes OutVentures a successful community of outdoor adventurers!
2) Second, be aware that the effects of group dynamics may require you to be flexible with your plans. Members will be late, get lost, read instructions wrong or simply misunderstand directions. So please give everyone some grace, extra time and treat all members with respect; they have joined OutVentures and your trip with the expectation of joining a community of hikers and to hike together.
3) Once you decide on an event/hike/location:
a) Place your post on the OutVentures website as early as possible. This will increase the attendance of your trip, as it will allow planning.
b) Provide as much information as possible in the official post, including food and water needed or the need for special gear.
c) Provide links to maps or detailed enough descriptions so that hikers can find maps on their own. You do NOT have to provide actual maps for each Member, but are free to do so if you like. It is up to each Member to know the route, but since you've already done that work, providing a link shouldn't be that difficult.
d) If this is a “goat trail” or other “unmaintained trail” that only you know of, it is up to the Trip Leader to make sure everyone stays together and does not get lost. This will include stopping at trail intersections to make sure everyone makes that turn.
4) Decide on a meeting place - at the trail head or at a carpool meeting location:
a) Provide driving directions/address or destination name in the official post to allow all participants to find their way to the destination. Encourage them to print those directions if getting there is difficult. You do not need to provide written directions, but you are free to do so if you like.
b) Include lat/long if directions are not possible, and list trip as moderate difficulty due to route finding. Lat/Long are generally available via Google Maps.
c) If you arrange a carpool, be sure all cars make it to the destination before starting the hike/event. Members will be expecting to join the group and may get stuck at a traffic light or two. With this in mind, please provide at least a 10-15 minute courtesy window before hitting the trail.
d) Ask if there are any hikers that might like to "take their time" they may want to travel together, so that "faster" hikers won’t have to wait for them to return to the trail head.
e) Consider sharing cell phone numbers in the event cars get separated. And, you can use them during the hike if needed.
f) Ask if anyone will need to stop on the way...so you who to wait for, and why.
5) If you decide to just meet at the trail head:
a) Gather in a group, so other arriving Members can easily see you. Watch out for people looking for a group. It can be intimidating to approach people you don't know.
b) Provide at least a 10-15 minute "courtesy window" before departing from your stated start time to allow for traffic or simply getting lost.
6) Before you leave on your trip, gather everyone together and go over a few basics:
a) Review the basics of the trip. "We are going on this trail, to the top, eating lunch, and heading back down. We are not taking any side hikes."
b) Remind everyone to stay together.
c) Remind everyone, that, out of respect for others, if they need to leave the group, be sure the Trip Leader and Carpool driver are notified and agree on the conditions of leaving the group. Failure to do this can result in hikers taking side trips that make others worry or wait excessively without agreeing to do so. And, repeated offenses can result in revocation of membership.
d) Remind everyone that "side hiking" means leaving the group and needs to be communicated...no one should leave the group without notification.
e) Ask again if anyone would like to "take their time" and come up with an agreed upon plan to accommodate their speed; i.e. maybe include a late ride home if needed, or have them turn around when they meet the group returning.
f) Be sure everyone has the needed supplies, such as food and water or any gear required. If a hiker is putting others in danger by not being properly prepared, the group can decide if he/she can or should participate. Keep in mind this decision will most likely come before the OutVentures Board for review. So, do this carefully. Abuse on either side of this decision can result in revocation of membership.
g) Once everyone agrees, leave on your trip and have a great time!
7) After your trip:
a) Be sure ALL hikers have returned and are accounted for.
i) There is no excuse for leaving a hiker behind.
b) Wait at least 4 hours before leaving and reporting a hiker as missing, unless you have other reasons to report immediately. Report missing hikers to 911. Notify the President of the Board by using the Contact Us page on the website as soon as is reasonable.
c) Report any Members that take unapproved side trips that result in departure delays of greater than 1 hour.
i) Give Members the benefit of the doubt and treat them with respect while you gather details why they are so late. They may have tripped and hurt themselves…
ii) Remind them respectfully if needed that, out of respect for others, deviations or side trips need to be approved.
8) Post a Trip Report and upload photo's on the website in the following days.
9) Report any problems to the President of the Board by using the Contact Us page on the website.