To our Volunteers:
I have been given a great opportunity under difficult circumstances, we were all following Shane’s lead and vision for the HSVTC and now we have to figure out how to keep this vision alive. I accepted the position of Executive Director to ensure that the HSVTC would continue to follow that vision. I believe strongly in the mission and goals of the organization and have ideas about what the future of the HSVTC will be, how I can be a successful leader and how we are going to move forward in the coming months.
It seems that I have been in the outdoors my entire life in some way or another in leadership capacity. I have always been drawn to its natural beauty and relaxing effects, the feeling that you are just part of the larger landscape and even though you might be visiting you are not actually out of place. Making that sort of beauty and feeling available to everyone is a worthy goal. Trail care and maintenance are very important to give the public access to nature’s wonders. Part of Stewardship is education, instilling these values into the next generation is a huge part of what we do.
Getting people out and into the forest so they experience this beauty and are willing to defend it in the future is the only way we will be able to preserve and defend the public lands that still remain. These are attainable goals and I believe that trail work, fellowship and stewardship always have these effects on the participants even if they are unaware of what they have experienced at the time, the memory of the experience remains.
Being appointed to the position of Executive Director is a great privilege and large responsibility, my task in this position to move the HSVTC forward into the future while ensuring that we continue to offer this experience. I believe that the biggest mistake people in leadership positions often make is not taking risks.
If the HSVTC does not risk change and doing things differently it will surly fail. The nature of any organization is that it will have to change over time, I want this inevitable change to be positive. I intend to use my experience in industry to create an efficient and streamlined working model for the organization that will make the HSVTC a fun place to volunteer while not working a few volunteers to the point where it is no longer fun. I also intend to use my sales experience to sell the idea of the trail crew to donors through grants and private donation.
As your Executive Director I will remain driven toward the success of the organization, I guess you could call it the stubbornness or staying power learned through years of sales experience, a trait that many of you share. A group of people or organization that keeps moving forward toward a goal will eventually succeed if they keep moving together. This is an organization with many facets and members, my only chance of success is to rely on you to give me new ideas and help implement these new ideas. We have to be open minded enough to try these new ideas. The HSVTC will have to change with each challenge that presents itself, we can use these changes to make a better organization or be bogged down by them. We should try to see these changes as opportunity to become better.
In the coming months I will be seeking you out and asking you to give help, ideas, to move forward, become better and come out of this trying time a vibrant organization with a strong volunteer base. I plan on succeeding by letting people volunteer and work hard doing what they love. My job is to create the opportunity for all of you to have a great experience while giving back. I will do my best to create an atmosphere where you can meet interesting people who share the idea that stewardship of our public lands is important. The Trail Crew is moving forward things are getting done, there are already at least fourteen trips on the books for next year with more to come. There will be several work day events in the lower foot hills early next year probably in January and February.
Plans are in the works to work on the web site and improve our communication with all of you. Fund raising ideas including sustaining membership opportunities for people that would like to support the Trail Crew but may not be able to participate and possibly a quarterly newsletter. We are working on trip based funding opportunities but a reoccurring problem for the HSVTC is the lack of operating funds and the availability of matching funds used for matching grants.
Historically the summer season ends and the money goes away making planning difficult and making matching fund opportunities impossible. Many activities should take place during our off season including maintenance, repair or replacement of damaged tools and equipment. Having operating funds or sustaining funds available though out the year help create a stable organization that can operate in an organized and systematic manner. Any money you can give or contacting any organization you may have ties to that would be willing to support the HSVTC would be greatly appreciated, if we have more money we can get more money and do more good things.
In conclusion, I cannot be Shane and I will do things differently, please remember that I am driven by the desire to keep the mission of the trail crew alive. Together we can create an organization that is a great place to volunteer, where people have fun and get a lot done, an organization that is known as a professional trail crew that is well organized and self-sufficient. Shane’s hard work contacts and vision have given us a great foundation to build on. It is up to you and I to keep the HSVTC the great organization we all know it is and help create the great organization that it will be in the future. Please be active in the organization in some way, call someone and tell them about what we do, volunteer to help in some way and make plans to go on a trip this coming summer.
Thank you for keeping the vision alive and remember that everything that you do personally multiplied by other volunteers doing the same ads up to a huge difference.
Rick Fleming Executive Director High Sierra Volunteer