It takes a village: Building a TWV bike trip
They say it takes a village to raise a child. The same might be said for organizing our youth bike trips. The trip leaders take on a lot of the work but there are so many moving parts (beyond those of the bikes of course!) that make these trips a success. A lot of work by the whole TWV team goes into making our adventures safe, life-changing adventures for our participants.
It typically starts with Colin, our Trips Manager, who works to organize the groups, makes schedules and calendars, manages the participant paperwork, liaison with group leaders, books campsites & hostels and spends long hours shopping for flights and making sure our youth get to where they need to be to start their adventure. He answers parent questions, runs pre-trip orientations and leader trainings and often leads a trip in the summer as well.
Madeleine, our Program Coordinator, has been taking care of a million tiny tasks that contribute a great to deal to trip success. Organizing on-trip program activities, preparing trip binders for leaders, re-jigging hostel reservations to fit our now larger groups, sorting through and purchasing new equipment, dropping off and picking up leaders, sending pictures to me and providing support to Colin are only a few of the tasks she’s been involved in lately.
Our Bike Club facilitators (in addition to being awesome at that too!) take on extra responsibilities, which include, the tremendous job of tuning up our bike fleet (more than 50 bikes this time!) for the trips, driving leaders and equipment, keeping our storage areas under order and helping to confirm trip details. Some of them are also Trip Leaders, which means they take on additional responsibilities for groups, budgets, travel, safety, passports, meals, youth development and group management. We are fortunate to have this incredible team of dedicated individuals on board. They truly have an ‘all-hands-on-deck’ mentality. Thanks to Jill, Tara, Molli, Colin, Kayla, Mike and Simone for all their work this year.
Trip season for Rick means that he’s communicating with program partners and funders, making lists, working on gear, wrenching on bikes, purchasing additional equipment, working on program evaluations, coordinating and running trip leader trainings, and occasionally saddling up to be a part of a trip when required. I think that’s the part he likes best. :)
We’ve been fortunate to have Darren volunteering around the office the past couple of months and he’s been helping us with tasks including driving leaders and gear and the countless loading and unloading of the van that happens this time of year. Darren will be leading the Youth Argentina trip in July with his cousin Allison and has been busy getting ready for that too!
This year we’ve been fortunate to work with an evaluator to understand the true impact our program is having on the participants. Anne designed our evaluation tool, is collecting interviews and other data so we can understand the participant experience more fully. I’m excited to see and share the results of this exciting initiative. Thanks Anne!
For me, as the communications director, my job is to collect pictures and stories about the incredible adventures that our youth are on. I also act as ‘at-home’ support for changed plans, weather advisor, driver, occasional cook, photographer and equipment hauler and I’m a emergency response plan team member. I post content that the trip leaders send me to our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so that parents, funders and program partners can stay informed. I write blog articles, edit videos, connect with media and try my best to tell the story of TWV as it’s happening. I’m really fortunate to be able to meet incredible youth, passionate parents and inspiring supporters of our work. They all have such awesome stories that I love being able to share with the world.
This list only scratches the surface of the effort that everyone is making so these trips are a success and I haven’t even mentioned the work our bookkeeper Tom does to process payments and write receipts, the home front support that Rick’s wife Tanya provides the entire team. There are also many hours by other volunteers and the work by our program partners do in getting their youth ready to take a trip.
By the end of this year, we’ll have had 83 days on trips with 115 participants. It takes a lot to get geared up for these trips but to see the smiles on the youth, hear the feedback from parents and our program partners and to get to explore more of our great planet from the seat of a bike- it’s definitely worthwhile.
Join the Ride!