Saturday I sat in a room at Capital Dodge with 19 others who came to the club for the off-roading and stayed for the people.
People like Chris Palko who drove up from Brockvegas after carefully fine tuning his EOTB Trail Leader Seminar to touch on all the aspects of leading a successful trail ride. There were updates for all our recent challenges: managing group dynamics, improving trail communications, spotting newcomers who have never driven over anything taller than a curb. You know people are paying attention not when it is quiet but when the content spawns questions and there are clarifications and tips and information shared in all directions.
Mark asked the questions that many others were thinking. Tony could relate EOTB practices to what he had seen in other clubs. Steve shared his knowledge of rigging and lifting. Trail leaders new and old could relate the content on screen to recent trail rides. Norm outlined the club policy on judicious and safe use of chainsaws.
Later in the afternoon we convened at a local trail for a hands-on session with winch lines and snatch blocks and tree straps. Chris demonstrated the proper techniques for handling the winch line. He hooked up the winch line different ways and everyone had a chance to see it happen in slow motion, with explanation and with warnings, instead of in the usual frenzied way we do things on the trail when we want to get up that one last hill so we can get home for supper.
Everyone learned something that day, even the people who have been hooking up straps and d-rings incorrectly for years.
Half a day in the classroom and a few hours in the sand pit does not a trail leader make. It takes this kind of solid foundation, mixed with a lot of common sense, and real trail experience. Thanks to Chris we have the solid foundations to make a go of it.
Thanks to everyone who attended. It’s the people that make the club work and this is a great club.
Evan C./Still Learning
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