“Leave your other life at home, relax, and enjoy the hardest work you will ever do!” says A.T. crew and club volunteer Sylvia Swain. “Do not be afraid of the work, no one will expect you to do anything that you can’t do, and it will change your life forever.”
Intrigued by an article about ATC’s Konnarock Trail Crew in her local newspaper, Sylvia first joined the crew in 1992. Since then, the Konnarock, Mid-Atlantic, and Rocky Top crews have all benefited from her enthusiasm and hard work.
ATC’s Kathryn Herndon has worked with Sylvia many times over the past five years and says “She is always committed to the highest standard of trail-building and is a great mentor to new volunteers. She sets a tone of teamwork, fun, and hard work that is absolutely contagious. I wish we could bottle her energy!”
While working with Konnarock in 2007, Sylvia helped with the Piedmont A.T. Hikers (PATH) summer fest and joined on the spot, inspired by the club volunteers’ dedication, hard work, and the fun they had. She later joined the Mount Rogers A.T. Club (MRATC) and continues to maintain the Trail and volunteer in other ways for both clubs.
According to fellow PATH volunteer Jeff Brown, “She is indefatigable both on and off the trail. Sylvia outworks all the rest of us and can organize a work crew of complete strangers and have them working like seasoned professionals in minutes.”
Anne Maio, former MRATC president, says “Sylvia is a hard-working, skilled, and eager volunteer” who has also helped with a number of natural history events with students in the Trail to Every Classroom program in Atkins, VA.
Sylvia not only works on the Trail, mentors youth and other volunteers, and promotes the Trail clubs, ATC Trail crews, TTEC, and Leave No Trace programs, she also loves to hike. In August 2000, she completed a section hike of the A.T. that she began in 1995.