by Alivia Acosta, ATC National Service Coordinator
Elevating Volunteerism: Raising Awareness
Volunteering on the Appalachian Trail comes in a variety of forms and the common thread between it all is a passion to care for the Trail. Those interested in supporting the A.T. can find available volunteer opportunities at www.appalachiantrail.org/waystovolunteer, what we call the A.T. Volunteer Engagement Platform, or VEP.
The A.T. Volunteer Engagement Platform (VEP) also provides great opportunity for easy and effective promotion so that ATC can amplify a central location for ways to get involved through many A.T. partners. Easy-to-use filters on the VEP enables individuals to search for opportunities based on their activity type, start date, project length, and meeting location.
ATC recently started working through the AARP’s Create the Good website, a platform that offers a listing of volunteer opportunities for AARP members, to promote volunteer activities in support of the Trail. ATC is committed to elevating awareness for volunteerism across many different groups across the nation. ATC continues to cross-post on other platforms such as Volunteer Match, Nova Conservation, and the REI website.
Earlier this month, ATC reached out to 2,000 individuals who expressed an interest in receiving updates on volunteer opportunities specific to their geographic location of interest. We shared with them relevant volunteer opportunities and plan to continue to extend invitations to events hosted by A.T. partners that are listed on the A.T. Volunteer Engagement Platform.
One of these viewers registered to attend an event that was being hosted by their local A.T. maintaining club. After attending the event they explained “This was my first volunteer experience and everyone was very knowledgeable, friendly and welcoming. We were able to get a lot accomplished during the day. Great experience.”
Each day, the care of the Appalachian Trail rests in the hands of thousands of individuals. The work can be daunting, the tasks can be challenging, but ultimately the A.T. volunteer experience continually brings people together. Ensuring everyone can connect with and steward the Appalachian Trail in a manner that is optimal for them, and the Trail, through a central spot to find and sign-up for activities helps to secure a future where thousands of individuals can continue to work together towards the common goal of caring for the Appalachian Trail.