by Alivia Acosta, ATC National Service Coordinator
The New: A.T. Volunteer Experience
In this new age of volunteering, the ability to remain connected virtually holds more meaning than ever before. The new Volunteer Engagement Platform (VEP) now makes it easier for current and aspiring volunteers to get connected and remain engaged in their own personal volunteer experiences throughout the Trail.
Historically, the variety of A.T. partners along the Trail (mostly the thirty-one A.T.-maintaining clubs) have been working nearly independently of one another in promoting and recruiting volunteers for A.T. stewardship events. The new VEP now provides a single centralized location where anyone can view ways to engage in the project of the Appalachian Trail. People planning a hike can find a stewardship opportunity that aligns with the start or end of their journey to one of 14 states, local area residents can find a means to tie into regional area activities that support the Trail, and anyone can see that it takes an active, engaged, and invested population to make the Appalachian Trail what it is.
Aside from the opportunity to easily find events happening up and down the Trail, individuals will also be able to create their own personal accounts on the VEP.
Setting up a personal account on the Volunteer Engagement Platform:
- Makes signing up swifter by remembering who you are and automatically plugging in your relevant participation details.
- Allows you to check on opportunities for which you’re signed up to check your registration status, remind you of special instructions for the activity, or find contact information for the leader.
- Allows you to review past projects, and if you’re a volunteer participating in an ongoing role with ATC or certain clubs, you can also report and track your own hours.
- The hope and the goal for the platform is that the millions of small things happening throughout the entirety of the A.T. are highlighted to enhance participation with and the vitality of all A.T. partners.