What is the club’s “vibe”?
Friendly, patient, and enthusiastic
Once I am a club member, how do I sign up for a walk?
Signing up for a walk is as simple as reading the Newsletter and choosing a walk, then contacting the walk leader directly and asking to join their walk. Some walks will have a cap on numbers, so first in best dressed!
Always provide your mobile contact number each time you contact a leader, in case they need to get in touch with you at short notice before the walk. Even if you have walked with them before, many leaders do not save this kind of personal information.
How can I be helpful leading up to a walk?
Good communication is very important.
Always let your leader know that you have received their emails or phone messages, so they are not left wondering about it. And do respond straightaway with any extra information they have asked you for – rather than leaving it until the last minute.
If you are a newer club member and have not walked with a particular leader before, do help them out by letting them know which walks you completed as a Visitor and any you have done as a member. Soon, you will not need to do this as you will have become a regular walker whose capabilities are generally known.
On walk day, be “on time”. When the walk leader lets you know the time of the walk start, organise yourself to be there at least 15min beforehand. This allows for introductions, updates on the track conditions, and relaying of club messages.
If you run into unexpected problems on your way to the walk start, eg a flat tyre, call the leader straightaway and let them know – these things can happen to anyone. But leaving the group waiting due to poor planning, or taking time out to complete personal errands, is not a good look!
Any tips to help me fit into the group?
Be on time – our club values timeliness. Not only as a courtesy to the walk leader and the other members of the group, but also because walks may be time dependent eg relating to tides or scheduled rest stops.
Be properly prepared for the day – with the appropriate clothes, water, food, and any other gear your leader has recommended you bring with you. During the walk, you must also follow all instructions from your leader.
Be alert – to the location of the walker in front of you and behind you. If either of these drops out of sight, stop, and call out.
Be considerate – of your group regarding mobile phones. Do not take calls during the walk and make the whole group stop – and we would much rather listen to the birds!
Be mindful – always, that you are part of a group. The behaviour of other walkers will have an impact on your enjoyment of the day. As your behaviour will do on theirs. Everyone in the group is out there for reasons of fitness, wellbeing, social connection, and enjoyment of our wonderful country. So, share the common ground!
What happens if there is an accident, or someone becomes ill?
The club supports First Aid training of its members and there are often several trained walkers in the group. All leaders carry a charged phone with GPS and the Emergency+App, and mobile coverage is excellent for most club walks. We also have prepared more detailed Emergency Plans for several of our club walks. These are especially useful where access to Emergency Services is more difficult.
Are there regular club meetings?
We hold general club meetings at the South Barwon Community Centre, Mt Pleasant Rd, Belmont at 7.30pm. These take place on the second Wednesday of the month in February, May (coincides with the AGM) and October. We also hold a club BBQ in Eastern Gardens in December.
Visitors are welcome to attend these meetings (with proof of double COVID vaccination).
Where do the walk leaders come from?
Our walk leaders are not superheroes: each walk leader is a regular club member. As a volunteer-operated club, each leader of a walk is taking their turn in contributing back to the club by offering a walk activity for the enjoyment of their fellow members.
Every leader has the occasional bad hair day or the odd senior moment. But you will find that the walk leader is always supported on walk day by the “whip” (co-leader) as well as every other member of the group.
What is the role of the “whip”?
The whip is chosen by the walk leader to bring up the rear of the group throughout the day. They will be a capable walker who also knows the walk route.
Whips are especially helpful if there is a larger group of walkers, where they can assist the leader in managing the overall pace of the walk as well as monitor the welfare of walkers who may be out of the view of the leader.
You should always be walking with the rest of the group, which means you should always be ahead of the whip. If you need to stop to attend to a call of nature, or if you are struggling in any way, you should let the whip know.
If I join the club, am I expected to organise a walk activity?
The short answer is “yes, eventually”, but not straightaway!
The club is a not-for-profit organisation of volunteer members. It is not a provider of services. Each walk leader is also your fellow club member. The club is successful because ordinary club members are willing to organise walks for other members. For the club to continue to flourish, it is up to each member to participate by contributing to the walk program.
How soon after joining would I be expected to lead a walk activity?
We know that it takes time to build the skills and confidence to lead a walk, especially if you are doing it for the first time. And, depending upon the walk, many members like to receive additional training beforehand, for example in First Aid or navigation.
So as a rule of thumb, we see you organising your first walk activity after 2 to 3 years of club membership.
What is involved in becoming a walk leader?
There are 3 steps along the pathway to organising your first walk
- Finding your feet You will spend your first year of club membership getting to know people, enjoying walking with the club, building up your walking skills, gaining some new knowledge, and asking lots of questions. During this year, you will be able to decide whether the club is for you, and whether you would like it to continue to be a part of your life.
- Choosing your buddy After your first year of club membership, you will pick a club member who is currently leading walks to act as your buddy. Your buddy will guide and assist you to prepare for your first walk as well as act as whip (co-leader) for your first walk. We keep a list of current walk leaders who are happy to act as buddies. But if there is a leader you would like to be your buddy who is not on the list then feel free to ask them to help you!
- Adding to your skills and training The need for this will depend a lot on your walk choice and personal experience, but training is available in various areas. These include Running a Walk, First Aid and Navigation. Some training material is available online, while other training is carried out in group workshops, or out in the bush.
When the time comes for me to lead a walk, which walk will it be?
The choice of walk is completely up to you. Most people choose to lead a walk that they like to do themselves, which usually means that other people will enjoy it too. The walk may be one that is already offered by the club, or it may be a personal favourite of your own. We have a walk list that can give you some ideas, and your buddy will also help you out.
When the time comes, how often would I need to provide a walk for the group?
Once a year would be great!