Volunteerism is the backbone of the Green Mountain Club. In recognition of this, it’s an employee benefit that GMC will match the time an employee volunteers for another organization in paid leave for a few days per year. This is a new benefit this year and GMC staff was excited to take advantage of it! In the spirit of the giving season, check out the other organizations that a few staff members chose to give their time to this year.
Mollie Flanigan, Land Stewardship Coordinator
On November 18th I had the pleasure of helping the Vermont Huts Association put finishing touches on their new Chittenden Book Hut before it opened for public rental on December 1st. As the manager of GMC’s camp facilities, I was particularly excited to spend my GMC sponsored volunteer time to help and learn from a partner organization that also manages backcountry cabins. On that snowy Sunday, I joined a crew of five other volunteers to build the deck, finish the ceiling, and install solar panels.
My work at GMC relies on over eighty volunteers to accomplish the major goals and objectives of my job, and as a result it was particularly rewarding to play a small part in helping another nonprofit with their project, knowing the deep value and impact we can all have when we volunteer our time for a cause we believe in.
Rob Rives, Education & Volunteer Coordinator
Just as the Long Trail was born, and is sustained through, the passion of countless volunteers, so too are many other outdoor sporting communities including trail running, mountain biking, snowmobiling, and backcountry skiing. I joined the mountain/ultra/trail (MUT) running community in 2007 and have been racing and volunteering at races ever since, but in 2015 I wanted to take my contribution a step further by founding and directing a brand-new event. With the help of several close friends and a permit from the Bureau of Land Management, I have directed the Merced Canyon Endurance Runs in Northern California for the last three years. This pair of 14-kilometer and 44-kilometer races serves a dual purpose: to provide an affordable event that showcases a low-use corner of the Sierra Nevada foothills, and to raise funds for Adventure Risk Challenge (ARC), an education non-profit that provides wilderness and literacy programming to underserved youth in California’s Central Valley.
In our free time throughout the winter and spring each year, I and my good friend Katie prepare and organize every aspect of the event, including volunteer recruitment, permitting, advertising, course marking, and day-of directing. Over the three years of the event, our little race has raised over $3000 for ARC and provided a fun, low-key running challenge to over 100 cumulative participants. I am thankful that GMC allows me Volunteer Time Off so that I can pursue meaningful volunteer opportunities such as this.
Alicia DiCocco, Director of Development
I currently serve as the Board Chair for Our Community Cares Camp (OCCC), a non-profit based in the town of Richmond. They offer children (ages 5-14) from surrounding towns the opportunity to enjoy healthy summer food and to participate in a free, fun and engaging summer day camp at Camels Hump Middle School. Kids in the community are provided with experiences to explore and be creative that would otherwise be missing, while being surrounded by a caring environment. They also offer internships to local teens to gain work experience as junior counselors or culinary interns.
I use my fundraising and nonprofit background to help the OCCC and hope to spend my time there helping build a sustainable future for this organization. Both of my children will attend school in Richmond and I am committed to providing exciting, nutritional, and nurturing experiences for youth in my community during the summer. Working at the Green Mountain Club provides me with a sense of giving back to the trails and mountains that I love so dearly, and volunteering with OCCC allows me to give back to my local community and do my small part to improve experiences of kids in my town and the surrounding towns.
Jocelyn Hebert, Long Trail News Editor
A bustling gingerbread festival is held each December by The Family Place, a parent-child center located in Norwich that serves the Upper Valley and surrounding regions of Vermont and New Hampshire. For the past four years, I’ve built and donated a gingerbread house to add to their nearly 100 gingerbread creations made by people in the community; the houses and other items are up for bid in a silent auction that is the organization’s premier fundraiser. This year, along with a gingerbread house, I donated a family of Emperor penguins that were handmade using a technique called needle felting for the auction.
As a Green Mountain Club employee, I understand how valuable people who volunteer and donate their time, skills, and knowledge are, especially to nonprofits. You may not know that a detailed gingerbread house takes a lot of time to build. Mine took about a week! So, while this is not a question one generally asks when selflessly volunteering, I did stop to think: Why am I doing this? As I strolled around Tracy Hall the day of the event, I heard kids exclaim “Wow!” and “Dad, look at this!” I saw eyes—young and old—light up and widen with excitement and wonder. I found myself transported to a time in my own life that was simpler, carefree, and joyful. And I realized—as I stepped outside of my day-to-day life for a day—that I was an integral part of a dedicated and caring community coming together to do our part to help improve the lives of children.
Kristin McLane, Membership & Communications Coordinator
Last fall I thru-hiked the Cohos Trail, a 170-mile trail in northern New Hampshire, and really enjoyed my 13-day experience there. The trail is just twenty years old and the Cohos Trail Association is run completely by volunteers, much like the Green Mountain Club used to be. Since I know firsthand how important varied volunteer skills are in small organizations, I wanted to give back to the folks working so hard on this newer trail. I was able to share my website maintenance skills to help get their website updated and ready for this year’s hiking season and I continue to update things for them as needed.
I also had the opportunity to help Friends of the Mad River plant 200 tree and shrub stems at the end of October in a project aimed at restoring the floodplain forest along the Mad River in Waitsfield. Getting these native shrubs and seedlings planted before winter helped to jumpstart the restoration of native habitat along the river to both encourage wildlife to return and improve flood resilience in that area. It was a cold morning that ended in a snowstorm, just about the last opportunity to plant this year, and I look forward to visiting and watching the forest grow in the coming years.
What organizations do you like to give back to? (If you’re looking for volunteer opportunities at GMC, you can find them here.)