Top 10 Reasons to Volunteer with FOTP
By Susan Jarvis-Weber
Friends of the Peak has some 30 projects scheduled in 2018. That’s a lot to do for a volunteer group like FOTP… we’d love if you joined us! Whether you hike hundreds of miles a year or breaking in your first hiking boots, FOTP can lead you down a path perfect for your journey into the great Colorado outdoors. Stay committed with a little help from your “Friends”.
1) Make more friends. Volunteering with FOTP is a great way to meet a variety of environmentally active, interesting locals like you. Our volunteers walk all paths of life: everyone from teens to seniors work side-by-side; the brand-new volunteers mingle with FOTP die-hards. All skill levels cooperate to build a welcoming, supportive community for anyone who wants to take care of the Pike Peak regional trails they love. Join our elite group of “Friends”, you may just find your new favorite hiking buddy on a work day.
2) Self Improvement. Even the savviest hiking enthusiast don’t know it all! We can advise how to minimize the effect your recreational choices have on the environment. Learn firsthand about each location’s unique ecology as well as the challenges faced by land managers, users, even the animals and plant life. Understand more about invasive species, how different forms of erosion impacts a trail, or how to pack the perfect daypack. Many of our volunteers bring a new perspective, knowledge, or experience to share each workday. Pick-up some valuable new nugget of knowledge every time you volunteer with us. Enlightenment is lifelong pursuit, FOTP can help you be one with nature.
3) Be more active / exercise. Be more active. Get a great workout. Swing a pick-mattock for a while. Get toned, buff and sweaty while making a measurable, meaningful impact on the “Whole You”. The trails you build today will last longer than your diet goals for the year. Besides the ‘calories burned-gratification’, you get to show off envy-worthy selfies (everyone looks gnarly holding a pickaxe or wearing a hard hat, CrossFit can’t compete with our work out). Volunteering will ultimately change your lifestyle, we motivate you to make hiking a habit by bringing friends back to say, “I built this.”
4) Pay it forward. After a day volunteering to pull invasive weeds or making trail repairs, you immediately see how your work improves the adventuring experience, lessens people’s impact, and improves environment longevity. Future generations will walk on the trail you built; or the social trail you closed is now a healthy patch of native trees and grasses. For decades, all those who follow in your footsteps will enjoy the benefits of healthy and sustainable trails and waterways.
5) Learn a new skill/ Hobby. Trying something new keeps you young and mentally sharp as a pickaxe in May. Whether you’re planting native trees and grasses for the first time, challenging yourself on a high-altitude project, or learning to be crew leader, our projects can help you expand your comfort zones. Our team will teach you everything you need to know about Colorado trail stewardship, the tools, and the local environment. We can even advise about how to prepare a daypack for the Pikes Peak region, explain local weather patterns, and point out environmental risks and concerns. FOTP can make you a more versatile person.
6) Get outside more. It’s a modern problem, people want to spend more time outside. But is can be hard to unplug and get out if you’re new to the area and don’t know where the “good” trails are, or don’t have any ‘outdoorsy’ hiking friends. FOTP makes getting outside your daily routine easy. All our projects are beautiful locations, we know a lot about where to explore the “best” trails and open spaces, and we make sure you are in a safe and fun setting.
7) Have more fun. Want to escape from a busy boring adulating rut? Escape the drudgery of the daily grind and release some stress in the great outdoors. Playing and working outside is proven to make people healthier and happier. So put down your phone, pick up a tool, and join your friends for a day outside to reconnect with yourself, each other, and the Earth.
8) Do more community/family activities. Become an active environmentalist in a big-picture way. FOTP has been the outlet for many Colorado Springs environmental-reformist ambitions. We offer group volunteering opportunities and projects for youth as young as sixteen (fourteen with an adult). Volunteering with FOTP is a great way for good Samaritans to work together as a team/family/community member, while supporting local social issues and protecting the resources you love. By the end of the day you’ll; feel closer to one another, contributed critical social support, as well as earned a few hours towards your community service badge.
9) Travel to new places. It’s an undeniable fact, Pikes Peak is stunning! Come out and discover the regional diverse landscapes. FOTP workdays take our volunteers everywhere from the high plains to the summit. We venture all over the Pikes Peak foot-print, from well-known destinations like seven bridges and Barr Trail, to hidden gems in remote corners of the mountain such as South Slope. Let us guide you to all the best trails and local hot-spots on your next Rocky Mountain expedition!
10) Lessen my environmental footprint/ impact. Every footstep has an impact on our mountain’s wild spaces. Hands-on stewardship is a critical line of defense to offset that impact. Help minimize the impact of the last fire or flood, and reduce the chances of the next natural disaster from occurring. Find out about the seven principles of LNT, and how they address the critical needs aspects of recreating in Pike Peak public use areas. Join FOTP because it’s like our long time board member Paul Mead summarized it best: "We try to minimize human impact while maximizing human enjoyment."
Let FOTP get you started on the right foot (although you will need the left one, too). Mark your calendars for April when projects open for registration. Sit in at our monthly board meeting every 2nd Tuesday to learn more and meet FOTP staff and volunteers.
If you can’t make it, sign up for our FOTP Voice e-newsletter, check out our website, or follow us on Facebook to stay in the loop about upcoming projects!