WHY I VOLUNTEER
Jason Quick, Volunteer - Tweed Valley Travelers
Our flatlander family had been coming to Pittsfield, Vt. from N.J. since I was 8 years old. When I was in college in Burlington, the family sold the house in 1988 because it was not getting used. I knew I had to get back, so I bought my place in Pittsfield in 1999 and became hooked on snowmobiling shortly thereafter.
Taking for granted that the trails were magically prepared for my use each season, I rode carefree for many years. I then began to wonder about the mechanics and economics behind the trail system. I soon figured out that it was far from a free-for-all. I began to ask questions and read articles. I realized that the backbone of our VAST trails system is a network of clubs, whose lifeblood is the volunteers who dedicate their efforts to make the system work. It was eye-opening when I learned that a huge contributor to our club, Tweed Valley Travelers, was an older woman who still did much of the “heavy lifting.” She is now 80 and still cuts trees off the trail, rebuilds bridges and more. Ironically, this same dynamo happened to coach both of my sisters in high school in New Jersey before she settled in Pittsfield. It’s a small world!
I began to ask what could I do, because that was the way I was brought up. Hard work first, no free lunch. Wow, what a list! Then came Irene. Pittsfield was extremely hard hit, and our trails and infrastructure were severely damaged. To see the people of this town working together to rebuild their lives and our trails was inspiring. Since then, I have made it a priority in my life to help others.
I really do enjoy trail work! Spending time in the mountains, meeting new people, achieving goals and having fun doing it, makes it all worthwhile. Seeing the results of your work while riding is also very rewarding. I drive 300 miles each way to physically abuse myself, and I too am very busy with my business, coaching kids and family matters. But, I make the time to do what I can to help our club because it is a heavy burden on those other club members who do most of the work. They are called “five percenters.” Only five percent of members do 100 percent of the work to make the trails what they are today. The clubs have aging members, and new, young people are needed to keep the spirit of volunteerism going forward. I wish I could figure out how to get more people involved. We need help, not excuses.
I would ask this simple question to those who have not lent a hand to their club. If you have the time to ride, how come you can’t offer four hours of one day to aid your club? It helps!