Welcome to the Trail Ambassadors program, a special volunteer initiative at MTB Kingston that launched last year to make our trail system more fun, safe, and sustainable as our membership grows. Highly visible in their green-yellow “Trail Ambassador” jerseys, these volunteers act as a welcoming face, a friendly information resource, and a trail warden to discourage trespassers and unsafe riding.
WHY ARE THE TRAIL AMBASSADORS IMPORTANT?
The need for Ambassadors increases as the club’s membership numbers continue to increase. With more riders comes more challenges that could impact the club’s long-term sustainability. More eyes and ears can assist with:
- Identifying trespassers (Every person needs a tag. Trespassers make our landowners fearful of litigation by uninsured riders)
- Managing risk of injury by identifying inexperienced riders and providing them resources and contacts to improve their skills or directing them to safer areas to ride.
- Improving the sense of community, ownership, and friendly atmosphere.
Being on the Trail Ambassador team is an opportunity to address these three main areas of focus. As this dedicated and highly visible group of members cruises the trails regularly in larger numbers, engaging frequently with members, word will spread about their presence. This will discourage trespassers while providing, sharing and educating the members with clear information and expectations regarding trail guidelines, rules, and etiquette.
WHAT ARE THE TRAIL AMBASSADORS’ RESPONSIBILITIES?
Our Trail Ambassadors must be adult members (aged 18 or older) who ride our trails at least once per week. In order to qualify as a Trail Ambassador, you will also need to be able to meet the following standards:
- Wear your Trail Ambassador jersey at least once per week on club trails (feel free to wear whenever you are on the trails riding or working)
- Be comfortable stopping and engaging in polite, level-headed discussion with riders who breach club rules (e.g. no tag displayed, or helmet not worn, or riding in wrong direction)
- Be friendly and helpful to members on social media as well as on trails (e.g. offer guidance on our Facebook group, stop for people who are having mechanical breakdowns or who appear to need directions)
- Relay concerns or issues observed related to our club and trail system
WHERE ARE THE TRAIL AMBASSADORS DEPLOYED?
Trail Ambassadors can serve the membership on the trails of MTB Kingston but also on our social media. You might offer members help onsite (see above) or guidance on our Facebook page. You might even offer to take a new member on a trail tour.
WHEN IS THE NEW TRAIL AMBASSADORS GOING TO START?
The new Trail Ambassador program will launch in early August. We hope to hold a series of socially distanced information sessions the last week of July to provide details of the program and to screen volunteers to help candidates decide if they feel comfortable with the standards and responsibilities of Trail Ambassadors. This will include discussions about strategies to help with trail encounters.
HOW CAN YOU BE AN EFFECTIVE TRAIL AMBASSADOR?
Begin by reflecting on if you can meet the minimum standards required of our special group of volunteer Trail Ambassadors. Do you ride regularly? Are you comfortable stopping people on the trail and engaging with them in a level-headed and positive manner if they are not conforming to club rules and etiquette? Are you happy to approach riders on the trail and on our social media to offer help and information? If you said “yes” to all three questions, then you’re likely a great candidate for the yellow green Trail Ambassador jersey.