Volunteer Vacation FAQ
Q. Is there a cost for me to attend a Volunteer Vacation?
A. Yes! Although you are a volunteer, there are costs associated with running this type of program as a non-profit organization. Your trip fee helps to cover a portion of our field staffing, food, equipment and transportation. Grants, government agreements, and individual donations from WTA supporters provide the rest of the funding needed for each Volunteer Vacation. This year, trip fees for WTA members will be $195 for the first trip and $145 for each additional trip during the season. Non-members will pay an additional $40 for their first trip. **Only one membership per household required**. There will be a $30 cancellation fee for cancellations more than 30 days prior, and no refund for cancellations less than 30 days prior to the trip. Your trip fee is due within 2 weeks of signing up for a trip.
Q. Application and approval process?
A. You must submit at least one application and medical form per season. The application can be found in the link to your trip agenda, which you will receive in your e-mail from firstname.lastname@example.org upon signing up. We keep these on file for the season so you only need to fill out one per season. On-line applications are preferred! Please submit payment at the time of applying, but you may submit payment at a later time, as long as full payment is submitted within two weeks of signing up (or you are subject to lose your spot on the roster). Once we have submitted your application and full payment, you will be confirmed for the trip. If you have questions about filling out the application, payment, or your status on a trip, contact email@example.com.
Q. Is there a waitlist?
A. . Absolutely. If a trip is marked as "Full," please contact the office by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 206/965-8565, and we will add you to the waitlist.
Q. Will I receive a refund if I have to cancel?
A. Refunds (minus a $30 cancellation fee) will be given if you withdraw from a trip at least a month before the trip's date. This gives WTA ample time to advertise your space on the trip or notify someone on the waitlist in order to fill the trip to capacity. Please indicate that you would like a refund at the time that you cancel (again, as long as it is a month out).
Q. Must I commit to stay for the entire week?
A. Yes! If you cannot commit to an entire week, we have plenty of weekend overnight trips as well as some extended weekend (3 or 4 day) Backcountry Response Team (BCRT) trips that we’d love for you to join. Check out these trips on our Trail Maintenance Schedule.
Q. What is the difficulty of a weeklong trip?
A. Each day's trail work can be strenuous and difficult if you are not accustomed to this kind of work. We encourage you to join us on a regular one-day work party to see if you would enjoy this type of work for a full week. We also encourage all volunteers to work at their own speed, pace themselves, take breaks, and change tasks frequently. The crew leaders are there to help you understand what is required and how it can be accomplished in the easiest way. If you are suffering any type of health problem(s) that might be aggravated by physical exertion and could not be controlled at a safe level while in the field, a weeklong vacation is not appropriate for you. Our difficulty rating system (below) is based on the initial hike to the base camp:
Car camp: You drive up, unload your gear and set up camp.Hybrid: Various transport to get you to basecamp, including a short hike, but not a "backpack".
Deluxe: You will stay in indoor accommodations, complete with showers.Easy: 1-3 mile backpack to camp with little elevation gain
Moderate: 3-5 mile backpack to camp with 500 – 1,000 feet elevation gain
Difficult: 5-8 mile backpack to camp with 1-2,000 feet elevation gain
Strenuous: 4 – 6 mile (or more) backpack to camp with 2,000 feet or more elevation gain
Q. What should I bring?
A. Please consult the suggested list of things to bring before you commit. You MUST be properly prepared and “geared” up for a week in the backcountry.
Q. What is the menu like?
A. There is some variation based on the crew leader for the trip, but this gives you a pretty good idea of what you’ll have. We like to think of it as “Comfort food meets Pacific Northwest cuisine”...
Egg scramble with toasted bagels
Each breakfast will have sides of sausage and/or bacon
Oatmeal and granola for those who like a lighter breakfast
Build-your-own lunch with whole grain bread, fresh veggies, fresh fruit, GORP, chips and other snacks.
NW Seafood Cuisine
Italian with lots of garlic
South ofthe Border Special
Taste of India
Flavors of Thai
Dutch oven Delight
Cookies and more cookies.
Fieldmade huckleberry cobbler, when in season
Q. Can you accommodate food allergies and/or special requests?
A. Yes, but we need to know in advance. When you apply, be SURE to indicate your food allergies/preferences in the space given to you in the application. We do most of our shopping in bulk, so please realize that we may not be able to make major menu adjustments, but we have commonly been able to accommodate the menu for lactose allergies and vegetarians.
Q. What is a typical day like?
A. Below is a typical day. Depending on the project or the weather (sometimes at “hot” locations, your crew may decide to start work early and/or end the day early), the hike to the worksite will vary and you should make sure to check the overall trip difficulty before you join.
Arrival: Saturday morning or afternoon, depending upon the agreed upon meeting time as directed to you by your crew leader. Hike to camp, set up camp, relax!
Sunday – Friday (excluding Wed, which is your day off):
6:30 to 7:00am – Rise n’ shine, make your lunch with the lunch goodies
7:00am – Breakfast is served, please be on time!
7:30 to 8:00am – Clean-up from breakfast (dishes, put food away, etc).
8:00 to 8:30am – Leave for the work site
8:30 to 9:00am – Begin work on the project
9:00 to noon – Continue work, stopping periodically for breaks.
Noon – Lunch – take at least a 30 min. lunch break, probably longer to recuperate and enjoy the fresh mountain air!
After lunch to 3:00ish. Continue working, stopping periodically for breaks. Depending on the difficulty of the project and the weather, the "end" time may vary from day to day. Don't overwork!
3:00 to 4:00 Back to camp for salty snacks and Gatorade.
4:00 to 5:00 Unwind and freshen up - find a stream or lake to put your feet (or body) in, take quick snooze, find a tree to read under, go fishing, etc.
5:00 to 6:00 Social Hour, hang out , help with dinner, talk about the day or just continue with your nap.
6:00 to 7:00 Dinner time. Enjoy a big plate of fresh, hot food.
After dinner – A few volunteers for clean-up and dishes. After that, you’re free to go back to your tent (although you may be heckled if you try to turn in before 8pm!).
Q. What is expected of me (after all, this is my vacation!)?
A. Other than having a good attitude, adhering to a few simple rules, and helping out with the camp chores, you are free to relax and enjoy your surroundings after a hard day of work. You’ll be amazed at what you and your crew will have accomplished by the end of the week!
Q. What about that day off?
A. Yes, Wednesday is your day to relax or explore your beautiful surroundings.
Q. What is the alcohol policy?
A. While the Volunteer Vacation is intended to be a meaningful social experience, it is not designed to be a party, or to project a party atmosphere. Consumption of alcoholic beverages on Volunteer Vacations is discouraged to protect the health, well being and experience of other volunteers. Any intake of alcoholic beverages requires moderation by the user, and anyone abusing this rule will be directed to leave if the conduct persists. Please be respectful of others.
Q. What else should I know?
A. Visit our general Trailwork FAQ’s for a day on trail – most of these still apply to our weeklong trips. Our Guide to Trailwork is also a good reference for the technical side of things. Most importantly, if you have a nagging question that we haven’t asked/answered, please e-mail or call! WTA’s main line is (206) 625-1367 and the direct line for Trail Maintenance is (206) 965-8565. E-mail questions to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.