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Shoalhaven Bushwalkers Inc.

PO Box 403
Nowra NSW 2541

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Justified or not Justified - that is the Question

a letter to the Editor from Sandra Kelley

Some criticism has recently been made regarding the walks program - 'too many walks in the same area', 'all the walks on the day are hard walks', and 'all the good walks are on the same day' (this last comment is very subjective).

Admittedly, on the last program a bike ride and a canoe trip were scheduled on the same day. This was regrettable, but great effort is made to provide an interesting and varied program. The various walk coordinators occasionally receive phone calls or emails from leaders volunteering a walk (for which they are most grateful) but more often than not, in order to put a program together, the coordinators have to make phone calls to many leaders seeking walks.

Coordinators also face time constraints, where leaders, due to various commitments, can only lead their walks on certain dates. Some leaders have a limited knowledge of walks and are only familiar with certain areas. The club also has a limited number of leaders, only 30 to 40 people lead walks out of a membership of 170. WE NEED MORE LEADERS!

So next time you are out enjoying a lovely walk please spare a thought for all the effort that has gone into organising it and all the wonderful leaders we do have.

Editor's Comment :-)

The programming of non-walking club events such as bike rides and canoe paddles has been discussed at length by the committee and procedures have been put in place to ensure that clashes of the kind mentioned by Sandra do not happen again. If they do, blame the midweek walks coordinator and the Ettremist Editor.

I heartily endorse the observation that the club needs more leaders. It is pleasing to see that the new walks program contains a number of new leaders. Congratulations to them! I hope the trend continues.

To fill the walks program, the club needs to schedule four midweek walks per week for about 43-44 weeks of the year. This is about 170 walks per year. And how many club members do we have? 170! What a coincidence! This means that if every club member volunteered to lead just one walk per year, the walks program would be filled. And how hard is it to lead just one walk per year?

In reality, the club does not put on walks - individual leaders actually put on the walks. And naturally, they lead walks which interest them. It would be wrong to expect leaders to also lead walks in which they really have no interest, but which other people (who are not willing to lead) might want to do?

Leaders are actually worse off than non-leaders. On any given Wednesday, a non-leading club member can choose to take part in any one of four walks. The four leaders have no choice. They are committed to their own walk and often miss walks which they would otherwise have loved to attend.

If in fact there are some club members who feel that there are too many walks in the same area, or that all of the walks on the day are too hard, or that all the good walks are on the same day, then why don't they volunteer to lead walks in the areas they would like to walk in, at a difficulty level at which they are comfortable, and on a day of their own choosing. Then there would be nothing to complain about ...

- Brett Davis

(Ettremist - May 2004)