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Archive | Bushwalking club management resources

Mt Keira Ring Track, Illawarra Ramblers Club

Mt Keira Ring Track plus Robertson’s Lookout, Illawarra Escarpment State Conservation Area 26 June 2021, Walk Report by Russell Verdon, Illawarra Ramblers Club

We walked Mt Keira ring track anticlockwise plus the extension to Robertson’s Lookout. There were hundreds of steps to negotiate. Total Distance: 8 Km, Duration: 4 Hr, Grade: 3 Moderate.

A record of the walked track

Record of the Walked Track

Eight Ramblers registered for the walk located at Wollongong’s prominent landmark Mt Keira.

We commenced walking at the civilised winter hour of 9am from Byarong Park. This park is on Mt Keira Road and adjacent to the Girl Guide Camp. The path leads up a short 300m stroll to meet with the ring track.

The cooler dryer conditions at this time of the year made for easy walking and minimal prospects for encountering leeches, often a feature in this area when the ground is damp.

Once at the ring track we took the right fork to commence our anticlockwise circuit of the mountain. A lot of track improvements such as boardwalk installation and repair of steps has been completed allowing reopening of the ring track after past rock slides.

Walking another 400m brought us back to Mt Keira Rd where we crossed 20 minutes into our walk, to continue the ring track on its southern side.

After another 400m the track touches the road again and we prepared to climb up the 100 odd steps to take us up to the next level section of the track through board walked rainforest then up another 296 steps where some nice views through the tree canopy to the north west were awaiting us, nearly an hour and a quarter into our walk.

We continued roughly 700m along the ring track reaching the junction where the path to Robertson’s lookout commenced. Those still feeling energetic walked to the lookout and we enjoyed the views down the escarpment followed by some well earned morning tea.

Then we followed the ring track downhill glimpsing the archery range located across from Byarong Park.

Not a lot in flower close to the track at the moment, but the odd glimpse of colour, and always good to marvel at the figs as we made our way back to the start at Byarong Park about three and a half hours later.

Thanks Anne for leading another great local walk!

Our Club of the Month: Illawarra Ramblers Club

The Illawarra Ramblers Club is based at Wollongong and provides walking, kayaking, and cycling activities including trips away. We have a stable membership of around 250 friendly folk. Our activities are graded to suit members’ abilities and are spread throughout the whole week. Located in the Illawarra we are close to and frequently access National Parks, coastal regions, the Illawarra escarpment, rivers, lakes and and the Southern Highlands. Try a couple activities for free before joining – hope to see you soon!

Light to Light Walk, Ben Boyd National Park

Ben Boyd NP - Andrew Connor

Ben Boyd NP – Andrew ConnorLight to Light Walk, Ben Boyd National Park

Light to Light Walk, Ben Boyd National Park

In 2019 the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) exhibited a draft Light to Light Walk Strategy along with amendments to the Ben Boyd NP Plan of Management. The draft Strategy proposed a signature multi-day coastal walk, transforming the existing campground walk experience with hut to hut and lighthouse style accommodation in addition to new walk-in campgrounds. There were also proposed realignments to the existing track. As well as forcing independent walkers and others into formal campgrounds, the draft Strategy also proposed the prohibition of bush camping along the walking route.

The public exhibition attracted over 200 submissions, including from Bushwalking NSW Inc and bushwalking clubs. NPWS has now released the final Strategy and Plan of Management Amendments along with a report on submissions made and responses. These documents can be accessed here.

The final Strategy delivers much of what was proposed in the draft, although changes have been made to address some of the concerns raised during the exhibition period.

Bush camping will be allowed at Mowarry Point although it is unclear if the existing area will need expansion over time. NPWS will not co-locate independent camping with accommodation at Hegartys Bay. Independent camping will be relocated from Hegartys Bay to purpose built walk-in only sites at Bittangabee Bay. A separate group camping area will also be developed at Bittangabee Bay. Given the new facilities proposed at Mowarry Point, NPWS will no longer construct purpose built walk-in only campsites at Saltwater Creek. Two new hut accommodation sites at Mowarry Point and Hegartys Bay are proposed to cater for a maximum of 36 walkers per night. The existing accommodation at Green Cape Lightstation will be reconfigured to accommodate 36 walkers.

The Strategy confirms that the new accommodation will be managed by NPWS rather than a commercial operator.

The proposed walk has been awarded $7.9 million funding by the Regional Growth – Environment and Tourism Fund program, an initiative of the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment. Subject to approvals, work on the first stage was expected to commence in late 2021 and be completed in late 2022. Before work commenced, a Review of Environmental Factors was released for public comment.

To assist with the implementation of the Strategy, NPWS will be establishing a Light to Light Walk Stakeholder Reference Group. It is hoped that this group will include representation from the bushwalking community.

Review of Environmental Factors Released for Public Comment

NPWS has also released a Review of Environmental Factors (REF) to inform the proposed upgrades to the Light to Light Walk. The REF is open for consultation until 15 October 2021. BNSW Inc will be making a submission on the REF and affiliated clubs are encourage to do likewise. The REF and accompanying documentation can be found here.

 

 

Canberra Bushwalking Club – Safe River Crossings Training

River Safety Training, Cotter River, February 2021, Canberra Bushwalking Club

At the start of 2021 Canberra Bushwalking Club held a challenging and interesting activity for members – a river-crossing training exercise. Held in the clear waters of the Cotter River, 26 club members attended keen to learn how to cross rivers safely.

The training was recommended for leaders and anyone contemplating walking in New Zealand or Tasmania. The course covered teaching participants how to assess a river, identify the safest crossing place and solo and team crossing techniques. Participants practiced these techniques in water up to thigh deep and also had the opportunity to practice swimming with a pack.

The day was highly successful with all participants agreeing that the course helped them to learn these essential life-saving skills. Watch more here to learn more about river safety.

Our Club of the Month: Canberra Bushwalking Club

Canberra Bushwalking Club was founded in 1961 and currently has over 400 members. While the Club’s main activity is bushwalking it also offers canoeing, canyoning, caving, conservation work parties, cross-country skiing, cycling, geocaching, liloing and social activities. Check out the Club’s Facebook page to see more.

Features of the Canberra Bushwalking Club include:

  • A range of activities – from easy urban rambles and walks suitable for families with toddlers, to multi-day expeditions in rough and remote areas
  • Training programs in navigation and other topics
  • Strong emphasis on safety
  • Modest annual membership fees (currently $40)
  • Non-members welcome on activities, with agreement of walk leader (up to 3 activities)
  • Participants covered by public liability insurance
  • Monthly meetings with guest speakers

Young People in Bushwalking Clubs

Notwithstanding reports that hiking and outdoor adventure has become fashionable for millennials, bushwalking clubs continue to seek ways to attract younger people.  An experienced young bushwalker keen to help clubs address this issue is National Parks Association of the ACT Committee Member Stef De Montis – age 32. Stef bush camps regularly in Australia’s high country and is also a keen runner, cyclist, skier and photographer.

Stef is interviewed in the June 2021 NPA Bulletin. He is passionate about helping clubs to attract younger members and believes this is needed to provide future club leaders and members. He highlights the importance of attracting young people to clubs to gain valuable life skills and an awareness of the importance of environmental protection.

Stef feels that many young people may be missing a sense of community in our modern world and that building friendships in a group setting will enhance young people’s ability to maintain their commitment to important causes.

To attract younger people Stef suggests that clubs hold social events aimed at, and run by, younger people.  Clubs can also harness the skills of experienced members by promoting informal mentorship programs to make young people feel welcome and develop their skills. He also believes that initiatives such as photography competitions and maintaining a strong online presence are ways clubs can encourage young people to get involved.

If you would like to read further, Bushwalking NSW has previously discussed similar ideas for clubs to consider, such as:

  • Consideration of the current average age of club members and if there is a need to appeal to a younger demographic
  • Identifying the potential reasons young people are not engaging with clubs
  • Identifying the skills and benefits clubs can provide to young people and the best way they can be be made aware of them
  • How to harness and pass on the skills of experienced members, for example, through mentoring opportunities
  • Consideration of how walks can be scheduled around young people’s work and or study commitments
  • Available opportunities to partner with local training organisations

What is the current demographic of your club and how successful have you been in attracting younger members? Let us know your experience and views – we would love to hear from you! – feel free to email Justine Bourke at newsletter@bushwalkingnsw.org.au

Armidale Bushwalkers – 2020 Walks Report (extract)

2020 WALKS REPORT (extract), Armidale Bushwalkers

 

 

 

 

 

Like many, Armidale Bushwalkers 2020 walks program got off to a very slow start.

The Club held a one day walk in January around Point Lookout with five members. The smoke from fires still lingered in the valley below Wrights Lookout although where we walked had not been burnt.

In February the Club held a one day walk in the Sunnyside area with five members present while the Secretary was away in Tasmania.

During March the Club had two day walks with dates swapped and the outcome that neither walk went ahead. A weekend walk was organized for a Friday and Saturday later in March which meant that a number of members including the Secretary were unable to participate in the walk. The walk was to be the last for many months as the COVID crisis forced everyone into lock down. Walks were cancelled and the garden never looked better when the lockdown ended in late May.

The Club got together at Gara Gorge at the end of May and discussed walks for the winter months. A short walk along the Threlfall Track helped everyone shake off the lockdown blues and get back into shape for the winter walks. The first walk for the winter was to the summit of Mount Duval and camping near the trig with twelve participants. A wet start on the Sunday meant we were back at the cars and home for lunch.

On the following Sunday twelve members enjoyed a day walk traversing the summit of Mount Yarrowyck.

July saw quite a few walks cancelled due to weather and leaders having other commitments. Four members joined an unscheduled half day walk on the first Sunday in July in the Long Point area. See remainder of walks report here.

Our Club of the Month: Armidale Bushwalking Club

Armidale Bushwalking Club was formed in late 2004 and has approximately 50 members. The Club run walks once a fortnight – usually there’s one or two day trips and a more challenging backpack walk once a month. The Club also brings people together to organise their own trips – from an afternoon stroll to extended overseas backpack trip.

The Club is developing a loose association between clubs surrounding Guy Fawkes river- a kind of “Fawkes Fraternity” to share programs, ideas and trips including with Inverell Bushwalking Club, Clarence Valley Bushwalkers and Ulitarra Conservation Society.

Joining a  group such as Armidale Bushwalking Club is a good way to get started in bushwalking as you can borrow gear from the Club’s store, find out about great places to walk, share costs and ideas and, most importantly, walk safely with experienced walkers.  Club membership gives you access to walks with all of the NSW Confederation of Bushwalking Clubs, and excellent Public Liability and Personal Accident insurance.

Armidale Bushwalkers welcome new members and hope to see you on the track!

Clarence Valley Bushwalking Club – Bunya Mountains Trip

Bunya Mountains Trip, Bunya Mountains and Girraween National Parks, Clarence Valley Bushwalking Club

Ray Bulmer originally conceived the idea of the annual trip to Bunya Mountains and Girraween National Parks for our bushwalking holiday. He put in a huge amount of preparation and drew up a great itinerary with a good mix of walking and sightseeing with some wonderful places to stay. Unfortunately he was not able to come on the trip due to ill health and we missed him greatly.

The group consisted of Michael, Christine, Steve, Moira, Joan, Jan, Stephanie, Kent, Narelle, Stuart. We set off on Saturday September 7th. As we left our area in Gulmarrad we remarked on how much the Shark Creek fire had grown in the last day and then we drove off towards Grafton, never guessing the fire would grow so big in the next few days whilst we were away.  Fires were starting up all over the valley and throughout NSW and this was to be a constant theme throughout the holiday. We packed our car up in 35 deg heat, with the sky turning orange and filling with smoke.

We consulted the night before on the best route to avoid fires and some of us kept to Ray’s original route via Glen Innes. We stopped off for the obligatory coffee break at McDonald’s in Glen Innes and a second breakfast. Others travelled via Kyogle. We passed through Stanthorpe and Tenterfield, witnessing the burnt areas from their bushfires only the day before. They had burnt both sides of the road in some places up to people’s garden fences so it was a sobering reminder of our vulnerability. We were all able to meet up at Warwick for a late lunch. Then we pressed on to our first overnight destination, Jondaryan Woolshed. We were saddened to see how dry the countryside was along the way. We set up camp in their campground and hunkered down for our first dinner in an increasing wind.

The next day we explored the extensive historic site at Jondaryan and there was certainly a lot to see. But first we had to have a hearty breakfast at their café. This was bushwalking in style. Then we visited the many historic buildings, the largest being their magnificent Woolshed itself. Many of the historic buildings had museum displays inside them. The school was one of the most interest.

The next day we set off for the short distance to Maidenwell which we were going to use as a base for our first set of walks in the Bunya Mountains National Park. The camping areas in the National Park were not accessible for some of the group so we had opted for the comforts of Maidenwell Pub.

We arrived at the camping grounds in the Showground at the rear of the pub and set up. The wind had increased even more and Michael had to secure the tent to the car with 3 ropes to ensure it did not blow away. Most of the group went for a preliminary walk to Coomba Falls which was a steep and interesting walk but little water. Later on we availed ourselves of a welcome dinner at the pub and a game of pool, hoping the wind would abate, but it did not. That night we fell asleep listening to the wind gusts.

The next day we set off on the 25k trip to Bunya Mountains National Park and were amply rewarded by the display of wildlife as we had morning coffees at the cafe. The wallabies and birds were very tame, no doubt owing to the proximity of the café. Bushwalking in style yet again. But the coffees at the end of the second day’s walking were very welcome.

We set off, stopping first for a view from the high point of Mt Mowbullan which had an extensive panorama but a lot of smoke haze.

We set off on our first walk along the Scenic Circuit and walked through beautiful rainforest areas with abundant bunya and hoop pines. It was a welcome change from the dry landscape we had travelled through to arrive there. There were many other sights to see such as extensive strangler figs, stinging trees (look but don’t touch!), bird’s nest ferns and staghorns.  Unfortunately the many waterfalls were nearly all dry. Two of the group elected to return to the starting point by a shorter route where we saw a red bellied black snake and many different species of beautiful trees whilst most of the group carried on to Big Falls and Barker Creek Lookouts. …….

It had been arranged that a car pick up would take place at Paradise Park but through mis-communication this did not happen so some members got a longer walk than they bargained for.  This emphasised the need for clear communication on walks. But we all reconvened at the end for some much needed bunya nut ice-cream in the café.

That night we indulged in another meal at the Maidenwell Pub.

The next day we set off to the National Park again and walked the Westcliff Lookout walk. The northern walks were partly escarpment walks and we had some good views from the lookout and along the way, although they were not at their best because of the smoke from the extensive bushfires. We stopped temporarily at Westcott and then all but one continued on along the Koodaii Circuit loop walk.

Our final walk of the day was to the highest point of the National Park, the Mt Kiangarow track to the summit and back. It was a short but lovely walk through the scrubby bush with smatterings of rainforest. We admired the extensive arch of grass trees and wildflowers with an extensive view of the valley below at the end.

After coffee once again we returned to camp and decided to tough it out and actually cook for ourselves like real bushwalkers should. We fortified ourselves with Happy Hour first though. Up until that point Happy Hour had not been that happy or extensive, downright non-existent owing to the strong, cold winds. The winds had dropped a little and a welcome use was made of the awning of Stuart’s caravan for a few drinks and nibbles. We had a discussion in which we confirmed that unfortunately Girraween National Park, our next walking destination was closed due to the threat of bushfires. Some fires were still active in the area and some were growing, including the large one near Drake and the Bruxner Highway on the way home.

All this while Michael and Christine had been monitoring the ever increasing Shark Creek fire near our home via the RFS website and wondering if there would be anything left of Yurygir National Park at home for future walks. What had started out as a tiny fire weeks ago had grown to threaten Woolaweyah, Angourie and Yamba.

The next day we changed our plans and spent the day in Toowoomba sightseeing. We enjoyed the wonderful flower displays at the Queens Park Botanic Gardens, where we were lucky enough to see their preparations for the Flower Festival in a few weeks’ time, followed by lunch at the Cobb & Co Museum and a look at the extensive displays there.

After that we headed south to our planned camp at Sommerville Tourist Park. This had been planned as our base for walking in Girraween National Park as that has been closed for a while due to water shortages in the park. It was now also closed due to bushfire risk so we stayed for only one night there and enjoyed their lovely facilities but once again braving cold weather of about zero degrees. We set off home the next day by mutual agreement, cutting the trip short. Some took advantage of the shortened trip to go their separate ways and do other activities but walking trails in National Parks seemed to be in short supply.

We travelled south again and most stopped at our planned lunch break at the Standing Stones Cottage where Ray had thoughtfully booked a surprise birthday tea for one of the group. We procured two cakes and a candle as there were two birthdays to celebrate. We then headed down the range to arrive home.

Our Club of the Month for January 2021 is Clarence Valley Bushwalking Club

Clarence Valley Bushwalkers Inc. was founded in 1997 by a small Group of interested bushwalkers. Since then membership has grown to approximately 90 members.

Walks are held in a range of beautiful areas including New England National Park (including Cathedral Rocks, Woolpack Rocks, Point Lookout), Washpool National Park and Gibraltar Range National Park (including Anvil Rock and Dandahra Crags). The Club also canoes and kayaks local rivers and holds relaxing bicycle rides around Clarence Valley.

There are up to 5 scheduled club activities per month. These can include bushwalking of varying levels of difficulty, terrain and duration; kayaking/canoeing trips and overnight car-camps; full-pack weekend walks, social outings, and bicycle rides. The Group also undertakes interstate and overseas adventures. Activities that are dependent on suitable weather or tidal conditions can also be added to the program at short notice to take advantage of favourable conditions.

 

Child Protection Mandatory Reporting

On 1st October, 2020 the Office of the Children’s Guardian provided a webinar titled: Understanding your reporting obligations in sporting and local government organisations.

The recording for the webinar can be accessed here.

If you are listening from a place where children can hear the webinar the use of headphones is recommended.

 

Below is some information that was mentioned in the webinar and shared by Harris Short, Child Safe Coordinator, Local Government/Sport, Office of the Children’s Guardian.

For more information, click on the links provided.

 

Department and Communities and Justice (DCJ)

Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ), previously known as Family and Community Services (FaCS) or Department of Community Services (DoCS), is NSW’s statutory child protection agency. The Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 and Regulation 2012 detail DCJ’s responsibilities in keeping children safe.

A key responsibility is that DCJ is responsible for assessing reports made to the Child Protection Helpline. While anyone in the community can make a report to the Child Protection Helpline, that a child or group of children might be at risk of significant harm, the Care and Protection Act makes it mandatory for some people who work or volunteer in certain roles. For more information https://www.facs.nsw.gov.au/families/Protecting-kids/mandatory-reporters/about

For guidance about making a mandatory report, using the mandatory reporter guide, to submit an e-report, or other information about mandatory reporting, visit https://reporter.childstory.nsw.gov.au/s/

JCPRP

The ‘Joint Child Protection Response Program’ (JCPRP), which used to be called JIRT, aims to provide a seamless service response to children and young people at risk of significant harm as a result of sexual assault, serious physical abuse and extreme neglect. JCPRP is a tri-agency program delivered by the NSW Police Force, Department of Communities and Justice and NSW Health. Joint Referral Unit (JRU) has a representative of each agency to work on joint decision-making around intake to JCPRP. JCPRP investigations are led by detectives from the Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad.

Reportable Conduct

Learn about your obligations under the Reportable Conduct Scheme in our 30min video.

You can find information on the Children’s Guardian website about:

  • Identifying reportable allegations
  • Heads of entities and reportable conduct responsibilities
  • Planning and conducting an investigation
  • Recognising and managing conflicts of interest etc.

 

Information provided by:

Harris Short | Child Safe Coordinator, Local Government/Sport | Office of the Children’s Guardian
www.kidsguardian.nsw.gov.au

Alternate Activities COVID-19 Update

We are all spending a lot of time indoors due to COVID-19.

So we thought it was a good time to revisit our awesome alternate activity ideas!

No need to do them alone! Connect with the group you were planning to head outdoors with online using programs such as Zoom or Skype. Have fun and feel good about these ‘indoor adventures’ together!

  1. Find and schedule the walks and activities you want to lead when life returns to normal
  2. Not a leader yet? Call a current club leader and ask if you can buddy up to learn to lead later – they are friendly folk!
  3. Read the Bushwalking Manual – a great read for everyone doing all kinds of outdoor adventure 🙂
  4. Get started on a first aid course – you can do the pre-reading online for free! https://pfa.stjohn.org.au/
  5. Connect online with a club buddy to plan a club activity together for later
  6. Read our Risk Management Guidelines – it is truly worthwhile
  7. Learn all about our insurance – consider becoming an insurance officer – ask us how
  8. Start planning and coordinating a risk management online training session for your club. You don’t have to know it all – ask club members with special expertise to talk on their area.
  9. Run a online navigation theory session for your club and friends
  10. Learn how you can help our suffering wildlife: WIRES & NWC
  11. Write to members of parliament to ask for a climate action leadership: Federal Ministers, NSW Members, ACT Members.
  12. Brainstorm how to engage more youth in your club
  13. Organise your photos and send in some great ones to us so we can share them through our newsletter and website – email to admin@bushwalkingnsw.org.au.
  14. Contribute your photos and descriptions of the great walks of NSW & the ACT to manual@bushwalkingvictoria.org.au
  15. Check out all the resources available for you on the Bushwalking NSW website
  16. Ask your club management committee if they need any help
  17. Sign up for a Bushwalking NSW working group
  18. Help Bushwalking NSW develop a Hot/Extreme Weather Policy that can help all our clubs – contact us now!
  19. Schedule club social events for the new year
  20. Look for great speakers for your next club meeting
  21. Call elderly neighbours, relatives and friends and find out how they are coping with the COVID-19 crisis
  22. If you haven’t done it yet – put your Bush fire survival plan at the top of your list!

Alternative activities

Have park closures or extreme weather conditions cancelled your plans?

Here are oodles of awesome alternate activity ideas.

No need to do them alone! Meet the group you were planning to head outdoors with at a cafe or library instead. Have fun and feel good about these ‘indoor adventures’ together!

  1. Find and schedule the walks and activities you want to lead in the new year
  2. Not a leader yet? Call a current club leader and ask if you can buddy up to learn to lead – they are friendly folk!
  3. Read the Bushwalking Manual – a great read for everyone doing all kinds of outdoor adventure 🙂
  4. Get started on a first aid course – you can do the pre-reading online for free! https://pfa.stjohn.org.au/
  5. Meet up with a club buddy to plan a club activity together in the new year
  6. Read our Risk Management Guidelines – it is truly worthwhile
  7. Learn all about our insurance – consider becoming an insurance officer – ask us how
  8. Start planning and coordinating a risk management training session for your club. You don’t have to know it all – ask club members with each special expertise to talk on their bit.
  9. Run a navigation theory session for your club and friends
  10. Learn how you can help our suffering wildlife: WIRES & NWC
  11. Write to members of parliament to ask for a climate action leadership:
    1. Federal Ministers.
    2. NSW Members.
    3. ACT Members.
    4. Tell them you’d rather be bushwalking or hiking, healthy and active, than sitting indoors because of extreme weather events!
  12. Brainstorm how to engage more youth in your club
  13. Organise your photos and send in some great ones to us so we can share them through our newsletter and website – email to admin@bushwalkingnsw.org.au.
  14. Contribute your photos and descriptions of the great walks of NSW & the ACT to manual@bushwalkingvictoria.org.au
  15. Check out all the resources available for you on the Bushwalking NSW website
  16. Ask your club management committee if they need any help
  17. Sign up for a Bushwalking NSW working group
  18. Help Bushwalking NSW develop a Hot/Extreme Weather Policy that can help all our clubs – contact us now!
  19. Schedule club social events for the new year
  20. Look for great speakers for next year’s club meetings
  21. Call friends affected by extreme weather and learn how they are doing
  22. Prepare you home for fire as a group – going to each member’s home to clip and clear.
  23. Learn how to plan and prepare for fire
  24. Help out others affected by natural disasters
  25. If you haven’t done it yet – put your Bush fire survival plan at the top of your list!

And once you’re done. Pat yourself on the back and thank your team 🙂

Tips for growing your club

The topic at the recent Bushwalking NSW AGM was ‘How to grow your club’, providing an insight into how one club substantially grew from 50 members to over 300 over a period of a few years. Some of their ideas are paraphrased below. For more information and suggestions on club management see http://www.bushwalkingnsw.org.au/club-management/

You can listen to the audio which inspired this post. (Works on Chrome and Firefox. Apologies for the rough recording – with patience you will hear the gems buried within!).

Soft management

Allow the committee to handle the running of the club, rather than having boring and contentious general meetings where members wrestle over every last detail of its operation. Reserve member’s meetings for socializing, educating, talks and slide nights etc. Give the committee the authority under the club’s constitution to handle the day to day affairs of the club, including making decisions, finances, policies and procedures.

Focus on activities- not committee meetings. The committee should meet the absolute minimum times per year that is needed to organise the club program and fulfill its legal requirements. Under new Incorporated Associations law it is permissible to hold electronic meetings e.g. Skype, conference calls and committee voting by email.

Design the committee structure around roles. Don’t have inactive ‘ordinary’ committee members. Each committee member should have a defined purpose and role. You may need to change the constitution to do this.

Ensure that committee members change regularly by limiting the number of times a member can stand for a particular role. This prevents stagnation and burnout and brings fresh ideas onto the committee agenda.

Make it easy to participate

Clarify processes and procedures and document them so that others know what they should do and how to do it. e.g. how to join, how to become a leader, how to arrange an activity.

Remove obstacles from member and visitor participation e.g. paperwork.

Put your documentation and programs on your website so that everyone can access the information.

If members show an interest in a particular activity or idea or have a suggestion to make, ask them to lead the activity or implement the idea.

Don’t wait for people to volunteer; ask them to do something and give them assistance to carry it out. e.g. buddy potential leaders.

Feature program changes and late-notice activities on the website and encourage members to check it regularly.

Promote the club

Give members club business cards to hand out to interested parties, rather than bulky, old-fashioned leaflets.

Ensure the club website has a current design and feel and is easy to navigate.

Make visitors feel welcome and ask them to return.

Don’t get hung-up about age

Understand your Target Audience. Some clubs are youth oriented, such as university bushwalking clubs, some have all age groups in their membership, while others are composed of 50+. Don’t worry that your club has no members under 50 years old. People’s lives have a natural cycle. After they have had children and the demands of raising a family are most over, then they will start to look for new activities as they enter their fifties. Target these people for membership. The most important point is that you cater to their needs and continue to attract new members in that age group.

It is natural to have a turnover of membership or around 15-20% annually, so don’t worry when people resign. It is more important that you replace departing members.

Members don’t have to be locals. Having intercity, interstate or international members can open possibilities for club holiday activities utilising local knowledge.

The program

A diverse program, with a broad range of activity types and grades, will attract a diverse range of members, increase membership and increase activity participation.

Consider posting your program on the website so that both members and potential visitors can see the latest activities on offer.

Most clubs now email the program rather than printing and posting. Consider offering a monthly emailed program instead of the traditional quarterly. This means the Program Secretary’s duties are spread evenly across the year rather than clustered in a couple of months. It also means leaders don’t have to commit to an activity 4-5 months in advance, Late notice activities can be easily added to the website or sent out as an email alert.

Be social

Joining a bushwalking club is not just about outdoor activities. It is also about socialising. It’s okay for a bushwalking club to run purely social events with no walking involved. Create opportunities in the program for members to socialise, such as; planning for coffee at the end of a bushwalk, restaurant nights, attending fun events. The result will be increased group cohesion, increased membership, a spirit of volunteerism and higher participation in bushwalks.