Below are the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about our hands-on trail skills training series:
- Do the modules have to be taken in numerical order?
- Do I need to complete the Trail Skills Institute to become a volunteer or steward on the Arizona Trail?
- What is the typical schedule for training days?
- Is camping or lodging provided in between the days of multi-day sessions?
- There is a special price for “Steward”. Is that related to ATA membership?
- I would like to enroll other members of my group or club in the courses. How can I do that?
- Is registration refundable?
- Are there scholarships available?
- What courses are required to “graduate” from the Trail Skills Institute?
It is NOT required to take the courses in any particular order. All of our modules can stand alone or build upon one another to improve technical and theoretical skills. Because the setting for each module changes from year to year, the skills covered at each may be unique. Many students find benefit from taking specific modules more than once to increase the depth of their knowledge and experience.
You do not need to complete the Trail Skills Institute to participate in ATA volunteer activities. The courses are strongly encouraged for ATA Segment Stewards and are an excellent resource for volunteers who want to improve their efficacy at trail events. Certain skills may be preferred for more technically challenging work events. In those cases, skill preference will be noted on the event page.
Generally, each day is approximately 7 hours of combined instruction and trail work. We start in the morning (usually 8am or 9am depending on the season) with “classroom” time. This is done outside at a campsite or trailhead. From there, we move to the trail for hands-on instruction. Our instructor determines specific daily schedules based on module content, project considerations, participant background, weather, and other factors.
For all multi-day sessions, we establish a group camp space (usually in a dispersed camping area). Most often, this is also the classroom area. Meals are provided with your registration including lunch and dinner on day 1 as well as breakfast and lunch day on 2. We find that almost as much learning happens around camp at dinner time as when we’re out on the trail! We will provide information about nearby lodging (when applicable) for those who prefer to sleep indoors.
Trail Stewards are the incredible volunteers who have adopted a segment of the AZT to help us maintain the entire length of the Trail. The Trail Skills Institute was developed, in part, to train these volunteers and give them the tools they need to operate independently. Stewards are given a discounted rate for the Trail Skills Trainings. If you would like to learn more about ATA Stewards, visit our stewards page here.
We welcome multiple participants from interested organizations to enroll in the sessions! However, course availability is first-come-first-served, and the demand for space can be high. We limit affiliated groups to 4 participants for Module 1/2, 4, 5, and 6 trainings. Affiliated groups are limited to 2 members for Module 3 training. These limits are in place to support diverse training classes and to maintain fairness. If you’d like to set up your own custom training session, you can contact our training provider, Flagline Trails.
The cost of your registration is fully refundable until 2 weeks prior to the start date. If you cancel your registration after that time, you will not be refunded but may be able to transfer your registration to a future class. In the event you need to cancel, we ask that you notify us as soon as possible. Our classes are limited in size and often fill up quickly. Moving students off the waitlist is more difficult without advanced notice. To cancel your registration, email the volunteer program at email@example.com.
Scholarships and discounted rates may be available to volunteers for whom the cost of registration is a barrier to participation. For more information, email the volunteer program at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To receive a certificate of graduation, participants must complete modules 1-5 of the core curriculum. Modules 6 and beyond might be considered “postgraduate” work.