Volunteer FAQ

Do I need previous outdoor experience to become a volunteer with ETC?

No. In each of our programs we provide an initial training for new volunteers to get them up to speed on sea kayaking, whitewater rafting, or cross-country skiing. These trainings focus on developing a basic skill set so you can work within a team of guides to facilitate an ETC trip.

Are new volunteers required to have previous experience working with people with disabilities and inner-city youth?

While previous experience working with people with disabilities or youth from under-resourced backgrounds is always a plus, it is not necessary. Each new trainee is asked to participate in Inclusion Training, which is an opportunity to learn about the different populations ETC serves and learn about the different adaptations that may be necessary to best serve the wide range of populations we work with. 

How old do I need to be volunteer with ETC?

We require our volunteer Guides to be 18 years old and our Trip Leaders to be 21 years old.  If you are younger than 18, please consider joining one of our Youth LEAD summer courses.  There may also be other opportunities for youth under age 18 to volunteer, but not in a Guide role.

I have previously experience in the program’s sport or have been a guide before. Am I required to go through training?

Our new guide training is a great opportunity for folks with a wide range of outdoor skills to learn about ETC trips and brush up on all the skills expected of volunteers. Additionally, new guide training is a great introduction to the ETC community, offering the opportunity to meet fellow guides and form strong relationships. That said, people with significant experience are encouraged to contact the Program Manager to discuss if it might be better for them to simply complete Disability Awareness Training and begin volunteering on trips. 

Why do new volunteers have to complete an application and participate in a group interview?

We ask a lot of volunteers and want to ensure that ETC is a good fit for each applicant. The application process gives our Program Managers an opportunity to learn more about each person as well as share more about volunteering with ETC. We have found that this process allows us to maintain a guide team that is committed to the organization and will add greatly to each trip. 

I noticed that there was a cost for training. What is the reason for this?

At ETC, we work to ensure as much for our budget is devoted to our scholarship fund as possible. While training is partially subsidized by the organization, we have a fee for training that helps to cover some of the costs including overnight accommodations, food, equipment, training materials, and instruction. We do not want finances to prevent someone from volunteering with ETC, so we offer sliding-scale scholarships to people in need.

Am I required to volunteer a certain amount of days each year?

Each program has its own volunteer commitment for the first two years a volunteer is working with ETC. Here is what we ask:

  • Cross-Country Skiing Program: 4 days during first season & 4 days during second season
  • Sea Kayak Program: 8 days during first season & 6 days during second season
  • Whitewater Rafting Program: 8 days during first season & 6 days during second season

We often find that volunteers enjoy their time on ETC trips and far exceed their volunteer commitment.

Does ETC require volunteers be certified in First Aid and CPR?

Yes, all volunteer are required to have a minimum of Basic First Aid and CPR. ETC offers a number of subsidized classes for new and current volunteers to get and maintain these certifications. Volunteers are also encouraged to take classes focusing specifically on wilderness medicine, and ETC offers a Wilderness First Aid class each year at a reduced cost for volunteers.

Am I required to have my own equipment?

ETC provides the technical equipment for each program, though volunteers do typically need some basic personal gear (ex. Sleeping bag, water shoes, etc). At the training orientation meeting the Program Manager will provide an equipment list and discuss options for obtaining each item at wide range of costs. 

I am nervous about the responsibility required to volunteer with ETC. Can you tell me more about this?

Outdoor recreation and guiding comes with responsibility and a certain level of risk. That said, volunteers will always be working within a team of guides on each trip with a highly experienced Trip Leader who is responsible for overall decision making. 

Once I am a volunteer with ETC, am I able to use the equipment for personal use?

Yes, active volunteers are welcome to use the equipment. Each program has a specific equipment use policy that we ask volunteers follow to ensure safety.

Once I am a volunteer in one ETC program, can I volunteer in another?

Yes. We ask current ETC volunteers who are interested in getting involved in another program go through the training specific to that program to ensure they have the proper technical skills. We love it when volunteers are part of two or three programs!

I notice that you have a Youth LEAD Program. Is it possible to volunteer on these trips?

Because the Youth LEAD Program runs longer courses (12-24days), we hire two staff to run the entire course. Volunteers do support these programs by getting involved in the sea kayak and river components of each course. We love when volunteers can give 4 to 5 days at a time to do this!

Does ETC have access to discounts on outdoor equipment for guides?

Yes. Active volunteers are invited to participate in our pro-purchase program with select outdoor retailers.

Once I am a guide with ETC, are there opportunities to keep building my skills?

Yes, we love to continue building our volunteers’ skills! Each program offers skills builders, which are opportunities to further develop skills that were not specifically covered in new guide training.

How often do trips go out?

The frequency of trips varies across programs and seasonally. When in peak season, each program has a variety of trips that go out on weekday and weekends. All trips are posted on an online guide schedule and volunteers sign up by contacting the Program Manager. 

Keeping the great outdoors open to all.