Sustained, technically competent volunteer management is vital in meeting the ever-growing and increasingly critical trail stewardship needs of our public land managers. Yet, many volunteer organizations struggle to recruit and retain volunteers, limited and challenged by under-resourced organizational infrastructure, complicated by limitations in traditional project-by-project funding models, while also lacking readily accessible resources and tools for volunteer program development and management. This presentation makes the strong case that both the quality and quantity of boots on the ground volunteer efforts can and will be increased when volunteer organizations, and agencies working with volunteers, understand and apply a set of best practices and easily adaptable tools aimed at strengthening volunteer program infrastructures, ultimately resulting in a stronger, more professional, and sustained volunteer stewardship network.
This workshop will offer participants tools and techniques designed to help sustain current operations more effectively and position themselves for future growth. Financially sustainable and effective trail organizations are the backbone of communities and essential land management partners. These programs act as a vital bridge between business and government partners, can take the long view toward success, and often have substantial community credibility. Yet sustaining and growing a trail program is challenging and requires a broad set of skills that may not readily be available to organizations with only volunteer support or with small staff.
Ann Baker Easley has been the Executive Director of Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC) since 2007. Ann, a Colorado native, helps thousands who share her love for the outdoors get involved in outdoor stewardship volunteer efforts across Colorado through VOC. Over the past 25 years, she has led numerous environmental, volunteer, and youth-development oriented nonprofit organizations, with a focus on strengthening their programs and helping them grow to new levels. During that time, she founded or helped start 7 different youth and civilian service corps programs, both in Colorado and nationally. Prior to VOC, she founded the Colorado Youth Corps Association where she served as its Executive Director for 11 years.
At VOC, she is focused on recruiting a new generation of outdoor volunteers and leaders and expanding VOC’s programs to pioneer a new era of outdoor stewardship. Baker Easley presently serves on the Board of Directors of Conservation Legacy, is a member of the Colorado Non-Profit Association’s Leadership Advisory Committee and was recognized by the Denver Business Journal as one of Denver’s 2017 Thought Leaders. She graduated from Colorado State University with a dual major in Psychology and Social Work and earned a master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Michigan.