Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado


VOC Get Outside Yourself
COSC logoThis spring the Colorado Outdoor Stewardship Coalition completed the third Volunteer Impact Report. As with the previous reports from 2010 and 2011, we attempted to aggregate volunteer data from land management agencies across the state. Although we continue to face challenges with how volunteer data is tracked and counted across the state, we saw a slight increase in volunteer totals in 2012 — coming close to 1.3 million hours donated by our communities to care for Colorado’s outdoors! You can download the report here.

Work continues this year for the Coalition to finalize and release the Gap and Capacity Report. We have been working with a research team to gather data about three topics related to outdoor stewardship:

1. gaps faced by natural resources agencies between what they are required and expected to do and what they have the resources to do

2. capacity – human and financial – available internally and in our communities to meet this gap

3. perceptions of land managers, volunteers, community leaders and the community at large about priorities and how communities can be involved in caring for our natural resources.

The first of these three topics has been completed. Thank you to all of the public land management agencies who participated in the survey and following interviews. Efforts are underway to complete the second topic through a survey and series of focus groups with community-based stewardship organizations and recreational user groups.

Finally, if you’re interested in joining the Coalition, please contact Dean Winstanley at 303-715-1010 x119 or dean. Current members include federal, state and local land management agencies and nonprofit stewardship organizations around Colorado.



Photo courtesy Margaret Bloomer

It’s true! We’re already thinking about next year even though we are only part way through this season. Applications are due by September 20th for larger (multi-day and/or over 50 people) projects. Applications for smaller projects (one-day and/or less than 50 people) can be accepted any time, but to get it on our 2014 season calendar, we need the application by October 31st

. Earlier applications will get priority!


Use the following criteria to determine if your project idea is a good fit with VOC. More information can be found at the link above.

– The project will provide a rewarding and safe volunteer experience.

– There is a critical need for the project such as high use, environmental degradation, threats to resources or community need. It has been identified as a priority for your agency.

– The work can be accomplished in the designated time frame.

– It is a good opportunity for community involvement.

– All required environmental studies, such as NEPA, will be completed before project planning begins.

– Your agency staff is able to meet with VOC project planners to ensure success.

ALSO — Next year is VOC’s 30th anniversary! It will be an opportunity to showcase work that we have done over the years. If you have an anniversary-themed idea for a project or location that has historical significance for VOC, please let us know in your application!

The VOC project selection committee works to select a diverse slate of projects that fit land agency priorities, volunteers’ expectations, and community needs.

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis by the Project Selection Committee and scheduled to be scouted. The earlier in the fall we can do this, the better.

Any questions? Call Dean Winstanley at 303-715-1010 x119 or email at: dean


The Outdoor Stewardship Institute (OSI) is a stewardship training and support program operated by VOC. OSI offers high quality outdoor stewardship training to volunteers, land management agencies, and other stewardship organizations in Colorado and around the country. We offer regularly scheduled training courses on field technical and crew leadership skills, volunteer management, project management, trail design, and more, as well as customized training to meet specific needs. Contact Matt Martinez at 303-715-1010 x112 or matt for more information.

About Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC)Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC) is a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to motivating and enabling people to become active stewards of Colorado’s natural resources. Founded in 1984, VOC is a nationally recognized leader in outdoor stewardship volunteerism, having helped more than 92,000 people of all ages get involved in and become inspired to care for Colorado’s outdoors.Learn more at www.voc.org.
Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado
Connect with VOC on:
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Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado
600 South Marion Parkway, Denver, CO 80209
(303) 715-1010 voc

Parental control: should you, are you accepting responsibility for kids and when you should or can you not.

Once you accept responsibility, you are opening yourself up for any problem the minor may encounter.

This scenario came to me, and my reaction was the exact opposite of the person telling me about it.

Child is enrolled in a program. One parent enrolled the child. The other parent is making rules for how the child will act and what the child will wear (safety gear) while attending the program.

It is a community program, not away from home; it is something you drop your child off should participate in.

The one parent sends a letter to the program stating they expect the program to make sure the child wears the specific equipment. It is optional for all other participants to wear the specific equipment.

How the program responds will determine who is going to pay the child’s medical bills. Basically, the parent created a standard that if accepted by the program creates a duty upon the program.

My response.

I would have sent a letter to both parents that states:

It is your kid; we are not a babysitting service. If you want to make sure your child wears the gear, then you need to be here making sure your child is wearing the gear. You are allowed, in fact, encouraged to attend all practices, programs and meetings. If your child is here, you better be here too.

The other person’s response.

They’d better made sure the kid wears the gear.

The legal issue and concern?

The program is run by volunteers. One parent is saying to volunteers if you do not do what I say I am going to sue you if my child is hurt. The program has hundreds of kids, seriously hundreds of kids some nights, and a few volunteers, (when were there ever enough volunteers.)

The parent is making a duty that the program can either accept or not accept and if they do nothing they are accepting the standard created by the program. “I am not responsible for your child.”

Will this create a duty on the part of every other child in the program?

We are not legally responsible for your child; you are. (See A Parent (or Guardian) is still in control of a child, no matter what the volunteer may want, http://rec-law.us/zN0jcl). The program has no responsibility if the parent is present. Why accept the possibility that you cannot control a teenager and therefore, will get sued because of it?

Why Volunteer and Put Up with Crap like This!

What type of parent are you that you can’t take the time to spend time with your child but threaten litigation if your child gets hurt. “Here you take your time to take care of my kid and I’m going to sue you over it.”

Actually, I just would have thrown the kid out of the program. No program, run by volunteers for other people’s kids need this.

Kid programs are not where parents drop off kids and go on with their lives. Kid programs are where families work to help the community, and the kid to grow, learn and expand their horizons. Kids programs are not so parents get a break from their kids. Youth programs are for youth and that does not mean that those adults who take time away from their family should be subject to suit by parents who won’t take the time.

If you volunteer your time and someone who does not volunteer puts a burden on you to watch their kid how would you feel?

If you are volunteering your time, and some parent comes to you and says you have to do things this way, hand them the clipboard and whistle and walk away. It is not worth it.

Other articles about the legal issues of Volunteers:

Adult volunteer responsibility ends when the minor is delivered back to his parents.                               http://rec-law.us/yVBckK

A Parent (or Guardian) is still in control of a child, no matter what the volunteer may want.                                        http://rec-law.us/zN0jcl

Adult volunteer responsibility ends when the minor is delivered back to his parents.                                                        http://rec-law.us/wynrnO


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By Recreation Law    Rec-law@recreation-law.com      James H. Moss         #Authorrank

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