Teen Trail Crews are ideal for adventurous teens aged 14-19 interested in the experience of camping or backpacking and learning or improving on outdoor skills, while engaging in meaningful conservation service projects. All crews are co-ed and range from beginner crews to more experienced ones. Participants are eligible to receive community service hours for their volunteer work. You do not need previous outdoors experience to try one of our trail crews but the crews longer in length are reserved for those who are more advanced at trail work and camping.
1-Week Base Crew (14-16)
1-Week Spike Crew (15-17)
1-Week Alpine Crew (16-18)
10-Day ME Woods Base Crew (16-18)
2-Week Spike Crew (16-18)
4-Week Leadership Spike Crew (17-19)
This is a crew where teens are camping in the front country meaning a place you drive to, at a pre-existing facility that could have flush or pit toilets, showers or swimming area, tent platforms, an established camp site, and possible food storage. In most cases the general public will be camping nearby. At some locations, crews will simply hike to their project site.In other locations it will be necessary to drive to a trail-head in a 12-passenger van.
This is a crew that backpacks as a group to a primitive site in the woods. It is off-trail and has been pre-scouted by an AMC Staff member to ensure there is flat ground to camp on, a water source, and will not overly impact the environment. There are no toilets, showers or other amenities besides nature. Teens are taught the principles of Leave No Trace and how to minimize their impact in pristine areas.
The service work entails conservation-related projects in regard to maintaining hiking trails and protecting surrounding national forests and wilderness lands. Each crew will have a specific project, which may involve clearing brush to better define the trail, cleaning drainage to help with erosion problems, installing water bars and bog bridges to stabilize the trail, repairing ski trails, building cairns above tree line, redefining protected land boundaries, working on shelters, painting blazes, building rock staircases, and other crucial conservation tasks.
Each crew of up to 10 teens is led by two responsible, college-aged Crew Leaders. All staff goes through an intensive 3-week training covering leadership skills, trail work techniques, emergency situations, and group management. All staff is certified in CPR and Wilderness First Aid or higher. When crews are in the field, management staff stays in touch using 2-way radios and cell phones where there are signals.
Everyone on crew helps out with chores and meals as supervised by the crew leaders and food menus are created based on the allergies/ non-allergies of the crew, ahead of time. AMC supplies all shared gear such as tents and any personal gear like a sleeping bag must be brought by the volunteer. An extensive gear list will be included with the full registration packet after an application has been received. On SPIKE crews, all group gear, tools, and food is divided up amongst crew members to carry into the backcountry in their backpacks which usually weigh 40-60 pounds. This does not apply to base camps, however, they will carry tools to their work site and may be asked to carry some additional items in their day packs.
Safely participating in trail work opportunities involves inherent risks and other associated risks. The programs listed here vary in several respects: Some take place very near roads and others take place in wilderness settings where participants may experience delays or difficulties with evacuation and transportation to medical care. All participants are expected to share in the responsibility for their own safety and the safety of the group.
While you don't need to spend months lifting weights in a gym, overall fitness is important. For some of our programs you will be working long, strenuous days and carrying a full pack into the woods for overnights. However, we have a variety of programs from backcountry to roadside to help find the crew that is right for you. A great attitude and a willingness to challenge yourself is what you will need!
Weather Conditions can vary tremendously during the summer months from warm, clear days, to cool, windy, rainy or even snowy conditions in the higher elevations. While we work within the abilities and comfort of the group, the nature of hiking and the work, is at times, strenuous and demanding, and we'll be out rain or shine.
The easiest way to travel to our locations is by personal vehicle and we will share email addresses prior to the trip for carpooling purposes. Past participants have traveled by bus and airplane, too. Some locations are easier to get to than others, using public transportation.
Participants should arrive by early evening on the first date listed for the crew, and should expect to leave the woods on the last date listed. Volunteers will often share a final meal back at base camp after packing out of the woods and cleaning up. Volunteers are free to leave after this, or they may stay the night and depart early the following morning. You will be given specific locations and times for each crew after we receive your Initial Registration. Please try not to arrive earlier than instructed for your particular crew.
All teens will receive an emailed letter on AMC letter head, stating that they participated in a teen volunteer trail crew, the # of hours given, and signed by the program supervisor. These letters will be emailed in the week following the completion of service. If teens have additional forms to be filled out, they may contact the Trails Volunteer Programs Administrative Supervisor, email@example.com.
Lodging, Food, Tools, Transportation (while at the program), Supervision, and Group Gear are provided for all volunteer trail crews lasting a week or longer and for other programs as noted. Group Gear refers to any gear that is shared by the group such as tents, tarps, rope, camp stoves, cooking equipment, water purification equipment and tablets, and of course, food and tools. Personal gear is not provided. Please see the gear list specific to your type of crew under Volunteer Trail Resources . Examples of personal gear are a sleeping bag, sleeping pad, backpack, hiking boots, and personal eating dish and utensil.
Reservations canceled more than 30 days in advance will receive a full refund of the program fee.
Reservation canceled 14-29 days in advance will receive a 50% refund of the program fee.
Reservations canceled fewer than 14 days in advance will forfeit the full program fee.
Fees will be refunded in full to applicants who are not accepted because of space limitations, or if the AMC must cancel a scheduled activity.
Alison R. Violette
Trails Volunteer Programs Administrative Supervisor
Appalachian Mountain Club
Pinkham Notch Visitor's Center
PO Box 298, Gorham, NH 03581