Thou Shalt Understand our Policies and Procedures, and Follow Them. We are not going to stand over you to make sure you're following our procedures - we would not have chosen you as a volunteer if we didn't trust you to take responsibility for knowing what you need to do when volunteering for the COC. Ask your mentor if you're unsure of anything, and if you haven't got a mentor, ask our Volunteer Coordinator, Martine and the VC Squad(email@example.com).
Thou Shalt Follow the Law. For events that are covered by specific laws, for example, helmet laws, bicycle bell laws, speed limits, dog restraint laws, you and your event attendees should abide by those laws. This also includes Alberta's Personal Information Protection Act. Please note that as a volunteer for the COC, you are provided access to members' contact information including phone numbers and e-mails EVEN IN the cases where members have chosen to hide that information from the member network. This information is provided for use for official club business only (ie. following up with members regarding an upcoming event that you're coordinating). It is not to be used for personal contact purposes - the COC is in violation of this law if volunteers use that information for anything other than official club business when the member has chosen to hide the information. On the member's bio page, you can easily tell what information is hidden because it is flagged with an asterisk (*).
Thou Shalt Collect Waivers for ALL events: Online acceptance of our waiver is required for all members attending, and paper waivers are required for all guests, including children. See Waivers for complete information.
Thou Shalt Provide Accurate Web Site Data: Make sure that your distance and elevation are entered and accurate. Make sure that your round-trip kms are accurate for carpooling. After your event is completed, make sure that you update the attendee list so that our attendance records are as accurate as possible.
Thou Shalt Follow Our Difficulty Ratings: Be sure to follow our difficulty ratings when setting up your events (even if your guidebook says otherwise, or you personally disagree with them). Our members have come to expect consistency throughout the club based on the ratings described.
Thou Shalt Not Discriminate: The COC is an "everyone welcome" club. This means we do not post events which discriminate against anyone based on age (except for adult-only for obvious reasons), marital status, gender, or anything else. No singles events, girls-only events, etc. please.
Thou Shalt Consider Others When Changing Events: If you have to (or want to) make a change to an event, please make sure you consider how it may affect those who are signed up. For example: - Do not change the time or meeting place with very little notice. If you do change the time of the event or meeting place (no matter how far in advance) use your "E-Mail" feature (under "Coordinate", "Future Events") to e-mail those signed up to let them know. If you make the change with short notice, or just before the weekend (some people only have their e-mail at work during the week), phone everyone on the list to confirm that they get the changes. - If you change the details of the activity (ie. switch to a different hike) for whatever reason (weather, etc), use your "E-Mail" feature (under "Coordinate", "Future Events") to e-mail those signed up to let them know. - If you are going to significantly change the maximum number of people on the event, send out an email to those already registered to notify them of the change. Some people choose an event based on group size and do not wish to be part of a much larger group, so you should provide adequate notification for these folks to withdraw if they wish. - If you change whether an event allows kids, you must give attendees enough notice. If you are going from "no kids" to allowing them, you should get the consent of everyone on the list before making that change - make sure you do this with enough time to give everyone at least two days to respond. Use the "E-Mail" feature (under "Coordinate", "Future Events") to send out a note such as: "We have had a request to allow children on this event. Please let me know if you have any concerns or objections about making this change. If I don't hear from you by Thursday afternoon, I'll assume that it's ok with you." Give everyone at least 48 hours on that deadline. If someone asks you to change your event to allow kids at the last minute, please refuse the request with a reply such as: "Regarding bringing your children, I'm sorry but for this particular event, you won't be able to bring them. The event was set up originally to not allow them, and since we are now only two days away from the event, it is too late for me to follow up with everyone to make sure that they are 'ok' with changing that aspect of the event. It is our policy to not make last minute changes to events involving whether or not to allow children, just because many people look for this when they sign up for an event. In the future, if you're able to give me a bit more notice that you'd like to bring your kids, I can send out a note to the group to confirm that it is ok with everyone to make that change." NOTE that your opinion counts too! If you do not want to allow kids on your event, you can simply refuse (or tell the requestor that there was an objection from the group to making the change).
Thou Shalt Not Switch to Dogs Allowed: In early 2007 our lawyer advised us to NEVER change
a posted event from "no dogs allowed" to "dogs allowed" because if participants do not check their email/voicemail
before the event and show up not expecting dogs on the hike, they will be upset and likely to sue in the event they are bitten or attacked
by wildlife the dog irritates/rustles up.
Thou Shalt Not Line Jump: Our events are first-come-first-serve. If your event develops a waiting list, please be sure to take folks in the order that they signed up. If you line jump, this will cause hard feelings among the membership. There are a few exceptions to this rule. Please see our FAQ for more info. Some examples: If someone has 2+ no-shows on their account, you may skip over them. If you do not have enough drivers on your event, you may take people willing to drive before you take those who can't, or prefer not to.
Thou Shalt Keep Reasonable Group Sizes: Set your maximum as your true maximum number you want to take. Generally speaking, you should never add more than 20% over your maximum to the list (to account for last-minute cancellations and no-shows). Coordinators are required to check with the respective Park Authorities on the maximum permissible group size before posting their events. You could potentially receive a warning and/or a fine if you take a group that is larger than permitted.
- For K-Country see this link: K-Country Group Sizes
- For the National Parks, the maximum group size for backcountry trails is 10.
- Where there is no specified group limit, the maximum group size is 15 per event.
- For more difficult events the maximum should be set lower (ie 8 people for moderate and difficult scrambles, trips into avalanche territory).
- Trips to the same location should be set at least Two Hours apart, although the preference would be to do something else – there are lots to choose from.
- The maximum group size per Coordinator for non-urban outdoor events is 15 (14 members + 1 Coordinator)
Thou Shalt Not Set Up Events for Unapproved Coordinators: All COC events must have a coordinator who either has their star, or has been approved to work towards their star (Volunteer In Training) on them, who holds primary responsibility for the event. See Helping Others for more information about this commandment.
Thou Shalt Not Post Co-Hosted Events: We have had many issues in the past with co-hosted events, and at best we've found them to be troublesome. After some discussion and debate about what is best for our club, we decided to implement a policy that all posted events will be COC-only - we won't try to co-host with other groups. This helps us ensure that the consistency and quality of our events is preserved and that there are no misunderstandings or confusion over how two groups can merge (especially when there are completely different policies and procedures around waivers and such).
Thou Shalt Do No Harm (or at least do everything you can to minimize harm): Although the COC's mission is to get people into the Great Outdoors for fun and fitness, we consider it to be of high importance to do our best to do no harm (or at least as little as possible). Please ensure that your events follow this guideline, including: - Fostering a positive reputation for COC in the community (by following the laws and guidelines of any area that you take a group to) - Respecting the environments and ecosystems that your events occur in and minimizing harm (particularly in more delicate areas, ie alpine) - Respecting the purpose of the area you're recreating in and not spoiling it for others (ie. hiking or snow shoeing on groomed cross-country ski areas)