of The Sierra Club, Hawaii Chapter
Hi <Prospective Club>,
Thank you for inquiring about the High School Hikers Program for your school. Presented here are some aspects for you to consider.
The most difficult part of starting a new High School Hikers Club at a school is getting a teacher to be the advisor. Teachers, as you know, are over worked and many do not want to spend the extra time to take students hiking on weekends.
Once you get a teacher to be the advisor, the next thing is to get a hike leader to assist with the club. A hiking club can be organized without being involved with the High School Hikers program, but there are the advantages of being a part of the High School Hikers program, such as:
1. Liability: Hiking can be hazardous! The Sierra Club, of which the High School Hikers program is a part, offers each hike leader a two million dollar liability insurance. In the DOE, the teacher is covered by one million dollar liability insurance by the state and another one million by the National Teachers Association (NEA), of which all (DOE) teachers are members. I’m not sure what the coverage is for private school teachers. In either case, only the teacher is covered by the insurance. Being a member of the High School Hikers program gives the teacher more liability coverage, and also protects hike leaders who assist, but are not a part of the faculty.
2. Inter-school activities: The High School Hikers program offers at least four activities each year in which all member schools can participate: Fall Hikers Workshop in September, Halloween Camp in October, Ecology Camp during the President’s Day weekend in February, and an end of year banquet/picnic. In the past, neighbor island schools only participated in the Ecology Camp due to the cost of inter-island travel, but future possibilities for lower cost inter-island travel exists, such as the proposed Super-Ferry.
Individual schools also organize neighbor island trips and invite other schools to participate. This makes neighbor island trips more feasible, because it has become difficult to get enough students together in one school to go on a neighbor island trip, due to travel costs. In 2005, we organized a six day trip to Moloka`i and in 2006, we organized another trip to Kaua`i.
3. Years of experience with the Sierra Club. The High School Hikers Program has been a part of Sierra Club since 1971.
If you can get a teacher to be the advisor, contact me and I can get you started with the paperwork. There is a lot of that.
We have former High School Hikers and hike leaders on the neighbor islands who can provide you with information and assistance. I can provide you with contact information if you wish.
Good luck in getting a program started. Hope to see you soon in the High School Hiker program.
Fred E. Nakaguma
High School Hikers