Few bushwalking groups contain people of truly equal ability (peers) and therefore to make a walk enjoyable for everyone requires a balancing act between varying needs.
This can be especially difficult in an organization like a bushwalking club, where members have widely different levels of experience and physical capabilities, and are often reticent to express their innermost fears and needs to others in the group whom they don’t know well.
Those joining an advertised walk may have had a lot of experience carrying day packs but have had little overnight experience or have never carried a heavy pack. Some who were once able to scale peaks with great ease are now aging. Some may have done all their walks in the Adelaide Hills or Flinders but have never experience alpine conditions such as those in Tasmania.
New walkers may have real fears but will not want to express them to complete strangers, especially during their “trial membership” period, when they have to “prove” themselves. If they don’t enjoy themselves, then they won’t remain members!
Someone in the group must take responsibility for needs of the group members. This person is traditionally referred to as the “Leader” but in many walking clubs this person doesn’t have the skills or even see it as their responsibility. To some “leader” means “organiser” and the role does not extend past that.
What a pity, as the members of a well led group will want to continue their membership of the club and promote it to their friends.
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