There was a recent blog on “blogspot” that reveals that there is a group of walkers who think the American Volkssport Association (AVA) and it clubs provide Walk Boxes all over the United States for the benefit of the public who are free to walk into the start point and take copies of the walk instructions–and it’s all free for the taking.
This is totally not true. Our walks cost money to host and someone has to pay for the materials, insurance, etc. We have allowed free walkers in the past so they could get an idea of what kind of events we do and then become members.
If I personllay have given anyone the idea that we don’t want you to “join” the AVA and start collecting stamps in a record book just as we do (thereby financially supporting the AVA) then I want to correct that right now.
A friend of mine recently posted this on our walk forum:
The blog referenced on blogspot concerned people coming in off the street and taking walk instructions from AVA walk boxes at their start point. They thought it was nice of AVA to provide walk directions to the general public for free. This is not the intent of the AVA year around events (YREs). Year around events are sponsored by AVA clubs for their members–not to provide free walking trails to the general public. At the present time, the AVA lets each club determine whether or not to permit their walkers to walk for free. However, even those who walk for free are required by AVA guidelines to register in the log for that walk, complete and sign the official AVA start card (some clubs use their own), and forward the start card to the YRE coordinator so the coordinator has a record of who have completed the walk, possibly with a monetary donation to help offset the cost of setting up and maintaining the walk box material.
The problem with people not associated with the AVA just taking the walk directions and walking for free has recently been recognized by the AVA and now (2013) all walk instructions and documents are to be annotated as AVA copy-write material. More and more AVA clubs have come to recognize that allowing free walkers is detrimental to club membership and to the financial well-being of the individual clubs and the national organization as well. That is why the current trend is for many clubs to not allow free walkers. New walkers are encouraged to purchase a New Walker Packet for $5 (which is worth about $20) which includes both their initial Event and Distance booklets, and coupons to permit them to do their first 3 events for free. After their first 3 walks, they are expected to pay the $3 event participation fee for both traditional and year around events. Of this $3 fee, $1.25 goes to the national headquarters to help pay for their employees and to maintain their facil ity. This is the main source of their income. The club sponsoring the event uses the remainder of the $3 fee to pay for their expenses in putting on the walk, including a $30 fee to the AVA for the stamp and sponsorship, printing event walk flyers and directions, payment of fees to use walk facilities, sometimes port-a-pottys, goodies for the walkers, etc, etc, etc. Membership in the AVA at $25 a year is encouraged but is not required–the same goes for individual club memberships. AVA membership gets you a national publication (The American Wanderer) every other month and discounts on purchase of walk merchandise carried at the AVA headquarters. The headquarters also provides free processing of both event and distance books, tracking of total distance and number of events completed for each individual, and free hat pins and cloth patches and certificates for each completed book.
Please pass this info on to anyone you think may be interested in it and does not currently know how the AVA walks are conducted. This comes from an avid AVA walker who has completed over 2500 events and 25,000 kilometers. Signed: Carlen Forinash
If you’d like more information on the AVA please go to http://www.ava.org and learn more. Hope to see you on the trails soon.