April 10 – 15 we hosted this year’s Summit, SORBA Camp, in Old Fort North Carolina. Partnering with The Alliance, The G5 Collective, Camp Grier, and McDowell Tech, we provided a week full of training, sessions, and good times! A HUGE thank you to our partners, who played an integral part in the success of our event. We could not have provided a valuable experience without them
Monday through Thursday we had a number of SORBA volunteers, land managers, and community partners take part in the training programs we provided in conjunction with the new Trail Program at McDowell Tech. The courses included two Trail Crew Leader Trainings, two USDA Forest Service Chainsaw Certifications, and one Bridge Building Training. Additional partners include Walt Bready and Chuck Ramsey, providing instruction as well. Every day we provided an incredible lunch for our participants with the help of Foothills Meats.
Each course included both a classroom and field portion as part of their curriculum. Our participants made a great impact on the local trail system of Old Fort by clearing land for a new trailhead, bench cutting on the upcoming Nature Loop as part of the Gateway Trails, and completing an ADA-compliant bridge on the same Nature Loop. It’s incredible to not only provide instruction to our members but also leave a lasting impact on the community that hosted our Summit.
Training By The Numbers:
- 30 Trail Crew Leaders
- 38 Sawyers
- 11 Bridge Builders
- 8 Instructors
Thursday evening through Saturday saw our full Summit activities, which were kicked off by a social at Hillman Brewing in Downtown Old Fort. Chapter leaders, volunteers, speakers, and land managers mingled over beverages and snacks at the brewery. The Alliance was on hand with selling raffle tickets and a variety of SORBA Camp branded gear from DeFeet and Cognative MTB.
Friday began with breakfast from Food For Adventures, followed by sessions at McDowell Tech that included a wide variety of topics, a number of which were held concurrently. We are extremely grateful for the 17 individual speakers that gave their time to come and present. Topics include trail project successes, developing inclusive spaces, and creating a Great Trails State, just to name a few. The sessions were capped off with a presentation from the Catawba Vale Collaborative about the efforts in Old Fort they have made so far to transform their community. Later that evening Camp Grier hosted a social event with beer provided by Oskar Blues and Sierra Nevada.
Saturday morning started off with the option to take part in the SORBA Board of Directors meeting, or a field trip at the Gateway Trail System. Chapter leaders from across the south discussed the future of SORBA and went into depth on our new Strategic Plan. SORBA and our chapters have a lot of work to accomplish our goals over the next three years, but the energy is there to be successful. Following the Board of Directors meeting, we had a couple more sessions, including a panel discussion with members of the G5 Trail Collective. During this panel, we discussed what’s next for Old Fort and gained some insight into what they do in order to be so effective.
Saturday night saw the closing of our Summit with another social and group rides at Camp Grier. An optional dinner at the camp’s dining hall as well as beer provided by Hillman Brewing, Oskar Blues, and Sierra Nevada. Raffle winners were announced in a festive environment while participants enjoyed each other’s company around a campfire, topping off a week’s worth of events.