Do Trail Tools = Life Lessons?

Landforce crew member swinging a fire axe.

Do Trail Tools = Life Lessons?

10:39 08 August in General News

Thanks to Thomas Guentner, our Program Manager, for helping us understand how trail tools really can provide life lessons.

We are now more than 12 weeks into our season and the most exciting transformation I have witnessed is how confident the crew members have become with the tools they use on a daily basis. During our skills training at the beginning of the season, it was not uncommon to see someone approach the tool with trepidation — sometimes a Pulaski axe, sometimes a bow saw — and awkwardly attempt to look natural while using it. As the crew member’s muscles and agility betrayed them on their first swing, or stroke, it brought with it a sense of humility and a taste of what was in store during the long season ahead. Now, when I look around at the miles of trail built and maintained by our crew members, as well as the acres of vacant lot cleared of invasive vegetation and years of discarded rubbish, I see crew members who have built their muscle memory, their stamina, and their confidence all through sheer will and determination. I see people putting an “umph” to their swings and a “grunt” to their strokes, each one using the tool as an extension of their self to prove themselves with each inch they gain.

More importantly, I see crew members making wise and thoughtful decisions about which tool to reach for to accomplish a specific task. I see creative thinking and problem solving in progress, where crew members cooperate as a team, a cohesive unit with a common goal, to obtain these outcomes. I see hard working attitudes in action and inherent leadership skills come out as crew members call to each other in support and perseverance. On some days you can feel the energy around the sense of accomplishment.

My hope is that the lessons learned at Landforce stick with our crew members for a lifetime. This isn’t easy work. However, once you’ve done it, everything else seems easier by some measure. So long as their will doesn’t exhaust and their determination never dies, they will continue to accomplish great things — both on and off the job.