Guidelines for Hike Leadership and Using Stroller Hikes Technology

Guidelines for Hike Leadership

Before you leave your house:

  • Check the poll, so you know how many people to expect. (Not everyone who shows up will have used the poll, and not everyone who uses the poll will show up, but it’s a good reference point.)
  • Bring band-aids or a Stroller Hikes First Aid Kit and a cell phone, in case of emergencies.  For rural hikes without cell phone service, you can arrange to borrow the Stroller Hikes SPOT at admin@strollerhikes.com, in case of medical emergencies.

Before you begin:

  • Wait approximately 10 minutes before starting, in case anyone is running a little late.
  • Let participants know before you start approximately how long you plan to hike and what kind of terrain to expect.
  • Ask participants if they have any special needs or requests (for example, needing to breastfeed halfway through, or toilets for toddlers, or to be back to the cars at a certain time).

During the event:

  • Feel free to point out anything of interest to children and/or adults (plants, animals, airplanes, etc), but don’t feel obligated to be a tour guide.
  • Keep loose tabs on all participants to make sure they’re safe and feel included. 

After the event:

  • Make a note of how many adults and children attended your event. Watch for and respond to an email requesting that information.

Getting a substitute:

  • If you are unable to lead a scheduled hike, and would like to get a sub rather than canceling the hike, you may contact people on our annual substitute list follow list (via email or phone) to find someone to fill in for you. Please then change the event description on the Google calendar so attendees will know who to look for.  If you need the substitute list, contact admin@strollerhikes.com.

 

Updating the Google Calendar

If you lead events, you will be given access to edit the Stroller Hikes Google Calendar.  This calendar automatically uploads data to StrollerHikes.com at the Events page, as well as in the sidebar of most Stroller Hikes pages.

To make or edit an event:

1) Navigate to a date, then drag your mouse over the time range (e.g. 3 PM to 4:30 PM) on that day. 

2) A pop-up window will open in which you can type a title for the event.  Please include the location, type of event, and city in your title (e.g. Sandy Wool Lake Toddler Trek (Milpitas)). 

3) Press Edit Event. 

4) A larger pop-up window will open in which you can add an address under Location, refine the time (if needed), refine the title (if needed), and add a description.  Descriptions typically include your name, desired child transport equipment, expected activities/experiences, where to meet, if there is a cost for parking or admission (and what it is), a web address (listed or hyperlinked) for additional information, and a cell phone number for attendees running late.  For example:

Join Melanie, Lukas, and Emilie for a Toddler Trek on Seabright Beach on Friday at 10:00 AM. We’ll meet at the large Gray Whale statue in front of the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History at 1305 East Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz. From there we will walk across the street to the Seabright Beach and head our way along the shore toward the Walton Lighthouse near the Santa Cruz Harbor. We will aim to walk for about one hour, with plenty of stops to dig for sand crabs and make designs in the sand with driftwood. Carriers recommended for little ones recommended unless you feel comfortable pushing the stroller in the sand. Walkers will be encouraged to walk, of course.  Free parking on the street. Sandals suggested, bare feet even better. This hike will be entirely on the sand.  If you’re running late, call Melanie at 408-600-4057.

It is ideal to use specific addresses and list them in the description.  Note that no website exists for additional information in the example above.  Another sample:

Join Rebecca, Audrey, and baby Amelia for a Stroller Hike along the stretch of Stevens Creek Trail connecting McClellan Ranch and Blackberry Farm in Cupertino. The trail is a lovely new, paved, two-lane/wide one, so any baby transport will work. Meet at the McClellan Ranch parking lot at 22221 McClellan Road. We’ll stop part way to play at the awesome new play structure at Blackberry Farm. For more information or directions, see the  McClellan Ranch/Blackberry Farm Page. If you’re running late, call Rebecca at 913-706-5769.

5) If you have repeating events, you can select Repeat as an option, when you are editing your event.  You will then be able to specify the frequency of repetition.  You can edit repeated events later, without editing all of the events, which is nice if you have very small changes between events.

6) You don’t need to modify any other features in the calendar pop-up.

7) Press the large red SAVE button.

8) Test your work by navigating to the calendar and clicking on the title you created, to make sure the details about the hike are still there.

Special Note: Events that are put in the calendar 2 months ahead of time will be advertised in Bay Area Parent magazine.  If you would prefer not to advertise them here, because it is likely you will cancel them, please tell Debbie so that she knows not to submit them to Bay Area Parent.

 

Recording Attendance after Your Event

Stroller Hikes keeps regular records about the number of children and adults at events.  If you lead events, you will be added as a recipient of a weekly poll about this.  In the poll, please follow prompts to indicate the date, time, and location of the event, as well as number of attendees.  You are welcome to add notes at the end.  If you are a Healthy Trails docent, and the hike was a Healthy Trails hike, please check the associated check box. If you’d like to become a Healthy Trails docent, let Debbie know (admin@strollerhikes.com) and she can coordinate a meeting with Santa Clara County Parks and Recreation.

 

Cancelling Events or Sending Notices to the Stroller Hikes Groups about Your Event

If you are simply cancelling an event, you can update the Google Calendar entry, adding “CANCELLED” in front of the title and the description.  It will automatically update to the website on the calendar and most pages in the sidebar.  If you want to make a quick announcement about equipment needs/a slightly modified hike, follow these directions:

(1) Create a new post.  

a) In Posts menu (top left), choose Add New.  

b) Be sure to write a title (e.g. Picchetti Puddle Stomping Planned).  

c) In the body of the post (the large text area), type a sentence or two about what you want to announce.  Be sure to be specific about the event/date/time you are referring to.  

d) Choose “Announcements” from the long checklist at the right of the page.  

e) Press “Publish” (top right colored button).   

f) Scroll to the bottom of the page and select the small calendar item to indicate when your announcement expires (like the day after your event).

g) Press “Update” (top right colored button).  The announcement will now appear on the Stroller Hikes home page, but it has not been sent out via e-mail to the Stroller Hikes “membership.”

(2) Send message to Stroller Hikes group. ** Only a select few have this ability, including Amity, Amy, and Debbie.  Notify Debbie if you cannot do this, and want to have it done (she can use the post you just made).

a) In Wysija (mid-left menu), click on Newsletters.

b) Find the newsletter called Quick Announcement Template (copy me first).  Move your mouse over the name and select the Duplicate option that appears below Quick Announcement Template (copy me first).

c) Edit the textfield showing the name (Quick Announcement Template…) to rename the announcement.  Instead of Quick Announcement Template (Copy me first), you might name it “Puddle Stomping Planned at Picchetti Hike”

d) At the bottom of the page, after creating the title, select the item to go on to the Next Step.

e) On the right of the visual newsletter (you’ll see the Stroller Hikes logo on top), you’ll see a small tabbed pane with Content, Images, Styles, and Themes.  Content should appear on top, by default.  Press on WordPress Post and drag it over to the newsletter, placing it underneath the logo.  A menu should pop up – select the announcement post you just made in step 1.  Newsletters autosave frequently, so there is no “save” button – you have to do a next step to trigger this save automatically.

f) Delete any additional content you don’t want in the announcement.  There was some text in the Quick Announcement Template, so delete that, please.  When you click on content, a grey ‘X’ should appear.  Click on that to remove the content.  If there is a lot of content (for instance, a graphic and some text), they you have to click on the ‘X’ for each one.  Click to find the ‘X’ for each (it will pop up once it is clear you are interested in that content).

g) Below the newsletter you just made, change the e-mail address to send a preview of the message to yourself, and select the Send Preview button (this will also force a “save” of the message).  A preview should show up in your mailbox.  Check that it looks OK.

h) Go to the next step (bottom of newsletter) to send to the largest e-mail list (12-1 list as of this authoring, in Jan 19, 2013).  The message will automatically send out to 100 people each hour, or more frequently if you select “Don’t Wait, Send Now” (you’ll have to continue to select this, as it will send to 100 people per each selection of this item – don’t rush the sending unless you need to, as this could get the messages interpreted as SPAM).  You can leave text fields you find prior to the button Send as they are, or change them to your own e-mail address, if you are inviting correspondence.  Refresh your page to see how many have been sent to, if your browser does not frequently reload the page on its own.

 Waiver for Camping Events

Leading overnight events means making sure everyone attending understands that they are part of the group and will be held to group expectations, including preparedness for the event and emergencies, their own families, and safety.  We require all attendees of overnight events to sign and return this waiver.

Submitting Content to StrollerHikes.com

Locations provide information about open spaces, parks, zoos, and other spaces.

Hikes provide information about the trails at a location.

Make a location first, then create hikes that are associated with those locations.  I strongly recommend using an existing location/hike page to guide you with respect to what is important to include.  Try to avoid first-person terms (like ‘I’) and conditional language (“might”).  Consider typing lists or paragraphs in a text editor (like Word), then checking your spelling and editing your work, before you cut and paste content to Word Press text areas and fields.

1) Creating a new location:

a) To create a location, navigate to Locations (far left menu) then Add New.

b) You will find fields to add a title (top), then add details about the location.  The first large text area (wide AND tall) at the top of the Locations editing window is typically left empty.  Type a title at the top of the window, then scroll through the page, adding details according to the prompts above each window.  See below for directions about adding images and adding a header image (the featured image).

c) At the bottom of the locations page is a scrollable area in which you can create hikes associated with the location.  Name the hike, then use the text fields and check boxes to indicate the conditions/features of the hike.  The distance is round trip distance in miles.

d) Save your work by pressing “Publish” or “Save Draft” at the top right of the page.  If it is work in progress and not fully edited, please choose “Save Draft.”

2) Describing a new hike:

a) When the hikes are created at the bottom of a location, an instance of the Hike class will show up in the database.  To access this hike, navigate to Hikes (far left menu) then click on All Hikes.  This takes you to a listing of hikes.  If you know the hike name (or part of it), you can use the search tool at the top right of the page to search for that hike.  Find the hike and open the file using the option Edit, located below the hike name.

b) Add a trail description in the large text area for the hike.  Please include a description of the trailhead (where the hike starts from), key navigation points (when to turn, what direction to turn, landmarks along the way), and be sure to specify if the hike is a loop, out-and-back hike, or something else; the trail description should be a brief narrative of the hike from start to finish.  If there are trail hazards, please note these.  Likewise, if there are great places to take a photo or have a snack break, these are worth noting as well.

c) Check boxes for attributes of a hike can be edited in either the Location page or Hike page; either populates the same database.

3) Adding graphics:

At the top of every page of the website is a header image, a long thin graphic that is 960 x 180 pixels in size and has the Stroller Hikes logo overlaid within the first 1/3 of the graphic (from the left), with a gradient of white between the logo and the header image.  The intent on most pages is to have the header graphic reflect the topic of that page, so wherever possible, header graphics are of the location being described.  Hike headers are inherited from the Location headers, unless otherwise specified; all Rancho San Antonio hikes use the header from the Rancho San Antonio location page, unless a different “featured image” is indicated on the hike pages. 

a) Make sure the image you want to use as a header image is cropped to the right size (960 x 180 pixels).  Adding a small portion of white only to the left side of the image is reasonable, if the original image is not 960 pixels; this gets overlaid by the white gradient and Stroller Hikes logo, when the image is displayed.  You do not need to add the logo and gradient yourself; this is overlaid by the computer when the website loads.

b) Navigate to Media (far left menu), then Add New/Upload.  You can drag and drop several files at once, or just search for the file you’d like, using the two interactive upload options.

c) In the location or hike page you would like to add the header image to, click Add Featured Image at the right side of the Edit version of the page for that location or hike.  You will be directed to the media files, and can select the image you already uploaded.

d) Update the location or hike page to save this change.

e) Special Note: If you have graphics that are not associated with a specific page, and you want them added to the random set of graphics that are associated with a page with unspecified “featured images,” add them to the Appearance  Header section of the site (Appearance is in the leftmost menu, and Header is a submenu of this.  You can ignore the comment at the top of the page about height being 250 pixels.

 

Below the header image for the location and hike pages, there is a scrollable gallery of images.  The gallery includes images of the trail/trail conditions, as well as attractions of the location and treasures found along a hike.  Historically, one picture of the child(ren) going on the hike has been included in the gallery.  All images should be cropped to help draw attention to the attribute being exemplified.

a) Navigate to the location page you would like to add a gallery of images to.

b) Click Add Media at the top of the page.  If the Featured Image is not set (right side of the page – scroll down), you can also click Set Featured Image.  Either interaction will cause a pop-up window to appear in which you can upload new files – choose Upload, then select a file or drag and drop several files.  Any file that is loaded becomes associated with the location and will immediately appear in the gallery.

c) After files are uploaded in any part of the site, they go into a large repository of Media, which is accessible by choosing Media at the top left of any editable page.  To upload an image that already exists in the Media database, like for a hike (whose location already has the image), simply scroll through the Media database and choose the associated image.  This may take a while, as the image database is huge.  However, it’s better to do this, rather than re-upload images that have already been uploaded once.

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