Volunteer Power

When I was a teenager, I was a Girl Scout.  Clad in my sash, pins, or uniform, I volunteered almost every other weekend.  I quickly learned to pick my volunteer positions, favoring outdoor, food, or teaching events.  I had no idea all of that volunteerism would contribute to what I am today.

Volunteering is cool – the motivation has to be intrinsic, as you aren’t being compensated with money, so you pick your roles wisely, to fit your interests or a goal you mean to achieve.  Co-volunteers are bound to be like-minded, so it’s a great way to meet others and make friends.  And the feeling of accomplishing something largely due to willpower and perseverance is wonderful – you can attest to “giving something for nothing,” though the return can be more valuable than gold.

This weekend we celebrate the volunteers that make Stroller Hikes, well, existent, at our annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner.  This year, it’s a potluck so the whole family can come and we have room and time to socialize.  2010 was an amazing year, with Stroller Hikes growing even more as a community, resource, and family.

2011 has already revealed even more growth.  Yesterday, we met a volunteer who joined our substitute pool for leading events (Thanks Ann!).  Today, we met a new volunteer who has stepped up to address some of our technical hurdles (Thanks Emily!). Next week, Pippa resumes her leadership for weekly events, providing a new option for parents with kids that fight naptime (I call it – tongue in cheek- a “Ferberize Hike;” we just got Holly “Ferberized” – 7 sleepless months later and one week after going “Full Ferber,” she is finally sleeping all night… knock on wood… a nod to Pippa’s intent to help Ruth sleep while hiking, with the photo at left).  Melissa has stepped up to manage our Mothering Tent at Full Circle Farm’s Earth Day Festival in April.  And this is all on top of what several fantastic hike leaders, tech volunteers, and event coordinators do regularly for our little 501-c-3 nonprofit (Thank you everyone!).   Stroller Hikes has a lot going on, and we couldn’t do it without our fantastic volunteers!

Just as it amazes me what technology comes out of Silicon Valley on a day-to-day basis, I am impressed at the commitment to community here.  I regularly find myself in awe of cutting-edge technology, and say “only in Silicon Valley.”  When volunteers emerge or we network with a new family-friendly non-profit, however, I am happy to know that this isn’t exclusive to this region – amazing, generous people are everywhere.

Kudos to all of you who go above and beyond for your kids, beliefs, and cities, working altruistically to do anything as simple as picking up trash, helping a neighbor with a chore, using public programs, or leading a new social, learning, or community group.  Stroller Hikes is entirely run by volunteers who feel passionately about providing opportunities to families outdoors.  If you would like to volunteer, let us know – you can check out some volunteer options at http://strollerhikes.com/Background/VolunteerJobs.php or contact us at admin@strollerhikes.com. (Two specific events not on the list that we’re looking for volunteers to help with are Full Circle Farm’s Earth Day Celebration on April 17th and the Bay Ridge Trail Council’s Ridge to Bridge Event on April 30th, both below under “Plan Ahead.”  For the first, we’re looking for help managing our Mothering Tent for one or more hours.  For the second, you would help facilitate the Family Hike.  If you’d like to help remotely and don’t want to commit a lot of time, we have several digital projects as well, including designing some graphic “buttons” for Gear On the Go, Free Events, and other Stroller Hikes-specific features.)

Likewise, if you have ideas to volunteer about improving Stroller Hikes, please let us know – we are constantly changing, even if those changes are transparent to you, our audience.

-Debbie, little Max, and wee Holly

This Week’s Events

Saturday, Mar 12 at 8:30 AM: Juana Run (Palo Alto) – Come out for the 15th Annual Juana Run, a family-friendly fundraiser for Palo Alto Unified School District. This run includes an 8 K and shorter races including a 1-miler and a crawlathon. This event costs money and required registration – online registration closes on March 10th. For more information, see http://www.active.com/running/palo-alto-ca/juana-run-15th-annual-2011#Summary.

Monday, Mar 14 at 11:00 AM: Shoreline Park Hike and Picnic (Mountain View) – Join Amy and her two little ones for a fast-paced hike and picnic at Shoreline Park in Mountain View at 3070 N. Shoreline Blvd. The trail is paved, so it’s great for all strollers or kid carriers. Meet at the lake next to where the sailboats are kept (to the right of the cafe / bathrooms building) in Shoreline Park. There are plenty of play structures and a beach for toddlers – we’ll stop to play after the hike! Sorry, no dogs allowed. For information about the park and directions, see Shoreline Park Page and Emily Renzel/Byxbee Page. If you’re running late, call Amy at 408-368-7161.

Tuesday, Mar 15 at 9:00 AM: Stevens Creek Trail Run (from Creekside Park, Mountain View) – Join Debbie and wee Holly for a Stroller Run along Stevens Creek Trail in Mountain View, from Easy Street’s Creekside Park. We’ll run, race-walk, rollerblade, or run-walk for 20 -30 minutes, then return back the way we came. We’ll discuss goal setting and training suggestions at our break; beginners are more than welcome! Kids on bikes are welcome as long as they can reliably stay with the group. For more information about the trail or directions, see The Stevens Creek Trail Webpage. If you’re running late, call Debbie at 650-776-1082.

Tuesday, Mar 15 at 4:00 PM: Shoreline Park Hike (Mountain View) – Join Megan and little Vera for a fast-paced hike at Shoreline Park in Mountain View at 3070 N. Shoreline Blvd. The trail is paved, so it’s great for all strollers or kid carriers. Meet at the lake next to where the sailboats are kept (to the right of the cafe / bathrooms building) in Shoreline Park. There are plenty of play structures and a beach for toddlers – we’ll stop to play after the hike! Sorry, no dogs allowed. For information about the park and directions, see Shoreline Park Page and Emily Renzel/Byxbee Page. If you’re running late, call Megan at 408-409-3206.

Wednesday, Mar 16 at 2:00 PM: Stanford Dish Fast-Paced Naptime Hike – Join Pippa and Ruth for a nap-time strollerhike at The Stanford Dish. This will be a fast-paced circuit where we aim to keep kids in their strollers. Any strollers should work as it is paved. Meet at the guard’s kiosk at the Stanford Ave entrance (parking on Stanford Ave). Sorry, no dogs allowed. For information on this area or directions, see The Stanford Dish Page. If you’re running late, call Pippa a call on 510 621 7471.

Wednesday, Mar 16 at 6:00 PM: Class: Cancelled

Thursday, Mar 17 at 4:30 PM: Hidden Villa Toddler Trek (Los Altos) – Join Debbie, little Max, and wee Holly for a visit to the farm and a hike along the creek at Hidden Villa. This nonprofit, fully functioning educational farm costs $5 for parking, so be sure to bring this with you, are park near the road and walk in. Jogging strollers work fine, but we’ll encourage the kids to walk. Meet at the large main parking lot deep inside the park. For more information about the park or directions, see The Hidden Villa Page. Call Debbie at 650-776-1082 if you’re running late.

Friday, Mar 18 at 9:30 AM: Rancho San Antonio Hike – Join Melissa and little Maxwell for a fast-paced hike at Rancho San Antonio in Cupertino/Los Altos Hills off of Cristo Rey Drive, Cupertino. We’ll head out to the farm along the mixture of paved and packed dirt trails. Any baby transport will work, and bikes, trikes, and scooters do OK on this route. Meet at the water fountain in the main parking lot (turn right as you enter the park, then follow the road until it ends). For more information or directions, see the Rancho San Antonio Page. Sorry, dogs not allowed. This hike is at least half shaded. Call Melissa at 650-224-5461 if you’re running late.

Friday, Mar 18 at 3:30 PM: Hidden Villa Backpacking Bambinos – Join Debbie, little Max, and wee Holly for Backpacking Bambinos at Hidden Villa in Los Altos Hills. We’ll hike the amazing hilly Hostel Trail Loop here, but if you change your mind about a hilly adventure, this area has a lovely, flat Creek Trail and there’s always the farm to visit! Bring a $5 donation for parking. Meet at the main parking lot, deep in the park. For more information and directions, see The Hidden Villa Page. If you’re running late, please call Debbie at 650-776-1082.

Saturday, Mar 19 at 10:30 AM: Join Bike Buddies for a Family Friendly Bike Ride through downtown San Carlos. The ride will last up to an hour. For more information, see SanCarlosGreen.org’s Website

Saturday, Mar 19 at 7:30 PM: Moonlit Hike at Harvey Bear / Coyote Lake Ranch (Gilroy) – Join Jen and her family for a Stroller Hikes Moonlit Hike at Harvey Bear / Coyote Lake Ranch (Gilroy). What a treat to share sunset and witness some critters settling down to rest, while other creatures come alive at night! We’ll hike Martin Murphy Trail, a 2 mile paved loop, with excellent vantage points for seeing stars and looking for bats flying to catch insects, while offering plenty of safe space for toddlers and children to hike with us. Jennifer will alert you to nature at dusk and beyond, by the light of the moon. All family members welcome! This is a Santa Clara County Play Here activity. Register at the Santa Clara County Website or by calling or e-mailing Carrie Grisenti at 408-355-2240 or Carrie.Grisenti@prk.sccgov.org! Registration required so the group numbers are not overwhelming to the leaders! To get to the trailhead, drive towards Gilroy on Highway 101. From the Highway 101 exit at San Martin Avenue, drive East for 2 miles on San Martin Avenue. The Harvey Bear Ranch entrance to the park is on the left, a quarter mile East of Foothill Avenue, on San Martin Avenue. Call Jennifer at 408-470-0463 if you’re running late. The event is free, but a parking fee may apply. Please register in advance at www.parkhere.org

From the Field

Several Stroller Hikers got to witness more than they expected on a hike to Sunnyvale Baylands this week.  Fire fighters were out testing equipment at the large open space, shiny red engines and all.  Thanks to Jennifer Wagner for the photo!

Plan Ahead!

Backpacking Bambinos Series Day Trips: Overnight spots are full for all of these, but certainly bring the whole family out for the day!

Friday, Mar 25: Hiker’s Hut at Sam McDonald Park

Saturday, April 16: Sunol to Little Yosemite Falls & beyond

Saturday, May 14: Point Reyes (Marin)

Tuesday, April 5 at 9:00 AM: Campbell Baby Boot Camp FREE Class – Come out for a FREE Baby Boot Camp Class for Stroller Hikers! Looking for a great, fast-paced workout integrating aerobic fitness and resistance training? Bring your child in his/her stroller, a yoga mat or lawn blanket, and a bottle of water, and be ready to get that heart pumping and break a sweat! Baby Boot Camp is typically a moderate-fee class for moms or moms-to-be, and provides spirited, educated instructors who are able to provide modifications to fit all fitness abilities. This class is FREE, thanks to Stroller Hikes’ partnership with Baby Boot Camp. Learn more about Baby Boot Camp at BabyBootCamp.com.

Wednesday, April 13 at 10:00 AM and Saturday, April 30 at 6:00 PM: Class: Hiking, Running, and Backpacking with Infants and Toddlers – Just because you’ve procreated doesn’t mean you have to give up on outdoor fun! Stroller Hikes, a 501-c-3 educational nonprofit will present about getting outside with the entire family, with emphasis on infants and toddlers. This whole-family friendly class will include presentations on gear, engaging the senses, resources for finding a location that meets your needs, safety, and building an appreciation of nature, exercise, and family time. The one-hour class will include about 30 minutes of presentation, followed by several activity stations for the whole family. FREE! Registration is not required.  Class will be in the community room at Sports Basement, 1177 Kern Avenue, Sunnyvale.


Sunday, April 17 at 10:00 AM: Full Circle Farm Earth Day Celebration – Come out for Full Circle Farm’s annual Earth Day Celebration, complete with arts and crafts for kids, science and food, yoga, Wild Zones, and a Mothering Tent provided by Stroller Hikes. The Mothering Tent will be for diaper changes, nursing, and a break from the buzz of the event – stop in to say “hi.” More details to follow! Full Circle Farm is located at 1055 Dunford Way, Sunnyvale.

Saturday, April 30 at 10:00 AM: Ridge to Bridge – Come out for the annual Ridge to Bridge, a wonderful fundraising outdoor athletic event benefiting the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council. General registration opens March 21st. This event occurs in the Marin Headlands, North of San Francisco. Events include very long hikes, equestrian rides, bike rides, and a family hike. The family hike begins probably around 10 AM and wraps up at lunch (time was not finalized at the time of this publication). Lunch is provided. Register soon – this event sells out. For more information, see The Ridge Trail Webpage.

Friday, July 22nd – Sunday, July 24th: Stroller Hikes Annual Car Camping Trip (Soquel) – Join us for the 5th Annual Stroller Hikes Camping Trip, for the third year in a row at the Letona/Bravo Ranch in Soquel. Soquel is just 10 minutes from the beach and just a half hour from Silicon Valley! We’ll enjoy Soquel Creek, the groves of eucalyptus and redwood, the chicken coop, and the treehouse at this family ranch, as well as wonderful food, company, and campfire time. You can park just a few yards from your tent, so this type of camping suits almost anyone! You must register for this event in advance – fee is $25 per family per night – you can stay Friday night, Saturday night, or both; contact admin@strollerhikes.com to indicate interest. Last year “sold out” so register early!

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