Pre-Trip Briefing, Also Known as Trailhead Talk

Trailhead Talk is a term we use interchangeably for an introductory or welcoming talk at the start of a hike or other outdoor activity, also known as a Pre-Trip Briefing. This is where leaders set the stage for the trip and sign people in to the trip (or check them off if they pre-registered online).  They will check to make sure participants have adequate footwear, the 10 Essentials (depending on activity), and water. The leader explains expectations and reviews key rules of conduct. The leader points out any special permit restrictions, if applicable. This gathering is a chance to express values and aspects of the Sierra Club mission including a *Land Acknowledgement, along with the theme for the outing. Above all, the leader establishes a welcoming, inclusive and safe atmosphere for the trip. The talk basics consist of:

❏   introductions; where we are going, expectations, Rules of Conduct, pace, time, turnarounds. Introductions may include "preferred pronouns" when you introduce yourself.  Sometimes, "Community Agreements" are useful for a trip, as long as they do not negatively impact safety. Example: Let's all agree on keeping this group together and providing the best and safest experience for each and everyone of us. 

❏    Stay between the leader and sweep, keep the group together, lost persons policy.

❏    Personal / bathroom breaks - place pack on trail if leaving group, and/or have a buddy system so that someone knows not to leave you behind.

❏    Breaks; lunch. How long? where?

❏    Participants can inform leader privately of their specialized medical training or medical considerations. 

❏     Leave No Trace (LNT), conservation, natural science and/or land acknowledgement components; and history.

❏     COVID-19:  you will have advised participants that if they have symptoms, not to attend. There is more to explore on this subject on the Leadership Training Committee (LTC) website and your Outings Chair can point you to the most current information.

Here is a reminder page, plus emergency response reminders PDF:  Trailhead Talk - Emergency Response

For more on speaking to conservation on outings, see Chapter 2B of the August 2022 Leader's Reference Book, and this page: Environmental Awareness. See also National as well as Angeles Chapter pages. Here is link for Exploring Issues (National). And link for Angeles Chapter Conservation Pages.

*Land acknowledgements - work-in-progress (by Shawnté Salabert)

Vasquez Rocks