Sunday, April 13, 2014

SVP (Sherpa Volunteer Program) - the first training session

On Fyans Loop - seven of the green-shirted trainee sherpas
and Ros in a TrailRider for the first time ever
Yesterday, at Brambuk in the Grampians, saw the first try out of the sherpa training framework that John Kenwright has put together. 

There were 17 people in the room when John handed out the folders and the special green T shirts and hats and spoke about the responsibilities of a Parks Victoria volunteer. I am not quite clear how many became registered volunteers - six were from the community, one even from Melbourne, but quite a number of Parks Rangers were also learning to sherpa.

The vital centre of the session was the practical try out.There were two TrailRiders - the Grampians chair and the one we brought from Ballarat - and two very experienced sherpas - John Kenwright and Rodney Brooke.This meant that all the trainees got some close and expert practical education as we did the short version of the Fyans Trail loop.

For me the highlight was Ros' first ever time as a rider! We can't believe that neither of us has thought of this before but I imagine that having two chairs and such a fantastic sherpa team has something to do with it! Check her out in this short video

I want to introduce you to the Graduates but that will be a second post. In the meantime the important thing to say is that there will be a second session in the September time frame and that Katherine Dyson is co-ordinating the register of sherpas.


  1. What a wonderful experience to be "sherpa-ed" for the first time.
    Here is what I said about the experience when my niece, Kellie, asked me on Facebook what it felt like to hike in the TrailRider:

    "It felt as I imagine it would feel to be a small child being carried, or being in a comfy pram. - like being safe, and rocked and being taken care of. It was amazing to surrender control and trust in the care of others. I'm always so busy doing all the caring that I don't get to experience how it feels to be on the other side of the equation. It was so lovely that I feel a bit weepy just thinking about it."

    Thank you Volunteer Sherpas and ParksVic and John Kenwright for a fantastic day.

    1. Your description of how it felt is music to my ears.

      Firstly because I long for you to have some of that feeling in your life.

      Secondly because you have verbalised something that I haven't got round to expressing for myself.

      And thirdly, a whacky reason, my vision of TrailRiders being used in the world of "team building" exercises. What you felt would be so valuable for a member of any team to feel in relation to the other members.

  2. David, after hearing of your trek up Boronia Peak I decided I had to have a look for myself, so I walked it on Sunday. The views were delightful and the weather perfect for walking. I am very impressed at the capabilities of your Sherpas to get you up there and more so of your courage to be transported. - indeed a total surrendering of control. I look forward to further participation in this wonderful volunteer program.
    Chris James.

    1. Hi Chris

      Boronia is indeed a great peak - thanks for checking it out. The four sherpas - sons Ben, Josh and Flynn along with friend Rodney that you met - did an amazing job.

      Highlighting the surrender involved in being the rider is right on the nail and is exactly what Ros and I have been chatting about.

      If you enter your email address in the box on the front page you can get emails of all new posts on the blog. You just have to click on the link that you will be sent. Check spam if you don't see it.

  3. Hi David,
    Kriss Ellis here. This was such a fantastic event and I was hoping that I would be able to promote the Sherpa program through my networks here in our local communities. Is there any chance that you could shoot me through some of the images that you captured from weekend?
    Look forward to getting out there as a Sherpa soon.


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