Start a Group

Thinking of starting a group?

Follow these EIGHT steps and you’ll be on your way to providing outdoor opportunities and experiences that change lives.

1. Learn about ICO and share with others

2. Develop your Team

Recruit a minimum of FIVE people who are committed and ready to sustain the leadership functions necessary to successfully administer and run a group. Read about different roles and job descriptions for assistance in forming your group.

Suggested start-up roles include:

  • Chair person

  • Treasurer

  • Volunteer Coordinator/Screener

  • Record Manager

  • Agency Coordinator

  • Fundraiser

3. Develop your Vision for how the Group will function

  • What will your Outings look like?
    What age range will you go outdoors with?
    What activities will you offer?
    How frequently will you go out?
    Where will you go?
    What equipment will you need?
    How will you get to the outing?  What are your transportation needs/options?
    What special skills do your volunteers have or need?

  • With which community agencies will you partner?
    Identify a few community agencies you want to partner with to go outdoors. After your group is approved, you will need to establish a working relationship with at least one community agency.
    A partnership is more likely to be successful if it builds on current relationships. With whom do you work, go to school, worship, or engage in civic life? These links can play a vital role in broadening the efforts. These people may not be the ones with whom you ultimately partner, but they can often introduce you to the people from agencies that could become partners. Utilize the networking resources within your community. Check with the local Volunteer Center, or United Way, which often facilitates collaborative relationships.

  • How will your Outings Leaders and Volunteers be trained?
    Are you close to another ICO group that can mentor and train your leaders?
    Will your volunteers use Sierra Club's online training resources?
    Where will your leader learn first aid?
    Will you require CPR?
    How will volunteers receive "on the job" training?

  • What expenses do you have and how will you raise money?
    Draft a budget for one year: (basic expenses = transportation, equipment, food, permits/fees, training, publicity, administration).
    Will your local Sierra Club provide support ($ and non-monetary)?
    Will you conduct fundraising events and/or solicit donations from your local community?

  • How will you build your team’s infrastructure?
    Define leadership roles and responsibilities.
    Define expectations and time commitment.
    How will you recruit new volunteers?
    Determine methods of regular communication and meetings with your Team (e-mail, conference calls, in-person meetings) and frequency of each (monthly, quarterly)

4. Get Support from your Sierra Club Chapter/Group

  • Present or meet with the chairs of your Sierra Club Chapter and Group Executive Committees to get support and recognition of your group.

5. Fill out paperwork and send to ICO staff

  • Provide letters from the chairs of your Sierra Club Chapter and Group Executive Committees indicating support and recognition of your group.

  • Complete the application.

  • Each member of your team will need to fill out the following (The ICO Staff will run background checks on these individuals):

  • Once approved, your group will be recognized as a probationary member of the program for twelve months.

ICO Volunteer Support Representative, Sierra Club
85 Second Street, 2nd floor
San Francisco, CA 94105

(415) 977-5568  - Mondays-Thursdays

Fax# (415) 977-5795

6. Recruit and Train Leaders

7. Develop Community Partners