developing new relationships
Tucson ICO offers wilderness experiences to inner-city people who might otherwise be unable to get to the great outdoors. Our ICO volunteers work year-round to develop partnerships with agencies in the Tucson area. We work with elementary, middle, and high schools, as well as community centers, shelters, at-risk youth programs, rehab, and various youth programs. Our participants range in age from 8 to 24, and older, and come from diverse ethnic backgrounds. If your school or community group would like to be involved in Tucson ICO, please read the information below and email the Chair, Judy Mutschler.
Who We Are
Our Certified Leaders are Sierra Club members who have assisted on ICO trips as helpers and have completed a program of formal training and supervised leadership. They must maintain current first aid certification and submit fingerprints and driver's license to the Arizona Department of Justice and the Department of Motor Vehicles for matters of public record regarding criminal history and driving record. ICO leaders and helpers are all non-paid volunteers.
How to Apply
Return the Agency Application Form to the ICO Agency Coordinator at the address listed on the form. Please complete this form in as much detail as possible.
There are usually more agencies than available Certified Leaders, but if we cannot help you immediately your application will be kept on file and as new leaders are trained or old ones become available your request will be reviewed. Your chance of connecting with a Certified Leader right away depends on a lot of factors, including your location and your needs. You may request a single outing, or in some cases our leaders have worked with agencies on a continued basis for many years.
Arranging an Outing
ICO leaders generally prefer to lead a day hike with participants prior to car camping or backpack outings. After an initial extended phone conversation or meeting with the primary agency contact person, the ICO leader will conduct a pre-trip meeting with the participants and staff going on the outing. Ground rules, transportation, equipment, food, safety, and any other necessary issues will be discussed. Equipment such as backpacks and other camping gear may be displayed and demonstrated. Please keep in mind that all our leaders are volunteers, and that making sure that all aspects of an outing are arranged properly – clothes and equipment, food, adequate transportation, and the appropriate paper work – while holding down a full time job is logistically similar to invading a small country. The active cooperation of agency staff will make it more likely that the outing will go smoothly.
ICO rules require at least one certified ICO leader, one ICO volunteer, and one agency representative accompany each trip. The agency representative is expected to know the participants and be responsible for maintaining discipline. Staffing levels vary greatly depending on the age and nature of the participants.
Medical Information and Liability Release Form
This form must be completed and signed by a participant over 18, or by a minor participant's parent or legal guardian and returned to the ICO leader prior to the outing. No participant, including agency personnel, may begin an outing until this form has been given to the ICO leader.
Outings utilize agency cars or vans, ICO volunteers' autos, or public transit. ICO volunteers are required to have current driver's licenses and carry automobile liability insurance. Each participant must wear a seat belt.
With the possible exception of radios with earphones used in the car only during long drives, participants must not bring guns, drugs, knives, radios, beepers, or phones.
The following are ICO's general expectations of the agency, but these may be altered by previous arrangement between the agency and the ICO leader:
- FINANCES: The agency will pay for food, campground fees, bridge tolls, parking fees, or any other fees incurred during the trip (such as ferry tickets or bus fare) and will reimburse ICO drivers for the gas used transporting participants during the outing. Volunteers donate their time and the use of their cars (and sometimes their gas on local outings). Some scholarship money is available.
- WATER AND FOOD: The agency should insure that each participant brings an adequate container of water on the outing (this may simply be a plastic liter soda bottle). Food requirements and menu will be decided on at the pre-trip meeting, and agencies are expected to make no significant changes in the menu without conferring with the ICO leader.
- EQUIPMENT: Except for participants' water bottles, ICO will provide all equipment necessary for the safe conduct of the outing, including an ICO approved first aid kit.