Text of the GSUSA "GirlSport Collaboration Guide 1999-2000"
GSUSA is pleased to announce a new collaboration with the American Volkssport Association. This partnership will enhance the GirlSports initiative by providing increased opportunities for girls and adults to have fun, enjoy the outdoors, and get fit.
The American Volkssport Association is a nonprofit organization that governs the sport of volkssporting in the United States. Volkssporting is an organized walk, bike, swim, cross-country ski, or in-line skate program that combines physical fitness, fellowship, and the chance to experience different scenic and cultural areas in one "people's sport." The majority of volkssporting event are walks (volksmarches), usually 5 or 10 kilometers long, in scenic or cultural locations. Events are noncompetitive, and participants exercise at their own pace.
Volkssporting events fall into two categories: "traditional events," which are held on one or two specific days when a number of volkssporters gather to do the event at the same time, and "year-round events," some involving 1,110 trails established by the 550 local clubs for all to enjoy at their leisure.
The AVA also has a "Master Program" that honors adults and youth who participate together in volkssporting and recognizes the adults who mentor youth in the physical fitness aspect of the sport.
If they wish, volkssporters can collect "credits" for accomplishing events and distances that will entitle them to earn awards from the international governing body of the sport, the International Federation of Popular Sports (translated as IVV), or in some cases from their local club. There is usually a nominal charge at events to pay for the local awards and the international credit. More information and a "virtual walk" are available on the AVA website.
AVA Master Program
This program honors adults and youth who participate together in volkssporting and recognizes adults who mentor youth in the physical fitness aspect of the sport. The program also honors youth groups, including Girls Scouts of the USA. No previous experience is necessary and all new volkssporters who sign up for the Master Program can receive guidance, if they desire, from local volkssporting clubs. Girl/adult teams that participate together in at least 6 sanctioned volkssporting events for distance credit during the calendar year or Girl Scout year can earn a Girl Scout patch. Girls will also earn the rating of "AVA Volkssporter." The award will consist of a certificate for each team member and a medal with a year-bar indicating the year the award was earned. Other awards are available.
Council-wide "Walk Togethers"
Councils can also work with the AVA to organize "Walk Togethers"-statewide or councilwide events. Councils that wish to participate will receive a list of all regular events (weekend walks within the council's jurisdiction) from a local AVA volunteer. Councils can then decide if they wish to select at least one event as the officail "Girl Scout Walk Together." If no event is scheduled, a local club may design a walk for the council. The selected walk must have a 10-kilometer length and a "shorter trail" (usually 5 kilometers). The walk should also be accessible for the physically challenged based on the need of the girls of the council. Any walk that is designed for the council must go through the usually 90-day sanction process by the AVA for safety and publicity. Custom walks are open to all volkssporters. The local volkssport club will administer the walk by coordinating with local authorities, setting up markers, providing checkpoints, providing workers for the starting and finishing locations, and providing safety monitors. the club will do trail cleanup.
The registration fee for all girls who want to earn the patch will be $2 plus the actual cost of the patch. Anyone can walk for free for no award. All Girl Scouts under 16 years old must walk with an adult. Adults can be family members or other adults approved by the family.
For more information, contact:
American Volkssport Association
1001 Pat Booker Road, Suite 101
Universal City, TX 78148
Telephone: (210) 659-2112
Fax: (210) 659-1212
To find events anywhere in the USA: www.ava.org