Volunteer Spotlight- TRISCH BETCHER
How did you decide to start volunteering with FOW?
I used to travel a lot on weekends—camping trips, snowboarding trips—adventures that eventually overtook my wallet. I found myself broke and hanging around on the weekends because I didn’t have anything left because of trying to keep up with people who liked the same activities. My housemate, who I met on a whitewater rafting trip, told me she had volunteered with FOW and saw their post asking for Crew Leaders and Trail Ambassadors. She knew my love for the trails and the park and said I should sign up. I went to the initial meeting and saw a lot of dudes who were avid mountain bikers and who were often building trails. Their experience was intimidating and overwhelming, but I knew I wanted a new experience learning new skills. It made me anxious to be in a room where I didn’t know anything about anything, but I talked myself out of running away. After learning what I was expected to do to learn these new skills, I was terrified of committing to something that required me to give up traveling on the weekends—especially in the winter for ski season. But I did it. I committed.
What do you love most about Wissahickon Valley Park?
When I first came to Philly, I used to wander into the park late in the evenings on Friday nights after a stressful week at school. I would walk or run away my stressful scenarios from being an urban schoolteacher. I remember buying my first headlamp and running late at night in the spring and seeing hundreds of frog/toad eyes reflecting on the trails (specifically Gorgas Lane, before they redid it). That was a unique night to be hiking alone in the park. I was scared I’d step on a frog.
What are your favorite moments from volunteering with FOW?
My crew from 2019 and the Crew Leaders from before and after are the nicest, kindest people I’ve ever met in my life. I felt like I finally met competent individuals who cared as much about life on earth as much as I do. I also love working with people who bring kids with a lot of energy to volunteer days. Teaching kids how to love the outdoors is a treat.
What are your favorite places in the Wissahickon?
Anywhere that has blooming umbrella magnolias strategically placed below eye level, the Yellow Trail, Lovers Leap while eating granola bars with my honey, standing on the bridges over the water, or standing under hundred-year old tulip and chestnut oak trees, the frog pond, and Houston Meadow to watch the moon rises and eclipses. Shall I keep going?