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Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group (aka Outdoors for Health) Pages


Re-Connecting People with the Natural World



Click Here Give Now to support the newest program of our Veterans Hiking initiative, the Veterans Hike Across Maryland.

Your Donation is tax-deductible! MAHG is a volunteer-supported mission driven 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity Tax ID: 47-5141831.

Today’s fast-paced and technologically dominated society can degrade a person’s psychological, physical, and emotional wellbeing. It traps people in an indoor and plugged-in lifestyle that is overwhelmingly stressful. Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group promotes getting outdoors and unplugging to decrease stress, get fitter and healthier, and get inspired!

We foster strong ties within the community and educate the public on the health benefits of hiking and the importance of environmental stewardship and rehabilitation.

Mission Statement


The Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group exists to promote physical, mental, social, spiritual, and emotional wellness through reconnecting people with nature.

In addition to outdoor recreation, Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group nurtures stewardship that protects trails for future generations and provides education, encouragement, and nature-empowerment for all ages, families, and youth -- and ALL are welcome and encouraged to join in the fun! When you hike with MAHG you are not only significantly benefiting your own health, but you are also helping to benefit the health of others too! This is because the funds raised by the nominal fee for our activities go to help us offset some of the cost of all involved in serving our cause; such as our veteran-specific initiative is providing important data for our study to show how being active outdoors improves all around health. We also help underserved youth through mentorship and leadership development in the outdoors in addition to our initiative that offers natural classroom S.T.E.M. education and providing hope for a better future thanks to the booming field of green collar jobs.

Vision


We work to enrich the quality of life and character of our community through nature-empowerment and by promoting a deeper understanding of nature, health, and leadership in the great outdoors.

Equality Statement


Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group welcomes all ages, ethnic groups, and religious affiliations willing to unite in a common appreciation and enjoyment of nature and outdoor activities.

Click Here to Sponsor a Veteran for our newest program of Mid-Atlantic Hiking Groups Veterans Hiking initiative, the Veterans Hike Across Maryland.


Current Charitable Initiatives:



Initiative Name: Veterans Hiking for Health
Program Name: Veterans Hike Across Maryland
Scope: ALL Veterans
Program Length: Spring: April through June and Sept. through November

Funding Status: Additional Funding Needed -- Delivering Program by Incurring Debt
Funding Opportunities for Public: SPONSOR A VETERAN TODAY campaign.

The Veterans Hike Across Maryland, a series of 5 hikes totaling 41 miles on the Appalachian Trail, is the inaugural program of the Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group’s Veterans Hiking for Health initiative. Our purpose in leading these hikes, which are free to ALL veterans who have registered and agreed to complete a short survey, is to introduce veterans to the physical and mental benefits of hiking in a wilderness setting. Hikes will be led by trained, volunteer hike leaders from the Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group, in small groups of approximately 15 to 20 hikers per hike leader.

While anyone can suffer from stress, anxiety, depression, and other health issues, the experiences faced by many veterans may make them more susceptible. Handling these issues is an important step for improving their wellbeing. While there are many activities that can alleviate stress, we believe that spending time outdoors in a wilderness setting can be especially therapeutic.

Thus, the Veterans Hiking for Health initiative is about improving the lives of veterans and providing evidence to support what we already believe to be true. To that end, MAHG has partnered with Vet Arts Connect, an initiative of the Institute for Integrative Health to participate in their pilot research study which seeks to gather data concerning the impact these activities have on our veterans' overall health and well-being.

Participants will take a short survey before, after, and six months later as part of a research study that seeks to answer the question “Does spending time in a wilderness setting help to alleviate stress, anxiety, depression, improve energy, or improve one’s sense of self-worth?” We believe the answer will be a resounding yes, and we are confident that all who join us will see their lives made greater and more fulfilling!

Click Here to Sponsor a Vet Now



Charitable Initiative: Hoods to Woods
Program Name: Kids Outdoors for Health
Scope: Underserved Youth
Program Length: Summers
Additional Program Goals:
Beginning Spring 2018 school semester, we would like to offer a more focused version of our existing S.T.E.M. educational offering provided in natural setting outdoor classrooms, but altering the program to fit the unique needs during the school year; such as providing more of a supplemental/tutoring offering to underserved youth. We have found kids of all ages very receptive to learning in a natural environment, especially when using the environment as a teaching tool along with being physically active for a well-rounded healthy experience in the natural world.

Youth Education and Re-Connecting with the Natural World - For summer 2018, we will be expanding our program that benefits under-represented and inner-city youth by combining connection with nature and education (specifically S.T.E.M.)

Our two-part program structure provides more than a "band-aid" fix of bringing youth out on a hike only for them to return home with no idea when or if they might ever have the opportunity to return. Our solutions-based approach begins with a full immersion experience of hiking and other fun, unplugged and screen-less outdoor activities.

We combine the activities with educating tomorrow's workers regarding the abundant employment opportunities the outdoor world offers in the booming field of green collar jobs. For references and more, please visit our main website.

MAHG is committed to educating tomorrow's workers regarding the abundant employment opportunities the outdoor world offers in the growing field of green collar jobs.

Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group provides opportunities for increased confidence, self-esteem, and hope for a better tomorrow.

"Today's youth will be the earth's stewards of tomorrow, so it is imperative that they become familiar with the world outside of their screens."



Important Links and FAQs


Click Here for Information on How to Volunteer for Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group!

Click Here for Pace Information and Guidelines.

Click Here for Gear Information and Suggestions for What to Bring on a Hike.

Click Here for Suggested Carpool Fees and Locations.

Click Here for Hiking and Trail Etiquette Guidelines

Click Here for Leave No Trace Guidelines

Click Here for Information about how to earn the “Pre-Approval for VERY Strenuous Hikes” designation.

Click Here to view MAHG Policies. We voluntarily provide this information as part of our commitment to being transparent and in the spirit of community building.

Click Here to access the Mid-Atlantic Hiking Groups Volunteer Leadership Team Guide (Accessible by Leadership Team Members Only)



What Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group is About


Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charitable organization with a membership of ~22K. MAHG is one of the largest and most active organizations of its kind in the United States.

  • MAHG serves our mission through initiatives and programs thanks to public support. Please refer to the section above labeled "Current Charitable Initiatives" for details regarding our initiatives, including our 'Veterans Hiking for Health" newest program (vetshikeacrossmd.org) for details about this important cause that, does much, much more than providing free hikes for our countries vets; but of great significance, our program measures the scope of the health benefits provides by getting out and active in the natural world through a study to back up the claims.

  • Hiking not only connects us with nature, but it also fosters an appreciation and respect for the environment and overall sense of community.

  • MAHG is committed to introducing future generations to the unique environmental challenges facing the Mid-Atlantic region.

  • We provide the opportunity for people to “unplug” and be more mindful of the world around them.

  • Annually, MAHG donates thousands of service hours to a variety of environmental concerns with a focus on park and trail awareness as well as trail maintenance. It actively supports and partners with numerous other non-profits on both the local and national levels.

  • MAHG promotes the many health benefits provided by hiking and other green exercise.

  • MAHG annually organizes and executes hundreds of hikes and other outdoor activities to strive to provide ample opportunities for people to be active no matter their abilities and/or limitations.

  • Our outreach program, speaker series, and specialized hands-on classes provide many community-building activities that help promote awareness and participation in environmental stewardship.

  • Our youth outreach provides opportunities for increased confidence, self-esteem and hope for a better tomorrow.



No Solicitation Policy


Once in a while, we get members who join with the primary intention of promoting a personal agenda. Solicitation/Spam is prohibited (this includes, but is not limited to, profiles, message board posts or direct emails to other members). We reserve the right to remove any member for solicitation.

Real Person Policy


All profiles must be of an actual person. No profile may represent a business or organization, or other activities where you are inviting others to join you. We reserve the right to remove any such profiles at any time. It is rude to take advantage of our group for your personal agenda and has an adverse impact on group enthusiasm and morale.

Member Conduct and Behavior


MAHG Has a Zero Tolerance Policy for Bullying, Harassment, Rude or Disrespectful Behavior. Period.

We expect every member to come to MAHG events because they want to participate in fun, active, healthy, and adventurous activities in a safe environment with a great group of people. Individuals with other motives or bring negativity out on the trails with them are not welcome in this group. MAHG is not a dating agency and reaching out to a member you have never met in person is grounds for removal from MAHG. Harassment, in whatever manner or severity, is entirely unacceptable in our community and organization. The volunteer leadership team takes every complaint seriously and performs a thorough review. Offenders of this policy will be removed and banned from the MAHG organization swiftly and without hesitation. Furthermore: we will expel (and ban) any member who engages in unlawful activity during an event for the Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group non-profit charity and promptly contact the proper authorities. Our members, volunteers, and guests personal safety are our top priority.

If you would like to make a complaint about a member, please contact the organizer offline. We want to hear your complaint, and we will always take it seriously and listen to what you have to say. However, we must be notified of such behavior before we can take the appropriate actions. We cannot address it if we do not know about it.

Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group retains the exclusive right to suspend, delete or ban any member from the participating in any particular event, for whatever reason they see fit. MAHG reserves the right to remove any and all written comments that are of a bullying, harassing, rude, or disrespectful nature. We also reserve the right to remove and ban members at any time for inappropriate postings, actions, or personal remarks made towards or regarding other members. Examples include but is not limited to, message board posts, direct emails, profile comments, comments, and in-person interaction at any of our events. MAHG will immediately remove anyone found to be pestering, bullying, harassing, disrespecting or behaving rudely towards any member or volunteer. Violation (intentional or unintentional) of Mid-Atlantic Hiking Groups policies, procedures, code of conduct, and best practices is not tolerated, period. Examples of unacceptable and non-productive contact or communication include unfactual remarks, bullying and disparaging remarks on social any media platforms. MAHG is a charitable nonprofit organization and serves our top line, our mission. We are not political in any way, and we exist to promote the health benefits of connecting with the natural world, and because of this, nasty remarks are not tolerated as by there very nature are not healthy. People who are unhappy or have a complaint are welcome to contact MAHG, however, posting comments that are hurtful to our volunteers and members serve no purpose since we do provide e-mail addresses and phone numbers on almost every page of all of our websites, and we welcome the opportunity to hear from you. Whether it is good or not so good, we want to hear from you so that we can learn and improve each and every day and we appreciate your thoughtful, constructive feedback!

A big part of our mission is to promote the many health benefits of hiking and reconnecting people with the natural world. Individuals who repeatedly fail to follow the rules, come unprepared, or are unfriendly (in other words, create a negative atmosphere, and cause problems), will not be tolerated. Participants can expect to enjoy a laid-back, safety focused, and social environment where they can enjoy all the diverse and plentiful health benefits provided by hiking. However, please do your part so we can all have fun and be a bunch of happy hikers.



No-Shows and RSVP Policy


When you RSVP for an event, you take up one of the allotted spaces for that event. If you don't show up, you deny another member the opportunity to attend. The same applies to changing your RSVP from "yes" to "no" just before an event. Even if an event is not full, the organizer must often make arrangements based on the number of people that RSVP'd and sometimes make leader adjustments.

We have a very low tolerance for no-shows. The reason is that no-shows are rude and antisocial behavior. To not show up to something you registered in advance for has an effect on many people. The MAHG organization is grateful and appreciative for the support offered by such an outstanding and dedicated group of qualified individuals who dedicate a lot of energy and thousands of hours of their valuable time volunteering for the organization. These are the amazing people who graciously offer their time to help with organizing, planning, and leading outings for the charity. They help by teaching educational courses, speaking at informational sessions for the public (such as our recent talk regarding the Zika virus, scheduling and overseeing cleanups/trail maintenance activities, and our various programs -- and ask little in turn. However, it is also disrespectful towards other members who would have enjoyed the opportunity to join in the fun but were denied that opportunity due to a no-show.

Given that you can update your RSVP at any time, there is never an excuse, aside from a personal emergency or tragedy that makes it okay to no show. All of us are volunteers, and it has a very negative impact on morale and enthusiasm to have no shows after all of the time and effort we put into each event just for our members and ourselves to have a good time together.

Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group has two simple RSVP and No Show Rules:

1. Only RSVP if you plan to attend. If your plans change and or you are no longer able to attend, please update your RSVP as soon as possible.

2. Not showing up at an event that you are registered for results in being marked as a no-show.

Three no-shows can lead to membership suspension for six (6) months.

Attendance and Event Sign-In

Volunteer hike leaders, hosts, or instructors will have a sign-in sheet/roster with the RSVPs of members who are registered and expected for a particular event. Please be sure to initial or sign your name next to your RSVP on the roster. This roster is the ONLY way to be officially counted as attending an event.

Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group tracks attendance for several reasons. First and foremost, tracking attendance is a safety-related issue and safety always comes first. Additionally, membership and attendance related numbers are used in organizational, and promotional literature and publications, and we need the numbers to be accurate because we care about our integrity and will not fabricate or artificially inflate our numbers. This type of data is sometimes used when applying for grants and various kinds of proposals for MAHG programs and projects.



Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group Legal Disclaimer and Liability Information


Click Here and review our legal disclaimer before attending any event because by participating in any of our events, you agree to the disclaimer!

Release of Responsibility


During a hiking trip, everyone is responsible for themselves. The volunteer hike leaders are not responsible for the safety of the participants. We will try our best to prevent accidents, but we are not responsible or liable if something happens to you. By joining the group, you acknowledge this.

Never leave the group without first letting the leader or sweeper know for ANY reason. Separating from a group without first notifying the pre-established contacts so is the number ONE reason why hikers get lost when hiking with a group. When “nature calls” while on a hike, let the leader or sweeper know, and we will provide you with as much privacy as possible while you go in the woods. This issue is a serious matter folks! Safety is our primary priority and emergencies can and do happen.



Active Membership


Members who have not logged onto our Meetup website for 12 or more months results in their membership status updated to a non-member due to inactivity. The removal process is fully automated and not punitive. We welcome constituents who have been automatically removed to rejoin anytime! This information is vital for us to continue to build and support a stronger community and also plays an indispensable role in planning our event calendar -- such as knowing how many activities to offer and how many volunteers are needed to best support our membership demand.

Feedback, Suggestions, and Corrections


We hope this page is helpful to you and addresses some questions you might have. Please share any ideas and suggestions you may have by contacting me at the e-mail address below. We realize that we are not perfect, but we are always actively improving. With over 5000 events in just ten (10) years, we have certainly learned a thing or two — but recognize that there is still much left to learn. All constructive feedback, edit suggestions, corrections to site information or directions, and ideas are not only welcomed, but are encouraged, appreciated, and will receive a response! Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group did not become one of the largest and most active hiking groups with only me at the helm — it took a lot of effort and dedication from our many volunteers.

Let’s have good times and see you on the trail!

Yours in service,

Kellie Carlisle
Founder
Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group

Main Website: Midatlantichikinggroup.org
Event Calendar: Midatlantichiking.com
Phone: 410.480.5000
E-Mail: KCarlisle@midatlantichikinggroup.org


The Caring Paradox -- Self-realization is only possible through caring for others. Caring for and about others is caring for ourselves …



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Click Here to View the Event Calendar for Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group

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