At the start

People should be welcomed as they arrive. This is particularly important for any newcomers or beginners. Collect fees if appropriate, but it is preferable to have financial matters settled before leaving home.

Check that party members have food, water and all necessary equipment of a suitable standard. How well the leader knows the party members will determine how this is done. It may simply be sufficient to ask the group as a whole ‘Have you all got wet-weather gear, food and two litres of water?’ On the other hand, it may be necessary to speak to some party members individually to confirm they have everything specified. With school or youth groups, an examination of gear may be required.

Even at this stage you may be justified in refusing to take someone on the trip if they do not have the necessary equipment of a suitable standard. The deficiency may place the whole party in jeopardy if unforeseen circumstances arise or the weather turns unfavourable. For example, it would be considered foolhardy to take someone out on a four-day ski trip if they had left their wet weather gear at home. If you have spare gear it could be useful to take it along in case party members do not have suitable gear or have inadvertently left something at home. It may save embarrassment to some party members and allow them to continue on the trip.

Gather party members together before starting on the actual activity and introduce people. One method of doing this is to have everyone stand in a circle and one after the other state their name. An alternative method, if you know all the party members, is for you to announce everyone’s name. Or, particularly if it is a small group, you may simply introduce people as they arrive. If it is a club trip, you may want to mention any forthcoming club events and introduce other leaders and committee members. This allows new and potential club members to put a face to a name.