Volksmarching is a walking sport and the walkers are called volksmarchers. Volksmarching has its origins in the European activity of Volkssports, which also include bicycling, swimming, and cross-country skiing. In the United States, walking is by far the most prevalent type of event, although some clubs host events ranging from snowshoeing and cross country skiing to biking and in-line skating.
The sport of volksmarching was started in the 1960s in Germany by the International Volkssport Verband (IVV). In the US, the American Volkssport Association (AVA) is the umbrella organization for all of the more than 500 local volksmarching clubs located around the country. Both the IVV and the AVA are based on the participation of members in the non-competitive sport of walking to promote fun, fitness, family, and fellowship.
Most volksmarchers begin participating in volksmarching by joining their local club. For information on joining the Las Vegas High Rollers and Strollers, click here. It is optional--but a great way to support the sport of walking--to also join the AVA.
Next a volksmarcher will purchase a new walker packet from the club's secretary or from the AVA which provides the initial stamp books (one to stamp each club walk you do and one to stamp each distance you walk) as well as a detailed explanation about volksmarching.
Walkers can then decide if they want to participate in local group walks (see our scheduled walks in the side bar), participate in scheduled events (these are generally walking weekends hosted by clubs around the US which feature a number of organized walks), or if they want to do YREs (most clubs will have a list of year-round events which walkers can choose to do anytime they want, they walk these by themselves and at their own pace). A searchable database of events and YREs can be found here.
When you decide to do a walk, you will find the walk box at the starting point (instructions to find these are on our website and for places outside of Las Vegas, the AVA keeps an online list of all starting points). You will sign in, pay the $3 fee, get a set of directions, sign the waiver, stamp your books, then do the walk. Note that members pay $3 and get the stamp for the walk but friends and family are welcome to walk along for free although they must sign the waiver for insurance purposes.
The AVA encourages participation in the sport of walking by offering a number of incentive programs. Once you have completed a book (ie: completed 500 kilometers or 50 events) you will send your completed stamp books into the AVA which will reward you with commemorative awards (certificates, patches, or pins). In addition to the basic events and mileage books, the AVA hosts a number of other programs with their own books to fill out (Centurion 100 walks in a year, 50 States, 51 Capitals, State Parks, etc). There is no time limit for completing these books and they are good worldwide at sanctioned IVV and AVA events.
Many volksmarchers make it a hobby to travel all over the USA and Europe collecting these stamps. And people of any age, sex, or athletic ability can complete our walks: "EVERYONE IS A WINNER".