Here is some information from "The Not-So-Quick Guide to Volkssporting."  You can also find this information and more in the AVA publications: A Quick Look!, Tutorial - Let's Go For A Walk!, or Frequent Questions.



Event Procedures

IVV Record Books

What are volkssports?

The German term "volkssport" means a "sport of the people."  Volkssporting events are organized walks, bikes, swims or cross-country skiing designed to appeal to people of all ages*.  They are non-competitive and open to everyone - local club or national membership is optional.  These events are not a contest of speed.  The designated Start Point is usually open for several hours to allow you to begin your volkssporting adventure at your leisure.  You may choose your time to start within the start/finish “window” and participate in the sport at your own pace.  One can also receive an award upon completion of the event by paying the proper fee at registration.  In addition, you may enroll in the International Achievement Award Program.

All participants receive a start card that must be marked at control points (checkpoints) along the route.  While some clubs allow participation without a charge (sorry, not TCV), most individuals take part in the low-cost Achievement Awards Program or receive the special award for an event. That adds to the fun of accomplishment.  Achievement awards are earned by collecting unique stamps in record books - Event Record Books and Distance Record Books - which may also be purchased.  Completion of the books entitles the individual to a certificate, hatpin and patch at no additional cost.  There is no time limit for completing these books, which are good worldwide.


(* Note: Young children (including those in strollers) can receive Event credit for participating in an event, but they cannot receive Distance credit until they are able to walk the route on their own.  Also, children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult at all times while on the trail.)



Walking trails are usually 10 kilometers long (6.2 miles).  Most people take about 2 hours to complete an easy 10 km route.  Many events also have a shorter distance, usually 5 km, which is perfect for beginners and should take about an hour to complete at an easy pace.  Sometimes 20 km routes are also available.  If not, participants are allowed to walk the 10 km route twice on the same start card at no additional charge.  Biking routes are often 25km.

Trail Ratings:

Each trail is rated according to its degree of difficulty, with 1 being the easiest and 5 being the most strenuous.  The following is a description of each level of difficulty.  If an event falls between two of the ratings, a "+" may be added to the lower number.

  • 1 - An easy route.  This type of route is normally on pavement or well-maintained trails.  There are no significant hills.  The trail is usually suitable for strollers and wheelchairs.
  • 2 - A fairly easy route.  This type of route normally has some pavement and some woodland or poorly-maintained field trails.  There is no significant difficulty because of hills.  This trail is probably not suitable for strollers or wheelchairs.
  • 3 - A moderate route.  This type of route is in a setting with some difficult terrain and one or more substantial hills and/or steps.  The suitablility of this trail for strollers and wheelchairs is questionable.
  • 4 - A difficult route.  This type of route is in a natural setting with poorly-maintained trails and steep or hilly inclines.  This trail is not suitable for strollers, wheelchairs, or people with severe health problems.
  • 5 - A very difficult route.  This type of route is on rough fields, trails or roads.  There are many steep hills, high altitude, very rough and uneven terrain, and steep or unstable inclines.  This trail is not suitable for any person who is not in good physical condition.

Precautions:  Please be aware that weather conditions can cause a variance in the trail rating.  An unexpected hot or cold day or rain can increase the degree of difficulty of a trail as much as two full points, so participants should adjust their pace accordingly.  It is advisable to carry water on all walking and biking events.  It is possible to become dehydrated in cold weather as well as in hot weather.  It is always the goal of the AVA to provide participants with safe, enjoyable events, however, you alone know your own limits


What to take and/or wear on the trail:

  • water
  • snacks/energy bars
  • a hat
  • sunscreen
  • comfortable walkingl/hiking shoes
  • long-sleeved shirt and pants in wooded areas
  • walking stick

Trail Markings:

Trails may be marked with ribbons, arrows or chalk markings, or you may be provided with written instructions and a map to guide you through the course.  Written instructions could also include information about points of interest that you will see along the trail.

Registration and Fees:

Some events allow participants to pre-register by filling out a pre-registration form (often included in an event brochure) and mailing it, along with a check for the specified fee, to the appropriate sponsoring club.  This can speed up the process of getting your start card on the day of the event as well as reserve an award if the quantities are limited.  However, no refunds will be made to people who pre-register, but do not participate.  Also, awards can only be received if you've completed the event.

If you don't pre-register, you will need to fill out the registration form (pre-printed address labels are suggested) and pay the fees when you arrive at the starting point of the event.  You will also receive a start card which must be filled out legibly with your name and address.  The start card must be carried during the event and marked at control points (checkpoints) along the trail.  Participants missing a control point may be refused an award and/or IVV credit.  All cards remain the property of the sponsoring club and must be returned at the completion of the event.

Control points (checkpoints) can be manned - with volunteers stamping your card and providing water and snacks - or they can be a point where you need to write the answer to a question on your start card (such as "how many flags are in front of this building?").



By registering for these events, participants accept the guidelines of the AVA and agree to observe the principles of good sportsmanship.  Each paricipant must comply with the rules and guidelines established by the event organizers to ensure everybody enjoys and safely completes the event.  Littering is not permitted on the trail and smoking is prohibited in wooded areas.  Check each event brochure to determine if the route is suitable for strollers or wheelchairs and if leashed pets are permitted.  Events will be held in all but the most extreme weather conditions - but the best bet is to check with the club point of contact (POC) if unsure.  Awards cannot be sold outright, they must be earned.


The AVA and its officers, members, and agents shall not be held liable or responsible for, and shall be held harmless for and against any and all claims and damages of every kind, for injury to or death of any person or persons and for damage to or loss of property arising out of or attributed to the operations or events conducted by the AVA.  Every effort will be made to make the event safe, enjoyable, and memorable.  All participants must sign a Waiver and Release of Liability form for all events and adults must sign for minors.


Year-Round and Seasonal Events:

A Year-Round Event (YRE) is a self-guided walking event available most days of the year.  The local club selects a route, draws maps and writes detailed walking instructions, and sets up a permanent starting point.  You arrive during the stated open hours, register, take a map, and enjoy the trail.  These events can include state parks, tourist attractions, national parks, and daily exercise routes in hundreds of communities.  Some are scenic, some are historical, and some are just for exercise.

The start/finish points are often hospitals, hotels, convenience stores, or visitor centers.  At the start point is a "walk box."  The walk box can take many forms;  it can be a bureau or kiosk, or it may be a file box or toolbox.  (TCV uses file boxes.)  You may have to ask the proprietors to point it out or get it for you.  The proprietors are often not club members, so please be patient with these people who are helping the club.

Inside the walk box is everything you will need to get on the trail.  The club will have written instructions on how to register.  There will be a registration log.  Sign the log and take a start card and trail map/instructions.

Enjoy the event!  Walk at your own pace and enjoy the local area for as long as you desire (daytime hours only, please).  If you have any difficulty with the directions provided, be sure to write a note to the host club and either put it in the walk box when you return or send it in with your start card.

When you have completed the trail, turn in your start card.  (With TCV, this involves mailing the start card and your check in one of the pre-addressed envelopes provided in the walk box.)  If you participate for IVV credit, stamp your books.  If you registered for an award, read the instructions in the walk box on how you will receive it - it may be in the walk box, with the proprietor, or it may be mailed, depending on the club.

Distance credit is unlimited - complete the events as many times as you like and receive credit for the distance completed.  As of July 1, 2011, you can now also receive event credit every time you complete a YRE or Seasonal event (had previously been limited to twice a year).

YREs and Seasonal Events may be found in the Starting Point which contains over 1,000 listed events - with directions to the event, trail ratings, hours of operation, and whether an award is offered.  The Starting Point may be purchased at club events or from the AVA National Office.


IVV Record Books:

The green, blue and purple books that you might see people with at the events are the IVV Record Books.  These books are used to record the number of events you participate in or the number of kilometers that you complete.  These books are sold by the clubs at each event for $5 each and are available worldwide.  An incentive for new walkers is to buy the New Walker Packet and receive the first set of IVV Record Books at a discount.

With the IVV Achievement Award Program, you earn awards by participation in volkssport events worldwide.  You can redeem your IVV Record  Books at specific milestones and receive a certificate, patch and hatpin to display your achievement.  Event Record Books are stamped once for each event (no matter how many times you completed the trail distance).  Exception: If there is a Regular Event offered on more than one day (eg. Sat/Sun) with the
same walk offered, you may stamp your book more than once if you pay the fee each day and walk each day.  YREs/Seasonals can be stamped once in the first half of the year and once again in the second half of the year.  They are redeemed at milestones: 10 events, 30 events, 50 events, 75 events, etc.  Distance Record Books are stamped once for each time you complete the trail, with the distance recorded.  Redeem at milestones: 500 km, 1,000 km, 1,500km, etc.

At each event, by paying a single credit fee or buying the event award, you get BOTH books stamped.

When you see your book is almost complete, purchase a new one to have on hand.  When the book is full, make a photocopy of each book and mail the original(s) to the American Volkssport Association (AVA) address listed on the front cover.  After you redeem your first record book, the AVA will issue you a Record of Achievement (small passbook) with an AVA Registration Number which will need to be included when redeeming future books.  Don't worry about this when redeeming your first book - you won't have it yet!   If you only have distance books, you will need to wait until you have completed 500 kilometers (about 50 events) before you can send this book to AVA.  Watch for the next issue of The American Wanderer for your name.  It will be listed under the appropriate achievement level in the Awards Section of the paper.


Record Books Guidelines:

These tips will help expedite your achievement/record book processing and ensure your books are properly submitted to the AVA.

  • Make sure your name and current address are legible and are on all IVV Record Books.  If your address or name changes, notify the Awards Department when you submit your IVV Record Book.  Only one name should appear on an IVV Record Book.  The award system is set up for individual achievement only.
  • When corresponding or calling AVA concerning your IVV awards, please use your Record of Achievement (AVA Registration) Number located on the front of your passbook.  If you are getting your first award, this number will be assigned to you upon redeeming your first book.  If you are a Volkssport Associate Member, please do not confuse the two numbers - an associate member number begins with the prefix VAI-, VAF-, or VAL-.
  • If you lose your Record of Achievement Book, let the AVA know.  A duplicate can be issued.  Also, if you are turning in your IVV Record Books without the Record of Achievement Book, please write your number on the IVV Record Books.
  • The IVV Event Certification Stamp may only be applied (impressed) to an official IVV Record Book (or official Insert Card if your book is full or forgotten at home) and approved special program books.  "Paste-ins," correction tape, handwritten in (except in extreme circumstances approved by AVA Headquarters), attached papers, etc. are illegal and cannot be accepted.  If a stamp has been erroneously entered or a duplicate made in an IVV Record Book, it may be corrected with liquid paper.  The preferred way to correct an error in kilometers is to have the finish table attendant mark out the error with a line, write in the correction, and initial the change.  If an error is made with the certification stamp, the error should be crossed out and the correct stamp placed either along the sides, top, bottom, or on the back of the IVV Record Book, as long as it is legible.
  • Be sure the stamp pad is adequately inked to avoid a faint impression.
  • There should be no handwritten entries over a very faint stamp.  Writing can make it difficult to ensure the book was actually stamped.
  • Avoid re-stamps.  This sometimes makes it impossible to read what the stamp is.
  • Try to place the correct number of events and kilometers in each book.  Note: Any "extra" distance will be carried over to the next distance book.

IVV Event Certification Stamps may only be received at the actual event.  We cannot enter that stamp into any IVV Record Book after the event has taken place (unless the certification stamp did not make it to the event on time).  Please do not mail your book(s) to the club representative to be stamped at a later date; this is illegal.


Event Books:

  • Green Book: Used to record 10 events (1-10), 30 events (11-30), or 50 events (31-50).  When the green book is used for 10 events, one full page must be filled.  For the 30 and 50 event levels, all lines are used.
  • Purple Book:  Used after a participant has completed 50 events.  This book has lines for 25 events and is used for recording event numbers 51 through 600.  It can also be used for lower levels of events (if a club runs out of green books) by crossing out the lines which are not needed (either 5 or 15) and marking on the front of the book the level for which it is being used (10, 30 or 50).
  • Rose Book:  Used after a participant has completed 600 events.  Records 50 events and is used for event numbers 601 through 1,500.
  • Gold Book:  Used after a participant has completed 1,500 events.  Records 100 events and is the highest event book.

The IVV Event Certification Stamp is placed in the Event Book for every event in which you participate, i.e. walk, bike, swim, ski or skate.  The stamp may also be placed in the Event Book if you work an event.

Distance Books:

  • Blue Book:  Holds 500 km and is used at increments of 500 km through 8,000 km.  If a person does only short walks (10 km), it will take all the spaces to total 500 km.  If an individual does some medium (20 km) or long walks (20+ km) or includes bicycling distance, it will take only part of the book to make 500 km.  (All lines in this book do not need to be used - only those needed to bring the total to 500 km.)  Conversely, if a person tends to do more 5 km walks, there will not be enough space in the book and insert cards will need to be used to reach 500 km.
  • Orange Book:  After a participant has completed 8,000 km, that individual graduates to the orange book.  This book holds 1,000 km for each level and is used through 22,000 km.
  • Yellow Book:  After a participant has completed 22,000 km, that individual graduates to the yellow book.  This book holds 5,000 km for each level and is the highest distance book.
  • Brown Book:  This is the bicycling distance book.  It is used for recording distance credit for participation is bike events only.  This book records up to 5,000 km.  Bike distance can be recorded in either the brown (bike) book OR one of the other distance books, but distance from a brown bike book cannot be transferred to a walking distance book.

You can have multiple certification stamps for the same event when recording distance achievements because the distance book shows the actual distance accomplished.

No swims can be entered in the distance books.

If you do a route less than 10 km, you receive credit for the actual distance covered.  You receive credit for the full 10 km only if you complete the entire route.  Regardless of the actual distance completed, please use whole numbers at all times when recording distance completed - do not place 2.4, 4.5, 6.3, etc. in your record books.  If necessary, round numbers to the appropriate distance.  Single digits should be preceded by a zero.

Insert Cards: An insert card is a supplemental stamp card inserted into a record book.  This card was created for participants who finish walks of less than 10 km, resulting in the need for extra lines to record achievement stamps for processing.  If you happen to attend an event without your record book, you may obtain an insert card (at no cost).  Please keep in mind that the insert card is for temporary use in this case - excessive use is not permitted.  Insert cards alone will not be processed; a card will only be accepted when placed in a valid IVV Record Book.

New Walker Packet:

To get you started on your way to a record of personal achievement, you may purchase a New Walker Packet for $5.00.  This packet includes the first books you will need to start you off on the right (or left) foot.

  • First event book:  Good for your first 10 events (when you earn your first Achievement Award) - a $5.00 value
  • First distance book:  Good for your first 500 km - a $5.00 value
  • 3 coupons for free credit at events:  so you can go to 3 events for free and still get the credit stamp in your books - a $9.00 value
  • coupon for a free issue of The American Wanderer (TAW) - a $4.00 value
  • an explanation of the record books and how they are processed (same as Event Books and Distance Books above)
  • 10% off your first AVA Specialties order

The cash value of this packet is $23.00, but you purchase the packet for only $5.00!