Jerry Sherman, NSP National Awards Advisor
NSP: When did you first become involved with the NSP? What was your initial interest in bike and/or ski patrolling?
Jerry: I started patrolling in 1978, just a few years after my wife and I learned to ski. In our second year of skiing, we took our 5-year-old son, Greg, to a "learn to ski camp." After one week, he was the best skier in the family and 43 years later still is. At that time, we couldn't afford to go skiing as often as we wanted. I had a co-worker who was a patroller at our local area, and he often talked about family benefits for patrollers. I took the first available Advanced First Aid course at our local ambulance base, and the journey began. In 1985, Greg became a "junior patroller," and with that patrolling became a lifelong passion.
NSP: What did you find most challenging about patroller training prior to becoming a patroller?
Jerry: Having learned to ski in my mid-20s, ski skills were and always have been a challenge. When I joined the Brantling Ski Patrol, leadership stressed the ability to be able to climb the entire hill using a combination of herringbone and sidestep maneuvers in a certain amount of time. I worked very hard preparing for that test.
NSP: How many cups of coffee do/did you drink during a patrol shift?
Jerry: For the last few years, I have been the "hill chief" on the Tuesday weekday shift at Bristol Mountain. Once all the trails are checked, it is my job to go into the top hut and generate the conditions report. More importantly, for many of my crew, I make the first pot of coffee, and I usually drink at least two large mugs.
NSP: Do you prefer to ski powder or groomers? Also, what is your favorite type of downhill bike terrain?
Jerry: Powder in the Finger Lakes area of New York is rare and usually very heavy, wet stuff. I prefer steep, groomed terrain. My favorite bike terrain is "rail trails." These are former railroad beds that have been reclaimed for walkers, runners, and cycling. We have many in our area, and most are relatively flat.
NSP: What have you learned the most about yourself from patrolling?
Jerry: When something is very important to me it can be very stressful, but also very rewarding. I always have sleepless nights leading up to S&T evaluations, OEC tests, and trainer/evaluator testing and re-certs.
NSP: What do you find most rewarding about being a member of the National Ski Patrol?
Jerry: First and foremost, it is the friendships. Friends made during the Senior Program were the ones who encouraged me to seek leadership positions. Friends made during involvement with the Mountaineering Program (MTR) encouraged me to start climbing in the High Peaks of the Adirondacks of New York and the White Mountains of New Hampshire. My Adirondack 46R number, 3434, is second in importance to my NSP National Appointment Number 7222.
NSP: How did you first get involved with the Awards Program, and what are you looking to do as the new NSP National Awards advisor?
Jerry: During my career as a patrol director, region director, and division director, I was always delighted to be involved with awards presentations. I was looking for an opportunity to continue my involvement beyond my patrol when the region awards advisor position opened up. I asked the region director to consider me for the job. I became a member of the Eastern Division Awards team, and a few years later with the promotion of Bill Boulter to NSP National Awards advisor, I had the opportunity to become the division advisor. As a member of the National Awards Committee, I met a great group of people from other divisions and once again asked to be considered when the national position was vacant. I have several goals as the NSP National Awards advisor. I would like to move the nomination process into the electronic age to reduce time, mailing costs, and wasted paper; we have made progress in that area. I would like every division to embrace the NSP Hall of Fame. As of now, there are 40 Hall of Fame members representing over half of our divisions. The NSP Awards Program should be as user-friendly as possible while still maintaining the integrity of each award.
NSP: What do you think is the importance of the NSP Awards Program, and why would you encourage patrol leadership to submit their patrollers for recognition?
Jerry: To quote Eastern Division Director John Kane, "Awards are the main currency we have to recognize our members." Every patrol should have an Awards person. I think that often the best folks for the job are those who have served in leadership positions and would like to continue to contribute above and beyond their normal patrol duties. The Awards process is not as complicated as it may appear; most regions, and all divisions, have an Awards advisor who is willing to assist.