These terms will become second nature, trust us


Alerts are emails that give you all the information you need to participate in our events like location, times, driving directions, etc. This email list will never be sold or used for non-club purposes and you may unsubscribe at any time. (We don't like spam either.) Subscribe below to get our Alerts.


Acronym for the American Volkssport Association. The umbrella organization for the United States. Visit their website at See also IVV.


Awards can be patches, pins, or other items. They are given for or achievement or purchased as a souvenir of the event.

Achievement awards are given for number of events or distance walked.

Souvenir awards have two sub-types:

  • "A" award: available at traditional events and are specifically designed for that event.

  • "B" award: available at any event, but are not specifically designed for that event.


Usually the half-way point on a traditional walk. It is usually manned and often has hard candies, water, and welcoming faces to greet you and see how you're doing. They will also check off your start number on a numbered sheet, so please have your start card ready.


You receive credit if you participate in the Incentive Program and pay the $3 fee for an event. You'll get to stamp both the Event Book and the Distance Book for each event for which you pay the fee.


The official AVA record book of distance achievements for people who participate in the Incentive Program. Distance books cost $5 each and are available at most events or are available at the AVA website,


An event can be a walk, bicycle ride, cross country skiing, or a swim. Walks are most common. Events sanctioned by the American Volkssport Association can be entered into your distance and event books.

Some routes can be walked on your own while others are walked as a group. 

For group walks, you usually have a choice of when to start, and whether you want to walk with a guide.


The official AVA record book of events completed by people who participate in the Incentive Program. Event books cost $5.00 each and are available at most events or are available at the AVA website,


Greater Des Moines Volkssport Association. Formerly a regional club, now sponsoring events statewide.


A walk scheduled at set time for a group to gather. Group walks usually start off as a group at one time, unlike Traditional Walks that have a window to start over several hours.


This program is designed to nudge you off the couch and on to greater glory! Participation in the Incentive Program is always voluntary. Participants track the number of events they do in their Event Book and the cumulative distance they do in their Distance Book. Completed books are sent in to AVA who returns them along with a pin, patch, and certificate of achievement. You can get started by purchasing a New Walker Packet for only $5. 


The International Federation of Popular Sports, the English translation for "Internationaler Volkssportverband" which is headquartered in Germany. The IVV is the international organization that governs all of Volkssporting. Over 50 countries have IVV sanctioned events and your Incentive Program books are good at any IVV sanctioned event. Visit their website at See also AVA and GDMVA.


The Amateur Athletic Release of Liability for the Traditional Event must be signed before you use the Walk Directions.


Most events are rated for difficulty. A rating of 1A is the easiest and is normally flat and entirely on paved surfaces. A rating of 5E is the most difficult and often includes rough terrain and substantial elevation gain. An explanation of the rating system can be found on this AVA web page.


The Registration Log is usually located in the Walk Box for a Year Round Event. This form is where you sign the Amateur Athletic Release of Liability for the Year Round Event which must be signed before you use the Walk Directions. See also Start Card.


Usually held monthly, a group walk. Guides are provided for both the 5K and 10K routes


Special Programs are usually run by clubs throughout the US and are a way of making events more fun. Each program requires the purchase of a special book which gets stamped, along with your Event and Distance books, if the event qualifies for that special program. No extra participation fee is required, the purchase of the Special Program book is the only extra cost.


The Start Card is usually used at Traditional Events when you register for the event. You are supposed to carry the copy with you on the walk and show the copy at any Checkpoint along the route.
See also Registration Log.


An event/walk that is done once and has a unique stamp assigned specifically to the event. Traditional Events may span more than one day and are usually done on one or both days of the weekend.


This term can mean two distinctly different things:

  1. A starting point is the physical location of the Start Table for Traditional Walks and the Walk Box for Year Round walks. Any publicity you see for an event should indicate the start point. 

  2. The Starting Point is the yearly book produced by the AVA that lists the approximately 1,800 Year Round and Seasonal events sponsored by clubs in the USA.  The book is organized by state, then by city. You can order directly from AVA here.  This page shows all the updates made to events since the book went to print.


Each participant in an event is assigned a unique Start Number for that calendar year. On a Traditional Walk the Start Number should be on your Start Card copy that you carry on the walk. Each Registration Log has spaces for consecutive numbers on Year Round Events. There is rarely any need for you to remember this Start Number.


The bi-monthly newspaper put out by the American Volkssport Association (AVA). Membership in the AVA gets you a subscription to this fine publication. 


A volksmarch is a noncompetitive walk, usually 3.1 mile (5 km) or 6.2 mile (10 km) long. It's not a pledge walk, it's not a race, it is a fun activity you do with a club, with your family, with your pet, or all by yourself. The word is German for "people's walk."


Non-competitive sporting activies for groups of people; includes walking, swimming, skiing, swimming, snow shoeing, and biking (and occasionally roller-skating).


The collection of forms, the walk stamp, and other materials walkers use to sign themselves into a Year Round Walk. It is most often in an actual box, but sometimes is a 3-ring binder or some other manner that works for that particular location. You may have to ask an employee for the Walk Box; not all employees will know of its existence. Be prepared to be creative when looking for the Walk Box (it's part of the adventure). See also Registration Log and Walk Directions.


The Walk Directions are the form that you pick up at an event that provide the step-by-step route description. The Walk Directions are usually, but not always, accompanied with a map of the route. You are not allowed to take possession of Walk Directions unless you have first signed the Amateur Athletic Release of Liability in the form of either a Registration Log or a Start Card.


Events that can be done any time for credit. There is always a box or binder that is located in a store (usually) that has the walk directions, stamp(s), money envelope, and all the other materials necessary for the walker to self-register.

The Year Round Events page lists all the Year Round Events sponsored by Iowa's Walking Club and has links to the details pages on the AVA website. For Year Round Events throughout the U.S., purchase a Starting Point or go to the Clubs section of the AVA website. See also Traditional Event.


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