Leader Spotlight: Donna Kreuger

Leader Spotlight is a monthly blog to showcase our incredible volunteer leadership at The Mountaineers. It is a platform for our leaders to share tips and tricks, favorite memories and inspiration for new and rising leaders. Meet this month's featured leader: Donna Kreuger
Sara Ramsay Sara Ramsay
Adult Education Manager
August 29, 2017
Leader Spotlight: Donna Kreuger

For our Leader Spotlight this month we talked to Donna Kreuger, a Hike Leader who wants people to understand that they don't have to be a big, bad mountain climber to rock the outdoors!

Name: Donna Kreuger
Branch: Olympia
Where do you live? Lacey, WA
How long have you been a leader? 3 Years (member since 2013)
What activities do you lead? Hiking, Backpacking, Snowshoeing, Wilderness Skills, Outdoor Leadership

Leadership Questions

What inspired you to become a Leader for The Mountaineers?

 I started with the Mountaineers not knowing if I could "climb that mountain" or "keep up with the big boys" so I was worried about signing up for trips and then being the slow one! The more I spoke with people, the more I realized that there are a lot of members (and prospective members) who feel the same way. We need leaders at all levels of activities – even more so at the beginner levels to welcome people to our community. It has become my passion to welcome new members and show them that they can go as far into the organization as they desire by learning skills and techniques as well as developing fitness.

What is the favorite trip that you've led for The Mountaineers?

 Mount Townsend on a clear day. The look on peoples face when they arrive at the top, see the amazing views, and get a sense of their abilities and accomplishments.

How has your leadership style evolved as you've gained experience as a Leader?

 I have tried to learn from each trip - often from participants and especially from other leaders. I have learned to be more relaxed and spend time listening and helping teach skills as the trip progresses.

This photo [shown at the top of the blog] is from my final required rock scramble to graduate the Alpine Scramble course. It was a huge accomplishment that had me outside my comfort zone many times but the skills I learned have made me a safer hiker and a better leader.

Are there any learning experiences you can share with us, such as take-aways from a close call or a near miss?

 Sometimes, the leader must make the decision for the group's safety no matter what. That trail will always be there another day and an emphasis on group safety is most important. Deciding to call a hike when trees starts falling around you or in sudden hail showers are easy decisions. Deciding to call a hike for less obvious reasons can be difficult but I have learned from some incredible leaders that making those choices will always be the best path.

What advice do you have for aspiring leaders in The Mountaineers community?

As a leader, take the time to keep learning and developing your own skills. Take time to learn from other leaders and your participants and take time to enjoy what you do. Your joy in sharing your expertise with your team will come through and inspire others to lead.

Anything else we should know about you?

 I often refer to myself as a chubby little grandma rocking the hills. The mountains are my home and it gives me joy to do what I do and to share what I can to help others explore their own capabilities.

is there Someone that you'd like to see in the spotlight?

Send an email to Sara Ramsay to make a recommendation for one of our upcoming Leader Spotlights!

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Brent Williams
Brent Williams says:
Aug 31, 2017 08:35 AM

great write up - go Donna!