2021 Recap: A Year in Review

Happy New Year! As we move forward into 2022, we want to take some time to celebrate and reflect on our collective achievements during 2021.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
January 07, 2022

The Mountaineers is an incredible community of adventurers, students, instructors, advocates, and leaders. We’re proud of our community for persevering through another demanding year, prioritizing safety, and fostering connections to the outdoors. As we close the door on 2021 and look ahead to 2022, we reflect on our core values and how they’ve guided us through this past year. 

ADVENTURE

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, outdoor recreation has been a solace for many. The Mountaineers is proud to provide countless opportunities to create a safe connection between people and places, while supporting the health and wellness of our members.

This year, we offered adventure in many ways, including kicking off a beginner hiking course to expanded options for teen summer camps.  We released more than 30 new book titles to help people learn new skills, find places to visit, and experience adventures through the pages. We are also proud to have three National Outdoor Book Award winners! This Land of Snow took gold in the "Journeys" category, the Braided River book Orca: Shared Waters, Shared Home, won for "Nature and Environment," and The Packraft Handbook (coming soon to Mountaineers Books) was the winner of "Outdoor Adventure Guides" category. 

Our community continues to be a model for responsible recreation, following The Mountaineers COVID-19 guidance to provide safe and consistent programming. This allowed us to get outside and to stay connected as a community. In January 2021, we expanded our gear library to support individuals, families, and adult groups, in addition to youth. Together, we traveled 160,022 miles and climbed 39,939,244 feet! 

EDUCATION

Our engagement of thousands of members through virtual, hybrid, and once again in-person programs provided exciting growth in our educational opportunities. In fiscal year 2021 (October 2020-September 2021), we offered 259 seminars and clinics and 170 courses! This totaled 10,706 educational experiences for our outdoor community. 

After the 2020 slowdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our Mountain Workshops successfully relaunched during 2021. Thanks to the No Child Left Inside grant awarded in July, The Mountaineers will receive $150,000 in grant funding over the next two years to directly support Mountain Workshops and expose more youth to the outdoors. 

For continued member education, this past February we revamped the Equity & Inclusion Resources page, which provides a broad array of tools and resources to become knowledgeable about issues concerning equity and inclusion.

We're also particularly excited to increase our ongoing leadership development opportunities for Mountaineers volunteers through our Leadership Development Series. During the past fiscal year, we’ve continued to offer all of our Leadership Development Series seminars remotely. We were thrilled to host 30 webinars for our volunteer leaders with a total of 805 registrations.

Thanks to the creativity of our dedicated community of volunteers, we were able to keep our community engaged through another tough year.

VOLUNTEERISM

Volunteerism remains at the core of our mission. As we often say, our volunteers are the “secret sauce” for providing high-quality, community-focused outdoor programming. Thank you to the 2,178 members who volunteered their time this past fiscal year, and to the many others who supported us from afar. Nearly everything we do is driven by volunteer initiative and support!

Through another challenging pandemic year, volunteers continued to engage with our community in unique ways. 515  volunteer trip leaders led 2,526 participants on 2,374 trips while navigating evolving safety guidance, a testament to our volunteers' dedication to safety and outdoor leadership. 

In the 2021 fiscal year, our community reported a whopping 110,112 volunteer hours! And while that number is impressive, we know it is only a portion of the total time our volunteers contributed to our mission and programs. Reporting volunteer hours is critical for our organization’s internal tracking, as well as our external grant applications and other fundraising efforts. For a reminder of the best practices for tracking your volunteer time, check out our How To: Tracking Volunteer Hours blog.

This past May we announced a new Board of Directors Nomination Process designed to discover potential and qualified board members and bring diverse perspectives to our organizational leadership. We committed to an equitable process wherein all members of our community have equal access to and opportunity for consideration, and were delighted to see the process identify individuals who would not have previously been considered. We hosted elections in October, and our newly elected board members represent the most diverse class that we’ve ever had.

ADVOCACY 

Our community had a landmark year in advocating for our outdoor spaces, including welcoming Conor Marshall to our staff team as our Advocacy and Engagement Manager. With this new role's support, The Mountaineers is will lead an initiative called Outdoor Alliance Washington (OA Washington), a network of human-powered outdoor recreation organizations. OA Washington represents more than 75,000 members who recreate on public lands and waters in Washington State, with the goal to empower and engage recreation enthusiasts to protect Washington’s outdoor spaces and tackle the climate crisis. 

Last winter, we shared our funding priorities for outdoor programs in Washington’s state budget. Hundreds of you took action to share those priorities with your state legislators. Two key outdoor programs saw record levels of funding: the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program, and No Child Left Inside. We look forward to these investments helping to conserve natural spaces and get more kids outside. 

We were also honored to have our Conservation and Advocacy Director Betsy Robblee invited to testify before Congress in support of the Simplifying Outdoor Access to Recreation (SOAR) Act, our permitting reform bill. 

Our members and volunteers have been busy supporting conservation and stewardship efforts as well. In the past fiscal year we offered 122 stewardship activities, in which 863 participants volunteered 1,191 hours. We also awarded 597 Low Impact Recreation badges this year, compared to the 354 that we awarded last year! Our community plays a critical role in protecting our wild places, in words and in actions. Read the perspective of Helen Cherullo and Erika Lundahl, who lead Braided River, the conservation imprint of Mountaineers Books. 

COMMUNITY

During 2021, we offered a healthy dose of virtual and in-person community events to share stories of adventure to thousands of participants. This included virtual Beta & Brews for our climbers, Backpacker Pajama Parties (join the 2022 series!), the BeWild Speaker Series, the Mountainfilm on Tour screening, and more

This past fiscal year we publicly celebrated our partnership with the nonprofit, Climbers of Color. Climbers of Color aims to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the climbing and mountaineering community by developing leaders of color. As we well know at The Mountaineers, teamwork and a shared passion for the outdoors can produce incredible outcomes.

Our outdoor community not only gives back as volunteers, they elevate our programs through a strong culture of philanthropy. This past fiscal year, more than 3,300 individual donors stepped up to keep our mission alive during these unprecedented times by raising over $807,000 in contributions. This incredible demonstration of support from our members and donors combined with the funds we received from our corporate and foundation supporters provided a grand total of $1,245,684 in philanthropic funds.  Of those donations, $156,870 came from 2,165 donors making their first-ever gifts to The Mountaineers. Additionally, 12 new Summit Society members pledged a legacy gift in their estate plans to The Mountaineers, bringing our Summit Society to 67 members. We also saw a record-breaking 266 members make a Peak Society-level donation of $1,000 or above in 2021! As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, philanthropic revenue enhances our ability to deliver on our mission. These donor funds are what make mission-critical programs like our conservation efforts, youth outreach and access programs, publishing division, volunteer leadership development, scholarships, and more possible.

As we kick off our new fiscal year, we are overwhelmed with gratitude for the 350+ members who helped us exceed our $150,000 goal during our year-end appeal, a testament to the commitment of The Mountaineers community. This will help ensure that our donor-funded programs will have the resources needed to get more people outside and provide stewardship for our wild places.

THANK YOU

This past year, like the year prior, was full of challenges. However, we begin 2022 on a high note, full of hope for the many opportunities and adventures ahead. Thank you to each and every member, volunteer, donor, and reader for your ongoing commitment to The Mountaineers mission and application of our core values. We look forward to seeing you in 2022

LEAD IMAGE BY Brian Degenhardt.