2023 Block Party Recap: Celebrating the impact of Mountaineers Donors and Volunteers

We celebrated the impact of donors and volunteers with a Block Party at our Seattle Program Center. We are grateful for the myriad ways that members support outdoor education and conservation in our community.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
June 09, 2023
2023 Block Party Recap: Celebrating the impact of Mountaineers Donors and Volunteers
Photo by Bri Vanderlinden.

Every year, thousands of members generously share their time, expertise, and financial resources to give back to our outdoor community and to Adventure with Purpose. They care deeply about creating an inclusive community around outdoor education and conservation. And this week, we threw a Block Party to express our appreciation, celebrate our mission impact, and have a bit of fun, too! 

Each of us arrives at The Mountaineers for myriad reasons: new members come to seek direction and guidance to safely and confidently explore the beauty of our Pacific Northwest landscapes. Parents find us through our summer camps, Mountain Workshops, and year-round clubs. Conservationists seek fellow advocates to care for and protect the lands and waters that sustain us. And no matter the activity that draws you in, time and time again we hear the community is what keeps people coming back to learn more.

Having recently released our updated Strategic Plan: Adventure with Purpose, this year’s appreciation event featured ways to get to know new friends, tour the teaching spaces within the Seattle Program Center, and learn more about our three strategic priorities to Lead Innovation in Outdoor Education, Engage a Vibrant Community of Outdoor Enthusiasts, and Advocate on Behalf of our Natural World.

IMG_2303.jpgEach attendee received a passport game promoting a way to meet new people, learn more about the strategic plan, write a love note for their favorite book, and tour the Seattle Program Center. Photo by Bri Vanderlinden.

We partnered with
Off the Rez to serve tasty Indian tacos and sweet fry bread. We sipped wine provided by Tinte Cellars and Rolling Bay Winery and toasted each other with local beers and other beverages. DJ Baby Van Beezly brought the beats and Mountaineers cornhole and Jenga kept us busy all evening. 

And, best of all, we got to spend time with a slice of our community - leaders, advocates, educators, and outdoor enthusiasts from across The Mountaineers - who care deeply about the outdoor experience. 

As shared by Board President Gabe Aeschliman in his welcome remarks, we are mindful of the Pacific Northwest Indian tribes who have stewarded these lands and waters since time immemorial. From mountaintops to mossy canyons, our shared love for the places of the Pacific Northwest is what binds our Mountaineers community together.

Party-goers had the opportunity to tour the facility, learning about how the outdoor facilities are used by courses and youth programs. Many took advantage of the extended bookstore hours to peruse the shelves, snag a new title, and fill out member recommendation cards for their favorite titles. Unsurprisingly, about a quarter of the recommendation cards were for our premiere publication, Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills. Some other crowd favorites included Miles from Nowhere, Mount Rainier National Park: An Artist’s Tour, the Urban Trails series, Turn Around Time, and The Wanderer: An Alaska Wolf’s Final Journey, newly released this spring.

Felicia_BlockParty.jpgSuper Volunteer Felicia Wibowo stops by the bookstore to get her party passport stamped. Those who visited each of the stations could return their passport for a chance at a prize drawing. Photo by Bri Vanderlinden.

Lead innovation in outdoor education

So many of our Block Party attendees regularly lead activities, serve on committees, or teach courses at The Mountaineers. We welcomed friends from the lodge communities, from the Kitsap Forest Theater, and contributors to the forthcoming 10th edition of Freedom. We are immensely grateful for all the ways people generously give their time and expertise in support of innovative and high-quality outdoor education.

Everyone was invited to test their Mountaineers knowledge with some trivia at the LEAD table. Did you know that donors help provide leadership development opportunities across the organization? Or that half of the charter members of The Mountaineers in 1906 were women? What about the fact that the most-awarded badge of all time is the Top Rope Belay Certification badge?

Lead_BlockParty.jpgGuests showed off their trivia knowledge to learn more about “Lead Innovation in Outdoor Education.” Photo by Hana Wilder

Engage a vibrant community of outdoor enthusiasts

Representatives from our Equity & Inclusion Committee were on site to share about the ways that we reduce barriers so that anyone who wants to can access outdoor education. Volunteers are at the front lines of helping people feel belonging outside. And donors invest in equity by investing in youth programs, scholarships, volunteer DEI training, and an accessible gear library.

20230607_193709.jpgTo highlight “Engage a Vibrant Community of Outdoor Enthusiasts,” members contributed to a community mural to reflect on joy and belonging in the outdoors. Photo by Mckenzie Campbell Davies.

A community mural posed the question “What does joy and belonging in the outdoors look, feel, and sound like to you?” Responses included: greeting fellow hikers, freedom of movement, the sound of birds and water, laughter, being tucked in to a tent or hammock, stewardship, being invited in, sharing awe with people different from you, being comfortable with your clothing and gear, sweating together, suffering together, and celebrating together.

Advocate on behalf of the natural world

As each of us builds a deeper connection to the natural world, we also find our place in protecting and conserving it for future generations. A spin-the-wheel activity at the ADVOCATE table highlighted how our donor-funded Conservation and Advocacy team infuses our community with conservation education and organizes our membership toward collective advocacy.

We also had the opportunity to join in action that very night. Several dozen members filled out personal postcards advocating for the protection of Mt. St. Helens and the Green River Valley. These postcards, and others written by Mountaineers over the last few months, will be sent to lawmakers in batches.

20230608_172159.jpgGuests took action at the “Advocate On Behalf of the Natural World” booth. Photo by Mckenzie Campbell Davies.

Support the mission of The Mountaineers

This annual appreciation event celebrates the role and impact of Mountaineers donors and Super Volunteers.

We help people confidently enjoy the outdoors, feel belonging outside, and conserve the natural world for generations to come. Volunteers lead almost every aspect of our programming, from leading trips to writing for Mountaineer magazine to teaching courses to cooking family-style meals at our lodges.

Explore Volunteer Opportunities

Donors amplify our mission by supporting youth programs, scholarships, leadership development, conservation advocacy, nonprofit outdoor publishing, volunteer support, and more. 


It was also meaningful to invite everyone back to this particular place once again. The Seattle Program Center has been one of the most-utilized homes for our community for the last 16 years. Even while we partied in Goodman Hall and enjoyed the shade of the basalt columns, summer programming was underway all around us. The Wilderness First Responder course lecture was wrapping up for the day. Young Counselors-in-Training were being trained in technical skills before Summer Day Camps start next week. Students in the Basic Climbing Course were participating in their final exam. And the youth in the Mountaineers Adventure Club were planning their upcoming summer adventures. It was a fitting scene to see some of our most dedicated volunteers and donors being celebrated and appreciated in the midst of it all.

Thank you to those of you who were able to join us, and we hope to see many new and returning faces at our Block Party in 2024.

IMG_5884.jpgA couple of young members enjoy the rock features outside the Seattle Program Center. Photo by Alfe Wood.

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Brad Peacock
Brad Peacock says:
Jun 09, 2023 05:10 PM

Was great to see friends and meet some Staff for the first time. Thank you for giviing up an evening to host us!

Bri Vanderlinden
Bri Vanderlinden says:
Jun 13, 2023 04:24 PM

Thanks Brad! We're so glad you were able to join us! Thank you for all you do as a volunteer!!