2023 Impact Report: Leading Innovation in Outdoor Education

Donations support a culture of learning through books, teaching spaces, volunteer-led courses, and more. Read about how The Mountaineers led innovation in outdoor education in 2023.
Danielle Graham Danielle Graham
8-year member, Foothills Leadership Committee
June 30, 2024
2023 Impact Report: Leading Innovation in Outdoor Education
Photo by Skye Michel.

With the recent release of our annual impact report, we're celebrating all that donors and volunteers made possible through The Mountaineers in 2023. 

On my first Mountaineers field trip, students milled around in the dark and the rain, waiting for the leaders to give us directions. I was nervous and knew no one. An instructor made her way through the crowd to check in with students, and when she reached me, she said that she hoped I’d have a great day and to make sure to come back to instruct the next season. Immediately I felt better, both for the friendly greeting and the vote of confidence. If she was encouraging me to come back and instruct, I must be more competent than I felt, right?

Instructors and trip leaders like these make a huge difference for our newer members and first-time participants. This winter, the memory of that field trip resurfaced while listening to Priya Sinha’s presentation on Servant Leadership in the mountains at the Leadership Conference in Seattle. Through empathy, encouraging growth, and active listening, she encouraged us to create bonds with our trip participants for more successful and enjoyable outcomes.

I am a better leader because of the volunteers and instructors who make up our Mountaineers community. Last year, I learned how to create authentic connections with my students and improve instructional materials thanks to a presentation by Liz Riggs Meder on crafting impactful learning experiences. I also gained valuable insight on how to foster inclusive environments through the newly-launched Emotional Safety in the Outdoors eLearning course. And I’m looking forward to expanding my leadership skills by taking advantage of Mountaineers Books publications as well, such as The Outdoor Leader: Resilience, Integrity, and Adventure. Thanks to the many virtual and in-person leadership trainings, as well as Mountaineers Books offerings, I can not only learn from, but be a part of The Mountaineers effort to lead innovation in outdoor education.

Read the 2023 Impact Report

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  • Foundations Courses Offered In-Person. Foundations of Leadership & Foundations of Instruction Courses were offered in-person for the first time in fiscal year 2023. While available online year-round, the in-person offering facilitated cross-activity collaborative learning and community-building.
  • 350+ Volunteers Benefit from Leadership Development Seminars. The donor-funded Leadership Development Series completed its fifth successful year, providing training for experienced and aspiring leaders alike. These opportunities offer new ideas for instructing, decision making, improving safety, and having fun. Topics included Equity & Inclusion, Group Facilitation & Mentorship, Risk Management, and more.
  • Volunteers Facilitate Fun and More. Community-based fun is the heartbeat of The Mountaineers. Our 3,000 volunteers infuse their courses and activities with principles of inclusion, responsibility, collaboration, and connection with each other and the natural world, making for a more enjoyable outdoor experience.

2023 Titles Help People Find Their Way Outdoors

In 2023, Mountaineers Books published seven guidebooks, headlined by The Art of Shralpinism by Jeremy Jones, A Fine Line by Graham Zimmerman, and A Climber’s Guide to the Teton Range, 4th Edition by Renny Jackson and Leigh Ortenburger. Books like A Climber’s Guide – a comprehensive volume which took over seven years to produce – make The Mountaineers a trusted source of outdoor education and underscore the value of mission-driven publishing. It’s the same ethos that drives Freedom of the Hills, a willingness to invest time and effort in ambitious projects that serve as the go-to resource for adventurers. In addition to our own titles, Mountaineers Books released 19 guidebooks for aligned organizations, including Colorado Mountain Club and the American Alpine Club.

The Mountaineers® is a 501(c)(3) organization supported through earned revenue and elevated through charitable contributions. Our staff work to support our seven branches (Bellingham, Everett, Foothills, Kitsap, Olympia, Seattle, and Tacoma), three lodges (Baker, Meany, and Stevens), and our Kitsap Forest Theater. Tax ID: 27-3009280. 7700 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115.