Announcing Our Equity & Inclusion Strategy + April 21 Town Hall

Join us on April 21 to dive into The Mountaineers organizational Equity & Inclusion (E&I) strategy and priorities.
Serene Chen Serene Chen
Equity & Inclusion Committee Member
April 14, 2021

With the addition of four new members, the Equity & Inclusion Steering Committee started building The Mountaineers first organization-wide Equity & Inclusion (E&I) strategy in the latter half of 2020. That work has continued into this year and we are thrilled to share it with you now. 

We are hosting an Equity & Inclusion virtual Town Hall on April 21, 2021. Join us to hear more about the strategy and to share your feedback and ideas - all are welcome to attend and participate.  

View a recording of the town hall event:

The Mountaineers Equity & Inclusion Strategy

The Mountaineers Equity & Inclusion strategy is grounded in The Mountaineers Core Value of Community. We provide opportunities for all - a diverse and inclusive outdoors inspires unity, respect, and passion for the places we love. Our committee’s goal is to address the systemic inequities that prevent The Mountaineers from being a place where people from all backgrounds and life experiences can connect with the outdoors.

Our strategy addresses E&I across the organization, with a focus on long-term, systematic, and cultural changes. The strategy and objectives map directly to the five primary goals outlined in the Vision 2022 Strategic Plan: Community, Volunteers, Youth & Families, Advocacy, and Impact on Planet.

Many of the listed objectives support more than one goal, but are listed under one goal for simplicity. Our strategic plan, like The Mountaineers itself, reflects the interconnectedness of our people, places, activities, courses, advocacy, and communications. 

Community 

  • Outcome: Our membership better reflects the communities in which we operate; our core values are reflected in our members' experiences; a diverse and inclusive outdoors that inspires unity, respect, and passion for the places we love.
  • High-level objectives include embedding an equitable, repeatable process for staff hiring and recruitment, as well as launching a new board recruitment process in 2021 that is transparent and increases Board member diversity. 
  • We continue to embed representation across our communication channels and publications by spotlighting underrepresented stories and images in our magazine and our publishing.

Volunteers 

  • Outcome: Volunteers understand the importance of E&I for the future success of the organization and are committed and equipped to increasing transparency and equity.
  • High-level objectives include offering regular diversity, equity, and inclusion trainings for volunteers and creating a toolkit for leaders with best practices, tools, and resources to help create a welcoming, equitable culture and experiences within activities, trips, and courses.

Youth & Families

  • Outcome: Prioritize youth programming that incorporates equity and creates pathways to long-term access to the outdoors for participants and their families.
  • High-level objectives include equity/anti-racism training for youth-serving staff and volunteers and ongoing communications to share information with Mountain Workshop partner organizations, participants, and families about the Gear Library and other resources to get outside.

Advocacy

  • Outcome: Fight for equity in legislation; position the outdoors as a place for all people to feel belonging.
  • High-level objectives include launching a land acknowledgement resource guide so all of our volunteers and members understand the importance of land acknowledgment and have the tools to participate in this practice.

Impact on Planet 

  • Outcome: Our response to the climate crisis is centered around equity.
  • High-level objective is to center equity outcomes as a success measure in our climate strategy, which builds on the Climate Change Statement we released last year.

We are still refining the strategy and working on defining additional objectives - please be sure to join the town hall to share your ideas.

We are also now tracking progress against these outcomes and plan to report with progress updates twice a year. 

Progress Over the Past 6 Months

In addition to building the strategy, here are some of the other E&I highlights since the addition of the new steering committee members in September:

  • Last month, we issued a statement in support of the Asian American & Pacific Islander community in light of the tragic murders in Atlanta, and recognizing that AAPIs are the largest community of color in The Mountaineers. 
  • In February, we revamped the Equity & Inclusion Resources page, which provides a broad array of tools and resources for continued member education - check it out!
  • In January, SuJ’n Chon, one of the committee’s founding members, wrote “What’s In a Name?” explaining the intention behind our committee's name.
  • From October to March, we ran a 21-Week Equity Challenge in the Equity & Inclusion Working Group, modeled after the 21-Day Challenge created by the Michigan League for Public Policy.
  • In October we publicly celebrated our partnership with Climbers of Color. Established in 2017, Climbers of Color is a Washington State nonprofit that aims to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the climbing and mountaineering community by developing leaders of color. 
  • Between October and April, we offered 11 successful diversity, equity, and inclusion trainings for volunteers with a total of 149 unique participants and 258 total registrations.

GET INVOLVED! E&I WORKING GROUP

You can join the conversations and be a part of improving The Mountaineers by joining our Equity & Inclusion Working Group. The Working Group was established in September 2018 to offer a forum for our members interested in contributing to The Mountaineers work to increase equity in the outdoors. This work is based on our belief that a diverse and inclusive outdoors inspires unity, respect, and passion for the places we love. This is a reflection of our core values, which were written by our community. 

The Working Group consists of ~150 individuals who have opted in to provide feedback and resources and participate in conversations as it relates to diversity, equity, and inclusion work. People in this group agree to receive messages from staff and members of the E&I Steering Committee a few times or more a month, and to participate thoughtfully and respectfully with other members of this working group. Members participate in good faith, and continued participation is predicated on respectful communications and aligning with the norms of the Working Group.

If you're interested in joining the Working Group Basecamp, please send an email outlining your interest and any relevant experience to kristinac@mountaineers.org

Lead Image by Cheryl Talbert.


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Dick Hayek
Dick Hayek says:
Apr 14, 2021 04:01 PM

Although one of the stated goals of the Equity and Inclusion Committee is to support affinity groups, including singles, there has been no effort to make it viable for a Singles Activities Committee to operate within the Mountaineers. As a result there is currently no active Singles Activities Committee in the Mountaineers because such a committee is not permitted to recruit leaders for its principal activity, as other outdoor committees are permitted to do. No outdoor committee can exist without activity leaders. While Singles Activities committees were permitted to operate within the Mountaineers they had strong participation and received many compliments from those participants. The E & I Committee needs to act to end this discrimination.

Dick Hayek

Sara Ramsay
Sara Ramsay says:
Apr 15, 2021 10:05 AM

@Dick - Activity leaders are approved by activity committees, which roll up to branches and are governed by Clubwide Activity Standards. This is the process used for every committee, in every activity, and at every branch. Across all branches of The Mountaineers, Hike/Backpack Leaders are approved by a branch Hiking/Backpacking Committee. Non-activity committees (including affinity groups) also roll up to branches, and while they may sponsor activities in accordance with Clubwide Activity Standards, they must work with their branch activity committee to vet and approve leaders.

All committees at The Mountaineers are volunteer-led, must be approved by one of our branches, and must operate within the organization’s policies and procedures. Singles Activities Committees have been supported in the past (and would be supported in the future) when there’s volunteer initiative/leadership, support from a sponsoring branch, and adherence to our policies and procedures. Please follow your branch process for establishing or reinstating a committee, including the branch process for leader vetting and approval. If you have concerns about a branch’s process, please contact our VP of Branches, Peter Hendrickson.