CEO Update: State of the Organization Recap - April 2023

On April 27, 2023, staff and board members shared a “state of the organization” update with members of our community, and we’re happy to once again be in a strong position to deepen our impact in the years ahead, especially as we implement our new strategic plan.
Tom Vogl Tom Vogl
CEO, The Mountaineers
June 07, 2023
CEO Update: State of the Organization Recap - April 2023
Koma Kulshan's (Mount Baker's) Easton Glacier. Photo by Alvaro Juarez.

On April 27, 2023, staff and board members once again shared a “state of the organization” update with members of our community. For the last several years, our state of the organization updates largely focused on how we were navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. In this State of the Organization, we showed how we have largely moved beyond the challenges brought by the pandemic. We also celebrated highlights of our successes so far this year and previewed implementation of our newly-updated strategic plan, Adventure with Purpose. The Mountaineers is in a position of strength and poised to deepen the impact of our mission in the years ahead. 


In many ways, The Mountaineers is even stronger than it was four years ago, a short time before the pandemic began. Membership has grown, our financial position is more robust, and we continue to be nationally admired as a highly effective outdoor education and conservation organization. This is why the vision behind our strategic plan is called Adventure with Purpose: we envision a world where our adventures extend beyond the reach of our own personal enjoyment and where all people can confidently enjoy and are inspired to protect the natural world. 

Pursuing our mission and this vision, we’ve achieved big things together. For example:

Community Engagement

  • Membership is now nearly 16,000 strong, having rebounded from a pandemic low of 13,500.
  • Nearly 3,000 people have volunteered with The Mountaineers in the last year. Our volunteer-led programs are one of the things we’re best known for and our volunteer leaders do an exceptional job sharing their expertise and passion for the outdoors with others.
  • Our donors continue to support  the mission and impact of The Mountaineers in unprecedented ways. We have twice as many Peak Society members as we did in 2018, and we’ve added 41 new Summit Society members in the last four years. 

Leadership and Belonging

  • In the last year, we rolled out new courses to support our leaders. Foundations of Leadership and Foundations of Instruction are two of the courses that invest in the development of our volunteer leaders.
  • At the intersection of leadership development and our Equity & Inclusion program, our new Emotional Safety in the Outdoors builds on our long tradition of a safety-oriented culture while striving towards the goal of being a more welcoming, inclusive organization.
  • Our Equity & Inclusion (E&I) Committee also launched a comprehensive E&I Toolkit to provide leaders across the organization with more and better resources to create a stronger culture of belonging. 


  • We continue to expand our youth programs, introducing young people to the transformative power of the natural world. In 2022 alone, we provided more than 15,000 youth experiences, a 50% increase over our pre-pandemic high. 
  • The Mountaineers Gear Library has continued to expand its ability to be a community resource for people of all ages to more easily and comfortably access the outdoors. By helping reduce a critical barrier to outdoor participation, the Gear Library makes the natural world more accessible. 

Mountaineers Books

  • Our publishing division, Mountaineers Books, continues to be one of the most important ways The Mountaineers expands the reach of its mission far beyond the Pacific Northwest. We reach hundreds of thousands of people across the globe every year through our books and awareness campaigns. 
  • Mountaineers Books performed exceptionally well during the pandemic, as so many people went outdoors to connect with others and for physical, mental, and spiritual health. We typically publish 30-35 new titles per year, and sales of our new Mountaineers Books titles have continued to outperform expectations this year. 
  • As we enter our seventh decade and look toward the upcoming 10th Edition of The Freedom of the Hills, Mountaineers Books remains at the leading edge of outdoor education. 

Conservation and Advocacy

  • Building on our long and storied history of being a fierce advocate for public lands, The Mountaineers and our community have been highly effective conservationists in the past year. 
  • Collectively, we’ve successfully advocated at a national level for legislation such as the Inflation Reduction Act. Locally, we’ve spoken up for investments in Washington State public lands and to assure we protect the places we love such as the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.
  • Much of our work in conservation and advocacy has been done through effective partnerships. Our leadership with Outdoor Alliance Washington is an excellent example of how The Mountaineers works with other outdoor recreation and conservation organizations to effect positive change. 
  • We continue to focus on reducing our carbon footprint as part of our commitment to do our part to address the climate crisis. In the past year, we formalized our Net Zero vision, established a fund to resource carbon footprint reduction projects, and are on our way to achieving net zero at the Tacoma Program Center this year. 


Developed with input from our community, board, and staff, our newly-updated strategic plan, Adventure with Purpose, will be our guiding light in the years ahead. Our strategic priorities are built upon the foundation of our previous five-year plan, Vision 2022: 

  • Lead Innovation in Outdoor Education,
  • Engage a Vibrant Community of Outdoor Enthusiasts, and 
  • Advocate on Behalf of the Natural World. 

These priorities will inspire a trail map of actions and investments intended to best serve The Mountaineers community and protect the places we love. We are excited to bring this vision to life with your support.

Each of the three strategic priorities has a defined vision outcome:a bold statement of what we’re striving to achieve. In support of each of the three strategic priorities, we have three goals that articulate more specifically how we intend to accomplish the vision outcomes. 

Our attention in the months ahead is to finalize a rolling, three-year implementation plan that will include resource requirements and strategies. We will engage our community to support the implementation of the plan through opportunities such as volunteerism and financial contributions. What we accomplish with Adventure with Purpose will largely be driven by the things that most inspire our community.


To hear more highlights of how The Mountaineers is doing and details about Adventure with Purpose, you may view a recording of our April 27, 2023 state of the organization Zoom presentation. And, feel free to reach out to me directly with any questions or feedback: or 206-521-6009.

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