Changes to Leadership Development Programming in 2020-21

Our leadership development programming is going to look a little different this year during the pandemic. Learn more about the changes planned for the 2020-2021 season and get involved!
Sara Ramsay Sara Ramsay
Volunteer Development Manager
August 27, 2020
Changes to Leadership Development Programming in 2020-21

If the COVID-19 pandemic has brought one consistency to our lives, it is uncertainty. Leadership Development is a central component of The Mountaineers strategic plan, and over the past six years, we've grown our leadership development programming at a near-exponential rate. And while the pandemic doesn't change our commitment to this priority, it does impact our approach. We're excited to announce some big changes coming for the 2020-2021 season, and we look forward to connecting with you as a part of our reimagined programming.

What will the next several months look like, both in the broader world and here at The Mountaineers? Our staff and volunteers have continued to puzzle through that question over the past six months, planning and re-planning our operations to both meet the needs of our community and the changing landscape of the pandemic.

2020 Leadership Conference is Canceled 

This December was to mark the seventh year of our annual Leadership Conference, an event that has grown to include more than 350 volunteers and 16+ sessions over the course of one day. The goals of this event are twofold, leadership development and community building, and over the past several months we've explored multiple options to reformat the Leadership Conference during the pandemic.

Given the trajectory of the pandemic, the only practical and prudent way for us to run the Leadership Conference is a fully online program. The soft-feedback we've received from volunteers during our transition to digital programming indicates little interest in attending a full-day of online programming. With this in mind, we've made the decision to cancel the 2020 Leadership Conference, and will instead channel that energy into an expanded Leadership Development Series.

Expanded Leadership Development Series

In an effort to retain and build on the momentum of our successful leadership development programming, we will expand our Leadership Development Series in a fully online format. A benefit with online programming is that all sessions will be equally available to leaders from every branch, and, when possible, content will be recorded and posted to the website for later viewing.

We believe ongoing programming - rather than a single day of programming - is the most appealing and impactful option for our community during this pandemic. Sessions will primarily be offered from October through April, and members will receive a continuing education skill badge for each session they attend.

View Upcoming Sessions

Seminars will be added to the website as they are scheduled and confirmed!

New Leadership Development Badges

All of the sessions offered as a part of this year’s Leadership Development Series will be organized into the following categories. We’ve expanded our structure of leadership development skill badges to include each of these categories, allowing individual volunteers and committees to better track their continuing education. Badges will expire after three years.

  • Risk ManagementRisk Assessment, Decision Making, Pre-Trip Planning, Case Studies & Incident Review, Legal Considerations
  • Education & InstructionPrinciples of Instruction, Giving & Receiving Feedback, Lesson Planning, Assessment & Self-Assessment
  • Group Facilitation: Group Management & Leadership, Building Cohesive Teams, Setting Goals & Expectations, Conflict Resolution, Effective Communication, Partnership & Mentorship
  • Equity & Inclusion: Framework, terminology, and the practical implementation of structural changes to improve equity in Mountaineers programs. Topics will primarily cover race, gender, and sexuality.
  • Admin & LogisticsBecoming a Mountaineers Leader, Branch & Committee Chair Leadership, Mentorship, Behavior Complaints & Incident Reporting, Website Tips & Tricks
  • Continuing Education: General sessions that build leadership but aren't otherwise directly related to one of the above categories.


Have an idea for a presentation topic or possible presenter? A modest stipend is available to presenters, please contact Sara Ramsay for additional information.


Volunteer leadership development opportunities like this  are made possible through the generous support of our organization’s charitable donors. If you’re inspired to contribute, please consider making a donation to The Mountaineers.

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