Equity & Inclusion: 2021 Actions + Join the Committee - Apply Now!

We are working towards a vision where everyone feels belonging in our Mountaineers community. Learn about our most recent efforts in Equity & Inclusion, and apply now to join the Equity & Inclusion Committee in 2022 and help us on our journey. 
Serene Chen Serene Chen
Equity & Inclusion Committee
November 09, 2021

At The Mountaineers, we believe a diverse and inclusive outdoors inspires unity, respect, and passion for the places we love. Our Equity & Inclusion (E&I) Committee was founded in 2018 and works across the organization, with a focus on long-term, systemic, cultural change. We are excited to share the progress we’ve made since our April Town Hall and to announce that applications are now open to join the E&I Committee in 2022. 

We are looking for 3-5 passionate volunteers to join the Equity & Inclusion Steering Committee, and we are always looking for interested members to join the wider E&I Working Group

EQUITY & INCLUSION STRATEGY AND PROGRESS OVER THE LAST 6 MONTHS

We introduced our first E&I strategy  in our April 2021 update and hosted a live virtual Town Hall. Our E&I Priorities map directly to the five primary goals outlined in the Vision 2022 Strategic Plan: Community, Volunteers, Youth & Families, Advocacy, and Impact on Planet and we committed to reporting updates twice per year.

Our strategic plan, like The Mountaineers itself, reflects the interconnectedness of our people, places, activities, courses, advocacy, and communications. Here are some of our highlights from the past six months, aligned to our five strategic goals and intended outcomes:

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.

  • Board Nominations: In May we announced a new Board of Directors Nomination Process designed to discover potential and qualified board members and bring diverse perspectives to our organizational leadership. The process was designed by an ad hoc subcommittee  of the Governance Committee in partnership with the Equity & Inclusion Committee. We committed to an equitable process wherein all members of our community have equal access to and opportunity for consideration, and were delighted to see the process identify individuals who would not have previously been considered. We hosted elections in October, and our newly elected board members represent the most diverse class that we’ve ever had. This change is long overdue, and we are looking forward to continuing to change the face of our leadership thanks to this new, more equitable process.

  • Scholarships: The Mountaineers supports our outdoor community with more than $75,000 in scholarships annually, which members can use for membership dues, youth programs, and our courses. We just launched a new application last week after working over the past several months to revise and improve the application experience. Previously, we asked for proof of income via a pay stub or tax return, which felt invasive to applicants. We’ve removed this requirement and we’re now focused on understanding how a scholarship would help remove barriers and support an applicant’s volunteerism.  We also added optional demographic information to help us track who scholarships are supporting (data we’ve never had before). The new application is phase 1 and our 2022 focus will include a focus on equity and outcomes.

  • Merchandise: We recently designed new Mountaineers merchandise, including expanding our size offerings. Our new shirts will be offered in sizes XS-4X for men and women, and will be available with hats and buffs this winter. We're also in ongoing conversations with our brand partners to receive inclusive-sized gear and clothing donations for the Gear Library.

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.

      • Course Application Review: Our Basic Climbing Course is one of our most popular courses in all of our branches, and our Seattle course is the largest we offer. This year, the course leaders partnered with E&I Committee members to audit their course application for opportunities to improve and track equity. We hope to continue to iterate on these learnings in the years to come, and spread the knowledge across the organization to other application-based courses. 

      • Equity Training: five members of staff participated in a two-day training with the Racial Equity Institute. We hope to continue to apply these learnings into additional resources and solutions for volunteers.

YOUTH & FAMILIES

Outcome: Prioritize youth programming that incorporates equity and creates pathways to long-term access to the outdoors for participants and their families.

    • Grant Funding: The Mountaineers was awarded $150K from the Washington State No Child Left Inside (NCLI) grant program for the July 1, 2021- June 30, 2023 grant cycle. As a result of this grant funding, The Mountaineers will be able to engage with 3,000 youth through our Mountain Workshops program, a collaborative partnership program that aims to expose youth from all backgrounds with transferable outdoor skills.

Looking ahead, we’ll continue offering ongoing Leadership Development Series Seminars on a wide variety of topics, including sessions on Equity & Inclusion. We are also still actively seeking a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) curriculum expert to help us create a course on Equity & Emotional Safety in the Outdoors.

In addition, we’re excited to share that our #GivingTuesday fundraising campaign, launching on November 30, will specifically raise funds for scholarships to support the removal of financial barriers to outdoor recreation.

Join the Equity & Inclusion Committee

Since December 2018, our Equity & Inclusion Committee, chartered by the Board of Directors, has been overseeing our E&I work. We’re looking for 3-5 additional volunteers to join our committee. If you’re excited to expand our E&I efforts and dig into brave conversations and solutions, we want to hear from you! 

TIME COMMITMENT

The E&I Committee meets in the evening on the first Monday of the month via Zoom (2 hours per month, 10-12 months per year). We’ll resume quarterly in-person meetings when it’s safe to do so. This work takes commitment, so you should expect to attend the majority of our monthly meetings and actively participate in sub-committee work between meetings. You serve a 2-year term, with the opportunity to extend in 2-year increments. 

SELECTION CRITERIA AND PROCESS

We are looking for committee members that are actively involved in the organization, as much of our work is focused on internal Mountaineers processes. Given the complexity of the organization, it’s helpful if you are already a volunteer on a Mountaineers committee, however it is not a requirement. We are looking for applicants who have a perspective on process and leadership gaps within The Mountaineers (and want to help fix them) and for applicants with previous experience in DE&I work and/or leading organizational change.

We ask all candidates to share their identities so that we can be intentional about representation and intersectionality on the committee. We seek to represent as many identities as possible, while recognizing that no one person can speak for a group of individuals. Candidates will also be evaluated based on a personal statement outlining their interest and commitment to this work and on their relevant lived, professional, and volunteer experience.

The identities/backgrounds considered are:

  • Ethnicity and/or race
  • Gender identity
  • Age
  • Disability status
  • Military status
  • Sexual orientation
  • Parent or guardian status
  • Branch affiliation
  • Primary activities
  • Length of involvement and engagement with The Mountaineers
  • Leadership experience

Applications will be reviewed by the current committee members. Applications are open until Dec 5, 2021, and will be reviewed in December. Final candidates will be contacted in early January 2022, hopefully to join our committee for our February 7, 2022 meeting.

APPLY

The Mountaineers are committed to creating a diverse committee that includes people with a variety of backgrounds and experiences, and who are passionate about E&I work. We welcome applicants from underrepresented groups including Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), women, LGBTQIA+, veterans, persons with disabilities, and those 55 and older.

LEARN MORE

You can learn more about our Equity & Inclusion work on our E&I Committee page, which includes a list of resources and all of the blogs we’ve posted on E&I to date. 

Join The E&I WORKING GROUP

The Equity & Inclusion 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. 

The Working Group consists of 150 individuals who have opted in to provide feedback and resources and participate in conversations as it relates to E&I work within The Mountaineers and in the broader community. People in this group agree to receive messages 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'd like to join the Working Group Basecamp, please contact kristinac@mountaineers.org.

Main image by Brendan Moore-Penaskovic.


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