Equity & Inclusion: April 2022 Town Hall Recap

On April 12, 2022, our Equity & Inclusion Committee hosted a virtual Town Hall to introduce our new committee members, share actions taken in the last year, and hear from our community. Read a recap of the event or watch the recording.
Kristina Ciari Tursi Kristina Ciari Tursi
Membership & Communications Director
April 25, 2022

Nearly five years ago, The Mountaineers announced our new equity and inclusion programs, including our Equity & Inclusion committee. This work stems from our core belief that a diverse and inclusive outdoors inspires unity, respect, and passion for the places we love, and our vision to create an outdoor community where all people feel belonging.

On April 12, 2022, we invited our community to join us at a virtual Equity & Inclusion Town Hall. After kicking off with a Land Acknowledgement led by committee member Robert White, then agreeing to Glenn Singleton's Four Agreements of Courageous Conversations, the committee members in attendance introduced themselves, their pronouns, and their connection to The Mountaineers. You can learn more about all of our members on our Equity & Inclusion (E&I) Committee page, and meet the new faces in our latest introduction blog.

To provide context for our greater work, Committee Chair Serene Chen talked briefly about our organizational structure, as seen in this org chart, as well as our Vision 2022 strategic planning process. In 2020, our committee built an E&I Strategy based off of the goals outlined in Vision 2022, and shared those goals in last year's April 2021 Town Hall. From a high level, our strategy addresses E&I across the organization, with a focus on long-term 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. Our E&I plan, like The Mountaineers itself, reflects the interconnectedness of our people, places, activities, courses, advocacy, and communications. 

Next, we talked more about the importance of this work and how we're approaching it, before providing an overview of the projects we've been working on in the last year. About halfway through we paused for questions, then allowed participants to opt-into breakout rooms where we discussed three current focus areas:

  • Pathways to volunteering
  • Leader tool kid
  • Spreading the E&I message

Here is a recording from the event if you prefer to watch, otherwise read on for additional information. If you're interested in supporting this work, we encourage you to join our working group

the importance of Equity & Inclusion 

Creating spaces where all people feel belonging is important, specifically at The Mountaineers:

  • Our mission is to help ALL people explore, conserve, learn about, and enjoy the lands and waters of the PNW and beyond. We believe all people should have equal opportunities and access to engage with nature.
  • Outdoor culture is a micro-community in the greater society, and everything that happens in the community at large impacts the people here. 
  • No one can escape their culture and identity by simply going outdoors.
  • As demographics evolve, the future viability of The Mountaineers is at risk without action to become a community where all people feel belonging.
  • Our focus is driven by member feedback surveys and the Vision 2022 planning process.
  • We commit to recognizing our place of privilege and outdoor recreation as a leisure activity of affluent individuals and affluent communities.  

Our Approach

As we think about Equity & Inclusion work, we've committed to following this approached, which is based in our mission and values:

  • Values-driven: Based in the core value of Community - We provide opportunities for all - a diverse and inclusive outdoors inspires unity, respect, and passion for the places we love.
  • Internally focused: Focused on addressing the internal inequities keeping The Mountaineers from being a place where people from all backgrounds and life experiences can connect with the outdoors.
  • Realistic: Incorporated into The Mountaineers core priorities and existing programs and staff responsibilities where possible (recognizing the volunteer-led nature of the organization and committees).
  • Systemic: Applied with a multi-level, organization-wide, long-term lens.

Our Recent actions

We had a number of planned projects in the last year, and were able to make progress on most of them (and then some). We also had some misses, making slower progress than we had hoped. We feel its important to acknowledge both as we learn from the past and carry those lessons forward.

Planned projects

BONUS Projects

  • Analyzed scholarships data and revised application and criteria
  • Launched new Mountaineers gear with inclusive sizing 
  • Created a new video featuring the broad diversity of our community (below)
  • Overhauled youth pages to make programs easier to find
  • Implemented a lottery system for day camps to make access more equitable
  • Expanded Gear Library to all members
  • Recruited and onboarded five new E&I Committee members

Still In Progress 

  • Build & launch Leader Toolkit, slated for completion in December 2022
  • Improve youth staff and volunteer onboarding
  • Rebuild and strengthen partner programs to serve broader youth community

2022 Focus Areas

  1. Embed Equity & Inclusion into The Mountaineers strategic plan refresh
  2. Keep momentum on key priorities:
    1. Pathways to volunteering
    2. Leader toolkit
    3. Spreading the E&I message
    4. Scholarships process - next stage review
    5. Youth & Families
    6. 2022 Member survey analysis & resulting actions

GET INVOLVED! Join the 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 about 150 people who have opted in to provide feedback and resources and participate in conversations as it relates to this work. People in this group agree to receive messages from staff on The Mountaineers 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