Essential Eligibility Criteria & Service Animal Policy

In May 2019, The Mountaineers Board of Directors approved two new documents to help prospective participants navigate their ability to participate in our programs. Learn more about our Essential Eligibility Criteria and Service Animal Policy, and how they are designed to support our programs, leaders, and participants.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
May 24, 2019

The Mountaineers values diversity – including persons with diverse abilities – in its programs. While we do not specialize in integrating persons with disabilities into our programs, we encourage people of all abilities to consider participating in Mountaineers programming.

In May 2019, The Mountaineers Board of Directors approved two new documents to help prospective participants navigate their ability to participate in our programs. Visit our Essential Eligibility Criteria & Service Animal Policy page for complete information!

Essential Eligibility Criteria

The Mountaineers Essential Eligibility Criteria, or EECs, provide a guideline of the physical and cognitive skills needed for participation in programs sponsored by The Mountaineers. These EECs are intended to be a resource for anyone considering participating in a Mountaineers program, and are not intended to be exclusionary.

Essential Eligibility Criteria

In practice, The Mountaineers EEC are a tool to assess requests for accommodation. They provide staff and volunteers with a framework to ask objective questions about a person’s abilities relative to the physical and cognitive skills required to participate in a certain program. The Mountaineers EECs are also designed to supplement our Clubwide Activity Standards – which outline the technical skill prerequisites for a given activity – and the Member Code of Ethics – which define our community expectations.

If you have concerns about your ability to meet certain criteria, please contact the trip leader to determine if reasonable accommodations can be made. If you have general questions about The Mountaineers EEC, or if you have concerns about the implementation of the EEC, please contact info@mountaineers.org.  

Information for Leaders

The Mountaineers empowers our leaders to support requests for accommodation on their programs, but as an organization, we also need to be conscious of our program parameters, resources, and any related legal considerations.

Generally speaking, if a request does not require substantial funds or resources to accommodate, our leaders should support the request. Examples may include:

  • An individual who is hard of hearing who would like to reserve a front row seat for your upcoming lecture.
  • An individual who wants to bring their parent, who is physically able but dealing with memory loss, on your upcoming hike.
  • An individual with visual impairment who hikes frequently and plans to bring a trained aide along with them to your upcoming hike.
  • An individual who independently uses a manual wheelchair and wants to join your hike to a barrier-free trail location.

If you receive a request for accommodation that you’re unsure about how to manage, please contact Mountaineers staff to discuss options before denying the request.

Trained Aides

In some instances, a participant may require the assistance of a trained aid to meet one or more of the relevant EECs. Example of trained aids include service animals, ASL interpreters, and individuals trained to assist a participant with physical or communication requirements.

Additional Considerations for Trained Aides

  • Must also meet the EECs and any activity prerequisites.
  • Do not need to be paying members, but should complete a liability waiver.
  • Should be included on activity roster, but not required to pay for participation.
  • Must be considered in the overall party size.

The Mountaineers will provide trained aides (including ASL interpreters) on a case-by-case basis. If you need support contracting a trained aid, please contact Mountaineers staff for assistance. Committees may choose to fund the services of a trained aide through their committee or branch budget. The Mountaineers also has funding available to all committees and branches through a centralized program budget.

Please inquire with Mountaineers staff before committing funds from The Mountaineers program budget. The Mountaineers reserves the right to deny requests from the program budget that are cost prohibitive to the organization. Please contact info@mountaineers.org with any questions or concerns.

Service Animals

The Mountaineers recognizes and respects the necessity, value, and importance of service animals to assist individuals with disabilities. Please refer to our Service Animal Policy for additional information about including a service animal in your Mountaineers program. If you believe the presence of a service animal would compromise your program’s safety, please contact Mountaineers staff before denying the service animal’s participation. If you are otherwise unsure of how to accommodate a service animal, please contact Mountaineers staff for support.

Service Animal Policy

Leaders may notify activity participants that a service animal will be joining the activity or event. If a participant chooses to cancel their participation on that basis, any registration fee will be refunded in full. Because The Mountaineers is a community of members, we encourage leaders to reach out to the person with the service animal and ask if they mind you notifying the group that a service animal will be present at the upcoming activity or event. If they are strongly against this for any reason, please contact Mountaineers staff for support.


Please Note! 

Allergies and fear of dogs are not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to people using service animals. When a person who is allergic to dog dander and a person who uses a service animal must spend time in the same room or facility - for example, at one of The Mountaineers lodge properties - they both should be accommodated by assigning them, if possible, to different locations within the room or different rooms in the facility. Please refer to our Service Animal Policy for additional information and contact info@mountaineers.org with any questions or concerns.

Learn More

Please view this 9-minute narrated presentation for a more in-depth overview of both our Essential Eligibility Criteria and Service Animal Policy.

 

Additionally, please visit our Essential Eligibility Criteria & Service Animal Policy page for complete information.

Questions?

If you have any questions, please contact Sara Ramsay for additional resources or information.