Happy National Volunteer Week!

Volunteers are the superpower of The Mountaineers! Learn about the impact of volunteerism, why our volunteers joined on as leaders and instructors, and what our students have to say about these incredible people.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
April 15, 2018

Since our beginning in 1906, volunteers have always been the backbone The Mountaineers culture and community. Volunteers are at the core of our mission - from big to small, every aspect of The Mountaineers is powered by our volunteers! Volunteers lead our trips, teach our courses, run our branches and committees, and build our Program Centers and Outdoor Centers.

Our volunteers are inspired to share their knowledge of the outdoors with our members, and they are committed to providing outdoor memories to the next generation of adventurers and conservationists. Our leaders and instructors are here because they want to be, which allows the organization to have an outstanding student to instructor ratio, and an unmatched culture of cooperation and teamwork.

Sponsored by Points of Light, an organization focused on supporting a national culture of volunteerism, National Volunteer Week is a time to “celebrate the impact of volunteer service and the power of volunteers to come together to tackle tough challenges and build stronger, more resilient communities.” As an organization led and guided by volunteer leadership, The Mountaineers exemplifies the power of volunteer impact.

In 2017 alone, The Mountaineers had over 2,600 individual volunteers supporting our programs. All told, this in-kind work from our volunteer leaders and instructors amounts to $1,500,000, or the equivalent of 50 full-time employees. There is no two ways around the fact that The Mountaineers could not provide this amount of programming - with impact throughout the PNW (and beyond!) - without the support of our dedicated volunteers. Read more about last year’s accomplishments in our 2017 recap blog.

Leader Spotlight is a monthly feature of our volunteer leadership at The Mountaineers, and in every issue, we ask our featured individual what inspired them to become a leader for The Mountaineers. If you are already a part of our volunteer community, you probably wouldn’t be surprised to know that most of the leaders we’ve interviewed have had a very similar answer - they were all motivated and inspired by the volunteers who came before them!

What inspired you to become a leader for The Mountaineers?

  • “I had great mentors who motivated me to try it out and helped me build up my confidence.” - Christine Grenier
  • “My inspiration came directly from the leaders before me who helped teach me to scramble and climb, and inspired me to take on greater challenges throughout the years.” - Sherrie Trecker
  • “I met so many enthusiastic leaders in my first Mountaineers courses. I was impressed with how they managed to juggle fun, safety, education, and inclusiveness.” - Danielle Graham
  • “The most significant factor was the leaders who helped me through the basic climbing course and the climbs I had in my first two years with the club. I truly believe we could not afford this talent if we had to pay for it.” - Jerry Logan
  • “I am very appreciative of the trip leaders and course instructors who gave their time for me, and I thought that becoming a leader was the right thing to do. I wanted to give back!” - Bill Borom
  • “The amazingly skilled, patient, and dedicated volunteers I learned from and who I have taught with over the years. Helping others in a meaningful way can change people's lives, and it can bring joy to their lives.” - Rodica Manole
  • “My friend and mentor SueB was my inspiration for becoming a leader. I, like her, really enjoyed facilitating trips to places that students had heard about or saw on the map and wanted to visit.” - Kyle Breakey

This sense of community through volunteerism is further highlighted in our 2018 member survey. Volunteers are more likely than members to recommend The Mountaineers and to renew their membership, and they are generally more satisfied with the organization. What is the number one reason that they choose to renew their membership? To continue the lifelong friendships that they’ve made in The Mountaineers. Our volunteers are a part of a vibrant community of outdoor enthusiasts, and we can’t thank them enough for the work that they do to support our organization.

Our volunteers also receive high-marks and excellent feedback from the members and guests in our community. They inspire others to learn new skills, and to explore and conserve the amazing mountains and waterways that comprise our PNW backyard. Here are a few comments from some of our recent courses and activities:

  • “I thought it was amazing that the instructors volunteered their time to teaching us about the outdoors. They were genuinely interested in getting us mountaineering-ready. The conversations I had with them about how to deal with certain situations and why we do things the way we do were far more helpful than just a book & videos alone.”
  • “The instructors were knowledgeable, very approachable, and there was a strong sense of community.”
  • “Each and every instructor gave an incredible amount of time and effort to make the class a success. They are a truly wonderful group of volunteers!”
  • “All are competent, and love what they're teaching. Fun loving group that makes for a very enjoyable outing.”
  • “The instructors provided exactly what I was seeking out of the course: hands on learning with lots of knowledge from the get go!”
  • “The instructors were all very kind, very knowledgeable, and went out of their way to assist. They allowed me to try new things and discussed the pros and cons, making for a better understanding of all the principles taught and learned.”
  • “I appreciated that the instructors recognized there are multiple ways to do things and gave us options so we could find what worked best for us. It was also helpful to learn what didn't work for various instructors.”
  • “Every instructor that I encountered in this course was excellent. They all shared information to the appropriate level, provides tips and assistance at any level necessary. That all comes from a depth of knowledge and vast experience. All the volunteer time is greatly appreciated ... both in developing the course, instructing and leading the trips.”

Thank you to all of our volunteers for everything that you do to enrich The Mountaineers community, and to help our members explore, conserve, learn about, and enjoy the lands and waters of the Pacific Northwest and beyond!


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Erika Biggs
Erika Biggs says:
Sun, Apr 15, 2018 11:09 AM

This week I had the pleasure of attending the Baker Lodge Committee meeting. As a guest, I sat in awe of the dedicated volunteer committee members who have poured their hearts into keeping the magic of Baker Lodge alive over the decades. Special recognition went to honoring Dale Kisker who served as Chair for fifteen years! As the plaque to him stated, "With our greatest appreciation we honor Dale Kisker in appreciation for your outstanding vision, direction, leadership and services as our Baker Lodge Chairman 2003-2018." Dale will continue as a committee member as he leaves big shoes to fill! Thanks for inspiring others to join in volunteering for the Lodge!