How To Get Involved as a Volunteer

Whether your interests are in teaching, leading trips, helping at events, supporting stewardship efforts, or serving on a committee, we have opportunities for you to pitch in and make a difference! 
Michelle Song Michelle Song
Associate Volunteer Development Manager
August 26, 2022

The Mountaineers began as a volunteer organization, and 116 years later we are still largely run by volunteers, with a small staff supporting administrative tasks. Whether your interests are in teaching, leading trips, helping at events, supporting stewardship efforts, or serving on a committee that orchestrates such activities, we have opportunities for you to pitch in and make a difference! 

With more than 15,000 members and 3,000 active volunteers - not to mention a dizzying organizational structure - it can be hard to figure out where you might fit in as a volunteer. To help, we’ve recently overhauled our Volunteer With Us page to more clearly and concisely detail several of the most common volunteering roles within The Mountaineers. Whether you want to belay kids for a few hours a year or join one of our leadership committees, we have opportunities to get involved at all levels all year round.

Do you like teaching? Are you looking for a way to meet new people in your area? Do you enjoy working with youth? Have a passion for cooking and hosting? Love writing and want to share your skills or experiences? If you answered yes to any of these questions, have we got a volunteer opportunity for you! Read on for the many ways to get involved.

Roles Based on Interests vs. Availability

Curious to match with a volunteer role based on your interests and availability? Check out the roles best suited for different interests and availability below.

To view a larger version, click on the  "pop-out" button on the top right corner of the image 

Do you like teaching? 

Many of our most active volunteers start out by taking a course and returning to help as an instructor for the same course. We acknowledge that committing to a volunteer instructor role may be daunting. You don't have to be an expert to come back to teach. We strive to make it easy and fun to stay involved. Get paired up with experienced instructors, and support students on a field trip while building your skills more! Volunteering with a course you’ve taken helps to pay it forward and pass on the knowledge while solidifying your own learning - a real win-win! Learn more

And if you’d like to help with a course you haven’t taken, you can earn many of our course badges by successfully demonstrating the same skills through a process called equivalency. Doing so enables you to volunteer as an instructor. If you have reviewed the skills outlined in a badge/course, and feel like you have the prerequisite set of skills, please contact Member Services with an overview of your experience and we will help you navigate the process for obtaining equivalency. 

Want to meet new people? 

The Mountaineers hosts events like film festivals and speaker series year-round across all of our branches. During these events, volunteers help with things like admissions and refreshments, offering you a great, easy way to get involved in a fun, one-off activity. See an event that interests you? Contact the event organizer to see if they need any help. For additional questions, contact Member Services. Learn more.

enjoy working with youth? 

Help out as an instructor for our camps or partner programs. Kids in our youth programs know and admire their instructors, and recognize and appreciate the support these instructors provide as volunteers. The Mountaineers cares about providing a safe and fun experience for all parties during our many different Youth Programs. Anyone who volunteers with youth is required to be a Mountaineers Qualified Youth Leader. Learn more.

Have a passion for cooking and hosting? 

Looking to get out of town for the weekend? The Mountaineers has a number of volunteer opportunities at our three lodges - Baker Lodge, Stevens Lodge, and Meany Lodge - hosting weekends, cooking meals, or assisting with other events and programs. Prefer a day at the theater? Consider volunteering to assist with one of the plays offered by our very own Kitsap Forest Theater! Contact the Lodge Chair or Member Services for information about how to get involved. Learn more.

Love writing? 

People come to The Mountaineers because we are a community connected by a shared love and appreciation for the outdoors. As one of the oldest volunteer-led clubs in the country, we just so happen to be experts in the outdoors too! Our skills and experiences have been documented in the pages of our books and in the memories of our members. We want to share even more of your personal stories in our blog and magazine, because your voice is what makes us who we are. Learn more.

Like getting your hands dirty?

We host a variety of stewardship activities, including work parties to clean up local crags, maintain trails, and prepare our outdoor centers for the upcoming season. These stewardship activities generally happen on the weekends, spring through fall, and are primarily run by branch volunteers. Learn more.

Passionate about Equity & Inclusion?

The Mountaineers 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 equity and inclusion work, both within The Mountaineers and as a part of the greater community. Learn more.

Used to volunteer, but stepped away  and wish to return? 

Reach out to Member Services to reconnect with committee and course leaders.  

Update your Volunteer Profile so we can plug you into the right opportunities

There are dozens of ways that you can contribute to The Mountaineers. One of the best ways to begin is to tell us about yourself in your Volunteer Profile page. When you update your volunteer interests, it helps our leadership identify what talents you have to contribute and what you'd like to get out of your time as a volunteer.

Take a moment to tell us about your volunteer skills and interests, what types of projects and activities you are most interested in, and keep your profile updated as your interests change. This helps our committees identify the people who will most enjoy volunteering for a particular tasks.

Volunteer Success Stories

Bruce Durham, a volunteer with the Tacoma Sea Kayaking Committee, went from Basic Sea Kayaking student, to trip leader, to running the Basic Sea Kayaking course in just a few years. Read more about Bruce’s volunteer journey here

Andrea Shadrach is a 2 year member who has jumped in with both feet to instruct with Foothills Wilderness Navigation, Conditioning Hiking Series, Staying Found: On Trail Navigation, and Map & Compass Courses. Learn more about Andrea’s love affair with The Mountaineers by reading her 10 Essential Question blog here

If Bruce and Andrea’s stories somehow aren’t enough to rev your volunteer engines, check out even more of our leader spotlights (now part of the Mountaineer of the Week blog series) on The Mountaineers blog!

Heart and Soul 

Volunteers are the heart and soul of our community at The Mountaineers, they shape and lead every aspect of our mission priorities. If you are excited about sharing your skills and passion for the outdoors but still unsure on how to get involved as a volunteer, please reach out to Member Services to discover additional volunteer opportunities! 

Lead image by Don Rice.