How to Get Involved with Branch and Committee Leadership

Volunteers at the branch and committee level have the technical skills to lead trips and courses, but they also contribute important leadership skills to support their committees’ and branches’ administration.
Michelle Song Michelle Song
Volunteer Development Manager
April 29, 2023
How to Get Involved with Branch and Committee Leadership
By Mike Warren

Our mission to help people explore, conserve, learn about, and enjoy the lands and waters of the Pacific Northwest and beyond is driven and executed by over 2,000 highly skilled volunteers serving our community of over 16,000 members. Each year, our volunteers teach hundreds of courses, lead thousands of trips, and dedicate thousands of hours to regional stewardship and conservation advocacy efforts to help ensure our members can get outside safely and responsibly. All of this work happens through our seven branches.

Each branch consists of committees built around specific activities such as sea kayaking, snowshoeing, or hiking. Learn more about each of our activities. A committee is a group of volunteers who manage trips and courses for their activity at the branch level. Each committee maintains their own roster of trip leaders, instructors, and administrators. Activity committees across the branches collaborate through their Activity Council, a decision-making body composed of representatives from each branch’s activity committee.

Volunteers at the branch and committee level have the technical skills to lead trips and courses, but they also contribute important leadership skills to support their committees’ and branches’ administration. Branch and committee leaders are excellent group managers who are invested in the success of their members. In addition to designing new courses, updating activity standards on an annual basis, and ensuring that we teach safe practices in all of our activities, these volunteers are essential to shaping our programs and organization.

If you are excited about designing and employing scalable and sustainable initiatives, we need your help to build on the momentum at the branch or committee level! Get involved as a committee or branch leader to help us drive strategic priorities for our community.

How to Get Started

It’s not necessary to have a deep understanding of our branches or committees to volunteer for a leadership position, though your background in team or operations leadership, project management, finance, or accounting would be an excellent benefit. Regardless of experience, volunteers are supported with mentorship from their branch and committee, as well as staff.

To learn more about a branch and activity committee’s needs and what leadership roles may be available, start by visiting their branch or committee page. Committee pages are organized by branches. First, determine which branch or activity committee you want to affiliate with as a volunteer. Since each branch and committee have differences in their nomination and selection processes, the branch or activity committee chair can be a great first point of contact. The current chair should be listed on each branch or committee page, or you can use this Committee Chair Directory to search for the chair of a specific branch or committee.

You can also find some positions listed on the Branch Leadership Openings page. Check out the Volunteers Needed page to explore recruitment blogs written by branch and committee leadership.

Support for Branch and Committee Leaders

A wide range of resources are available to support our current and future branch and committee leaders. From collaborative councils to eLearning courses, volunteers have access to a variety of helpful information to support their branch and committee leadership.

Activity Councils

Activity Councils are cross-branch decision making bodies for each activity at The Mountaineers. They are typically comprised of one representative from each branch’s activity committee. These groups meet at regular Activity Summits. The purpose of Activity Councils are to collaborate across branches. Together they write, review, and audit relevant Clubwide Activity Standards and share ideas that could benefit all committees. View each Activity Council page for a roster of members, past meeting minutes/agendas, and shared materials.

Branch/Committee Chair Training eLearning Series

The Branch/Committee Chair Training eLearning Series is a selection of courses curated to provide guidance to prospective Branch or Committee Chairs at The Mountaineers. The purpose of this course is to equip aspiring branch and committee chairs with the tools and resources they need to succeed in their leadership roles and improve the overall success of their organization.


Each branch and committee has a charter that serves as the foundation for the work and operations of the branch and committee. Each charter provides guideposts for how to address new ideas, changes, or unexpected events. It helps new members become acquainted with the branch and committee, and it ensures inclusive and transparent processes. Most committee charters can be found on the branch and committee pages. Review the charter for committee roles, term limits, and election processes. Connect with the chair if you have any questions.

Leader Resources Page

This Leader Resources page is intended to provide answers to common questions a Mountaineers volunteer might have about supporting the organization. Among the resources for our branch and committee leaders is the Branch and Committee "how-to," a guide to managing their branches and committees. Additionally, a selection of documents and links are curated on the Branch and Committee Administration page to supplement the “how-to.”

The Backbone of The Mountaineers

As a volunteer-led organization, there is always a need for Mountaineers interested in volunteering in a branch or committee. Contribute to the growth of our exciting programs while gaining experience and building your resume as a team leader. Join one of our committees or branches and contribute your skills and energy to help our programs continue to thrive.

Leadership is a key attribute of Mountaineers volunteers. At every level, our volunteer leaders are the backbone of our organization. We are fortunate to have them serve our community in many different ways and fulfill every aspect of our mission. Thank you to our tireless leaders who dedicate their time and passion to enrich The Mountaineers.

Looking for other ways to get involved?

We have a volunteer opportunity for you! Check out our recently updated Volunteer With Us page to discover the many volunteer opportunities available. 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.

If you have any questions, reach out to Member Services at with your specific volunteer interests and they’ll be happy to get you connected.

For more ways to develop your leadership role at The Mountaineers, visit our Leader Resources page.


Adding new volunteer energy helps us stay fresh, ensures that our volunteers are representative of our broader membership, and helps reduce burnout. Volunteer leaders are invited to review our Volunteer Recruitment Made Easy blog to help bolster our community of dedicated leaders.