Leader Spotlight: Alyssa Opland

Leader Spotlight is a monthly blog to showcase our incredible volunteer leadership at The Mountaineers. Meet this month's featured leader: Alyssa Opland. She leads climbing programs with the Tacoma Branch and focuses on inclusive leadership.
Michelle Song Michelle Song
Associate Volunteer Development Manager
April 29, 2022

For our Leader Spotlight this month we talked to Alyssa Opland, a volunteer leader with the Tacoma Branch who focuses on inclusive leadership in her climbing programs by asking questions and seeking input. She encourages prospective volunteers to get connected with mentors! 

Name: Alyssa Opland
Branch: Tacoma 
How long have you been a leader? Since 2018
What activities do you lead? Climbing programs

Leadership Questions

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO volunteer WITH THE MOUNTAINEERS?

 I took the Basic & Intermediate Alpine Climbing Courses and loved the programs. The Tacoma Mountaineers community is really special and I wanted to continue to be a part of and give back to it.

WHAT IS THE BEST, FAVORITE, OR MOST MEMORABLE experience YOU'VE HAD WITH THE CLUB?

 There have been many! We did an all women's trip on the Ptarmigan Traverse in 2020 with Tacoma branch women and that was so much fun.

How has your leadership style evolved as you've gained experience?

I've really been focusing on ways to have an inclusive leadership style and encourage that as part of our culture in Tacoma. I don't like top-down approaches to leadership and I always want to instead focus on creating space for others to lead and grow.

What is one thing you do on trips to create an inclusive experience for people of all skills and backgrounds?

Ask questions, invite input, and find opportunities to allow others to lead.

IT'S OFTEN SAID: "GOOD JUDGEMENT COMES FROM EXPERIENCE; EXPERIENCE COMES FROM BAD JUDGEMENT." Can you describe a learning experience TO HELP OUR COMMUNITY BUILD THEIR GOOD JUDGEMENT?

Don't follow Beckey's beta ;)

What advice do you have for aspiring leaders in The Mountaineers community?

Find mentors!

What do you wish other members knew about volunteering with The Mountaineers?

Volunteer-lead courses/activities can have their pros and cons but the community makes it an invaluable experience.

What is one surprising thing you've learned or gained through volunteering with The Mountaineers?

As taught by our one & only Scott Schissel, the most important rule of climbing is to look good.

Lightning Round

What's your go-to place for a post-trip meal? Mondo's if I'm up North 
How about your best trail snack? Pretzels
What's your favorite close-to-home adventure? Tiger Mountain. Recently moved to Issaquah so its only a 5 minute drive now
Who is your Mountaineers hero? Sarah Holt. She's an amazing leader and Tacoma is lucky to have her!
What 11th Essential do you bring on most trips? Headphones always
What's next on your bucket list? Ski Traverse of the 3 Sisters!!!

is there Someone that you'd like to see in the spotlight?

Send an email to Michelle Song to make a recommendation for one of our upcoming Leader Spotlights!