Leader Spotlight: Bernadette Lamarca

Leader Spotlight is a monthly blog to showcase our incredible volunteer leadership at The Mountaineers. Meet this month's featured leader: Bernadette Lamarca. She is an Everett-based hike leader with 13 years of experience leading for The Mountaineers!
Sara Ramsay Sara Ramsay
Education Manager
June 29, 2018

For our Leader Spotlight this month we talked to Bernadette Lamarca, a volunteer leader with the Everett Branch who was hooked on The Mountaineers after three hikes ... and one fortuitous piece of chocolate!

Name: Bernadette Lamarca
Branch: Everett
Where do you live? Everett, WA
How long have you been a leader? 13 years (member since 2002)
What activities do you lead? Hiking, Backpacking, and Snowshoeing

Leadership Questions

What inspired you to become a Leader for The Mountaineers?

The pleasant and encouraging attitude of the leaders before me inspired me to become a leader for The Mountaineers. Their passion was infectious and I caught the bug!

What is the favorite trip that you've led for The Mountaineers?

I love all the trips that I've led for The Mountaineers. At the end of the day, most of my hikers always comment that I have led another good hike. Hikers comment that I lead awesome hikes, which encourage me to find more great destinations. I always tell myself that the pressure is on!

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

As I gain experience as a leader, I have learned that providing a very detailed description of each trip makes it easier for the participants to know what to expect from the hike. It is very helpful, especially for new participants. The positive feedback I get (about my detailed trip description) at the beginning of the trip is a "feel-good" thing. I've also added new destinations (routes/places) to the database as I search for new hikes to lead.

Are there any learning experiences you can share with us, such as take-aways from a close call or a near miss?

I had a hiker who was experiencing leg cramps almost the entire trip on a 10-mile hike. Unbeknownst to me, he had been taking Ibuprofen every time his legs were cramping. He stopped and rested every few hundred yards. Towards the end, I thought he was not going to make it back to the trailhead. He was getting sick in the stomach, as well, and that was when he mentioned that he had been taking Ibuprofen to the point of overdosing.

Prior to signing up for the hike, this individual gave me a list of all the climbs he'd done in the past. I have learned to check out the participants' previous outdoors activities, especially those who I have not hiked with before, to make sure they are a good fit for the activity. I also have a handful of mustard packets and electrolyte wafers for cramps.

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

I advise potential leaders to choose an easy destination for a mentor hike. I also encourage them to join hikes with different branches to learn from other leaders' styles, and to attend the Leadership Seminar offered at different times of the year by various branches of The Mountaineers.

ANYTHING ELSE WE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT YOU?

On my third hike with The Mountaineers, back in 2002, one of the hikers shared Dove Promises chocolates when we arrived at our destination on Oyster Dome. The message on my Dove chocolate wrapper said: "Promise yourself more moments like this." The rest is history.

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

Send an email to Sara Ramsay to make a recommendation for one of our upcoming Leader Spotlights!