Leader Spotlight: Charlie Michel

Leader Spotlight is a monthly showcase of the incredible volunteer leadership at The Mountaineers to share tips and tricks, favorite memories, and inspiration for new and rising leaders. Meet this month's featured leader: Charlie Michel.
Sara Ramsay Sara Ramsay
Education Manager
June 29, 2017

For our Leader Spotlight this month we talked to Charlie Michel, a Sea Kayak Leader who can still hold his own with the young guns.

Name: Charlie Michel
Branch: Tacoma 
Where do you live? Bremerton, WA
How long have you been a leader? 5 Years (member since 2011)
What activities do you lead? Sea Kayaking

Leadership Questions

What inspired you to become a Leader for The Mountaineers?

I could see that leaders are able to participate in real training. The former club I paddled with had nothing. I wanted to feel comfortable leading trips, and having a club culture and structure that provided confidence that the participants were qualified.

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

 A "wind run" with currents up the east side of Marrowstone Island -a more advanced trip with my colleagues from my branch. A container ship went by and added to the tidal rapids at Marrowstone Point. Para-sailors were soaring overhead while we made multiple passes through the tidal rapids. What a day!

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

I've become less prescriptive. I let the conditions and group makeup determine which style and methods I use.

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

A recent Basic Sea Kayaking class graduate bought a boat that was too small and tippy. He was constantly bracing and wearing himself out. I thought we would have to come get him with the car. We did a three way boat swap on the way back, which completely resolved the incident. The person who paddled his boat back even decided to buy the boat off of him.

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

After doing your mentored leader trips, keep learning from others! Take advanced clinics to improve your personal skills and your ability to help your participants. Watch and learn from other leaders. Ask for feedback from good leaders who are along on your trips. We can mentor each other as a group.

Anything else we should know about you?

I'm 63 years old, but with conditioning in the gym and on the water I can still hold my own. Life is good!

Want to learn more about Charlie? Take a look at his Member Profile from 2016.

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!