Leader Spotlight: Randy Oakley

Leader Spotlight is a monthly blog to showcase our incredible volunteer leadership at The Mountaineers. Meet this month's featured leader: Randy Oakley, a backcountry skiing and trail running leader.
Michelle Song Michelle Song
Volunteer Development Manager
November 26, 2021

For our Leader Spotlight this month we talked to Randy Oakley. He's a backcountry skiing and trail running  volunteer leader with the Foothills and Seattle Branch, who welcomes constructive feedback and emphasizes engaging team members. 

Name: Randy Oakley 
Branch: Foothills
How long have you been a leader?  10+
What activities do you lead? Backcountry skiing and trail running

Leadership Questions

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO volunteer WITH THE MOUNTAINEERS?

I enjoy helping others get out and enjoy the outdoors around here. My dad taught me to ski and climb, so I was fortunate to have that. So, this feels like returning the favor to others.

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

So many good experiences. A particularly enjoyable experience is seeing people develop confidence while doing something that challenges them.

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

Yes, I put more emphasis on engaging team members to make cooperative decisions and play an active role in conducting the trip.

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

One prompt I like to use is to tell folks that I make mistakes and when they observe me doing something that is questionable or that they don't understand, they should speak up and set me straight.

IT'S OFTEN SAID: "GOOD JUDGEMENT COMES FROM EXPERIENCE; EXPERIENCE COMES FROM BAD JUDGEMENT." ANY LEARNING EXPERIENCES YOU CAN SHARE TO HELP OUR COMMUNITY BUILD THEIR GOOD JUDGEMENT?

I've been involved in a few rescues. A couple of times, the group I was traveling with encountered an injured party calling for help. One thing I've learned is that summoning rescue services can take a long time and you and your patient can get very cold while waiting. Carrying enough extra clothing to stay warm, while not overloading your pack, is challenging.

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

Leading is enjoyable and when you do occasionally have to deal with challenging circumstances or people, you'll have good stories to tell.

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

That leadership is what you make of it. There is a stereotype of Mountaineers trips being rigid, almost military type affairs. As a leader, you get to set the tone and style of your trips.

What 11th Essential do you bring on most trips? 

Chocolate.

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

We are always seeking nominations for an impactful leader of our community to spotlight! Send an email to Michelle Song to make a recommendation for one of our upcoming Leader Spotlights!

Lead image of Randy Oakley near Bench Lake in the Tatoosh Range of Mt. Rainier National Park.