Leader Spotlight: Shuko Hashimoto & Christina Buckman

Leader Spotlight is a monthly blog to showcase our incredible volunteer leadership at The Mountaineers. Meet this month's featured leaders: Shuko Hashimoto & Christina Buckman. They are leaders and mentors with the Backpacking Building Blocks (B3) course who love to share their passion for hiking and backpacking with new students.
Sara Ramsay Sara Ramsay
Volunteer Development Manager
July 29, 2020

For this month's Leader Spotlight, we're changing things up and running a group feature. As a part of this special edition, we talked with Shuko Hashimoto and Christina Buckman, both leaders with the Backpacking Building Blocks (B3) course offered by the Foothills Branch.

Like so many of our courses, the 2020 B3 class was heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic - but thanks to the hard work, dedication, and creativity of the course leaders and mentors, the class is still running strong! From online lectures to biweekly Zoom calls among mentor groups, these volunteers have made the best of strange circumstances to deliver one of the most popular courses in the club. Thanks to all of the B3 volunteers, including: Lorelei Felchin, Holli Dexheimer, Liz McNett Crowl, Royce Poetter, Paul Thomsen, Kim Frasher, Michel Montgomery, Lisa Berenschot, Colin Chapman, Karen Beaudry, Shuko Hashimoto, Christina Buckman, and their fearless course leader, Cheryl Talbert.

Name: Shuko Hashimoto
Branch: Seattle
How long have you been a leader? 3 years (was a member in the 90's as a family with kids, then rejoined in 2014!)
What activities do you lead? Hiking and backpacking.

Shuko Hashimoto.jpg

Name: Christina Buckman
Branch:
Seattle
How long have you been a leader? 2 years (member since 2012)
What activities do you lead?
Day hikes and backpacking trips.

Christina Buckman.jpg

Leadership Questions

What inspired you to lead trips for The Mountaineers?

Shuko: When I rejoined the mountaineers in 2014, I signed up for the B3 course to get back into backpacking again and was thoroughly impressed by Cheryl Talbert's energy and knowledge. I started going on her backpacking trips then went onto joining her Global Adventures. I wanted to help others as she helped me get back into what I always loved in my youth.

Christina: The Mountaineers gave me a new perspective on what I'm capable of. I never saw myself as a leader. However, the more trips I participated in, the more I saw myself in that role. Building community, belonging, and physical abilities contributed to a compelling need to give back. To help others see that they belong outdoors, and can have fun doing it!

What is the best, favorite, or most memorable trip you've led for The Mountaineers?

Shuko: I have not lead very many trips for the club, but each have been memorable seeing the beginners have their "aha!" moments in their journey.

Christina: The most memorable trip was to Navajo Pass last July with three brand new backpackers. I will never forget the look on a participant's face when we reached the top. She teared up, and hugged me. She didn't think she could do it. I knew she could, and she did. This is why I love to lead.

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

Shuko: I try to be flexible and let the students figure out what works and what does not. I think it comes from raising three boys, it is better to learn on your own by observation than someone lecturing you. Proper role modeling is essential as a leader.

Christina: I pay attention to other leaders I go on trips with. I compare different leadership styles and have settled into my own. Leadership is a collaborative effort. My feedback often mentions how participants feel they are taken care of. I make sure that I connect with each person on a trip. I build a sense of trust, and best of all, friendships.

Any learning experiences you can share, such as take-aways from a close call or a near miss?

Shuko: Being flexible and being aware is crucial.

Christina: One of my biggest learning experiences is to be more informative in my hello hiker emails. To be sure that participants know they can approach me as a leader, on and off the trail, to voice concerns and fears, while trusting that they will be heard.

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

Shuko: Don't be rigid. We are all unique and each of us have different perspectives, so be understanding but don't be a push over.

Christina: Find a mentor or two. Take as many trips as you can to find a leadership style you can connect with. Don't be afraid to ask questions and really dive into the kind of leader you want to be, knowing you will always be learning. Then go for it!

Lightning Round

What's your go-to place for a post-trip meal?

Shuko: I love onion rings and ice cream.
Christina: 
Any place that has the biggest juiciest burgers and a good dark beer!

How about your best trail snack?

Shuko: Salmon jerky
Christina: Trader Joe's green salty olives with cheese and crackers.

What "luxury item" do you bring on most trips?

Shuko: Inflatable pillow and a Kindle.
Christina:
Down slippers

What's next on your bucket list?

Shuko: Anywhere Cheryl Talbert takes me!
Christina:
Hiking in Sweden.

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!