Leader Spotlight: Takeo Kuraishi

Leader Spotlight is a monthly blog to showcase our incredible volunteer leadership at The Mountaineers. Meet this month's featured leader: Takeo Kuraishi. A Mountaineers Board Director and a climbing leader who has been volunteering with The Mountaineers for 21 years.
Michelle Song Michelle Song
Volunteer Development Manager
October 29, 2021

For our Leader Spotlight this month we talked to Takeo Kuraishi, a volunteer leader with the Seattle Branch who serves on the Climbing Committee for  the Foothills and Seattle branch. Takeo is also one of our newly elected Board Directors from the 2021 Board & Branch elections!

Name: Takeo Kuraishi
Branch: Seattle 
How long have you been a leader? 21 years
What activities do you lead? Climbing 

Leadership Questions

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO volunteer WITH THE MOUNTAINEERS?

I found that I enjoyed helping Basic students learn at field trips. That was part of Intermediate course requirement, but enjoyed it and kept coming back for more. I still enjoy seeing satisfaction on faces of the participants when we summit.

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

I've had many, but if I had to choose, it's either my first summit of Rainier or topping out on El Capitan.

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

I've changed over the years to be more considerate of participants, but also less hesitant to give honest and sometimes difficult feedback.

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

Whenever I can, I keep my climbs open to all (i.e. no permission required). Usually get to meet new people and make new friends.

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?

 Running into bad weather on a climb is unavoidable, and I've had some close calls. I recall making a bad decision at Boston Basin, setting up camp on rock outcropping with gorgeous view. When we returned from the climb, it started raining and the whole area turned into slick slides. We even got ropes out on certain sections. An obvious lesson learned is to anticipate what weather or other natural hazards could do to you, including choice of campsites.

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

Be open to new experiences, whether it's the climbing destination or learning from new people you meet.

Lightning Round

What's your go-to place for a post-trip meal?
Sad to say, but too often it's fast food drive throughs. I'm usually eager to get home

What's your favorite close-to-home adventure?
Hanging out on north wall of the Program Center teaching introductory aid climbing.

What "luxury item" do you bring on most trips?
Bandana or a hand towel.

What's next on your bucket list?
Hiking and climbing in New Zealand.

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!


Add a comment

Log in to add comments.
Eva Schoenleitner
Eva Schoenleitner says:
Oct 30, 2021 06:21 AM

Way to go Takeo!!!