Progressive Climbing Education - Presenting Alternatives

On October 11, 12 and 13, we presented alternative actions to help The Mountaineers become better at developing safe climbers, good stewards, and a welcoming community. We still want more input.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
October 27, 2016
Progressive Climbing Education - Presenting Alternatives

We've spent the past five months in an intensive discovery process, gathering input from folks within our climbing committees at all branches, from leaders in our climbing community, and from folks in our local climbing communities who may not be associated with The Mountaineers. We've learned a lot and highly value the input we've received from our community! To learn more about the discovery process, check out this blog.

On October 11, 12 and 13, we held a second round of town hall style listening sessions in the North Sound, South Sound and in Seattle. We presented 22 strategic investment options that we think can move us forward in a meaningful way with our climbing education. We packaged these investment options into three approach alternatives: incremental, comprehensive, and assertive. We wanted feedback on the merits and risks of each investment concept, but we also wanted to know, in general, how cautiously or aggressively we should  invest.

Three Alternatives

Our incremental approach is really an investment in things that are already happening at the branch and committee levels. Modest investments would help accelerate the current efforts, building on those efforts over time. An incremental approach would allow us to experiment with new course modules, including advanced course modules, work on consistency and party size, and gradually grow our capacity. In the incremental approach, additional support from staff would be modest. We think this approach would address many of the issues raised over recent years, but progress would be slow and measured with minimal risk and slower impact than the other options.

Our second alternative is a comprehensive approach. This approach would focus on resourcing and building our volunteer infrastructure to make improvements across the board. While this would not provide immediate solutions to issues like capacity, it has the potential to create long-term sustainable and adaptable changes by focusing on volunteer support. The comprehensive approach would lead to significant capacity improvements after 2-3 years of infrastructure building and more dedicated support from Mountaineers staff. It would accelerate our improvements in course content and consistency, allow us to offer more variety of course modules sooner, and foster a tighter-knit, more inclusive community.

Our third alternative – the assertive approach – is designed to both increase our volunteer infrastructure for long-term capacity building and to meet the demand right away. We’d make significant strategic investments to make it easier to get involved and stay involved in The Mountaineers with a noticeable return on investment after one year. Out of the assertive approach, we envision a nationally recognized leadership development program, efficiencies through quality and consistency across branches and within the greater climbing community, rapid capacity improvements starting right away, new partnerships, new ways of accessing mountaineers courses, and greater technology capacity. In the assertive approach, we'd further increase staff support for volunteers in areas such as curriculum and leadership development, volunteer recruitment, elearning course development and administration. We believe this would spur significant community expansion beyond our courses.

Learn More

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via Vimeo


We need your input

If you didn't get a chance to attend one of the listening sessions, or if you attended but have more ideas to offer, we invite you to participate in our PCE Alternatives Survey. This is an important yet complicated project with lots of components, so please allow yourself a full hour to watch the slide show, think about the many concepts presented and offer thoughtful feedback. We are grateful for all of the input we receive, and it will influence the decisions we make going forward.

Here are some handouts that will help you as you take the survey and watch the presentation:

22 Strategic Investment Options | Three Alternatives Explained

Start the survey now

Key takeaways highlighted by our volunteers and members from all our branches who attended the listening sessions were:

  • Common Curriculum & Standardization
  • Leadership Development
  • High Standards and National Recognition
Concerns included wanting to ensure that the Mountaineers stays a community organization made of volunteers, not feel like a business with more paid guides. Along with the timeless question of how do we increase capacity while working towards smaller party sizes and being the best stewards for public lands. 

Next steps

On November 21, we will convene our fourth and final CEAC meeting where we will synthesize the input we've received from the listening sessions and this survey and draft a preferred option as a plan for future investment.

Then, on December 3, at the Leadership Conference, we'll present the preferred option in one of the break-out sessions and solicit feedback from anyone who chooses to attend. We'll then meet with our climbing committees to seek detailed feedback at a tactical level.

On January 12, we'll present our plan to the Board of Directors.

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David Geeraerts
David Geeraerts says:
Oct 26, 2016 12:33 PM

Thank you Becca P. for doing the video that summarizes the information gathered at the listening sessions.