Staff Support for Program Growth

In 2013, the Board approved a full time Leadership Development Manager to support our volunteers. With the recent approval of Progressive Climbing Education, we now have two positions to support volunteer committees in program growth to meet increasing demand.
The Mountaineers The Mountaineers
January 31, 2017

The Mountaineers is an incredible organization powered by volunteers. And when we say "powered by," we mean the volunteer efforts of more than 2,000 individuals add up to the equivalent of nearly 50 full time staff! Our volunteers are innovative, smart, hard-working and dedicated, which is why we existed for nearly 80 years before hiring our first staff person. But, now in the age of technology, times are changing quickly and the Puget Sound is growing even faster. To manage that change and growth, our volunteers need support.

In 2013, the Board of Directors committed to funding a single full-time position to help provide strategic infrastructure and leadership development support for our volunteers - our Leadership Development Manager. We've accomplished a lot together in the past 3 years. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Mountaineers Leadership Conference - Annually bringing together 300 of our leaders to hear speakers from the outdoor industry, share ideas and build relationships. 
  • Activity-based Summits - Opportunities for representative from like committees at all of our branches to come together to share challenges and successes and brainstorm innovative ways to further the reach of the activity.
  • Volunteer Dashboards - For the first time ever, we have reliable data about the impact of our volunteers. This helps us recognize our volunteers and identify areas of focus.
  • Systematized Feedback System - Our leaders now receive feedback from participants in their courses and activities, which provides both recognition and opportunities for growth.
  • Volunteer Recognition Badges - In addition to branch recognition, and awards for top volunteers, we have an easy way to recognize the good work of all of our dedicated volunteers.
  • Revision and Renewal of Minimum Standards - Several activities revised their minimum standards for the first time since 2007 because there was a forum to facilitate it.
  • Transparency in Policies and Procedures - With branch and committee policies on our website, volunteers now have a resource for guidance in decision-making, and committees have a window to opportunities to review policies and think strategically on a regular basis.
  • Volunteer Job Descriptions - With a job descriptions template and a procedure for posting volunteer jobs on our website, we are able to fill needed positions and provide meaningful work and guidance for new volunteers.
  • Online Leader Applications - Our Climbing and Hiking Committees, through the summits, have agreed on a single application form for leader applicants, which expedites the review process and helps to recruit new leaders.

In the fall of 2016, our Leadership Development Manager left to pursue a new role. As we were in the final stages of discovery in our Progressive Climbing Education Initiative, it seemed best to wait before re-hiring this position.

Two positions to help the next stage of growth

Leadership & Education Manager - Climbing

This is a new position approved by the Board of Directors in January 2017 as part of the Progressive Climbing Education Initiative. The position is responsible for supporting volunteers to ensure high quality, state of the art climbing education throughout our organization. While this position will support all volunteers, they will focus on our climbing programs, with support for our snowshoe, backcountry ski and scramble programs. Snowshoeing, Backcountry Skiing and Scrambling require overlapping technical skills so this role will help ensure that we have consistent practices for backcountry snow and rock travel. This role helps coordinate summits and provides staff leadership for three new committees, climbing curriculum committee, technical advisory committee, and leadership progression design group.

This position will work with the Kayak, Hike & Ski Education Manager and the Member & Volunteer Support Manager (Tess Wendel) to develop and support sustainable systems that promote a healthy volunteer culture in a volunteer-driven organization with volunteer-delivered programs. 

 Leadership & Education Manager - KAYAK, HIKE & SKI

This position replaces the Leadership Development Manager role and is responsible for supporting volunteers to ensure high quality, state of the art outdoor education throughout our organization. While this position will support all volunteers, they will focus on our kayak, hike and nordic ski programs, with support for our navigation, photography, naturalist and first aid programs. This position will work with the Climbing Education Manager and the Member & Volunteer Support Manager (Tess Wendel)to develop and support sustainable systems that promote a healthy volunteer culture in a volunteer-driven organization with volunteer-delivered programs. This position will help coordinate activity summits along with providing Leadership Development opportunities for volunteers. 

For the past 3 years, with only one position supporting 7 branches, 5 outdoor centers and the Board of Directors, staff support was mostly available for putting systems in place, basic administrative support and to facilitate processes. Now, with two positions, we'll be able to provide staff support for the execution of projects. For example, in the 2016 Hiking Summit, there was a lot of enthusiasm around creating a video training for new hikers, with the hopes of having fewer under-prepared participants on hikes, reducing headaches and potential safety issues. Volunteers agreed to put some work into these videos, and they did, but video production is a big undertaking, and most volunteers don't have the time to take on that volume of work. With only one staff person, we couldn't provide the staff support needed to see this valuable project through. With double the staffing, and one focused on only half of our activity groups, we will have more bandwidth to support projects like this.

That's where the Kayak, Hike and Ski Leadership & Education Manager comes in. This position will work closely with these committees as well as some of our smaller groups like Photography and Sailing to identify priorities for growth and development. Branch leadership and the volunteer activity committees will work with the Kayak, Hike & Ski Education Manager to set the priorities for future growth and improvement that will continue to advance our programs in the future.  Like Progressive Climbing Education, change and growth needs to come from our volunteers as they are the experts and the folks executing on our mission. The Kayak, Hike and Ski Education Manager will be able to provide support for the innovation that comes out of our summits and committees. We'll be reaching out for input through the Branch Leadership Committee, so start thinking about what we want our future to look like and what we need to be working on together to get there! 

We invite you to pass both of these job postings along to anyone who might be interested!


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