Teaching & Gathering Places - Initial Concept Proposal Process

Enhancing our existing facilities and/or creating new teaching and gathering places is part of our strategic plan, Vision 2022. In the coming months, the Board of Directors will evaluate new project proposals. Read on to learn more about this important process!
Tom Vogl Tom Vogl
Mountaineers CEO
February 27, 2019

One of Vision 2022's strategic imperatives is to Lead Innovation in Outdoor Education. Our program centers and lodges play a key role in this by providing physical places for us to teach outdoor skills and build community. Teaching and gathering places can also help us reduce our environmental footprint on public lands and improve our relationships with the broader outdoor community. 

The Board of Directors recently convened a committee to create a transparent, objective process and set of evaluation criteria for evaluating new Teaching & Gathering Places project ideas. The Teaching & Gathering Places (T&GP) committee was led by Board member Martina Kozar and included other Board members Evy Dudey, Richard Levenson, Geoff Lawrence, and Carry Porter. The Teaching & Gathering Places committee met weekly over several months and presented its final recommendations to the Board for approval in January 2019. The Board unanimously approved the committee's recommendations. 

We are launching the first iteration of this planning process, and applications are due April 15, 2019

How a proposal becomes a place

The process to evaluate new project ideas for Teaching & Gathering Places includes five phases to ensure rigor, decision-making objectivity, and process transparency. We intend to review applications on an annual basis.

  1. Initial Concept Applications & Review: The initial concept application is a short, 2-page document intended to be a simple way to propose a new project, while ensuring the idea is well-thought-out. This application should include information about the project objectives, how the project fulfills The Mountaineers mission and Vision 2022, as well as a rough budget with potential funding sources and partnerships.
  2. Planning & Detailed Proposal Review.  In this phase the project team is established (if one doesn’t exist) to develop a detailed proposal, including the conceptual plan, evaluation of potential partnerships and alternatives, identifying sites, refining estimated budgets and timeline, and developing the funding strategy.
  3. Design. Initial designs are created that meet the programmatic requirements, contracting with external consultants as needed, and working with partners to create final design plans for review by the Board.
  4. Construction Bids/Partnership Agreements. Depending on the project the 'bid phase' may include soliciting bids for the projects, drafting partnership agreements, etc. 
  5. Execute Project Design. Purchase site, secure contracts and agreements, get permits, and begin construction to successfully launch a new/improved teaching and gathering place.

Evaluation Criteria

The Board Executive Committee will review proposals at each phase with a consistent set of criteria to assess the merits of each project. The criteria determine which projects have the greatest return on investment and which will move onto the next phase. During evaluation, the Board will look specifically how each proposal would:

  • Support The Mountaineers mission to help people explore, conserve, learn about, and enjoy the lands and waters of the Pacific Northwest and beyond.
  • Advance the organization’s core values of Adventure, Volunteerism, Education, Advocacy, and/or Community
  • Support Vision 2022: Lead, Engage, Advocate
    • Support volunteer leadership development
    • Support top quality outdoor education
    • Contribute to the organization’s goals of diversity, equity, and inclusion
    • Engage youth and their families
    • Reduce the organization’s environmental footprint

Participate in our first proposal review process

We plan to review projects on an annual basis, and we invite you to participate in our first iteration by completing an initial concept application, due April 15, 2019.  

Complete Application

Interested Mountaineers who wish to submit an application should complete the online form, which will be submitted to Tom Vogl, by April 15, 2019 (you can view all of the questions in advance in our . You'll still be asked to submit the form online). The initial round of applications will then be reviewed by the Board Executive Committee.

Projects recommended to go to the Planning Phase will be proposed to the Board and approved at the May  16, 2019 meeting. As outlined above, projects that align to our mission and values, support Vision 2022 objectives, have strong positive impact, and a compelling business case have a greater likelihood of being approved. 

This is an exciting time for The Mountaineers and we have the opportunity to create legacy with new Teaching & Gathering Places projects. The process created by the T&GP ensures rigorous decision-making on new ideas and a fair, transparent process for interested groups across The Mountaineers organization. Questions about the initial concept applications or the overall process should be directed to Tom Vogl at tomv@mountaineers.org.