Volunteers Join Peak Society through Employer Matching Gifts

Double your volunteer impact with company matching to The Mountaineers.
Mary Hsue Mary Hsue
May 28, 2014

The Mountaineers has hundreds of volunteers who make our programs possible, and thanks to super volunteers like Chris Chapin and Deling Ren, who both work for Microsoft, their volunteerism is going even further in the form of  cash donations to The Mountaineers from Microsoft's matching gift program.

"The best reward is when you see your students discover their passion for climbing and become competent and safe climbers. I want to encourage everyone to contribute to the climbing community in their own ways and capacity. You'll realize your true potential and passion when you are not working for money."
-- Deling Ren, Peak Society Member and Volunteer

Super-volunteers Chris Chapin and Deling Ren rack up a significant number of hours each year. In 2013, Chris clocked in with 53 hours, and Deling volunteered an incredible 144 hours. 

I see a lot of matching gifts for volunteer hours come across my desk, but it wasn't until I was immersed as a student in the Basic Alpine Climbing Course that I was fully able to appreciate how volunteers like Deling might accumulate so many hours in one year. It seemed like he was constantly at the Program Center teaching students how to escape the belay and execute z-pulley. I was even lucky enough to take my crevasse rescue exam with Deling as my evaluator!

Through their matching gifts for volunteer hours, Chris and Deling were both able to qualify for The Mountaineers Peak Society – a distinguished group of individuals who support The Mountaineers’ mission and share our vision to educate and engage the next generation of recreationists and conservationists by making an annual, unrestricted gift of $1,000 or more to support The Mountaineers General Fund. They truly maximize their impact on The Mountaineers.

Tracking and submitting volunteer hours takes minimal effort, ”just 3-5 minutes per activity” says Chris, who didn't even realize he was on the verge of qualifying for Peak Society through his volunteer hours. He goes on to say that “I was surprised when I found out I was a member of the Peak Society because I didn't even know it existed or that I was heading in the direction of becoming a member.”

"The society is committed towards outdoor awareness, especially in youth. It’s a great feeling to know I’m contributing positively in the upbringing of the next generation of outdoor advocates. -- Chris Chapin

These guys recognize the value of volunteering. It’s clear that The Mountaineers would be nowhere close to where we are today without the unwavering dedication of all our volunteers. We want to say thank you to all the Deling’s, Chris’s and all our amazing volunteers for giving back to The Mountaineers, while continuing to propel us forward.


How and when did you first become involved with The Mountaineers?

Chris: Fall 2008 – I wanted to take the Basic Alpine Climbing Course.

Deling: I joined the Mountaineers in 2007, a little after I moved to Seattle. I joined to take the Basic Alpine Climbing Course.

When did you begin volunteering? What inspired you to volunteer?

Chris: Spring 2011. I had already taught ski lessons at Snoqualmie for 2 years. As an instructor, learning still continues and from an entirely different perspective. My own abilities and techniques got better as I helped my students grow because everyone learns differently. I was constantly challenged with how to teach the same thing in various ways. This made me explore my own understanding and only reinforced what I already knew. Interacting with other, more experienced instructors gave me additional insights. There’s an incredible amount of satisfaction helping to improve someone’s abilities and also getting better yourself.

Deling: I started volunteering in 2009, after I graduated from the basic course. I learned a ton in my first year in The Mountaineers. It took a lot of volunteer work to make that happen. I can only pay forward. Also, teaching is the best way of learning.

What activities do you volunteer for?

Chris: Ski Mountaineering – mostly by leading backcountry ski trips, Glacier Travel and Crevasse Rescue on Skis\Snowboard, Basic Climbing Course, and Crag Course

Deling: Climbing

What has been most gratifying about your volunteer experience? Do you have a favorite volunteering moment?

Chris: Getting a student to that “a hah” moment. Watching a student complete a new skill for their first time and hearing “Hey, that’s not too bad – it’s even fun!” My favorite moment was in the Glacier Travel and Crevasse Rescue on Skis. For the final field trip, the students were taken out onto the Nisqually Glacier and practiced all the rescue techniques in a real crevasse. It’s really cool to see all the classroom learning applied in a real situation and environment.

Deling: The best reward is when you see your students discover their passion for climbing and become competent and safe climbers. The energy and passion of youth participants.

Any other thoughts or insights you would like to share?

Chris: I know I’ve had a life-long impact on many of the students I’ve taught. It’s great when I hear second hand how appreciated my volunteering was. Volunteering also helps me form new friendships. It’s also a great excuse to “reminisce” on past events when students ask, “Have you done X? How was it?”

Deling: I want to encourage everyone to contribute to the climbing community in their own ways and capacity. You'll realize your true potential and passion when you are not working for money.

For more information about The Mountaineers Peak Society or matching gifts program, please contact Mary Hsue at maryh@mountaineers.org