Volunteers Needed! Recruiting for Inclusion Committee

At The Mountaineers, we believe a diverse and inclusive outdoors inspires unity, respect, and passion for the places we love. As we aspire to offer outdoor opportunities for ALL, we are seeking volunteers to join our Inclusion Committee to determine the best investments to make progress in this important work.
Kristina Ciari Kristina Ciari
Membership & Communications Director
September 17, 2018

The storied legacy and history of our 112-year old organization is our biggest asset, and our biggest weakness. Like all great mountains, The Mountaineers has a shadow side; a largely untold story where people have been excluded from or marginalized in the outdoors because of their skin color or gender or available resources or sexual orientation. It's time to change.

Every Mountaineer walks in the footsteps of the generations who came before, but we haven’t always reflected the rich diversity of our community. We must ensure that, a century from now, future generations will recognize themselves in The Mountaineers and follow in our footsteps. Everyone has a right to experience the outdoors. 

Becoming a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive community was cited as an important priority in last year’s strategic planning feedback for Vision 2022. As a result, one of our seven strategic priorities for the next 5-years calls for investing in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. It will require a long-term commitment, sense of humility, and desire to learn and improve.

As defined in the plan, our action steps in the coming years include:

  • Inclusion and bias audit to develop training programs to improve cultural awareness and humility.
  • Broader diversity of candidates for staff, board, and volunteer leadership roles.
  • Collaborations with partner organizations that work with diverse communities. 

What this actually means is a little less concrete. That's why we are seeking to create a working committee to help determine the tangible next steps toward creating an inclusive community. 

What is the Inclusion Committee?

We recognize that inclusion is an issue at The Mountaineers, and the greater outdoor community in general, and we believe the outdoors belongs to all of us. To make this a reality, we need to make smart investments to reduce barriers to participation, including access to comfortable and protective outdoor gear, transportation, a safe and responsible outdoor community, and information on destinations adventures.

This work won't happen overnight. To direct our strategic investment, we are seeking participation from our volunteers and members in a steering committee. The committee members will meet monthly as a group, and complete project-based work in the interim. 

The steering committee will:

  • Create a committee charter
  • Outline challenges and strengths in achieving inclusion goals and make recommendations to achieve the goals
  • Identify key metrics and execute an Inclusion Audit
  • Facilitate communication and understanding among different constituencies
  • Engage members, volunteers, and staff to assess needs related to DEI, propose strategies for assessing progress, and serve as a greater Mountaineers resource
  •  Draft a 3-year plan for investments

Get Involved

Leaders across our organization are committed to this goal and we’re excited about the journey ahead, recognizing it will take time and require long-term focus. To help lead this effort, we need Mountaineers from all backgrounds to volunteer for this work. A number of Mountaineers have already expressed their excitement in joining the committee, including

  • Gabe Aeschliman, Board of Directors representative
  • Kristina Ciari, staff coordinator
  • Natalia Martinez-Paz, Tacoma branch Super Volunteer
  • Bam Mendiola, equity consultant and QPOC
  • Glenn Nelson, founder of www.TheTrailPosse.com 
  • Amanda Virbitsky, staff 

Our first meeting will be held in late October 2018. If you're interested in getting involved with this committee, please email Kristina Ciari at kristinac@mountaineers.org

Growing diversity in the Pacific Northwest means that we must become a more inclusive and welcoming community. Our programs, publications, teaching, and leadership must make outdoor adventure and conservation relevant to a broader swath of people. By making the wonders of the natural world available to all, we ensure our future as adventurers. 

Learn MOre 

We've published a number of pieces over the years on the topic of creating a welcoming and inclusive environment. We encourage you to peruse these blogs, and dive into the additional resources identified within the blogs.