2015 Leadership Conference Presentations

This folder contains the presentation slides and video we made of the second annual organization-wide conference on leadership.


From Books to Blogs: How students learn in the age of information. Becca Polglase

Becca Polglase is the Director of Education at The Mountaineers and established our youth programs after working as an outdoor educator for her entire professional life. As Outdoor Educators, we know the incredible social, emotional and spiritual value of experiential learning. The lessons learned through trial and error, the relationships built while problem-solving the unexpected, and the health benefits of time outside are unmatched in any other educational venue. This was as true when The Mountaineers was founded in 1906, as well as when the first Outward Bound school was founded in 1941, and as it still is today. But there are many things about the world today that are very different from the way they were a century ago, a half century ago, and even a decade ago. Our lives are busier, we are exposed to more information than we can handle mentally or emotionally, and our urban areas have grown up and out at rates our grandparents might not have expected. We know that our students have access to everything they want online, whether good or bad. Our younger generations are master multitaskers and have shorter attention spans as a result. All of our students are coming to us seeking experience, community or both, much like the students of 1906 or 1941. Today’s students are working with different realities, however, and our industry has an obligation to adjust our methods to meet the needs of today’s students. In this session, we’ll look at ways technology can help or hinder outdoor education, and discuss things we can do in our own programs to meet the needs of today’s students.

PDF document icon From Books to Blogs - Becca Polglase.pdf — PDF document, 2.18 MB

Climate Variability and Change in the Pacific Northwest

Lara Whitely Binder is a climate outreach and adaptation support specialist at the University of Washington’s Climate Impacts Group (CIG). Lara assists the CIG with its efforts to inform decision makers about the impacts of climate variability and climate change on the Pacific Northwest and is responsible for providing technical support on planning for climate variability and change to communities, organizations, and individuals across the region. Recent adaptation publications include The Sound Transit Climate Risk Reduction Project (2014), Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation in Washington State: Technical Summaries for Decision Makers (2013 - coauthor), “Preparing for Climate Change in Washington State (Climatic Change Journal, 2010; lead author) and Preparing for Climate Change: A Guidebook for Local, Regional, and State Governments (2007; co-author). Lara earned her Master’s Degree in Public Affairs at the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Affairs in 2002. Lara can provide empirically-proven insights on what impacts we can accurately say are part of "climate change," which impacts we still cannot determine are a part of climate change, and how to discuss the entire concept in a way that promotes understanding and productive discussion rather than politically-charged arguments (ever had one of those break out on a trip you've led?).

PDF document icon (PNW) Whitely Binder_Mountaineers_12.5.15.pdf — PDF document, 7.68 MB

Emergency Communication Devices for Wilderness Risk Management - Alexis Alloway

Alexis has worked for NOLS as a mountaineering and backcountry ski instructor for over 10 years and she also serves on the board of Everett Mountain Rescue. Based on her experience in Search and Rescue and leading remote wilderness expeditions around the world, Alexis will discuss the importance of emergency communication devices as a wilderness risk management tool. She will share stories of the role of emergency communications devices in recent rescues in western Washington. Her workshop will explore the various communication devices available for today’s outdoor leader and provide suggestions for how to incorporate new technology into existing outdoor programs.

PDF document icon Emergency Comms Devices - Everett Mountain Rescue - Alloway.pdf — PDF document, 4.22 MB

Leadership Challenges and Best Practices - Andy Leider

Andy Leider has worked in the organizational development and outdoor education fields for over 25 years. He was a program manager and staff trainer for Outward Bound and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy and is a founder of Montana Yellowstone Expeditions. He is currently a Principal with Un|fenced, a strategic consulting firm that specializes in working with organizations and individuals in transition; as well as a Senior Consultant for Outdoor Safety Institute, where he focuses on the link between risk and organizational management. This presentation was used in an interactive discussion about leadership challenges and best practices to bring your "best self" to your work in the field and beyond.

PDF document icon Leadership Challenges and Best Practices - Andy Leider.pdf — PDF document, 966 KB

Creating Lectures That Engage, Excite, and Inform - Matthew Palubinskas

Matty P (Matt Palubinskas) is a high school science educator and Mountaineers volunteer and climb leader. He has been recognized as Volunteer of the Year and the Seattle Branch Climb Leader of the Year for his service within the Mountaineers community. He is an avid mountaineer, skier, backpacker, hiker, and ice and rock climber who is active with Seattle Mountain Rescue, is a certified EMT and ski patroller at Snoqualmie Pass. He is widely praised for the lectures he provides in our climbing courses. Matt gave this presentation to share his experience using best practices for creating engaging lectures. He covered tips and tricks for keeping students engaged in the learning process, for even with the most mundane topics. He discussed methods he uses to design and deliver creative and compelling seminars and lectures that (1) keep students engaged, (2) convey the necessary factual information in a way they retain, and (3) excites them to engage with what is being taught! When students are engaged in meaningful activities, they retain and recall the information and skills more effectively, and ultimately are better prepared for the outdoors.

PDF document icon Creating lectures that engage, excite, and inform - Matthew Palubinskas.pdf — PDF document, 1.49 MB

Improving and Making the Most of Inter-Generational Differences - Laura Schildkraut

Mountaineers instructors and leaders have a wide variety of expertise across an extremely broad range of ages in its membership. Some long-time members were here before there ever was a “Mountaineers.org” and many newcomers cannot imagine a world before the personal computer; sometimes this contributes to differences in opinion or approach to a problem. Laura Schildkraut is a faculty member at the University of Washington as well as the founder of “Onboarding Gen Y,” which has the mission of preparing younger employees who are new to a field to successfully enter the workplace and help guide organizations to effectively hire, welcome, retain and enable these employees to exceed expectations. Before joining the UW faculty Laura spent fourteen years in business working for Microsoft, Ogilvy & Mather, the N.A.S.D and Chemical Bank. She holds an MBA from NYU’s Stern School of Business, with concentrations in Information Systems and Marketing. One of her courses, using the television show “The Apprentice” as a base of discussion, earned her the highest student evaluations in the business school twice and received national recognition from CNN and Dateline for its ability to spark the interests of younger business students. Come hear her discuss how you can address, learn from, and more successfully negotiate some of the inter-generational differences that are a unique strength available in The Mountaineers community - from both sides of any generational divide.

PDF document icon Appreciating Gen Diversity - Laura Schildkraut.pdf — PDF document, 2.67 MB

Taking a Leadership Role in Mountaineers Conservation Work - Katherine Hollis

Learn how our conservation work is having a real impact and how you can get involved. Our leaders have a unique and powerful voice in the protection of our public lands: we are an authentic, boots-on-the-ground perspective because we live it every day. Learn how to take leadership in our Conservation and Recreation program. As the Conservation and Recreation Manager, Katherine leads The Mountaineers’ initiatives to protect natural and recreational resources on public lands and to educate and engage our members, and Washington's recreating public, on responsible recreation and conservation issues. From learning to climb as a college student in Vermont, to over a decade as an instructor and program manager with Outward Bound in Colorado, North Carolina and Patagonia, Katherine has pursued her love of the outdoors her entire life, including obtaining a master's degree in Sustainable International Development in mountainous Kyrgyzstan.

PDF document icon Conservation Leadership - Mtnrs Leadership Conference 12.5.15 - Hollis.pdf — PDF document, 768 KB

NOLS: Leadership Can be Learned and Improved On

Rejecting phrases such as "born leader" or "natural leader," NOLS believes all individuals can expand and improve their leadership capacity in the outdoors and beyond. John has been a NOLS instructor since 1991. He also has a master’s in leadership and organizational development from the Leadership Institute of Seattle. Since 2010, John has worked primarily for NOLS Professional Training, teaching leadership seminars for NOLS Instructors, and facilitating various leadership training programs for NOLS' organizational clients. This seminar picks up on themes discussed in last year’s NOLS presentation, and develops them further by examining some of the potentially challenging conversations that outdoor leaders face.

PDF document icon NOLS John Abel Mountaineers 2015.pdf — PDF document, 9.37 MB

Erika Halm - Outward Bound

Erika is the Washington Program Director for Northwest Outward Bound School (NWOBS). Erika has been working enthusiastically for NWOBS since her first days as a new instructor in 2009. She is proud to have worked full summer seasons in both Mazama and Odin Falls as an instructor, course director, and trainer ever since. Erika was excited to step into the role of Washington Program Director in 2014. When she isn't working, she loves to paddle, fish, climb, drink coffee, read books, and tell jokes. She will share some of the teaching strategies, tips, and outcomes that Outward Bound uses in their programs so that we can help the many students in our courses.

PDF document icon NW Outward Bound presentation - Erika Halm.pdf — PDF document, 1.90 MB

Waivers, Liability, and Risk: Legal Issues for Volunteer Course and Trip Leaders (2015)

Back by popular demand! Ruth is Counsel for The Mountaineers and a seasoned and widely-respected attorney who is an expert in representing ski areas and outdoor recreation providers. Ruth provided an overview of the legal issues facing Leaders as well as the ways in which Mountaineers volunteers are protected from liability for negligence by a variety of resources, including Ruth herself.

PDF document icon Waivers, Liability, and Risk - Ruth Nielsen.pdf — PDF document, 3.14 MB

WTA's Model for Empowering Leaders to Inspire New Outdoor Enthusiasts - Andrew Pringle

Nothing is more important than helping young people in our communities to reach their full potential. That’s why so many of us are concerned with the well-documented trend of young people spending increasingly less time outdoors, which is correlated with negative effects on wellness and behavior. We find hope in related studies, which have shown that increased access to outdoor experiences can have dramatic positive effects. However, we know that access to these opportunities is not equitable, and several recent articles have highlighted the the lack of diversity in our National Parks and in the outdoors in general. Most of us feel a deep commitment to expanding access to the outdoors so that more people benefit from the experiences that lead us to value our wild places. Washington Trails Association (WTA) has made that commitment to making the outdoors more accessible to more people through its Outdoor Leadership Training program and Gear Library. The program gets school-age youth outside by empowering educators and youth group leaders with the skills and resources they need to plan safe and fun outings. Graduates of the program’s hiking, camping, backpacking and snowshoeing workshops get access to free gear lending, funding assistance and a supportive community to help them in their efforts to inspire new outdoor enthusiasts.

PDF document icon WTA-A-Pringle-Mountaineers-Leadership-Conf-Presentation 2015.pdf — PDF document, 3.90 MB