Outdoor Leadership

As America’s oldest conservation organization, the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) has a rich history of offering high quality volunteer led outdoor leadership trainings and outings. Volunteer leaders providing positive experiences in the outdoors, for members and non-members alike, have been a fundamental means to grow AMC’s  membership and to support the club’s mission: to promote…

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In March, we started talking about communication. I asked us, as leaders, to reflect on these questions: Were we mindful of the “novices” in our community? Did we adapt our communication so those individuals felt welcome? If not, why not? How would we change our approach in the future? I recently returned to these questions…

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You are heading out for a day at the crag with some local participants, most of whom have never climbed on real rock before! It is an exciting time but there is a lot to consider including: Are your skills up to date? (For current training & learning opportunities with the AMC, click here.) How…

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So, you’ve decided to take the next step in your outdoor leadership path and register for AMC’s Mountain Leadership School (MLS). Excited, nervous, anxious? I know I was. Coming out of MLS you’ll likely end up defining it as one of the best experiences you’ve had in the outdoors, but you’ll definitely look back and…

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  For those who prefer the warmer weather, it’s coming – really! And longer days mean more time to play outside. In addition to trading in your snowshoes for hiking boots, why not dust off your wilderness first aid knowledge too? Below are a couple of scenarios to help: Playtime in the park It’s a…

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  Part 2: Communication In the last installment, we discussed how people, or interpersonal skills, are an elusive component of leadership. As I mentioned before, the scope and complexity involved with these skills is hard to capture in a single word or phrase. Still, as leaders, mentors, facilitators, educators, or simply the intellectually curious, we…

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You’re at the put-in.  You have your leadership team, and the rest of the group is assembling.  All of the participants have been screened, but some you have not paddled with.  How do you assess their abilities?  How do you know how they will react if the environment presents a challenge?  How do you assess…

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Leadership Case Study: Group Management in the Alpine This case study was featured at Mountain Leadership School’s annual Instructor Post School Debrief in September 2016.  A vigorous discussion produced the conclusion points illuminated below. Join these experienced volunteer instructors at the oldest leadership training program in the nation for the 59th annual Mountain Leadership School in…

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Part 1: The Art of Listening Working in an outdoor environment our role as leaders often incorporates technical or, “hard” skills, and people, or “soft” skills. The technical skills are tangible elements: How to tie a bowline, how to execute a forward stroke, how to set up a tent, and there are a lot of…

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Who is the mentor?                                                               Halfway through the two-week outdoor leader training, Keer, the course manager responsible for leading the training, called us together to…

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