COLL in Action: AMC Inter-chapter Training Collaborations

Chapters enjoy increased collaboration due to T3 training (CT Chapter: November 2017)

Chapters enjoy increased collaboration due to T3 training (CT Chapter: November 2017)

The Center for Outdoor Learning & Leadership (COLL) Train the Trainer (T3) events on hiking and leadership, held in September at the Corman Harriman Outdoor Center in West Haverstraw, New York and in October at the Prindle Pond Conference Center in Charlton, Massachusetts, have encouraged greater cooperation between Chapters in developing and executing leader training.

As a member of the committee involved in planning and putting on the T3 trainings, I had the opportunity to witness the friendships and working relationships that developed after months together planning the events.  The Connecticut Chapter Education Committee, of which I am a member, offered a two-day leadership training program in November 2017 after the conclusion of the T3 events. Participants described the training as “epic.” The newly forged relationships between leaders from Connecticut and other Chapters was part of the reason for this enthusiastic, positive response to the training.

24 students participated in the November leadership training. Connecticut Education Chair, Keith Spaar, who was also overseeing the training of 44 Wilderness First Aid students that weekend, planned the curriculum for this 2-day event with a pool of very knowledgeable trainers. In addition to Connecticut regulars, two trainers from the Delaware Valley Chapter and one from the Berkshire Chapter rounded out the ranks.  Much thanks to Jeff Fritzinger and Barbara Beatrice, of the Delaware Valley Chapter, and Margo Chapski of the Berkshire Chapter.

As some of you may know, the Worcester and Berkshire Chapters have conducted trainings together since 2006.  Christine Fogarty, the Chair of the Outdoor Leadership Development Committee (OLDC), and Deb Herlihy, Leadership Chair-Worcester, and Bill Fogel, Chair of the Training & Education Committee-Berkshire, are the main organizers this year.  The facilitators for the co-sponsored 2018 spring leadership training are all T3 graduates, providing a break for veteran trainers. A record crowd of 35 people is expected.

AMC has long offered volunteer-led outdoor leadership training for its members and the public.  For many years, such trainings largely occurred independently within the 12 AMC Chapters.  In recent years, a move toward standardization and advanced training, developed collaboratively by staff and volunteers from numerous Chapters, has led the way to greater cooperation between the Chapters. This is a trend we hope to see continue & grow.

The COLL T3 committee focused on curriculum development, distribution and training for the T3 events. An important, additional benefit of this work was inter-chapter networking and collaboration. These relationships developed during months of telephone meetings and further solidified onsite during the trainings. We continue to see relationships strengthen and develop as COLL T3 faculty travel throughout our AMC community to facilitate trainings across Chapters.

A reprise of the COLL T3 event is planned for this fall, with a combined focus on the hiking and leadership tracks. The event will be held at Prindle Pond from November 2-4, 2018.  Registration will open in early June. For additional information, please email:

Janet Ainsworth is on the Connecticut Chapter Education Committee and is the Mid-Atlantic Regional Director for the AMC.

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Janet Ainsworth

Janet Ainsworth serves on AMC's Board of Directors as the Mid-Atlantic Regional Director and is on the Connecticut Chapter Executive Committee where she is also a former Chapter Chair.