Outdoor Leadership Archives - Appalachian Mountain Club

Outdoor Leadership

Like many who read this blog, I spend plenty of time in the outdoors, personally and professionally, and my mother frequently expresses concerns for my safety. I always assumed my mom was referring to the inherent risks involved with outdoor activities when she mentioned my safety — until recently. During one of our conversations, she…

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As Jo moved south on the Laugavegur trail in Iceland, the rain began moving off, slanting columns of water drifting east. The sun reappeared, but more rain could be seen upwind, sweeping slowly over the mountains. For now, things were fine, as a massive crescent rainbow filled the sky to the northwest. It was day…

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If you work in the outdoor industry, as a volunteer, seasonal employee, or full-time professional, you may be familiar with the term “incident report.” (If you are not familiar with an incident report form, you can find an example of one here.) In the outdoor industry, incident reports are meant to capture a detailed, succinct and…

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Leading teams of hikers and climbers on the snow and ice poses many of the same challenges as a three-season adventure, but the stakes are raised considerably. Shorter days make turn-around times more critical, surviving an unplanned night out requires more know-how, and a white-out blizzard can quickly disorient even a seasoned navigator. Below are…

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If you are a trip leader for the AMC, you probably started your journey as a participant as its one-of-a-kind leadership training experience.  Hopefully, this prepared you well for leading trips in your favorite outdoor activity.  If you are not yet a leader, perhaps you have attended an AMC outing, focused on safety & fun,…

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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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