AMC Code of Conduct

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction and Code of Conduct Value Statement

  2. Scope

  3. Standards of Conduct

  4. Misconduct

  5. Reporting and Issues Management

  6. Related Policies and Information

1. Introduction and Code of Conduct Value Statement

Since its founding in 1876, the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) has promoted the protection, enjoyment, and understanding of the mountains, forests, waters, and trails of America’s Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions through building and maintaining trails; operating huts, lodges, and campsites; engaging in conservation; and providing outdoor experiences for adults, youth, and families. We invite and help people of all identities to explore, develop, and deepen their appreciation of the natural world. AMC’s Code of Conduct (“the Code”) is meant to help guide and inspire behavior that creates a welcoming community.

AMC believes that the outdoors belongs to everyone. To be sustainable and impactful in carrying out our mission, the AMC community must create and embrace opportunities to be inclusive, kind and equitable so that we can best reach and reflect the diverse population of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Regions. As a multi-faceted non-profit, our greatest opportunity for success and mission impact lies with engaging a broader community of people from diverse backgrounds and experiences who share our passion for the outdoors. AMC strives to provide:

  • An accessible, safety conscious, and inclusive community

  • Outdoor recreation, adventure, and enjoyment

  • Opportunities for teaching, learning, sharing, and skill building for people of all identities and backgrounds

  • Care for trails and access to recreational opportunities

  • Active engagement in and advocacy for protecting the outdoors we enjoy

As part of our mission we encourage people of all identities to connect with the outdoors safely and responsibly. While many AMC activities require little to no previous experience, for safety reasons, some outdoor activities require participants to meet certain physical and cognitive criteria.[1]

2. Scope

This Code of Conduct applies across the AMC community. Our community includes employees, volunteers, members, program participants, guests, visitors, contractors, vendors, and others who interact with the organization. It applies to interactions that take place across our operations, including in offices; on trips, programs and trainings; at AMC owned or operated facilities of all types; in meetings; on the trail; at social events; in written communication including online and social media; and at other events, activities, and places where we represent AMC. In other words, this code applies in every area of AMC – whether inside, outside, or online.

3. Standards of Conduct

In every context, the people of AMC will conduct themselves in a manner consistent with AMC’s mission and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) values and in a way which is not detrimental to AMC, its members, the public or staff, and which will provide the highest level of enjoyment in the activities and other events sponsored by AMC. With this in mind, individuals will:

  • Uphold a community built on mutual trust, integrity, and dignity for all, where issues are addressed in a respectful and inclusive manner.Involve staff and volunteer leadership as appropriate.

  • Conduct and participate in AMC sponsored activities while prioritizing personal and group safety and minimizing the associated risks

  • Respect the outdoors and the many ways people connect with one another and with natural places

  • Remain free from conflicts of interest

  • Follow all policies/rules as applicable, internal or external

  • Represent the AMC and its mission in a positive, professional, and respectful manner

We encourage the involvement of all people in our mission and activities through membership, program participation, facility visitation, and volunteerism. Our goal is to be a community which values kindness, and is comfortable, inviting, and accessible for people with a broad range of identities and backgrounds.

4. Misconduct

Misconduct includes actions in violation of the Standards of Conduct and inconsistent with AMC’s mission and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion values. Misconduct also includes actions that may be detrimental to AMC’s community, the public, and the outdoor places we value. Examples of misconduct include, but are not limited to:

  • Unwelcome or exclusionary behavior toward others of any kind (based on identities including, but not limited to race, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, physical ability, physical characteristic, socioeconomic background, nationality, age, religion, or beliefs)

  • Failure to prioritize personal and group safety during participation in AMC sponsored activities, whether through disregard for stated policies and rules or through negligence.

  • Disregard for Leave No Trace principles and/or for the rules and regulations of outdoor places we visit.

  • Failure to represent the AMC and its mission in a positive, professional, and respectful manner.

Some violations of the Standards of Conduct may rise to the level of serious misconduct, including:

  • Willful disregard for personal and group safety during participation in AMC-sponsored activities resulting in imminent risk toward self or others

  • Physical or sexual assault; violence or threats of violence toward others

  • Discrimination, harassment, or hostility toward others of any kind (based on identities including, but not limited to race, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, physical ability, physical characteristic, socioeconomic background, nationality, age, religion, or beliefs)

  • Bullying

  • Sexual Harassment

  • Illegal or unethical activity while participating in AMC sponsored activities, or outside of AMC sponsored activities when such misconduct may result in harm to the organization, its members, its staff, or the outdoor places we value

  • Misuse or embezzlement of AMC funds or other assets

5. Reporting and Issues Management

This section assures that mechanisms are in place to support the Code. In particular, action outlines are provided for when there has been an alleged breach of the Standards of Conduct.These resolution strategies are grouped into a few areas.


Support Team

The team that supports issue resolution will be comprised of employees from AMC’s Human Resources, Risk Management, and Volunteer Relations departments. Where Volunteer Units have established internal review processes, volunteers will coordinate and communicate with staff. Additional assistance could come from the Leadership Team, Volunteer Unit Leadership, and Compliance Officers of the Board of Directors as well as outside counsel, as needed. The goal is to provide an objective and fair analysis while maintaining process integrity and individual privacy as much as possible.

Communication Venues and Criteria for Reporting

AMC will consider all complaints and issues that are in violation of the Code for investigation and any possible disciplinary action. AMC will consider anonymous complaints, however, in order to facilitate AMC’s investigation, complainants are encouraged to provide the following details when reporting an issue:

  • Name and contact information

  • Type of misconduct

  • Name of person(s) breaching the Standards of Conduct

  • Date, time, and location of incident

  • Details of incident

  • Names of any witnesses

These details may be communicated to AMC through:

AMC’s ability to investigate an issue could be impeded if the above requested information is not provided.

Problem Solving and Investigation

AMC’s standard is to acknowledge receipt of the initial complaint within five business days, and endeavor to resolve complaints connected with the Code as quickly as possible. During the investigation, designated members of the Code of Conduct Support Team typically will speak separately with the complainant and the respondent. The Team may interview others as deemed appropriate.

Consequences and Closure

At the conclusion of the investigation, a decision will be made as to the need for any discipline, including but not limited to mediation or counseling, loss of membership, exclusion from activities, revocation of leader or volunteer status, termination of employment, or legal prosecution. As appropriate, AMC will inform the complainant(s) and the respondent(s) of the investigation’s outcome. Parties can engage in an appeals process, which will be described when the parties are informed of the investigation’s conclusions. Outcomes of the appeals process are final and are conducted by members of the Support Team (described above).

Metrics and Policy Management

While individual issues will be kept confidential by AMC, broader metrics such as issue types, locations and other un-identifying characteristics will be tracked internally by Risk Management and Human Resources departments to build better training programs and communications around AMC’s Code of Conduct.

6. Related Policies and Information

If you have questions about any of these policies or information, please contact your staff or volunteer liaison.


1AMC values diversity – including persons with diverse abilities – in its programs. While we do not specialize in integrating persons with disabilities onto activities we sponsor, we encourage people of all abilities to consider participating in AMC activities. The AMC’s Essential Eligibility Criteria (EEC) is a list of the physical and cognitive requirements of activities sponsored by the AMC. The AMC’s EEC are intended to be a resource for anyone considering participating in an AMC-sponsored activity, and are not intended to be exclusionary.The AMC will consider reasonable accommodations, consistent with applicable law.

Approved by AMC Board of Directors, June 14, 2018