Leadership Training

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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  Morning is still asserting itself—early light eking through dusty windows, aroma of freshly brewed coffee wafting in from the kitchen—as eight strangers settle into mismatched couches and chairs on an unseasonably warm Thursday in October. The group gives off a mix of excitement, anxiety, and grogginess, some having driven from as far as New…

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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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One of the most invaluable tools we have as leaders is our awareness of the factors that come into play when we are in the field. That awareness falls into three main categories: Environment Group Self As we shift into the colder months, digging all our layers and winter gear out of reverse-hibernation, it is…

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Often we get asked by folks, “What’s one thing people can do to make the outdoors more inclusive?” Despite the fact that we are diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) professionals, this question always seems to stump us. It stumps us not because we don’t have an answer; in fact, we’re stumped because we have too…

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When Rachel Freierman was 15 years old, she went on a 10-day backpacking trip with AMC’s Teen Wilderness Adventures (TWA) program. She already felt fairly comfortable in the outdoors. Her family went car camping. They backcountry skied. Still, Freierman had never backpacked before. “I was excited to push myself,” she recalls. Every outdoor adventure has challenges, and every kid arrives at those challenges with different levels of experience. Mix in unpredictable…

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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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