Situational Leadership

When Aaron North greets a new group of teenage volunteers to serve on one of AMC’s trail crews for a week, he’s sympathetic. For some, it’s their first outdoors experience, and supporting these adolescents as they navigate new situations is one of North’s primary concerns. “Being a teenager is complicated enough,” says North, AMC’s southern…

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When rescue teams found James Clark on Mount Washington’s Lion Head Trail at 1:15 a.m. on June 14, 2019, the 80-year-old Dublin, Ohio, resident was barely clinging to life. The day before, Clark had set out with his two teenage grandsons on what was supposed to be a day hike to the summit of New…

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Early fall is a beautiful time of year for paddling. The water is warm, the days sunny, and leaf peeping, from your kayak, canoe or SUP (stand up paddle board), is a ton of fun.  Before your next trip, take a few minutes to think about what your group needs when getting on, and off,…

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Using resources from the Outdoor Leader Handbook, you and your co-Leader planned an activity and posted it on outdoors.org. The trip is full and you know it’s going to be great! The day of the trip arrives. You & your co-Leader meet the group at the designated spot. Before getting underway, you provide introductions, share the…

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Whether you’re taking a walk in your local park or you’re hiking in the mountains, nature can offer solace when things feel overwhelming. For those on the autism spectrum—almost 2 percent of American children, who struggle to communicate and are extra-sensitive to bright lights, loud noises, and new places and people—a nature path provides especially…

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The situation: You, and a co-leader, have a group of ten (10) participants. You’ve planned an ambitious day hike up a 4000+ peak in late July. The weather is clear, although it is hot & humid with temperatures in the mid-80s (Fahrenheit). Every member of your group has at least 2 liters of water and…

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In analyzing the scenario from May’s post, you may have considered the following points: The individual wishing to depart is a proficient and experienced hiker; Though they are unfamiliar with the trails in this area, they do know how to read a map and navigate; The route they hiked yesterday is the same one they’d…

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Below is a fictional case study created from the experiences of AMC’s volunteer leaders on their trips. Read on & consider what you would do if you found yourself in this situation. . . Case Study: Trip Participant Wants to Depart Early Trip Location: Lonesome Lake Hut & Cannon Mountain, Franconia Notch, New Hampshire Trails:…

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Our revised Leadership Requirements & Guidelines, which go into effect on March 15, recommend including a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) component in leadership training for the amazing folks who volunteer their time & energy on behalf of the AMC. The following post, authored by the Ava Holliday and Aparna Rajagopal-Durbin of the Avarna Group, offers…

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Part 1: You are the leader on a 4-day winter backpacking trip in the White Mountains. Your group consists of seven participants of varied skill level. All have some experience winter camping. Your co-leader has Wilderness First Aid (WFA) and winter backpacking experience. This is day 3 of the trip. Today’s plan is to summit a…

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