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How to become an activity leader

If you are interested in becoming an AMC hike, backpack, bike, paddling, family or trails leader, we want you! We are always interested in adding new activity leaders and welcome your participation!

The process for becoming a trip leader for the chapter is described in the AMC Delaware Valley Chapter's Leadership Requirements Policy, as follows:

In order to become a leader for the AMC Delaware Valley Chapter, you must:

1. Be a member of the AMC for at least six months and participate in four or more AMC outdoor activities with at least two different leaders.

2. Successfully complete an AMC Outdoor Leadership Training course that is approved by the DV Chapter


Be recommended by a DV Chapter leader based on equivalent previous experience, such as having led trips for another AMC Chapter, the Sierra Club, or similar organization. Candidates with such previous experience may apply for approval by contacting the Leadership Chair.

3. Successfully co-lead at least two scheduled chapter activities with two different leaders, be recommended by your mentor leaders, and approved by the Leadership Chair and the activity chair.

Once leadership status has been attained for a particular activity (most leaders begin as hike leaders), the leader may become certified for leading other AMC-DV activities (biking, backpacking, trail work, skiing, paddling).

Leadership for each activity must be individually certified. The leader should co-lead one of the new activities, and demonstrate the required skills. This requirement can be waived at the discretion of the activity chairperson, and upon receiving approval of the Leadership Chair, based on extensive experience in that activity.

For the first mentored co-lead, the Leader in Training assists the experienced DV leader (Leader of Record). For the second, the Leader in Training does the actual planning, with the assistance of the experienced leader. A DV Leader who wishes to become certified to lead an additional activity should do the actual planning of that activity, with the assistance of an experienced DV Leader. In order to be a Leader of Record for an activity (an experienced DV Leader who works with a leader trainee), a leader must have led at least three trips in that activity for AMC-DV and been an AMC-DV leader for at least six months.

New leader activity requests will be scrutinized to a greater degree by the chapter reviewer to better assure the leader has demonstrated adequate skills to maintain participant safety.

Backpacking Leader Guidelines In consideration of the extended nature of these activities, ALL (new and continuing) backpack leaders must have taken a certified Wilderness or Backcountry First Aid course in the past six years. Proof of completion of such a certified course must be submitted to the Backpacking Chair. It is highly recommended that the certification be kept current. It is also highly recommended that backpack leaders should take a CPR course and keep it current. An individual who has become certified as a backpacking leader will also be certified as a day hike leader.

To become a backpacking leader, a minimum of two backpacking co-leads are required for new leaders, or one co-lead for current DV activity leaders.

All prospective backpacking leaders must have participated in at least three AMC-DV backpacking trips prior to becoming a leader (in addition to the required co-leads), or have previous equivalent experience with a similar organization. Candidates with such previous experience may apply for approval by contacting the Backpacking Chair.

A leader must have participated in two winter backpacks with AMC-DV, characterized either by overnight temperatures or date, in order to become a winter backpacking leader.

Leaders having successfully met the stated requirements must be approved by the Backpacking Chair.

Group size for all AMC-DV backpacking trips is to be limited to a maximum of 12 participants, including the leader(s).

Bicycling Leader Guidelines An approved DV Outdoor Activity Leader may become a Bicycling Leader by completing one bicycling co-lead, in which the trainee plans and executes the bike ride in its entirety, with the assistance of an approved Bicycling Leader. A person who has completed the Outdoor Leadership Training course but is not yet an approved AMC-DV leader may become a Bicycling Leader by completing two required co-leads. Leaders having successfully met the stated requirements must be approved by the Bicycling Chair.

For leading paddling activities, see our paddling policy.

Leadership training course costs are reimbursed at 50 percent for those who lead two activities for the chapter within one year. For additional information on becoming an activity leader for the DV Chapter, contact the chapter Leadership Chair at

Click here for a printable version of this policy.

Outdoor Leadership Training Courses

This year's local leader training is over, but if you or anyone you know would be good potential AMC leaders, and were unable to attend this past weekend's event, but we have established a reciprocal arrangement with the Connecticut Chapter so that DV Chapter members may attend the Connecticut Chapter’s leadership training course in the fall.

 If you’d like to get started as an AMC activity leader ASAP, this is your chance! The course this year will be offered on the weekend of November 16-18 in Litchfield, in western Connecticut. We will try to coordinate carpools for DV Chapter members traveling to Connecticut for the course (about 3 1⁄2 hours from Philadelphia).

The November course, like the DV Chapter’s spring course, covers many aspects of being a trip leader such as group dynamics, leadership styles and accident scene management, and is led by AMC volunteers and staff. DV Chapter members completing this course will be certified as trip leaders upon completion of two successful co-leads on DV Chapter trips.

The cost for the weekend is approximately $50 for members, $65 for non-members, including instruction, handouts, lodging and meals. For those leading at least two hikes for the DV Chapter within a year of the course, 50 percent of the course cost will be reimbursed.

Young members interested in becoming AMC leaders may want to take part in the Inter-Chapter Young Members (20s & 30s) Leadership Training weekend that will take place on September 21-23 at the Harriman Outdoor Center in New York (30 miles north of Manhattan).

For additional information on these courses or on other leader- ship training opportunities available through the AMC, contact Leadership Chair Lennie Steinmetz at or phone her at 610-694-8677.

How to register: Contact DV Leadership Chair Lennie Steinmetz, or by phone at 610-694-8677 for additional information and registration.

For detailed information on becoming a leader, including leadership requirements, click here.

Adventure Travel Leadership

Experienced leaders who wish to expand their range might be interested in attending the Adventure Travel training weekend that will take place on the weekend November 2-4 in Charlton, MA. This is a great opportunity for trip leaders who are ready to take the next step from leading local chapter trips to organizing and leading longer domestic and international excursions. The cost for the weekend is $115, and the registration deadline is October 5. More info.

Young members 18 to 29: fully paid training and free membership

Young members age 18-29 who are interested in becoming activity leaders for the AMC-DV Chapter will be provided a full scholarship for 2018 Outdoor Leadership Training courses if they agree to lead at least two activities for the DV Chapter during 2018. In addition, a one year AMC membership will be provided free of charge by the chapter for these new YM leaders, if they are not currently AMC members.

The AMC-DV Chapter offers a wide variety of outdoor activities including hiking, backpacking, paddling, cycling, and skiing. The Outdoor Leadership Training course covers such things as activity planning, leadership styles, group dynamics, liability issues, map and compass skills, accident scene management, conservation and minimum impact issues, and AMC leadership requirements and guidelines. New leaders will be paired with an experienced leader who will provide support and mentorship and assist them with their required two co-leads following the course.


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