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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:

  • 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.
  • Successfully complete an AMC Outdoor Leadership training course that is approved by the DV Chapter OR 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.
  • 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 Activities 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 For leading backpacking trips, 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 five 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 three backpacking co-leads are required for new leaders, or two co-leads 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), candidates who have met the requisite co-leads and/or successfully completed AMC Mountain Leadership School (or equivalent) may apply for approval by contacting the Backpacking Chair.

A leader must have participated in three 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.

A printable version of this policy is available.

Outdoor Leadership Training Courses

Contact us at leadership@amcdv.org for additional information on the Leadership Training Courses.

Everyone is welcome to attend: leader wannabes, new leaders, new members, experienced leaders, members who just want to learn what leadership is all about. Topics to be covered are the elements of outdoor leadership common to all AMC outdoor activities:

  • Activity planning
  • Leading safe and enjoyable activities
  • Leadership styles
  • Group dynamics
  • Liability issues
  • Decision making model
  • Accident scene management
  • Conservation and minimum impact issues
  • AMC leadership requirements and guidelines
  • How to become a DV Chapter activity leader
  • Map and compass skills
  • Instructors: Experienced AMC volunteers and staff

Adventure Travel Leadership

Each fall AMC holds a required weekend course for adventure travel leaders, those who lead trips more than 500 miles from an AMC chapter, often to exotic locations all over the world. See when the next class will be held.

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.