Executive Director Update: Values to Guide CMC’s New Strategic Plan

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Photo: Kellon Spencer

By Keegan Young

This summer, our members have explored our state’s wildest spaces on Colorado Mountain Club programs. Some of you have reached summits you never thought possible. Others have learned things about the alpine environment, or even about yourselves. We’re continually impressed by what our members accomplish.

We’ve been hard at work this summer, too. Earlier this year, you helped us decide what our next strategic plan will look like. Once our membership gave us a direction, we revisited the values that guide CMC’s decisions every day.

How did you help shape CMC’s values?

Writing the values that will drive our strategic plan (and our organization as a whole) didn’t happen in a vacuum. We started our journey from a well-placed base camp: value statements that had long guided the CMC. Then we took what we heard from you during our January member engagement sessions and surveys this spring, revisiting our existing values with your priorities in mind. Our goal: be more precise, inclusive, and inspiring.

CMC staff took those draft values to our Strategic Planning Retreat in April. The CMC Board of Directors and Group Councils had a chance to review the updates, and they voted to approve them at that board meeting.

What’s changed about the values?

At its core, CMC will always support Colorado’s mountains and community. That’s what we’ve been doing for more than 100 years, and it’s what we’ll do long after this strategic plan is built on by the next one.

As our membership—and the environment—changes, we need to think critically about CMC’s specific priority areas and how we can best support the people and places that make our organization what it is. Here’s what that looks like to us:

  • Community. Passionate people are the bedrock of our mountain community and all our work. We are a welcoming and vibrant club that values our community.
  • Education. Our commitment to outdoor training and education is our legacy and future. By equipping Coloradans with the skills and confidence they need to move through the mountains, we honor and safeguard the people we love.
  • Stewardship. Stewarding and conserving wild spaces is at our core. We proactively protect these landscapes so that future generations can enjoy them.
  • Adventure. We know mountains can provide dramatic, life-changing experiences. We offer countless recreational, educational, and conservation-focused opportunities that inspire a passion for challenge in the outdoors.

Now what?

These values are the driving force behind our strategic plan. Every piece of the plan—every goal, metric, and action item—will in some way serve one or more of these values.

Now that we have a framework, we are drawing up a trail map for the next five years. As usual, we will continue to seek input from our members along the way.

At the end of this month, we’ll hold another town hall-style meeting with representatives from our Group Councils and our Board to get feedback on the direction of our draft plan. We’ll also send out a follow-up survey to the entire membership that will allow us to triple-check that we understand what you want from your club.

With that feedback in mind, we’ll fine-tune our draft until we’ve got a strategic plan to show you this fall. Stay tuned for more updates as we move through this process. We can’t wait to show you what we’ve been working on!

Questions or comments on the strategic planning process? Drop us a line at office@cmc.org.

17 Responses

  1. Michael Rees

    In the strategic plan, be sure to include a process for periodic evaluation of actions being taken and updates.

  2. Michael Rees

    In developing the strategic plan be sure to include a process for periodic evaluation of actions being taken, to see if the club is meeting its goals, and updates of the plan.

  3. Sharon Knight

    As you do your strategic planning, I hope you will remember to nurture programs for all ages and demographics. A large part of the trips and activities seem to be planned for folks who are retired and can attend during the week. It’s also pretty clear from photos, and personal experience so far, that there is not racial, socio-economic or cultural diversity. I know this is an issue across the hiking/climbing/outdoor adventure spectrum but it would be great if CMC could be a leader in changing this landscape.

  4. Robert Reimann

    I like the idea of outdoor adventure being a value, goal, etc. I think it should be the essence of the CMC.

  5. Tom Tingle

    I’ve belonged for many years. I need to become involved. I hope your new plan let’s me find a way to do just that, become more involved. Thanks

  6. Judy Childers

    Never, never forget the Club’s history and where we came from on our journey to be the CMC.
    Remember all the smaller groups and their contributions to the whole as the heart and soul of the CMC without beaurocracy.

  7. Colorado Mountain Club

    Hi Judy,

    Thank you for your message. Our goal is to bring the smaller groups into the fold and to better publicize their activities and contributions to our overall success.
    We are proud of our history and we bring that with us moving forward.

  8. Colorado Mountain Club

    Hi Tom,

    Thank you for your message. We are working on ways to get more involvement with members, volunteers, and trip leaders.
    We are working on expanding offerings. Thank you!

  9. Colorado Mountain Club

    Hi Robert,

    Outdoor adventure is at the heart of the club and we won’t forget that. It’s essential to us and we’ll continue to move it forward.

    Thank you for your message!

  10. Colorado Mountain Club

    Hi Sharon,

    DEI is one of the strongest points of our strategic plan and we are working on expanding our trip offerings for all ages and demographics.

    Thanks for your message!

  11. Colorado Mountain Club

    Hi Michael, we are continuing to update on our actions as we move forward with messages from the board and Executive Director and we will be providing frequent updates on the plan.

    Thank you for your message!


    Hello- Here are a couple general comments, not necessarily about the strategic plan.

    I do agree with Sharon’s comment above about demographics. I’ve been a member for the past year and it does seem that active members skew towards an older population. Please find ways to encourage and engage a more diverse group.

    Secondly, the policy of allowing people to sign up for as many hikes as they want, far in advance and then cancel as the date approaches, discourages those of us plan only a couple weeks out. Most of the hikes are full and the uncertainty of getting off the waitlist is a drag. There should be a restriction on the number of times someone can sign up and then cancel.

  13. Colorado Mountain Club

    Hi Tara,

    Thank you for your comment.

    We are finding ways to encourage a younger and more diverse group, and that is a part of our overall strategy.

    We appreciate your feedback and please be assured that it will be taken into discussion as we move forward.

  14. Dean Waits

    I’d like to re-emphasize Tara’s second point about people signing up for several trips in advance and later cancelling. Sometimes the cancellations are the day of the hike, making it difficult for leaders to plan and leaving people at home that would have enjoyed being there. Hopefully there is a programing feature to keep this from happening.

  15. Donna Gail Schneider

    In response to Tara and Dean’s reply: I might be mistaken since it’s been over a decade since I attended a new member orientation, but if I remember correctly, in the past (or maybe it was just the instructor) during new member orientation, it was stressed to new members how important it is to change your ‘yes’ RSVP’s as soon as you know you can not participate or at least a couple of days if possible, to allow those on the waiting list to have time to prepare to participate. If we are no longer doing this, we should be. In the past, unlike other clubs, I could always count on CMC members that signed up for one of my trips to show up or let me know in advance when they needed to cancel.

  16. Colorado Mountain Club

    Thank you Donna.

    We’re making sure this is sent to the right people in the organization and addressed.

  17. Colorado Mountain Club

    Thank you for your thoughts Dean.

    We are addressing this with the appropriate departments in the organization.

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