Outdoors Theory of Change Team – CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS!

Volunteer applications due July 30th

Do you think the Sierra Club should elevate the power of connecting people to nature? Do you think about ways that the Sierra Club could better support and build outings? Want to leverage your experience into something with a big impact? Join us!


We are creating a staff and volunteer team composed of people passionate about Sierra Club’s outdoors work to develop a unifying theory of change that will powerfully advance our outdoors work in service of Sierra Club’s strategic plan including movement building and equity, inclusion and justice goals. Activities will include developing a common vision, setting long-term goals, designing associated strategies, structures and activities to take our outdoors work to the next level.


For 125 years, the Sierra Club has engaged people in conservation by encouraging them to explore, enjoy and protect the planet. Since 1901, the Sierra Club has facilitated outings to show people first hand the beauty of the planet we were founded to protect. A lot has changed since 1901. Today, more than 80% of Americans live in cities and children are more disconnected from nature than any generation in history. The Sierra Club has grown exponentially and has many campaigns and programs addressing the environmental issues of modern times. Today, the Sierra Club has multiple programs (see below for descriptions) aimed at connecting people with nature, both near and far. Sometimes the conservation work and outings activities appear to take place in two separate Sierra Clubs.


Sierra Club is the only major conservation organization in America that both inspires people through outings and outdoor programming and advocates to ensure all people, no matter where they live or what their background, have the right to experience nature. The goal of this process is to craft a unified vision that bridges Sierra Club conservation, advocacy, movement building, equity and outings work. Together, we will craft our vision for how the Sierra Club can help increase equitable access to the outdoors for all communities and help grow the movement of people engaged to protect people, nature and the planet.


Team Member Expectations

  • Available to participate in team meetings and calls from July 2017 – December 2017
  • One potential in-person meeting (likely in Oakland or DC)
  • Twice monthly phone calls/google hangouts
  • Help with drafting, reviewing, etc., between meetings over email and Google platform
  • Total expected time commitment: 5-7 hours per month (with travel months being heavier than others)


Additional Expectations for Volunteer Co-Lead (In addition to volunteer team members, we are also seeking one volunteer co-lead)

  • Volunteer Co-lead will work with Staff Co-Lead to develop agendas and lead team calls and meetings
  • Additional drafting and outreach responsibility to ensure broad stakeholder input throughout process
  • Total expected time commitment: 8-10 hours per month (with travel months being heavier than others)



Entities Coming Together to Coordinate

Sierra Club’s outdoor-related programs are housed in various units of the Sierra Club. Please find below short descriptions of each of the program areas coming together to develop the Wild/Outings Theory of Change.


Inspiring Connections Outdoors – Inspiring Connections Outdoors (ICO) empowers youth from communities with limited access to connect and reconnect to the outdoors – for the benefit of both. ICO works to support and grow the movement to make the outdoors more inclusive and engaging, specifically for populations of color. We also aim to create the next generation of environmental justice and social justice leaders, increase exposure to outdoor recreation, support grassroots community leadership, and build a broad platform for future growth of outdoor and environmental leadership for all participants and volunteers. The Inspiring Connections Outdoors program is housed in the Sierra Club Outdoors/Our Wild America campaign and managed by Outdoor Activities/Grassroots Effectiveness.


Local Outings More than 5,000 Sierra Club Local Outdoors volunteers lead a range of outings that are as diverse as their interests. Depending on where you are, you can choose from day hikes, peak scrambles, bicycling, skiing, paddling, bird-watching, conservation-oriented activities, or forays into the remaining natural areas of our major cities. The Local Outings program is housed in the Outdoor Activities/ Grassroots Effectiveness unit.


Military Outdoors The Sierra Club’s Military Outdoors program (SCMO) connects service members, veterans, and their families to the lands they fought to protect. Each year, SCMO gets thousands of military and veterans outdoors through outings and outdoor leadership training to inspire and get others into nature. As a volunteer run and led program, participants are given the opportunity to continue to serve through various leadership capacities, which can help ease the transition to civilian life. The Military Outdoors program is housed in the Sierra Club Outdoors/Our Wild America campaign.


National Outings – Part of the largest grassroots environmental organization in the country, National Outings provides high-quality outdoor adventures—from Tahoe to Tibet—for people of all ages, abilities, and interests. We’ve been doing it for more than a century, ever since Sierra Club founder John Muir discovered an essential truth while out hiking the high country: If you want people to go to bat for the environment, he realized, you’ve got to get them out into the wilderness. “If people in general could be got into the woods, even for once, to hear the trees speak for themselves, all difficulties in the way of forest preservation would vanish,” he said back in 1901. The National Outings program is housed in the Grassroots Effectiveness unit.


Nearby Nature – Nearby Nature is building the next generation of environmental leaders by empowering youth and community leaders to advance outdoor access and equity in their communities through outings, service projects, leadership development, coalition building and policy advocacy. The Nearby Nature initiative is housed in the Sierra Club Outdoors/Our Wild America campaign.


Outdoors Alliance for Kids – the Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK) is a national strategic partnership of organizations advocating for equitable and readily available opportunities for children, youth and families to connect with the outdoors. OAK is focused primarily on advocacy and the activation of decision-makers and brings together more than 90 businesses and nonprofit organizations representing 60 million+ individuals. OAK is founded and chaired by the Sierra Club, but maintains an independent steering committee charged with making strategic decisions for the alliance. Steering Committee member organizations include American Heart Association, Children & Nature Network, Latino Outdoors, REI, The North Face, Scholastic and the YMCA of the USA. The Outdoors Alliance for Kids is housed in the Sierra Club Outdoors / Our Wild America Campaign.


If you are interested in joining the Outdoors TOC Team, fill out this application by July 30th. Direct any questions to Jackie Ostfeld, Associate Director, Sierra Club Outdoors, at 202-548-6584; jackie.ostfeld@sierraclub.org.


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