7 Elements of Becoming a Leader


There are seven elements defined by the Sierra Club for anyone to be certified as an outings leader. These same elements are used to determine whether a leader is qualified to lead a particular event. All elements are easily achieved and are intended to ensure the quality of our events without being a barrier to leadership.
1. Sierra Club membership.
All leaders must be current Sierra Club members. If your Sierra Club membership expires, you cannot lead any activities until you renew your membership. Fortunately,it's quick and easy to join or renew. Regular, introductory and discounted memberships are available. Any level of membership, individual or joint, is sufficient. LPSS cannot reimburse leaders for the cost of Sierra Club dues. Club membership is not required for participation in most activities, however LPSS expects regular participants to join after a trial period.
2. Be at least 18 years of age [and single].
The minimum age for leaders is 18. LPSS, being intended for single adults, also requires its leaders to be unmarried. Sierra Club membership records do not list your age or marital status, and LPSS does not need to know your age or to document your marital history. By leading any activity, you implicitly assert that you are single and at least 18. Everyone is welcome to participate in our activities, regardless of marital status. Participation under age 18 is at the discretion of the leader and requires a parent or legal guardian (not a neighbor or other accompanying adult) to sign the liability waiver.
3. First aid certification.
For most outings, including hiking and car camping, LPSS requires at least American Red Cross Standard First Aid (6 hours) and recommends Basic Wilderness First Aid (BWFA, 8 hours). For multi-day outings without overnight emergency response, such a backpacking and ski hut trips, LPSS requires Wilderness First Aid (WFA, 16 hours). ARC Standard includes CPR, whereas BWFA and WFA do not. CPR training, either included or separate, is required for outings that involve a drowning risk. For non-outing social and sporting activities, LPSS requires ARC Standard, but may issue exceptions on a case-by-case basis. First aid certifications are valid for three years. If your first aid certification expires, LPSS now allows you to continue to lead outings while you are scheduling a renewal class, up to one year beyond the expiration date. LPSS may reimburse leaders for the cost of required first aid classes. First aid exemptions are generally granted to physicians, nurses and other medical professionals. ARC classes are offered at their facilities in Burlingame, Palo Alto, San Jose and Hollister, as well as other cites adjoining our Chapter's territory, such as San Francisco and Santa Cruz. BWFA and WFA classes are sponsored several times a year by the Loma Prieta Chapter and are announced in the Loma Prietan and on the Chapter's Web site. They are held at the Chapter office in Palo Alto.
4. Outing Leader Training (OLT).
OLT formalizes the traditional requirement that leaders be familiar with the contents of the Outing Leader Handbook. Basic OLT is for all outings and is renewed every four years. Your choices on how to do this will be described separately. If you were an outing leader prior to July 1, 2004, you have until June 30, 2008 to do this for the first time. For outings that overnight away from your cars, including most backpacking and back country cabin trips, the OLT Workshop will also be required. Once taken, the Workshop does not have to be renewed. Equivalent training or experience may be substituted. If you were a backpacking leader prior to July 1, 2004, you automatically satisfy the Workshop requirement. No OLT is necessary to lead non-outing social and sporting activities.
5. Outing participant skills.
Every leader has their limits, and you must know yours. Each event requires that its participants have a certain range of skills. To be qualified to lead an event, your skill level must be at least in the upper part of this range. This does not necessarily mean that you must have greater skills than the other participants. (You may even be the weakest participant on your event.) You just have to have strong skills compared to what is expected for the activities you lead.
6. Provisionally lead at least one outing and receive a positive evaluation.
New leaders must qualify by leading one event while being observed and evaluated by a current leader. Find a leader who is qualified to lead the type of event you would like to lead and ask that person to qualify you. This qualifying leader will offer advice and guidance, but you'll have to plan, organize and lead all aspects of the event yourself. LPSS identifies many different types of activities (social activities, hiking, volleyball, biking, camping, backpacking, skiing, rafting,…). Whenever the leadership of different activities requires different skills, you will have to qualify for each type of activity you want to lead. Provisional leaders with a fully qualified co-leader must have LPSS approval, but do not have to satisfy any of these seven elements
7. Final approval.
Each new leader must be approved before being certified as a leader. Evaluation form and training certifications must be sent to the LPSS Vice-chair for final approval.