Become a Leader

Sierra Club Outings leaders in the Ansel Adams Wilderness, California
Sierra Club Outings leaders in the Ansel Adams Wilderness, California. Photo: Andy Johnson

"It's always a thrill to help people who look at these trails in Canyon de Chelly and say that there is no way they can make it up them. I feel great being able to reply with a gentle, 'Just follow me, we'll take our time and we'll all make it together.' The new sense of accomplishment and self-esteem that one has after completing a trip is just wonderful."—Ann Daigle, leader

As a Sierra Club Outings leader, you will join others in exploring wild lands farther away from home, often exploring different cultures, conservation issues, and even perceptions. Because trips are often focused around a unique theme or activity, you could be backpacking, kayaking, bicycling, or doing service work—it's up to you to choose, because you ultimately design and lead your very own trip.

Often, leaders on our domestic and international trips have been past participants on the same trips or they come from a local chapter or another organization where they have led similar, multi-day trips. If you are able to spend longer amounts of time away from home, enjoy exploring other cultures, want to travel to wild places, and enjoy meeting others from across the country, you could make an excellent Sierra Club Outings leader.

Think you'd like to be a leader? Great! Here are some important items to consider.

What are my responsibilities as a Sierra Club Outings leader?

  • Create a new trip or update a former trip. A domestic or international outing takes 9-12 months to organize.
  • Develop a trip budget, short trip description, and detailed web brochure.
  • Secure all logistics including any permits, concessionaires, and support staff as necessary.
  • Screen participants to see if their skills, interests, and abilities are a good fit for your trip.
  • Communicate via phone and email with participants to provide information and answer questions.
  • Lead your trip!
  • Submit any post-trip papework and follow up with participants and volunteer leadership.

What benefits will I receive as a Sierra Club Outings leader?

  • Designing a trip that reflects your interests and passions.
  • Spending time outdoors with like-minded people.
  • The satisfaction of leading a conversation on local conservation issues and providing a trip that helps others connect with natural wonders.
  • Exclusive discounts on premium outdoor apparel and gear through our pro deal program.

Steps to becoming a Sierra Club Outings leader:

  • Be a current Sierra Club member and at least 18 years old.
  • Go on a Sierra Club Outings trip and get a recommendation from existing leader(s). This is highly recommended, but in limited cases prior multi-day group trip experience may also be acceptable, especially in a trip leadership role.
  • Complete the Sierra Club Outings Leader Application.
  • Complete a wilderness first aid class (or higher).
  • Complete an adult CPR class.
  • Complete the Sierra Club Outing Leader Trainings: OLT 101 and 201.
  • Complete additional training as required by your subcommittee chair.
  • Be an assistant leader on a Sierra Club trip.
  • Provisionally lead a trip under the guidance of an experienced mentor leader and get certified to lead by your subcommittee chair.
  • Lead your very own trip!

Next Steps:

More questions? Contact

Program Organization

Sierra Club Outings is run almost entirely by volunteers with the support of a small paid staff. Most policy matters, along with all volunteer staffing decisions for individual trips, are made by volunteers within the program, often with advice and support from the paid staff. Sierra Club Outings is overseen by the Outings Committee, which delegates much of its work to its eighteen subcommittees. Some of the subcommittees offer trips in a particular geographic region (e.g., Alaska, Southwest, Rocky Mountains, Northeast), while other subcommittees run specific types of trips (e.g., International, Service, Water). Trip prices cover most of a leader's trip expenses, including travel to the trip and other miscellaneous costs.