Advocate Beta - November 2021

Categories: LCO 101

As we celebrate Access Fund’s 30th birthday, we’re reflecting on how much the climbing community has accomplished as well as charting a path to better serve the climbing community and our local climbing organization (LCO) partners. With the explosive growth in climbing comes an increased need for advocacy, so we’re doubling down on our partnerships with LCOs and making some in-house changes that will help us serve you better. Many of you have worked closely with Zachary Lesch-Huie, who has been Access Fund’s national affiliate director for the last 10 years. We’re thrilled to announce he is now the vice president of programs & acquisitions. I’m excited to take the reins from him as the new national affiliate director and so psyched to take our work with you to the next level. I’ve gotten to know a lot of you over my last six years at Access Fund, and I look forward to building on those relationships to learn more about the resources you need from Access Fund. Please feel free to reach out to me at any time.

Thank you all for banding together with your LCOs for another incredible year of advocacy work. As we approach the holidays, take some time to rest up and raise a glass to your fellow climbing advocates for reaching so many goals in 2021—you deserve it.

Happy Holidays!

Jenna Winkler
National Affiliate Director

2021 Conference Recap

The dust has settled on another successful Climbing Advocacy Conference, and we're so grateful for everyone who joined us to share stories from their local climbing areas. More than 500 advocates registered for the conference, representing over 150 different local climbing organizations in 12 different countries. Sessions covered everything from stewardship and working with land managers to JEDI (justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion) programming and climbing gym trends—and everything in between. You can find recordings of all the sessions here if you missed out.
~Jenna Winkler, National Affiliate Director

Recruiting New Board Members

LCOs are the backbone of climbing advocacy across the country, and having a solid board of directors is the foundation of a successful LCO. But finding the right team isn’t easy, and it’s often an ongoing process as board member term limits come up. Access Fund has been a part of many LCO board transitions, and we've learned a thing or two along the way. To guide you in your search, we laid out our insights in this blog post, based on 30 years of working with LCOs to build high-functioning teams.
~Zachary Lesch-Huie, Vice President of Programs & Acquisitions

What Access Fund’s Strategic Plan Means for LCOs

This year, Access Fund celebrates our 30th birthday, and it's a time to celebrate everything we love about climbing while preparing for the future. With climbing growing so quickly, Access Fund has been hard at work on a new strategic plan that will lay the foundation for all of us to come together as a community to care for the places that mean so much to us. Access Fund is more committed to your success than ever before. To ensure a sustainable future for climbing, we know we must continue to invest heavily in supporting local leadership, providing resources to local climbing organizations, and scaling up our impact in communities across the country. Our continued success in protecting climbing areas lies in deepening our partnerships. Thanks for everything you do! You can get more information on our strategic plan and how we plan to deepen our investments in local climbing communities here.
~Chris Winter, Executive Director

Tell Us About Your 2022 Events

Believe it or not, 2022 is just around the corner. We're already looking at the calendar and starting to plan things out, and we want to know what your LCO has in store for the next year. To help us better coordinate our Conversation Teams, Climber Stewards, ambassadors, and other programs with your needs, please fill out this survey with any events you're hosting—whether they're locked in or just now percolating into the planning phase.
~Andrea Hassler, Field Coordinator

Movers & Shakers

Congratulations to BETA Fund for opening up Rockwoods Reservation Climbing Bluff to climbing! BETA Fund went through several years of planning with the Missouri Department of Conservation to prepare this limestone quarry for climbing. Make sure to review any rules or regulations prior to visiting.
More info here.

Southeastern Climbers Coalition
A warm-hearted welcome and congrats to Meagan Evans, new executive director of SCC! Meg hails from Alabama and has over 10 years of experience in the nonprofit and outdoor industry to fuel her leadership of climbing advocacy across the Southeast.
More info here.

Yosemite Climbing Association
The YCA recently expanded to a full-time staff model and chose Laura Wattles to be its new executive director. Laura has several years of experience volunteering directly with YCA and has worked professionally in the nonprofit sector. Congratulations, Laura!
More info here.

    Resource Center

    • We’re hiring for two new Conservation Teams!
      If you’re passionate about stewardship, educating the community, and you love the idea of getting to travel to climbing hot spots nationwide, check our careers page for more information.
    • Are you a member of the Affiliate Network Facebook Page?
      If not, join today to get advice and updates from LCOs across the country. Join the page here.
    • It’s never too early to start planning for your LCO’s annual report.
      Sending a report to the community that summarizes your accomplishments and how donations were spent keeps your community informed and builds trust in your organization—plus it’s most likely a legal obligation you’re required to fulfill.
      See more tips here.