It’s simple…you don’t have to! For folk who find themselves on the pathway of gaining a National Qualification for walking or climbing, there are a number of Associations that may appeal to them, but it’s not a compulsory option. Indeed it’s worth chatting around to fully understand what they offer, how they can benefit you and then make a choice!
Life is also about proudly showing off your achievements, so those little metal badges make you stand out from the crowd!
Of course if you have a collection of them……
The Associations use slightly different language, but essentially they are there to support, develop and promote us.
I belong to a couple of Associations and have done for a long time now, both provide me with benefits in different ways. I suppose I’m technically an independent provider of mountainous activities and spend vast amounts of time working on my own, unlike nearly 20 years ago when I worked in a centre with 30 other instructors. The structure of that organisation allowed us to share working ideas & practices, support each other in difficult situations, and gave us opportunities to develop as individual practitioners. Since I left all those years ago that sharing of information has been done fairly infrequently and pretty casually with a bunch of friends.
So as an independent it gives me access to development opportunities, a platform to ask about ways to operate, cope with difficult situations, awareness of changes in the industry, openness about accidents & near misses and the list goes on. I don’t feel isolated in anyway and indeed believe I’m fairly well informed of what’s going on in the industry and any changes that may impact my work. There are of course more tangible benefits too, which for some will be higher on the list of membership rewards, I’m certainly happy to receive these too!
Becoming a member, whether you’re a walker or a climber gives you opportunities and if you grasp what’s relevant to you, then you’ll understand the value of it, I’m passionate about this one word and it’s been a driving force all my career.
I have been volunteering on behalf of the Mountain Training Association for a number of years now as the Regional Coordinator for North Wales and at times it’s tricky balancing all the spinning plates to arrange generally free events or socials. We’d all love it if at every event 20 folk turn up, but the reality is that we’re all busy people with work and family and so even if just 1 person turns up, then the Association has succeeded in giving that person the opportunity.
I’ve been part of so many events over the years, I’ve truly lost count of where I’ve been, with who and what we did. The networking opportunity (there’s that word again!) is buzzing, but I think it’s so much more than that. We’re all simply passionate about the mountains (beer and cake seems to appear regularly here too!) and that’s what binds all of us together, we start as strangers and then go on our journeys supporting and developing each other.
Take what you want…maybe offer what you can…