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Become an OutdoorLads Leader

It is great to be a leader and able to give back to the group by welcoming new and old members and trying to give them a really good day out.

Without our amazing volunteer leaders we wouldn't be able to do what we do.

Our ability to put on events is down to the motivation of our leaders, and we're always happy to hear from members who are considering becoming an OutdoorLads leader.

You can lead whatever type of events interest you most, anywhere the country, as often as you want, and being a leader is not as difficult as you may think it will be.

Have a look at Peter talking about his thoughts on becoming a leader.

Why become an OutdoorLads Event Leader?

Our leaders tell us that they get great satisfaction from giving something back to OutdoorLads and from supporting other members. It's a great feeling to lead an event and to see people enjoying themselves, especially when they have pushed themselves to do things they wouldn't normally do.

In addition, we support our leaders with:

  • reward coupons for leading events
  • an OutdoorLads flag for those great photo opportunities
  • even bigger partner discounts, including 20% off many outdoor retailers
  • training opportunities and access to funding for NGB awards, first aid and food hygiene training
  • Leaders' Facebook Group providing support and sharing of ideas with other leaders

What does a leader do?

Some events, such as hostels and BIG events (typically those events where we need a venue to be reserved for us) are initially set up by the office team before the leader/s pick them up and lead them.

Other events though are thought up, planned and run by our leaders directly.

When a leader decides to put on an event, they agree it with their regional team or coordinator before it goes live for members to book onto.

Events are different in nature, but generally the leader will:

Plan the event

  • Check the proposed date with the regional coordinator to make sure there isn’t a clash
  • Plan the activity, ensuring it's within their leader remit. 
  • Work out options for getting to the start point. Check road access, parking, public transport options etc.
  • Define where and when should people meet that's easy to find.
  • Work out what participants will need to bring. There are default kit lists for most event types that the leader can use and edit as required.
  • Chose the route for the activity, thinking about any interesting features, rest and lunch stops.
  • Work out when they expect the event to end, so participants can plan their journey home.
  • Identify any costs people need to prepare for such as car park fees, activity costs or a visit to a pub.

Create an event page

An appealing description combined with some enticing photos (including rights free images that can be easily found through Google) will promote the event effectively.

The event page needs to include the information that participants need when deciding to book, such as:

  • Basic information : time, date, region
  • Event details : what will happen, what's the kit list, what's the food arrangement
  • Event location : where to meet
  • Difficulty : how long will the event last, how difficult it is
  • Pricing and Booking: What is the cost and how many participants can take part
  • Media : photos that give an idea of what to expect
  • Leader/s : something about the leader, their approach, interest in the activity etc

Prepare the event

A few days before the event, leaders usually send a message to the participants with:

  • reminder of what's happening and what to bring (all weather clothing, walking boots etc)
  • lunch or food for the event (including water)
  • advice on what to do if you are early or late arriving at the event
  • a request that anyone who knows they can no longer attend removes themselves from the event, which then frees up their space for someone on the waiting list to then take part​​​​​​

The leader will check the weather forecast, liaise with any other leaders who can help at the event, and gather information on the participants. For hostel type weekends the leader will also be planning the meals and shopping for food.

Lead the event

Key tasks include:

  • arriving early to be ready to greet the participants
  • checking everyone has arrived
  • welcoming the participants and in particular any new members
  • reminding people what the plan for the event is and what they can expect to happen
  • giving appropriate safety briefings
  • keeping an eye on the group dynamic and thinking of ways to create a good experience for all participants
  • requesting and organising volunteers to help with any tasks required
  • organising any catering that is provided

and then at the end of the event

  • organising any clean up
  • mentioning future events that the participants may be interested in
  • closing the event, thanking those who have helped

After the event

  • The leader updates the attendance list so that the event appears in the participants' event logs. 
  • The OutdoorLads admin team sends participants a survey asking for their feedback and shares the anonymised results with the leader
  • A Leader Reward coupon is created as a thank you for leading the event.
  • The leader also sometimes sends a message, thanking any volunteers who might have helped out, or addressing anything that came up on the event. 
  • The leader submits an expense claim to reclaim any agreed costs incurred.

What types of OutdoorLads leader are there?

You can apply to be a leader for any of the following event types:

  • Leisure Cycling/Any Bike
  • Road Cycling
  • Off Road/Trail Biking
  • Technical Mountain Biking
  • Leisure Walks
  • Lowland and Hill Walks
  • Mountain Walks
  • Winter Mountain Walks
  • Indoor Climbing
  • Indoor Bouldering
  • Outdoor Climbing
  • Outdoor Bouldering
  • Scrambling
  • Sport Climbing
  • Caving and Underground Exploration
  • Social Events
  • Hostels and Bunkhouses
  • Camping
  • Canoeing and Kayaking
  • Sailing

If you're interested in leading events of a type not shown here, contact us and let's see what we can do!

How do I apply to be a leader and what happens next?

If you have any questions, call or email the office team or raise a support ticket and they will help you. Alternatively speak to any of our leaders on any of our events and they will be able to advise you also.

The exact steps need in your application can vary, depending on your experience, but in general they will be:

Step 1: Application

Your path to becoming an Event Leader starts by completing the Leader Application form.  Please mention on this form whereabouts in the UK you are, so we can allocate someone suitable to undertake your assessment. 

Step 2: Allocation

Our office team will check through your application and allocate a sponsor, usually a Regional Coordinator or the appropriate Regional Organiser in their team, who will contact you to progress your application.

Step 3: Event shadowing

We'll arrange for you to shadow an experienced leader whilst they are running an even of the type you applied to lead. They will explain how they set up the event and what you need to do and how to pass your assessment. You will be able to discuss the areas you are uncertain about and make a plan to build any extra skills or experience required. 

Step 4: Training and Development

It may be appropriate to complete some training, prior to your event assessment. For example, First Aid or navigations skills training. We will help to organise this for you if required.

Step 5: Event assessment

Your Regional Coordinator, Regional Organiser or a suitably experienced leader will conduct your assessment. They will agree a date and a time with you, which will normally align with an upcoming event that you will then lead. The practical assessment will look at a range of factors including your ability to plan and submit a well thought-out activity, lead the group, your skills at doing the particular activity you have applied for, your ability to deal with any issues that can arise, your knowledge of OutdoorLads generally, how you deal with third parties and your conduct when leading the event.

If you demonstrate the required level of skills and capabilities during the assessment, you will pass it. If there are any areas identified that need further development, the assessor will agree those with you and we will help arrange any further training or assessment required. 

It's not as difficult as you might think. Have a look at this video of Dale having his leader assessment with Neil........

Step 6: Validate external qualifications

You may be asked to provide evidence of any external qualification that supports your application, such as a Food Hygiene or First Aid qualification. There are instances where we would validate certain recognised external qualifications as a fast-track route to becoming an OutdoorLads leader. 

Step 7: Update of your profile

Once you are approved you will become a leader and we will update your profile to reflect this. You'll have access to a range of online Leader Resources and you'll have access to the support and advice of other Leaders, either directly or by taking part in the Leaders' Facebook group and email communications, as well as being supported by your Regional Coordinator and Organisers.

The sky is the limit in terms of how many events you then decide to lead and organise. 

Welcome on board!

How do I track my application?

Easy. As soon as you’ve started an application you can track it on the LEADER APPLICATIONS tab when you go to MY PROFILE. 

As soon as the office team have allocated the best person to progress your application with you, their name will appear there too. So you’ll be able to message the right person to get things moving.

Until then, the office team will be looking after you, so just email support@outdoorlads.com, or call them on 0161 420 0001 during office hours, with any queries.

I didn't realise that leading events would feel so rewarding