Lead Outings with Sierra Club

An excursion with the Sierra Club usually promotes some exercise benefiting the area in which you are visiting. This could include environmental research, documentation, or restoration efforts just to name a few examples. In all, it is always a good time! 

Sierra Club outings require a trained outings leader, completed permission forms, and a plan

Contact the Maryland Chapter or any other local Sierra Club MD Group with questions on how to become a Sierra Club Outings leader. in Maryland.

You may also be interested in leading outings with the Baltimore Inspiring Connections with the Outdoors, the Virginia Chapter, or other areas of the country. 

To become a Trained Outings Leader, you must complete:

  • ONLINE Outings Leader Training (OLT) 101  (You must be logged into Campfire Community to see this link)

  • First Aid Training (can be through Red Cross) for nearby day hikes. 

  • Successfully set up and lead 2 trips with a Sierra Club outings leader as your mentor




Resources:  Forms for Outings: 


Resources:  Sierra Club Leaders Campfire Community support site forms


Resources:  Issues to use for education during outings


Everyone deserves Access to the Outdoors, Clean Air, and Water

Outdoors for all Theory of Change &  Summary 


Basic Covid safety guidance Summary

This is in addition to basic Outings Leader Certifications and requirements. Review and refer to the full description in the National Re-Opening Outings Guide - COVID (Public July 6th, 2021)  You will need to stay up-to-date on protocols as they change. Use the most constrictive rule for your local area. 

  1. Definition of level of hike: Frontcountry is defined as being able to access a medical facility in under 60 minutes (including travel back to the vehicles) or being within a 911 call area. Backcountry is defined as being able to access a medical facility in 60+ minutes (including travel back to the vehicles).

  2. Safety management form is required for backcountry and recommended for frontcountry outings.

  3. If one has to do CPR, first aid, or someone reports sick afterwards, report the incident info to national Sierra Club at 1-888-outings. 

  4. Ten (10) is the maximum number of participants per certified leader is now the standard guidance. We’re all going to be learning as we go. We expect requirements might change and get eased, but right now in Maryland the cap is 10 participants per certified leader; to allow more participants, recruit more fully certified leaders.

  5. A good default is to tell people to be responsible for their own food and basic first aid supplies. You as leader can bring extra snacks, band aids, etc.,  i.e. be prepared for people not following directions.

  6. Masks: wear indoors, on transport, on unvaccinated kids.  Keep social distance as courtesy. Include in communications that all participants should be equipped with a mask. 

  7. We cannot inquire regarding vaccine status for frontcountry outings so we must Include a disclaimer on website and in outreach communications that there may be unvaccinated people at our event. 

Vaccine Disclaimer Language: Here is suggested disclaimer language to include in your Outings postings. Also posted and with a longer version in the July update https://www.sierraclub.org/maryland/get-outdoors 

Sierra Club COVID prevention protocols: While we highly recommend vaccination and boosters for all, outings and events may include vaccinated and non-vaccinated participants. Masks are not required when outdoors where physical distancing is feasible. Masks might required indoors. All participants should have a mask handy for any situation that arises where donning a mask may be warranted, including working closely together or sharing vehicles with people outside your household. Be aware of other participants' need for personal space. If you have had recent close contact with someone with known COVID19 or have any of the following symptoms or begin to feel ill, do not attend this outing or event: Fever or chills; Congestion or runny nose; Headache; Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing; Nausea or vomiting; Muscle or body aches; New loss of taste or smell;  Sore throat. All participants must provide contact information to facilitate contact tracing. If anyone develops COVID symptoms or has a positive COVID test during the 2 weeks following this event, please notify the leader.  COVID protocols might change depending on conditions and new recommendations from health officials.

Get your First Aid updated - through Red Cross https://www.redcross.org/local/maryland/take-a-class or other organizations. In-person first aid trainings can alternate with online so if you did it in person previously you can do it  online this time. Send your updated certification to outings@mdsierra.org and cc maryland.chapter@sierraclub.org and your Outings Chair. We will track certifications in LEADERS

Attend Upcoming Outings - If you haven’t been on a Sierra Club Outing or want to see how different leaders do it, see how they are handling the covid safety protocols, and get a feel for doing trailhead and concluding talks etc., there are upcoming outings in Virginia with some veteran SCPRO leaders. Sierra Club Potomac Regional Outings

Additionally, if you are traveling, check the local Sierra Club Chapter for their upcoming trips for instance here’s Pennsylvania: https://www.sierraclub.org/pennsylvania/upcoming-outings

National Sierra Club Reopening docs

Re-Opening Outings Guide - COVID (Public July 6th, 2021) MOST USEFUL

  • Has guidance for day trips (front & back country)  
  • Has links to forms needed (Safety management plans, medical, incident reporting) 
  • Has guidance for overnight multi day outings (including vaccine forms, management with covid symptomatic participant, required participant medical forms)
  • To follow in addition to ALL the previous policies and guidelines

For Group Outings Chairs:

Guide to updating Outings Leaders certifications 2021 in LEADERS 

National call recordings Campfire Community.

National Outdoor & Indoor Event & Activity COVID-19 Safety Guide July '21 (Public View) 

National Reopening Outings: Which Forms to Use Cheatsheet 

National https://community.sierraclub.org/news/outings-covid-19-news-and-resources

National (Public) Timeline for Chapter/Group/Section Outings Reopening Plans

Outings leader trainings Materials

Maryland - For 2021 Trainees ONLY: Outings Leader Training MD Materials for Binders  For 2022 Trainees ONLY:  Handouts resources and materials links OLT101 6.6.2022 
For those who attended in 2019, please review the materials. 

National -NEW -  New National OLT info 6.2021 - emails and updates and links on this google doc. Includes  folder of downloaded training materials and modules as they are not yet accessible on campfire.

National -OLD-  Old National OLT  - basic OLT content that Chapters and Sections have pulled from for decades and adjusted for in person trainings depending on the trainees, local conditions, new training techniques

National -  Old National short 2020 web-based OLT 101 Learners Guide 1/2020 - this is the online quick overview, also used as a test at end of an in person/ interactive OLT
For outings leaders only - recording attendance
Within a week of each event's occurrence record attendance. People who actually come to something are special! And if new people come to something they can be added to our system and find out other cool things to attend.  Need some help to learn how to do this? Below are  some resources. Also, if you request a campfire event in-person virtual training we'll schedule it.
Here is the video recording:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsLUxL4SoiQ of the campfire event tool training for Outings leaders that Ben Weiner did for us in August.  It doesn't include covid disclaimer language etc. Ben did it on the fly, but it's very useful. 
Here are the guides:
Print out the sign-in sheet waiver and bring it along to your in person event!
For in-person Outings and hybrid events especially it's great to print out the waiver form beforehand and bring it along so people can sign in, add their car licence number in the space provided, and mark anything missing like emergency contact without them having to write EVERYthing into the sign-in/waiver form. It saves a lot of time. You can also do it on your electronic device if you prefer, but it's nice to also have a hard copy just in case.
Documents for OLT101 December 2021