2022 Volunteer Service Awards
Our inaugural year with this new program which recognizes those members who make a positive contribution to the Chapter. This award honors AMC volunteers who have contributed outstanding efforts to the mission of the Chapter for the past year or more and at the highest levels. Those who have enhanced and sustained the integrity of the Chapter’s conservation, education and recreation values, with a special acknowledgement that the recipients have developed a complete understanding of the values and goals of the chapter through their committee volunteer efforts. Awards were announced during the Chapter’s 46th Annual Meeting. Please join us in congratulating the following recipients!
Melanie Rausch – Paddling
Mel has been the key person supporting paddling’s whitewater program. She has led instructional and paddling trips, recruiting new and experienced paddlers to teach and provide safety support. She has been mentoring new leaders and managing the boathouse. The whitewater program has been declining the past several years from aging leaders, stale leadership, and the death of a key person. Mel has brought new energy into this program and her clinics and trips are overflowing (pun).
Joanne Newton – Local Walks & Hikes
Over the past year Joanne has worked, quietly and behind the scenes at times, to help Local Walks & Hikes (LWH) expand its trip offerings, build the leader base and introduce new ways to engage with both leaders and participants. While others might be good at coming up with ideas for things “we” could do….when push comes to shove, the “we” doing the work has most often been Joanne.
So far in 2022 Joanne has led 35 trips for LWH including the highly popular “Winter Trail Tracing” program in the Blue Hills. She has also been actively involved in the SEM Chapter, jointly running their weekly “Trail Trace the Blue Hills” series this summer. Joanne was the organizer for the two “Beginner Backpacks“ and participated in the first LWH “Winter Hiking Workshop/Hike”, helping to ease members into winter hiking. She developed the brochure/reference materials for this event.
Joanne was a volunteer at the 1-Day Leadership Training in May 2022 and has spent the summer working with 10Leaders-in-Training, helping them research, plan, post and lead hikes in many different locations. Several individualshave commented on her inclusive and calm coaching/mentoring style – she is able to provide feedback in a constructiveand supportive manner.
Joanne also created the LWH Email List, manually generating the weekly emails allowing the participants to easily findour hikes, before collaborating on the automation of the process. She has also been the driving force behind the “TripSignup Spreadsheet” for Leaders & Leaders-In-Training, giving more visibility to our trip plans. She has workedtirelessly to ensure that we have a hike every Wednesday and Saturday, filling in open dates herself when she can’t findsomeone to take a date.
Joanne actively promotes the philosophy of “leave no trace” on her hikes, sharing observations and providing guidancefor participants. She has created the “Trailhead” talk cards on this topic for LHW, which will encourage leaders to “walkthe talk”, as she does. Joanne has also joined the Boston LWH Committee as our Conservation Liaison representative.
Jack Donohue – Bicycling
Jack served as web master of the Bicycle Committee since 2010. He developed a trip reporting system for leaders and a web calendar for the Bicycle Committees rides and trips. He also volunteered for the 40 Plus Committee and set up their calendar page similar to ours.
Jack organized (often alone) the Bicycle Committee’s Flag ship event, the annual Spring Rally since 1999. This involves securing the event site, negotiating dining and menu, setting up PayPal and registering the 100-110 guests. Organizing the 20 volunteers for the 5 different bike rides that run the day of the Rally. This event was successful due to Jack’s unwavering dedication.
Jack has been a member of the Bicycle Committee for the past 20 years, he lead a weekend trip on Memorial Day weekend in the White Mountains from 2006-2019, he led weeknight rides for many years and in 2018 started a Friday morning ride series that ran until 2021. Jack was an instructor at the Bicycle Repair workshop that was our second flag ship event. He taught many bikers how to adjust their brakes and derailleurs year after year.
Frannie Bui – Mountaineering
Frannie is incredible at putting together and supporting the coordination of so many mountaineering committee events. I have only been a part of AMC since Spring 2022, and I can see how involved she is and how much time she puts into AMC. She organized New Seconds 2022, and I heard she also organized Fall Frolic 2021. I know she’s working on Fall Frolic 2022 as well, while guiding some new AMC members on organizing it with her. She encouraged me to lead my first weekend event this summer, which included an Open Cabin, Saturday Night Social, and a guided class (yes, 3 events wrapped into 1 weekend). It was no small feat, and I could not have done it without her providing me with tips, tools, and answers along the way. She is a big reason I want to keep organizing events for AMC – I want to give back because I see how much effort she puts into AMC and how much she has invested in me. I really appreciate her.
Mike Barry – Ski
Mike Barry thoroughly embodies the AMC mission and is highly deserving of the Boston Chapter Volunteer Service Award – his contributions are many. Mike is a long tenured leader and has held various Boston Chapter Ski Committee roles, in addition to his separate work as Chair of the Boston Chapter Bike Committee and leading Adventure Travel trips. Mike led or co-led 10 Ski Committee trips over the past year, many of which were complex and multi-day backcountry adventures. During these trips and those in prior years, Mike is skillful in leading others in a personable way while developing both skills and a strong sense of teamwork among the participants.
Perhaps Mike’s profound impact on the future of AMC comes in the form of his steadfast focus on developing new leaders. Mike is adept at attracting, mentoring and coaching a high volume of new leaders which has particularly enabled the ongoing success of the Nordic ski program within the Boston Chapter Ski Committee.
Mike has had a tremendous impact on my personal transition to the Chair of the Boston Chapter Ski Committee. Indeed, regardless of where he is around the globe, Mike is always responsive and thoughtful in his rendering of support to all those around him. Mike embodies the very best of AMC’s core values every day!
Chao Xie – Hiking & Backpacking
Throughout the past year, Chao has been an extremely active member of the AMC’s Hiking/Backpacking (HB) community as evidenced by his outstanding efforts as a Front Country Leader coupled with his role as a member of the HB Committee. His enthusiasm is palpable as is his willingness to help in any way he can. Given his contributions on multiple fronts as detailed below, he is a credit to our organization and richly deserves this year’s HB Volunteer Service Award.
Through September 3, Chao has led 38 hikes for the Boston Chapter in 2022 – 28 with Young Members, 7 with Hiking/Backpacking and 3 with Family Outings – mostly in and around Boston. Chao has been regular attendee of HB’s monthly committee meetings during which he has been an active and vocal participant – always willing to share his views and challenge opinions expressed by others. In his role as Interim Webmaster, he has provided invaluable IT assistance to other members of the Committee, notably in assisting two HB Announce editors in compiling the twice-monthly HB e-newsletter which updates subscribers of the currently available HB trips. In addition, Chao has provided various IT-related solutions to HB’s Finance team notably in helping to format PayPal software.
Chao has actively embraced the AMC’s DEI initiative by ensuring that each issue of HB Announce contains links to at least one DEI-related event, be it a lecture, a video or a written publication. In so doing, he has promoted an awareness of current DEI issues to the Boston Chapter’s HB community. In an effort to introduce new members to winter hiking, Chao conceived and spear-headed an initiative to purchase several pairs of microspikes to enable them to experiment with winter hiking before committing to purchasing this equipment. Chao served as a volunteer at this year’s 1-Day Leadership Training in May.
Susan Gilbert – Executive Committee
Susan is the Boston Chapter’s MUD newsletter editor and has been a reliable and dedicated volunteer through 3 chapter chairs. You will not find Susan editing a document like a college professor. She teaches, guides and supports authors with their submissions for the newsletter. She gently reminds the Executive Committee of deadlines and encourages everyone to submit articles, pictures, and any newsworthy events that promote all the great work our chapter volunteers do and the fun our members have at our events.
Kate Bentsen – 20’s and 30’s
Kate has been a tireless volunteer for the 20s and 30s committee. In addition to being the trip approver, co-vice-chair, volunteer coordinator and conservation coordinator, Kate led 31 trips in 2022, including 5 conservation events. She leads a wide variety of events, including hikes, book clubs and local outings that draw new and experienced participants alike. Kate is a passionate advocate for the conservation mission of the AMC, and her extensive volunteering reflects her commitment to the club’s values.