Volunteers Week 2021: Welcoming our new nationally elected councillors

Today's theme from NCVO is 'employer supported and skilled volunteers', while all our volunteers are highly skilled and dedicated to their roles, today we will be focusing on our newest Nationally Elected Councillors.

At the recent AGM Aaron Hodgson, Rose Gare-Simmons and Steve Clark were elected into their new roles to represent hill walking, climbing and mountaineering as Nationally Elected Councillors on the BMC Members' Council. We wanted to give them an opportunity to introduce themselves to those who may not already know them and to say thank you to them for representing the interests of BMC members. 

Aaron Hodgson

Are you a climber, hillwalker or mountaineer?

I see myself as more of a mountaineer, but I am most definitely all three! I have had some incredible days in the UK, Alps, and Greater Ranges doing all of them. To be honest I just love being outside in the mountains.

Why did you choose to get involved with the BMC?

During the pandemic I have had time to reflect on the values that are most important to me, and I realised that was in whatever I do, I try to be an advocate for the outdoor community, showing that there is a place for everyone in the mountains no matter your experience, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation. We have a lot more in common than divides us, and I see the BMC as an organization to bring people together, working towards the common goal of creating a better future for climbers, hill walkers, and mountaineers. Our values align, so it was an easy decision to get involved with the BMC and try to give something back to the community.

What has been your favourite challenge or adventure while climbing/hill walking/mountaineering?

If you had asked me this a few years ago it probably would have been some experience of climbing right at my limit, or a story about being on a remote mountain somewhere watching the sun rise. These are special memories but I think that the common thread in all of my favourite adventures, the ones that really stick in my mind, have been that they have all been with people I love spending time in the mountains with. Great companions make for the best adventures!

What will you be doing as a nationally elected councillor and what are you looking forward to as part of this role?

In my role as a nationally elected councillor I want to ensure that BMC members have a voice, that their views are heard. I see that as perhaps the most important part of this role. The BMC belongs to all of us, and I want to be a strong voice and champion for mountaineers in the BMC. I also want to improve diversity in the outdoors and make the BMC more representative of the UK mountaineering community. I am looking forward to meeting our members and helping them out in whatever way I can.

 

Rose Gare-Simmons

Are you a climber, hillwalker or mountaineer?

Hillwalker.

Why did you choose to get involved with the BMC?

I saw the advert for the new NEC roles and after reading more about these new and developing role’s I really wanted to get involved. I have a huge passion for the outdoors and for introducing people to hill walking. I felt that with my Mountain Leader work and my active role in the outdoor community that I would be in an ideal position to make a good link between the BMC and the hillwalking community where I can advocate for and promote the interests of hillwalkers within the BMC itself. 

What has been your favourite challenge or adventure while climbing/hill walking/mountaineering?

This is a really tough question to answer because most of my hill walking days become my favourite days. My hill walking journey has progressed a lot over the years; as I have developed competence in route planning and navigation, I have travelled further afield and completed longer and more challenging walks. I am always looking for new challenges, new routes to explore, bigger mountains and this is what I love about hill walking and the UK uplands… there is just so much to explore and so many places to visit. 

What will you be doing as a nationally elected councillor and what are you looking forward to as part of this role?

I think it’s possibly too soon for me to be able to clearly state my plans and aims as the NEC for hill walking, this is a new and developing role of which I was elected to just a few weeks ago! I’m excited to get to grips with the role and to start working with the BMC councillors and volunteers to support their plans and visions. I am keen to link in with the hill walking community to gain a better understanding of members' view of the work done by the BMC and what they would like to see from me as the NEC and from the BMC as we move forwards. The BMC does great work around access and conservation which is something I have developed a big interest in over the past few years as I have spent more and more time in the outdoors, I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to support the BMC with its upcoming campaigns around conservation and environmental protection.

 

Steve Clark 

Are you a climber, hillwalker or mountaineer?

I enjoy all the main climbing games and also mountaineer and hill walk extensively.

Why did you choose to get involved with the BMC?

I was equipment secretary of a University club when the BMC saved us from some foolish safety ideas of our student union, so I was very supportive of the organisation from then. Later on, it became obvious from attending area meetings that a huge amount of vital work was quietly being done by BMC staff and volunteers. I soon became a volunteer in access and conservation work and subsequently extensively as part of the Peak BMC guidebook team.

What has been your favourite challenge or adventure while climbing/hill walking/mountaineering?

Probably the Cuillin Ridge, lightweight in a day, with Lynn, on our first attempt. We were both carrying injuries at the time, and as we hadn't pre-practiced sections (we wanted the hard bits of climbing and navigation to be on sight) it was a big challenge for us, despite having climbed harder on long mountain days.

What will you be doing as a nationally elected councillor and what are you looking forward to as part of this role?

I will continue (and add focus to) the great work done by the BMC in my area of responsibility, of Rock Climbing, and help celebrate and publicise that work and encourage others to volunteer. At Council meetings I will try to ensure the organisation is working as well as it can for its members and the wider community, especially on behalf of rock climbers.


Click the links below to view more Volunteers Week 2021 content: 

A time to say thanksThe power of youth - Employer supported and skilled volunteers - Local area volunteers - Environment and conservation - BMC volunteer awards

Get Involved! Find out how to volunteer at the BMC.

Fill out our Training Needs Survey and let us know what we can do to improve.


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