Volunteer Spotlight: Emily Dinan

Emily grew up in Bucks County, PA and went on to spend many years learning to move and build grit as a modern dancer in NYC. Since then, she has discovered her passion for all things outdoors and resolved to spend as much time as possible sleeping under the stars. An epic road trip to 24 national parks in 2017 was Emily's first time learning the ropes on rock outside. She's been all in ever since - learning to trad climb at the Gunks and more recently trying to swing an ice climbing axe. Emily's in it to learn and experience as much of the climbing world as possible with a zest for life and love of laughing at herself.

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What have you learned from volunteering and how has it influenced you?
Volunteering has been an important part of my life as far back as middle school. It has helped me feel rooted and grounded in community, particularly in periods of chaotic transition or when life starts to feel "lifey". Volunteering has taught me that I can't do it alone, whether "it" is learning to climb, working on a new skill, or just trying to meet more like-minded people. Everything feels easier with support. Volunteering has given me that support community and allowed me to give back by sharing it with others.

How did you get into volunteering with the chapter and what is your favorite memory from volunteering?
I met the chapter chair for another east coast AAC chapter in the parking lot at the Grand Teton Climbers Ranch. He saw my PA license plate and when I said I would eventually be making my way back to Philadelphia, he offered to introduce me to the Philly AAC Chapter Chairs Shawn Ryan and Alex Wildman. From our first interactions, Shawn and Alex made me feel extremely welcome. They encouraged me to get involved by volunteering right away. My favorite memory by far is our first No Man's Land Film Festival in February 2018. It was my first volunteer activity with the Philly AAC and I was super nervous, but I felt the support of the Philly AAC community and we put on a fun event to a sold out audience!

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You're currently helping plan No Man's Land Film Festival, an event you helped bring to the Philly area last year. This year's tagline is "Un-defining what it means to be a woman in adventure, sport, and film." What does this mean to you?
A lot of my other volunteer work centers around working with women that are incarcerated, so I've always been drawn to anything that shows women they can create their own future. It's so powerful to watch women inspire and support each other. The No Man's Land Film Festival wishes to promote and support gender equality, particularly in the adventure arena. The spirit of the festival is positive and inclusive, collaborative and action-oriented. It has inspired my own adventures and I hope our showing on February 2nd, 2019 will do the same for so many others.

What would you say to someone who is considering volunteering with the chapter?
Do it! There are many ways to volunteer with the Philly AAC chapter, whether you can volunteer your time once a year, or once a week. The Chapter is very communicative about all the events and ways to get involved, so you can pick your volunteering flavor. It's an awesome way to make friends and meet other climbers. I've learned so much from folks I've met volunteering for the AAC!