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Becoming a Leader


As you start your journey as a leader within Hoofers there are many things that you should be aware of regarding how the organization is structured, how decisions are made, and what resources are available to you. 

How to Become a Leader 


1. Read the contents of this page to prepare for your leadership position.

2. Fill out the onboarding form, located at the bottom of the page. 

3. Read and respond to email follow-up regarding next steps.

4. Bookmark this website for future use. The content is necessary for fulfilling your role.

Mission and Purpose of Wisconsin Hoofers


Wisconsin Hoofers aims to create opportunities for all to experience the outdoors, as well as to enhance the mission of the Wisconsin Union by:

1. Promoting the education of members in the outdoors.

2. Fostering interest, participation, and encouragement in outdoor activities by providing leadership, instruction, and education.

3. Instructing and executing programs related to environmental concerns and community affairs.

Shared Governance Model


Different from many other collegiate or private outdoor programs that just offer trips, lessons, or workshops, Wisconsin Hoofers participates in shared governance. 

The membership and leadership of each Club participate directly in making major decisions for the organizations, in addition to their involvement in the many trips, lessons, workshops and more that the Clubs offer.

This unique programming structure is called a “club model.” The smooth operation of Hoofer clubs relies on the cooperation between student leaders, community members, and professional staff.

The Structure of Hoofers


Hoofers Council is composed of the Council President, four Vice Presidents, five Officers, and each of the six Club Presidents. More information.


There are many layers of governance within Hoofers. Each club has their own governance structure and governing documents, but they are also subject to Hoofer Council decisions, bylaws, and policies. As a leader you will need to know about this structure. 

Hoofer Leader Definition


A Hoofer Leader is an active Hoofer Club member, elected or appointed. At the end of your onboarding process, you'll be issued a volunteer agency letter via email, designating you as a Hoofer Leader and as an official agent of the Wisconsin Hoofers, the Wisconsin Union, UW-Madison and the State of Wisconsin.


A leader can be a field leader, lesson instructor, team captain, etc. Any Hoofer member in good standing is eligible to run or apply for an available leadership position, however only students are eligible for elected positions.  

Hoofer Leader Privileges


Upon completion of onboarding and any required trainings, the Wisconsin Union offers the following privileges to enable you to function in your leadership role:

  • Access to Wisconsin Union spaces

  • Ability to utilize University fleet services and car rental contracts

  • Purchasing permissions

  • Liability protection through a Volunteer Agency Letter

  • Access to Advisors and support staff

  • Merchandise and Pro-Deals

Behavioral Expectations and Agreement


One risk management tool relied upon by the Hoofer Organization is the Hoofer Behavioral Agreement. All Club members are expected to follow behavioral expectations and Club leaders are expected to uphold these expectations and ensure members are held accountable to the following:

  • Act in a considerate, respectful, responsible manner at all times;

  • Adhere to all Union and UW-Madison policies and procedures;

  • Immediately address or report behavior that demeans or threatens another member, levies inappropriate or unwanted comments toward them, or actions that could reasonably be regarded as inappropriate touching or bullying; 

  • Not consume alcohol or conscious-altering substances prior to or during any Hoofer sponsored activity; 

  • Not participate in any illegal activity;

  • Follow all advisor and coach expectations related to team or Club sponsored trips;

  • Follow safety and risk management practices in alignment with industry standards and club standards


Risk Management as a Leader


Risk is inherent in outdoor activities. While risk should be planned for and managed, certain risks are inherent in, and inseparable from, an activity. We use the risk involved in outdoor pursuits as a way to facilitate positive learning, socialization, and leisure experiences. 


Your role as a leader is to successfully manage the risk in club activities:

  • Leaders must be able to effectively react to emergency situations

  • Field leaders must abide by their club’s rating systems

  • Officers and chairs must be familiar with their position descriptions

  • All proposed trips and travel must go through the proper club channels for approval.

  • Leaders can and should dismiss participants that are in violation of their behavior agreement, without refund. Risky or disruptive group behavior should not be tolerated

Volunteer FAQ's Sheet


Leader Definition
Hoofer Structure
Leader Privileges
Shared Govenance Model
Risk Management
Behavioral Expectations
Mission and Purpose
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