Starting a Local Chapter

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CCL chapters form the backbone of the CCL organization. People from all walks of life who understand the urgency of climate change have started local CCL chapters across the world. This training points to resources to help get a new chapter up and running and the background behind CCL's emerging group leader program.

TOC and Guide Section
Group leaders and other local leadership

CCL’s strength comes from its volunteers. There is a vast amount of opportunity and need for leadership in our ranks, and we are deeply grateful to the many volunteers who give so generously of their time. We believe in giving you the flexibility to meet your local needs in the way that works best for you, with support for finding and training the people who step forward into leadership. That support is provided by volunteer state coordinators, as well as regional coordinators and CCL staff. We are committed to the empowerment of our volunteers. This includes supporting current volunteer leaders, encouraging co-leaders, encouraging people to delegate and bring in new leadership, finding good roles for everyone who wants one, and encouraging people who don’t think of themselves as leaders but in fact have that capacity. We also want our groups and local leadership to reflect the diversity of the community and recognize that we need to work on that continuously.

Because CCL’s strategy and core values emphasize good relationships and local empowerment, we have left it to our volunteers in the field to determine the best way to choose their local leadership. In general, leadership emerges from a combination of who is willing and available, and who is trusted by their peers. CCL state and regional coordinators and staff are available to help with local leadership needs and transitions. They may encourage people to consider the role, find co-leaders, or facilitate discussions to find or choose leadership.

Contact your Regional Coordinator (RC)

Find the regional director in your area of the country and contact them to let them know that you want to start a chapter. As the primary providers of support to volunteer leadership, it’s the job of the state and regional coordinators to help with whatever the local group needs, including conflict resolution on rare occasions. Our experience so far is that this model of trust with support almost always works very well, and allows our groups to keep their primary focus on the work to be done, as well as giving people time to learn and grow in the role. Groups that wish to have a more formal process are free to do so, however.

Getting help getting started

Your Regional Director or State Coordinator will help you do the following:

  • Help you name your local chapter.
  • Start the internal CCL process that will get your new chapter on the main CCL website and using CCL Community's many support tools and resources.
    • CCL considers your group to be “In Progress” at this point.
  • Check in with you regularly to help you dismantle roadblocks.
  • Introduce you to the trainer who can lead a Climate Advocate Training Workshop (CATW) to help launch your new chapter with CCL’s signature volunteer orientation and training workshop.
  • After your workshop, your regional (or state) coordinator will continue supporting you with regular one-on-one phone calls.
Who is an "emerging group leader"?

As you work with your regional (or state) coordinator, you can start listening to the Emerging Group Leader calls, hosted by Tamara Staton, CCL's Education and Resilience Coordinator and GPNW Regional Directpr. The program offers a series of Emerging Group Leader calls that aim to build community while exploring group leader tools like the chapter roster. In these calls, we come together as a community of Emerging Group Leaders to bring your questions and get guidance on starting and running your chapter. 

You might be a new volunteer starting a brand-new chapter. Or you could be a volunteer in an existing chapter signing up as a co-leader to lend a hand to the group's leader. Maybe your current chapter leader has stepped down or moved away and you've volunteered to replace him or her. However you step up, the Emerging Group Leader program supports you in your effort to grow into the role of CCL group leader (click for details), and in many cases, to start a chapter from scratch.

How do I join the Emerging Group Leader group?

Click here to be directed to the Emerging Group Leader group, where you can click "Join" and see details for joining calls and recommended list of trainings.

It's also recommended to email Kathy Orlinsky ( to officially join CCL's Emerging Group Leaders program and contact your state or regional coordinator to let them know of your interest.  They can offer additional guidance and help keep tabs on all of the groups in their state or region. After you "graduate" from the Emerging Group Leader program, you will work closely with your state or regional coordinator on an ongoing basis. 

Start Growing Your Group


Conduct outreach to build your chapter

Find Others To Share In The Work:

Delegate key tasks and roles to incoming volunteers (see link for key roles)

Get Help From Other CCL Veterans

There have been many ways that active CCL groups have helped support other chapters get off the ground. One support is through the Group Development Coaches who help pull together and help a local Host Committee plan and host a Climate Advocate Training to officially launch a new CCL chapter. Group development coaches also provide CCL continuity for the group leader(s) who emerges during the planning process and are working hard to help CCL get an active chapter in every congressional district in the country. 

You could also check in with neighboring chapters for some cross-chapter teamwork and support (click the link to be directed to a forum topic on this approach with examples pioneered by groups like the CCL Salt Lake City chapter).

Have you completed this training?
Let us know if you've completed this training! Your progress will be logged in the Action Tracker so you can reference a list of trainings that you've completed.
Log your training
Go Deeper
For additional support with your CCL chapter's onboarding and retaining new volunteers, join the Onboarding Action Team in CCL Community.

Interested in helping a new chapter launch in a targeted area that’s not your own? Sign up to be a Group Development Coach who helps put together a local committee to host a climate advocate training.

Discussion Topic
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Chapter Organizing
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Training Resources