Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Challenge Course Management

Reflects by Angel Krimm, PA trainer and former challenge course program manager.

Over the course of the past 3 years, I have seen a dramatic increase in the attendance at the Adventure Program Management workshop. Perhaps it is due to field staff becoming seasoned professionals, or due to the awareness that program managers need to know more that just how to perform technical maneuvers on the challenge course.

The workshop held at Moraine Farm this July was no exception - with 12 participants spanning experience levels of brand new to over 20 years in the Challenge Course industry, and representing just about every client base we serve - PE departments at schools, therapeutic agencies, a camp and conference center, and a military training program.

Together we explored topics of risk management, including staff hiring and retention, medical forms and liability releases, intentional programming (yes, the intentionality that an organization puts towards their program does impact safety!), new regulations and industry standards,and understanding Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and how to write Local Operating Procedures (LOPs) among other topics such as marketing and grant support of programs.

Most of PA's trainings are extremely active and immersion approach to learning. And although this workshop differs by being content heavy, we kept it light with a few games to aid in the learning. We are experiential educators after all!

The overall consensus throughout and at the end of the workshop is that the information is valuable (though somewhat overwhelming), and participants have a clear sense of the next steps for their organization. Some head home with the intention of getting that Local Operating Procedure manual finished, while others were thinking of ways to get the word out in the community about the great work they are doing. And for one client, regulations really got him thinking as he discovered his home state is considering adopting regulations for zip wires.

The book used extensively through out this workshop is the book that we refer to internally as "Bob's Book"... The Guide for Challenge Course Operations, by Bob Ryan.

If your Challenge Course staff is wishing to pursue ACCT's Challenge Course Manager certification, this workshop, in addition to the related field hours and additional training, and having obtained Practitioner Certification Level II will get them there.