Adventure programming: keeping it safe.Not long ago most camp programs were similar in nature. There were campfires, swimming lessons, craft sessions, campcraft skills, and a hodge-podge of other camp-wide or cabin group opportunities. Equipment needs were fairly basic, and it was easy for camp directors to know who to hire for what job.
Today's camps function in a complex open market, competing with a myriad of other camps and recreation programs and services. Camps have attempted to make a significant contribution to the needs and demands of society by creating new and more demanding programs and services. In many cases, adventure programming has provided a focus for new program development.
Adventure recreation includes outdoor pursuits characterized by a particular level of challenge and risk. Images of climbing Mount Everest or paddling pad·dling
1. The act of moving a boat by means of a paddle.
2. A spanking or beating with a paddle.
Paddling of ducks: a company of ducks on water—Lipton, 1970. the Nahani may come to mind. However, challenge and risk is context specific and a matter of personal experience. What is perceived as challenging and risky by one person, may not be so for another. Adventure may differ across physical, social, and psychological domains, or it may differ in one physical setting as compared to another. Therefore, canoeing canoeing, sport of propelling a canoe through water. John MacGregor, an English barrister and founder of the Royal Canoe Club (est. 1865), is generally credited with being the initiator of modern sport canoeing. on a calm lake may not be adventuresome for an experienced paddler, while planning a weekend camping trip may be an adventure for someone who has never lived outside a major city.
Miles and Priest (1990) suggest that adventure programs are those programs that allow a participant to venture into the unknown, to undertake an activity that has an uncertain outcome for the adventurer and may be risky or dangerous. Hanna (1991) characterizes adventure education as emphasizing engagement in outdoor activities and utilizing progressive challenge situations and uncertainty of outcome to enhance an individual's intrapersonal in·tra·per·son·al
Existing or occurring within the individual self or mind.
intra·per (self-knowledge) and interpersonal (social) skills.
The basic assumption in adventure programming is that change, such as better self concept or confidence, may take place in groups and in individuals as a result of direct exposure to the elements of adventure. This means that elements such as risk, danger, and challenge, appropriately facilitated, comprise a deliberate educative ed·u·ca·tive
Adj. 1. educative - resulting in education; "an educative experience"
instructive, informative - serving to instruct or enlighten or inform process to bring about awareness and personal growth. Adventure recreation is essentially adventure education that takes place in a recreation context such as a camp. Both seek personal growth, both utilize higher risk out-door pursuits as the vehicle, and both require competent leadership to attend to the emotional, physical, and social safety of the participant.
Thus, there appears to be two types of adventure programs and services a camp may wish to offer. One distinguishes a set of outdoor pursuits characterized by challenge and risk and motivated by recreation objectives. The other is a set of similarly characterized activities motivated by educational objectives. From a programmatic pro·gram·mat·ic
1. Of, relating to, or having a program.
2. Following an overall plan or schedule: a step-by-step, programmatic approach to problem solving.
3. perspective, one person may be instructed in the technical skills necessary to rock climb in order to pursue the activity at their leisure or in other aspects of the camp program, and another person may be similarly instructed as part of a program that aims to address a personal issue like substance abuse. Both types of program require unique leadership competency COMPETENCY, evidence. The legal fitness or ability of a witness to be heard on the trial of a cause. This term is also applied to written or other evidence which may be legally given on such trial, as, depositions, letters, account-books, and the like.
2. and appropriate program sequence to ensure safe, effective, and environmentally sound participation.
Few camps are not aware of liability issues involved with adventure programming. Most often, the camp director or owner owes a duty to the camper to provide a safe experience. When a parent registers a child for camp there is automatically a legal duty owed because an agreement for services has been made.
Most recreation-related court cases are classified as tort tort, in law, the violation of some duty clearly set by law, not by a specific agreement between two parties, as in breach of contract. When such a duty is breached, the injured party has the right to institute suit for compensatory damages. actions. A tort, intentional or unintentional, is a breach of duty owed to another person. Examples of intentional torts An intentional tort is a category of torts that describes a civil wrong resulting from an intentional act on the part of the tortfeasor. The level of intent required to render a party liable for an intentional tort has been described as "substantial certainty" that the result are assault, battery, slander slander: see libel and slander.
See also Gossip.
Slaughter (See MASSACRE.)
calumniating, niggardly bigot. [Fr. Lit. , and invasion of privacy invasion of privacy n. the intrusion into the personal life of another, without just cause, which can give the person whose privacy has been invaded a right to bring a lawsuit for damages against the person or entity that intruded. . Most torts are unintentional, for example, failure to provide adequate supervision, failure to adequately conduct an activity, or failure to protect the participant from dangerous environmental conditions.
The best defense against negligence (unintentional breach) is to:
* make sure the participant is aware of and agrees to specific standards of behavior
* choose a staff person well-equipped to lead in a particular adventure activity, and
* make it the business of the director or owner to actually supervise employees.
Through a common concern for risk management and participant safety, a variety of general support organizations, such as the American or Canadian Camping Associations and the Association of Experiential Education The perspective and/or examples in this article do not represent a world-wide view. Please [ edit] this page to improve its geographical balance. , and activity specific organizations, such as Project Adventure and The American or Canadian Canoe Associations Organization
CanoeKayak Canada is the governing body of competitive canoeing and kayaking disciplines in Canada. The three specific disciplines represented are flatwater, whitewater and marathon. , provide guidelines guidelines,
n.pl a set of standards, criteria, or specifications to be used or followed in the performance of certain tasks. and standards for safe programming. Resources such as these can help camps answer important questions about adventure program delivery such as:
* Where can I get accurate information about current safety procedures?
* What constitutes competent leadership for adventure programs?
* How can I determine what equipment I need to deliver a safe adventure program and how do I maintain that equipment?
* Is my setting appropriate for the adventure program I intend to implement?
Staffing adventure programs
* Determine appropriate training requirements for the job.
Staff selected to instruct and/or lead adventure programs must be right for the job. The adventure program leader legally acknowledges a duty of care by accepting responsibility for teaching skills and leading programs. It is important for the camp to clearly define the terms of agreement for any staff position to ensure the program leader understands his or her responsibilities and constraints.
* Identify acceptable training organizations.
There are many accredited accredited
recognition by an appropriate authority that the performance of a particular institution has satisfied a prestated set of criteria.
cattle herds which have achieved a low level of reactors to, e.g. and credible organizations able to provide guidance to camps seeking to hire adventure program staff.
* Develop hiring procedures.
Hiring becomes a process of determining what is needed and matching those needs to a potential employee's training and experience.
* Provide supplemental training.
Whatever training the adventure program leader has, it is important that it be current and appropriate, that the camp supplement it if necessary, and that it is negotiated at the time of hiring.
Conducting safe activities
* Utilize accepted peer practice.
An adventure program leader must teach an activity or skill according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. accepted peer practice. Safety Practices in Adventure Programming, available through the Association of Experiential Education, is a fundamental resource for camps to determine what is accepted practice for a variety of adventure activities. This document, together with a knowledge of activity-specific instructional techniques and other safety standards Safety standards are standards designed to ensure the safety of products, activities or processes, etc. They may be advisory or compulsory and are normally laid down by an advisory or regulatory body that may be either voluntary or statutory. for the field, should be used to judge the conduct of all aspects of an adventure program.
* Communicate and enforce safety standards.
There are some fundamental guidelines for conducting adventure activities that are important to recognize. First, there should be a deliberate effort to ensure campers are aware of and understand safety procedures and inherent risks associated with an activity. Second, safety regulations and appropriate behavior should be clearly communicated and the participant should be asked to state, or in some other way acknowledge, agreement. Sometimes this means a simple review and nod of the head. Other times it means participants (or parents) acknowledge safety regulations by signing an informed consent or waiver. Third, the leader must enforce these standards in a consistent manner throughout the adventure program.
* Include safety in the instructional/leadership plan.
Throughout a skill lesson, a problem solving problem solving
Process involved in finding a solution to a problem. Many animals routinely solve problems of locomotion, food finding, and shelter through trial and error. activity, or a trip planning session, the leader must teach safety. The instructional plan must be deliberate, and evidence that it was implemented is fundamental to any defense against negligence. Leaders should have sufficient training and experience to foresee a potential accident or hazard, and provide adequate warning to the camper about what to do, or not do, in a hazardous situation.
* Respond to individual and group diversity.
The adventure program leader needs to consider campers' previous knowledge and experience, any relevant medical information, and particular physical, emotional, or social abilities.
In many camp programs instruction is standardized standardized
pertaining to data that have been submitted to standardization procedures.
standardized morbidity rate
see morbidity rate.
standardized mortality rate
see mortality rate. and sometimes neglects individual needs and conditions. Checklists, skill progression report cards, and a myriad of other devices are often used to ensure consistency and conformity. This approach to skill development can be dangerous in adventure programs. The leader must be flexible and adapt to the individual needs and conditions within the group.
Supervising safe adventure programs
* Determine appropriate levels of supervision.
There are two levels of supervision to ensure a safe and effective adventure. General supervision is when the program leader works with or supervises an entire group. For example, when a canoe instructor supervises a group of campers practicing something they have just learned, or a counselor supervises a cabin group during rest hour or meal time, it is general supervision. Supervision becomes specific when the leader's attention is turned to a particular individual.
* Develop instructional plans that include supervisory requirements.
Identifying appropriate levels of supervision and the ability to make a transition from general to specific supervision is critical in the adventure program, particularly when the failure to provide appropriate supervision could cause an accident. Decisions about the level of supervision need to take place at both the program planning and implementation phases.
* Implement staff supervision procedures.
The camp must also provide appropriate supervision to staff. Hiring qualified staff and providing pre-camp training is just the beginning. Each camp is unique and will have a specific set of adventure program safety issues. These must be identified and interpreted to ensure staff are informed and able to carry out responsibilities.
Adventure facilities and equipment
Some adventure programs take place at camp, others at appropriate sites outside camp, on out-trip routes, on government or private land, at satellite camp-owned locations, or some combination of these. The requirements of the adventure activity, facility or site, and equipment cannot be considered separately, especially with regards to safety:
* Adhere to adhere to
verb 1. follow, keep, maintain, respect, observe, be true, fulfil, obey, heed, keep to, abide by, be loyal, mind, be constant, be faithful
2. industry standards and manufacturer specifications.
* Inspect facilities and equipment prior to program use.
* Develop a maintenance, repair, and replacement plan.
* Include care and use of facilities and equipment in the instructional plan.
* Store and transport equipment wisely.
Administering adventure programs
* Keep accurate and complete records.
Camps should adopt suitable procedures for supplying accurate and appropriate information to staff and evaluate information on an ongoing basis. Procedures for gathering, analyzing, and disseminating dis·sem·i·nate
v. dis·sem·i·nat·ed, dis·sem·i·nat·ing, dis·sem·i·nates
1. To scatter widely, as in sowing seed.
2. information about accidents or near misses, equipment malfunctions, vandalism The intentional and malicious destruction of or damage to the property of another.
The intentional destruction of property is popularly referred to as vandalism. It includes behavior such as breaking windows, slashing tires, spray painting a wall with graffiti, and , and camper assessments should be implemented. Accurate records can be a strong defense against a litigation An action brought in court to enforce a particular right. The act or process of bringing a lawsuit in and of itself; a judicial contest; any dispute.
When a person begins a civil lawsuit, the person enters into a process called litigation. .
* Post information about potentially hazardous sites and activities.
It may be appropriate, outside the normal instructional sequence, to inform campers and the general public about potential hazards associated with aspects of the adventure program. For example, no trespassing signs should be clearly posted on ropes courses A ropes course is a challenging outdoor personal development and team building activity which usually consists of high and/or low elements. Low elements take place on the ground or only a few feet above the ground. and climbing walls A climbing wall is an artificially constructed wall with grips for hands and feet, used for climbing. Some are brick or wooden constructions, but on most modern walls, the material used is a thick multiplex board with holes drilled into it. .
* Develop and practice inclusive adventure program emergency procedures.
Support staff, such as wellness staff and senior staff, should be familiar with and practice relevant wilderness first aid Wilderness first aid is the specific discipline of First aid which relates to care in remote areas, where emergency medical services will be difficult to obtain or will take a long time to arrive. Nursing care though not part of normal first aid is part of wilderness first aid. and emergency procedures. While most camps define and practice waterfront emergency procedures, few do so for other types of programs. Develop a specialized emergency plan for the adventure program and communicate it to everyone.
* Carry adequate insurance coverage.
Adequate insurance coverage is essential. Consider a group or personal liability policy for staff or a special rider on current coverage.
* Implement a risk management plan and establish a safety committee.
Finally, develop and implement a risk management plan that encompasses the unique and special requirements of an adventure program. If the camp has a risk management plan, review it for adventure inclusion. Establish a safety committee to review the program and related safety issues and to recommend safety policy.
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Hanna, G. (1991). Outdoor Pursuits Programming: legal liability and risk management. Edmonton, Alta.: University of Alberta Press The University of Alberta Press (UAP) is a publishing house and a division of the University of Alberta that engages in academic publishing. Overview
UAP is situated in Ring House 2 on the University of Alberta campus, located in Edmonton, Alberta, and publishes an .
Meier, J. (1985, April). Injury countermeasures That form of military science that, by the employment of devices and/or techniques, has as its objective the impairment of the operational effectiveness of enemy activity. See also electronic warfare. in outdoor adventure programs. Parks and Recreation, 70-74.
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1. ^ Association for Experiential Education. Retrieved 8/18/07. .
Rankin, J. S. (1978, April). The legal system as a proponent One who offers or proposes.
A proponent is a person who comes forward with an a item or an idea. A proponent supports an issue or advocates a cause, such as a proponent of a will.
PROPONENT, eccl. law. of adventure programming. Leisure Today, 28-29.
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Webster, S. E. (1989). Ropes Coarse Safety Manual. Hamilton, MA: Project Adventure.
Williamson, J. E. (1993). A Manual of Accreditation Standards for Adventure Programs. Boulder, CO: Association for Experiential Education.
Roger J. Spacht, Ph.D. is the director of outdoor recreation programs in the College of Physical Education and Recreation at the University of Delaware  The student body at the University of Delaware is largely an undergraduate population. Delaware students have a great deal of access to work and internship opportunities. .
Jude Hirsch, Ph.D. is the coordinator of outdoor and environmental education in the School of Recreation and Physical Education at Acadia University Acadia University, at Wolfville, N.S., Canada; founded 1838; became Acadia Univ. 1891. It has faculties of arts, pure and applied sciences, management and education, and theology. Acadia Divinity College is associated with the university. .