By: Program Manager Liz Fager and Equipment and Facilities Manager Jim Smith
Venture Outdoors prides itself on providing high quality outings that build on the knowledge and experience of staff and volunteers as well as its outdoor recreation partners. Its excellent track record is accomplished by keeping staff and volunteer leaders trained and up to date on the latest industry standards. This year Venture Outdoors’ Program Manager Liz Fager and Equipment and Facilities Manager Jim Smith attended the twenty second annual Wilderness Risk Management Conference (WRMC) in Portland, Oregon. The WRMC focuses on providing practical risk management skills, sharing field and administrative techniques, networking with others in the industry, and helping develop risk management standards for the outdoor adventure and education industries.
Hear from Liz and Jim on what they hope to bring back to the organization as a result of their experience.
The WRMC was an extremely educational and valuable experience. With topics ranging from working with “At-Risk” populations to strategies for better risk management, the conference provided me with tons of good information that I can share with the organization. For example, Training Your Staff to Be Risk Managers provided training tools and tactics to strengthen our risk management training for staff and volunteers. As an organization, we are continuously looking at ways to improve our training so that staff and volunteers are better leaders in an outdoor setting. These tools will directly influence the training we host for the staff and volunteers in 2016.
The networking opportunities were also valuable and provided me with contacts from across the county to share ideas and challenges. I am truly looking forward to putting my educational experience into practice in the coming year.
The WRMC was a very informative experience. As the Equipment and Facilities Manager, many of the workshops changed the way I looked at risk management within my role and the tasks I do at Venture Outdoors. For example, Performing Under Pressure presented explanations of how people perform under pressure and how to train staff in a manner that will optimize their performance in stressful situations. As someone who deals with training and operation of our trailers, including our portable climbing wall, the workshop provided me with a clearer understanding to staff’s reactions to stressful tasks that I do on a daily basis without much thought or pressure. With this understanding, I can more effectively structure our trailer training in 2016 to optimize success for all the staff. Conferences such as these are great chances to look at how we run our trainings and programs compared to other industry professionals and what we can do to improve the experiences of participants.
Both Liz and Jim feel extremely lucky to have had the conference experience in preparation for 2016. They are looking forward to being able to share their experience with the rest of the Venture Outdoors community and to put their experiences into practice.