The Trip Leaders’ Training Course 2001 [46]

by Andrew Eddy

The May 2001 Trip Leaders’ Training Course

For the last two years, the NSW Sea Kayak Club has been formulating its own Standard Operating Procedures. While the draft procedures clearly show their military heritage, they are most definitely a civilian document with considerable value for the Club and its members. These procedures have the potential to drastically reduce the risks that    we might take, due to misunderstandings about the roles taken by leaders and participants in Club trips.

During September last year, the Club held its first Trip Leader’s Training Course. This course was experimental in nature and had limited attendance, but was a valuable learning experience for those who presented course segments and those who participated in the course.

One valuable lesson we learned was about venue; we probably won’t be going to Shoalhaven Heads again in a hurry! We were extraordinarily lucky with the conditions and equally unlucky with camp security.

In Issue 44 of NSW Sea Kayaker the Committee explained several new policies for the conduct of Club events. The restriction of trip leadership to approved Club Trip Leaders has made it necessary for the Club to hold regular Trip Leader’s Training Courses.

On the weekend of 12-13 May 2001, the Club held its first course for the 2001 calendar year. The organisers chose Murramarang Resort so that we could have comfortable accommodation and classroom space as the weather cools into winter. The resort has very comfortable cabins and heated conference rooms with all the facilities we could have wanted for our program of talks, discussion and theory exercises, plus it has beach frontage and quick access to sheltered water in Batemans Bay. Most participants were happy to share the luxurious cabins (which had baths and double showers!) and the remainder were able to camp only metres away.

Twenty one members attended the course over the weekend. All but three participated in the entire weekend.

The course was structured around morning sessions in the conference room and afternoon sessions on the water. The morning indoors sessions were composed of a series of brief presentations, each followed by group discussion then group theoretical exercises. The afternoon outdoors sessions were practical sessions on the water, organising and running a sample grade 2 trip on the Saturday and a sample grade 3 trip on the Sunday.

The format of presentation and discussion was a valuable one for presenters and participants alike. It is worth noting that a considerable number of NSWSKC members have extensive experience and skills, not just in sea kayaking but in sailing and other maritime activities, bushwalking and other outdoor activities requiring strong abilities in navigation and judgement, specialised knowledge and leadership skills. The course organisers planned on using the discussion component of the course segments to harness the combined experience and abilities of the group.

Participants in the course now have a solid grounding in the Club’s view on the role of a Trip Leader when leading other Club members as peers, Club procedures for grading and advertising a trip, planning the details of a trip, how plans change with conditions on the day of the trip, how to manage a group on the beach and on the water and how to deal with a trip that goes awry.

There was a lot of material covered in the course, some of which doesn’t yet appear in the Standard Operating Procedures. Some key skills and knowledge were not covered, as they were declared to be assumed knowledge. First Aid skills are best taught by WorkCover approved course providers. Navigation skills are a course on their own.

The course was a resounding success. It was a great learning experience for us all, presenters  and participants alike. With the planned format, it was also a good social event with a relaxed Saturday evening and plenty of time on the water.

The Club will hold another Trip Leader’s Training Course later in the year. Since the May course clashed with Mother’s Day and this affected several people who wanted to attend, it seems appropriate that the second course should not be held on Father’s Day in September! Keep an eye on the calendar in October, both the current version on the Club’s website and the printed version in the magazine. See you there!

Announcement: Trip Leaders Approved

On Sunday 27 May, the NSWSKC Committee met at Tathra and approved the following categories of current members as Trip Leaders:

  • ABCE senior sea instructors and ABCE sea instructors,
  • participants in the first and second Trip Leader’s Training Courses, who hold a current ABCE Sea Proficiency Certificate and First Aid/CPR qualification.

Several more participants in the May 2001 course will be approved as Trip Leaders, upon notifying the Club Secretary that they have been awarded their ABCE Sea Proficiency Certificate.

All of the participants at the May 2001 course received copies of the course material, detailing the application of the Club’s policies and procedures to the organisation and leadership of groups of peers on Club trips. The relevant parts of the course material will be included in the draft Standard Operating Procedures and distributed to all of the approved Trip Leaders.

From the June 2001 Trip Calendar onwards, all Club trips will be led by a Club-approved Trip Leader. The printed calendar in this issue will also be the last calendar where trips may have a Trip Coordinator. From the September 2001 Trip Calendar onwards, the Trip Leader will be the only contact for information about Club trips. The option of being a Trip Coordinator will cease to exist.

Approved Trip Leaders are:

  • Current ABCE senior sea instructors and sea instructors who are members of NSWSKC:

    • Ross Boardman
    • Gordon Carswell
    • Andrew Eddy
    • Wayne Langmaid
    • Arunas Pilka
    • Ian Ribbons
    • Norm Sanders
    • Dirk Stuber
    • John Wilde
    • David Winkworth
  • Additionally, from the September 2000 Trip Leader’s Training Course,  participants and presenters:

    • Sharon Betteridge
    • Andrew McAuley
    • Kevin Melville
    • Rob Mercer
    • David Whyte
  • Additionally, from the May 2001 Trip Leader’s Training Course, participants and presenters:

    • Michael Culhane
    • Nick Gill
    • Sundra John
    • Paul Loker
    • Andrew McPhail
    • Tony Neiderberger
    • Mike Snoad
    • Stuart Trueman

Congratulations all!

The next Club magazine (issue 47 – deadline September 14, 2001) and Trips Calendar are in preparation now. This is the best possible opportunity to practice the skills that we have discussed and put a trip in the Club Calendar. Contact the Trips Convener, Stuart Trueman, with your trip ideas.

Further to the above list, the following members will be approved as Trip Leaders when they notify the Club Secretary that they have received their ABCE Sea Proficiency Certificate: John Caldwell, Chris Halliday, Robyn Harris, Mark Pearson, Peter Rattenbury, Rob Richmond and Margot Todhunter.