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WRMC 2014 Workshops (2015 coming in June)

The WRMC balances new and evolving topics and speakers with the fundamentals to ensure that everyone finds their learning edge.



Click below on a color coded track to view workshop descriptions.


    Emergency Planning and Crisis Response     Program Administration
    Field Practices     Staff Training and Decision Making
    Legal Considerations     Pre-Conference
    Poster Sessions     Coaching and Structured Networking




Featured Speaker



Captain G. Anderson Chase


Lessons Learned from the Loss of the HMS Bounty

In October of 2012, the HMS Bounty, an approximate replica of the 1787 Royal Navy ship of the same name, sailed from New London, Conn. and proceeded almost directly into Hurricane Sandy where she sank with the loss of her captain and one crewmember. Captain Andy Chase, Professor of Marine Transportation at Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, Maine, will discuss lessons learned and identify strategies to prevent repeat poor decisions.




Emergency Procedures and Crisis Response
      Using the wealth of experience in this group of presenters, the Emergency and Crisis Response track addresses crisis plans, crisis/field incident and post incident response.

new topic icon Case Studies in Wilderness Medicine

Shana Tarter

  This workshop will explore the real life application of wilderness medicine skills by WFR trained faculty on remote wilderness expeditions. In addition to assessing the decision-making curriculum taught in wilderness medicine courses, we will discuss the unexpected challenges and realities of long term care. These cases are drawn from actual incidents and include perspectives from the involved faculty.

Crisis Management: A Preplan in Action

Drew Leemon

  Responding to a crisis, such as a participant fatality, presents a complex situation that demands a thoughtful and reasoned response. This workshop will provide attendees with an overview of the five elements of successful crisis management, begin to delve into the complexities of responding to crisis situations through the presenter's personal and professional experience while providing a forum for exchanging ideas and sharing experiences of the audience. Additionally this workshop will provide a starting point for creating a crisis management plan.

How to Prepare and Execute Effective Critical Incident Simulations with Administrative Staff

Mark Vermeal

  During this interactive lecture participants will gain an understanding of the value of utilizing simulations to prepare administrative staff to effectively manage critical incidents. Participants will be taught a framework for conducting simulations that highlight strengths and expose gaps in their incident management. This session will discuss the benefits, relevant considerations and potential pitfalls of conducting simulations. It will also provide participants with a continuum of simulation models that can target incident management goals.

new topic icon It Just Got Worse: Managing Conventional and Social Media in Crisis Situations

Skip King



  You've handled the incident itself pretty well. But social and conventional media are hammering you. It doesn't have to be that way. Communicating in a crisis can't be an afterthought; successfully doing so requires as much planning, training and practice as your field evacuation protocols. In this session, we'll look at real-world examples of major incidents from a communications perspective, building an understanding of how to plan, train and practice for serious events.

new topic icon Near-Critical Incident Response

Brendan Madden

  A cultural blind spot in our industry is the "Near-Critical Incident": a category of serious near-miss where staff or participant(s) come close to a fatal accident. Experience has shown that these incidents can be quite traumatic for those involved, yet, because no serious incident occurred, there is often little support offered. This presentation will attempt to address that void by showing techniques for identifying the near-critical incident, structuring an effective debrief, and providing guidance for longer term healing and support.

Performing Under Pressure

Deb Ajango

  This workshop will provide audience members with an understanding of how people tend to react, both cognitively and behaviorally, in stressful situations. Additionally, the presenter will expore how quality training can influence one's response. The presenter also will offer suggestions and share ideas from the pre-conference workshop on how people might modify their staff trainings and/or organizational emergency action plans so that desired behaviors are more likely.

Risk Management the Traumatic Aftermath

Will Marling

  This workshop is an introduction to processes and protocols for addressing the traumatic impact on clients, staff and responders in the aftermath of a traumatic critical incident. It is based upon forty years of field-tested, evidence-informed best practices in the area of trauma mitigation and education.

new topic icon Small Organization Emergency Response Plans: Where do I Start?

John Kelley new speaker icon


  Recently, the Verde Valley School revamped its emergency response plan and implemented staff and student training. This presentation will reflect upon the creation of this plan and provide others with the tools and resources needed to begin the process of creating a current and user-friendly emergency response plan for their institution.
        view workshop schedule  



Field Practices
      This track evaluates specific practices and assessment tools as benchmarks for industry practice.

new topic icon Electronics for the Outdoor Leader

Bob Myron new speaker icon

  Electronics are in! We all have them, there is a place in our kit for electronics as they are handy, and when they work, they work well. Learn what's out there, what it's being used for and why it's important to keep the basic non-electronic skills alive. We will talk about benefits and risks of sat phones, satellite communication devices, smart phones, GPS, I-pads, and personal locator beacons. Taught by a self proclaimed "non-geeky" nuts and bolts compass wielding guide. Feel free to bring your favorite device and apps to share!

Intro to Climber First Aid (CFA)

Seth Hawkins

Bryan Simon new speaker icon

  Participants in climbing activities are prone to particular overuse and acute injuries, which are rarely or never covered with a climbing focus during standard WFA/WFR training. This lecture will be extremely helpful for all climbing programs. It is taught by Vertical Medicine Resources (VMR) instructors who are themselves both climbers and healthcare providers. VMR has pioneered the concept of medical guides, and specializes in the conversion of cutting edge evidence-based medicine into easily-understood climbing applications.

new topic icon It's Not All Megafuana and Altitude: Mitigating the Small but Mighty Hazards

Nelson Bruni new speaker icon

Laura Luttrell new speaker icon

  Join staff members from the Student Conservation Association (SCA) as they discuss the small but mighty hazards that could plague your outdoor program. It is often the small things – ticks, red ants, and poisonous plants – that take up the most time and resources during field season. Their effects span from mild annoyance to lifelong illness. This presentation will cover case studies from SCA programming and discuss effective (and not so effective) mitigation techniques for these tiny hazards.

new topic icon Risk Management: An Ocean Rowing Perspective

Lloyd Figgins


  In December 2011 Lloyd Figgins set off from Morocco to row across the Atlantic in a 23ft boat. Along the way he encountered shipping, pirates, sharks, storms and 50ft waves. This presentation looks at how to recognize, mitigate and manage risk effectively, even in the most extreme conditions. It also provides workable and practical solutions to many of the hazards faced on expeditions.

new topic icon Should Wilderness Program Staff Always Accompany Their Group? Three Views

Ken Kalisch new speaker icon

Brad Daniel new speaker icon

Andrew Bobilya

  Should program leaders always be present with individual participants and their group on wilderness expeditions? Does this guard their safety or only compromise their learning? This workshop will present three distinct positions in response to these questions. Through scenarios, discussion, and a mock debate we will explore the staff challenge of providing unaccompanied components (e.g. solo, final expedition, distance run) that maximize learning and minimize risks.

new topic icon Supporting Struggling Participants: Strategies for Managing Behavioral and Mental Health Issues

Katie Baum Mettenbrink

Emily Ledingham new speaker icon

  Managing behavior and mental health issues, and deciding who should stay or leave the field, can be intimidating and draining for field staff and administrators alike. This workshop aims to help you more effectively support struggling participants who can stay on your program, and identify those who should leave. We will explore continuums of behavior through scenarios, and I will provide a framework to define thresholds of acceptable behavior and corresponding responses that match your program. This workshop is targeted towards field staff and administrators in non-therapeutic programs

new topic icon Tech Talk: Safety, Communication, and Navigation in the Backcountry

Chip Noble new speaker icon



  Selecting the right off-the-grid communication device for your program, organization, or trip can be overwhelming given all the satellite messaging and tracking options on the market. Join us for an interactive discussion comparing each of the available technology categories, covering the functionality and purpose of each. This session is intended for those evaluating their current program's technology protocol or looking for better solutions for communication, tracking, and emergency management.

new topic icon Transplant: Cultural Diversity from City to Wilderness

Milosz Pierwola new speaker icon

  Shaped by television shows like Naked and Afraid, Man vs. Wild, Survivor, etc., clients from urban areas have vastly diverse impressions of what the wilderness is. This presentation is designed to clearly communicate the essential characteristics of your business and create a seamless introduction that encourages safe behavior and expectations for clients.
        view workshop schedule  



Legal Considerations
      Our Legal Considerations presenters work hard to develop a series of focused, non-redundant offerings to address current legal and insurance issues in wilderness risk management.

Contracting with Third Parties

Catherine Hansen-Stamp

Justin Talbot

Todd Duncan

  In this session, we will approach contracting with outside organizations from both a legal and program perspective. We will highlight, among other things, how screening, clarifying respective responsibilities and liabilities in a written contract, informed negotiation, and importantly, staff role training, drive more thoughtful and intentional relationships with partners and contractors. Arrangements discussed include an organization sub-contracting a portion of programming, teaming up on a mutual services arrangement, and facilities use or rental. Attendees will also engage with an interactive case study.

Insurance Provisions in Outdoor Organization Contracts and Permits

Don Pachner

  Outdoor organizations enter into many written agreements, including leases, financing/grants, memoranda of understanding, memoranda of agreement, land use permits, vendor & professional contracts and subcontracting arrangements, all of which should contain insurance provisions spelling out insurance responsibilities. This class will review and discuss insurance provisions commonly found in these agreements, and it will discuss insurance provisions you should be asking your attorney to include in vendor contracts or agreements with subcontractors.

Mock Trial Focus Group

Wilma Gray

Tony Clapp

  This Focus Group research format session allows the trial attorneys to test lawsuit themes, assess the strengths and weaknesses of the positions and ultimately identify and craft a persuasive argument strategy. WRMC participants will play an active role as members of a jury Focus Group, listening to experienced trial attorneys present limited, short segments of evidence for a Mock Trial case involving a wilderness recreation organization that has been sued. A moderator will stop frequently to probe the participants with questions for discussion, reactions, feedback, input, attitudes and beliefs about the evidence presented. As additional topics are raised, they can be pursued further by the attorneys presenting evidence within the Mock Trial.

new topic icon Screening the Whole Applicant

Anneliese Thies new speaker icon

  When you are on a fixed-line summiting a remote peak your team matters, trust matters. How can your organization utilize the time before participants' boots hit the ground to increase their success rate? How can the admissions process be used as a tool to promote safer courses? For the Colorado Outward Bound School, the admissions process is the first step in a rigorous commitment to safety. What sets our screening process apart is our commitment to interviewing every student who attends a backcountry program. Come look at our application process and learn why we believe in gathering more than a legal release from our students. Discuss how pre-course follow up has helped to decrease our motivational incident rate and boosted field staff engagement. Gain tips on crafting the kinds of interview questions that draw vital information from participants. Review case studies.

The Law Says 'Yes' to Risk

Reb Gregg


  In recent years the Law has moved with increasing clarity and frequency to an acknowledgment of the value of adventure and risk in promoting personal development and a healthy society. This acknowledgment plays out in evolving notions of an organization's duty of care to its clients in certain types of activities pertinent to our audience. We will cover this and other trends in areas of the law fundamental to our industry, including negligence and defenses to claims of negligence (inherency of the risks, assumption of risks, and waivers) and the not so minor problem of dealing with minors.

Managing Legal Issues After a Serious Incident: What to Do, What to Say

Frances Mock

  Many organizations have considered the operational issues related to a serious incident. This presentation explores the legal issues. What evidence should you collect and how do you do that? What process should you use when taking witness statements? What should you know when dealing with land managers, state agencies, and law enforcement? How much of what you collect and record will be available to someone who sues you? This presentation answers these questions and provides tips on the legal issues related to a serious incident.

Use of Participant Agreements: Releases and Related Issues

Catherine Hansen-Stamp

  In this interactive session, Cathy will outline legal and practical issues associated with use of written participant agreements with clients/guests. She will highlight the value in using these documents as risk management tools, identify key components, and use current case law to discuss unique issues, and how courts view these documents in the adventure and recreation program setting. Significant issues include: dealing with minors, releases, indemnity, assumption of risks, and e-signatures.

new topic icon Where are We Now? Epinephrine and Outdoor Programming 2014

Frances Mock

David Yacubian

  The decision as to whether to carry epinephrine in outdoor programs is a difficult one that raises legal, operational, and moral dilemmas. This presentation will provide an overview of the legal and programming concerns related to carrying and administering epinephrine and an update on the current state of the law governing the use of epinephrine by non-licensed individuals. Participants will leave with greater clarity of the issues and options for managing the severely allergic student.
        view workshop schedule  



Program Administration
      The Program Administration track addresses a number of issues pertinent to program managers including communicating your program’s risk to parents, international programming, and risk management in smaller programs.

new topic icon 10 Steps to Better Risk Management

Alex Kosseff

  Risk management reviews are a powerful tool for identifying gaps in safety practices. Learn about reviews and how the Outdoor Safety Institute has used them to identify 10 important but relatively simple risk management steps that many programs aren't taking. The 10 steps involve aspects of management, staffing, crisis response, field practices, training, and transportation. This introductory level session (and accompanying 25-page written guide) provide the resources to navigate through these 10 challenges and beyond.

new topic icon Concepts and Strategies for Developing Risk Management Related Decision Making in your Staff

Aaron Ball new speaker icon

  This presentation will explore results from a comprehensive study, which found that certain criteria have a significant impact on the development of risk management related decision-making. After a brief explanation of how the study was conducted, the implications for program application will be explored.

new topic icon Grassroots Organizing: A Tool to Shift Your Risk Management Culture

Melanie Mac Innis

Alex Kosseff

Sascha Paris

  How can organizations that work with volunteers (or staff with limited training) improve their risk management practices? We will explore grassroots organizing tools that can be used to create risk management improvements. Part of the discussion will center on a case study involving a serious water incident, how this catalyzed change, and how to lead change before tragedy strikes. This interactive discussion will help organizations understand and manage change through volunteer engagement, training and support.

new topic icon Containers as Boundaries: Proactive and Participant-Centered Strategies to Raise Risk Awareness

Tim Harenew speaker icon

Ryan Wagner new speaker icon

Aaron Slosberg

  This session explores a model and delivers tools for effectively engaging risk with participants by clearly defining the boundaries, or "container" of the experience. We will analyze the group development sequence in terms of dynamics, daily routines, expectation-setting and individual development levels as pivotal tools in raising awareness of human factor risks within certain containers. Carried out with increased intentionality, these specific actions will allow for participants to take healthy and appropriate risks on programs ranging from international cultural immersion to wilderness excursions. The session draws on experience from Where There Be Dragons and Camp Manito-wish YMCA.

new topic icon Near Miss Incidents are Telling You Something Important. Are you Listening?

Josh Cole

Steve Smith

  There is little statistically-significant data that indicates a direct connection between incident rates and organizational structures. Our organizations likely cannot significantly change the prevalence of minor incidents related to inherent objective risks, but through excellent training and incident analysis, we can reduce the likelihood and severity of significant incidents particularly by focusing on near miss incidents. Within this context, this session will focus on accurate assessment of incident data, creation of an organizational culture that actively reports, analyzes and communicates near miss incidents and uses this information to inform staff training to increase judgment and decision-making skills.

new topic icon Standards Do Exist for International Programs

Natalie Mello new speaker icon


  Standards do exist for international programs. After an overview of the field and the Standards of Good Practice for Education Abroad, we will work through several case studies and participants will understand how these standards can be used to guide the development of new programs, or to review existing programs. Each participant will be given a hardcopy of the current edition of the Standards of Good Practice for Education Abroad.

new topic icon The Normalization of Deviance

Aram Attarian

  "Normalization of deviance" demonstrates a human tendency to deviate from established standards. The problem with deviating from original standards is that most of the time nothing negative happens. The fact that there are no repercussions reinforces the deviant behavior until the behavior is accepted as the new norm. This workshop will explore ways of recognizing, evaluating and preventing normalization of deviance. As a group we will share examples and management practices that work for creating a culture that addresses this phenomena.

Vetting for International Programs: What Can You Know; What Should You Know?

Bill Frederick


  And had we but world enough and time - and money, it is possible to thoroughly assess, evaluate and document one's staff, vendors, third party providers and the relative safety management of such things as transportation, accommodations, home-stays as well as surfing, whitewater paddling, and canopy tours. In this session we will explore what can be done as well as what constitutes a reasonable vetting strategy for your programs.
        view workshop schedule  



Staff Training and Decision Making
      This track focuses on staff, our on the ground risk managers who make numerous critical decisions every day. Some of the topics to be addressed include training staff to be risk managers in the field, using case studies as a tool, managing staff injury claims, volunteer leaders and designing an effective staff training.

new topic icon Beyond Read and Repeat: Training Staff to Understand and Analyze Risk Management Policies

Aaron Gorban

Jess Wilson new speaker icon

Winslow Carroll new speaker icon

  Challenge your staff to surpass simply remembering and repeating risk management policies by exercising their capacity for higher order thinking. This workshop will model a training that has participants apply, analyze, and synthesize risk management policies, with the aim of greater accuracy and consistency in implementing such policies in the field. Workshop participants will develop a lesson specific to their program policies and will leave with resources on incorporating higher order thinking into future trainings.

new topic icon Buried: A Mountain Guide's Reflection on a Tragedy

Ken Wylie new speaker icon


  On January 20th 2003 an avalanche broke loose from a back-country ski run in British Columbia, called La Traviata. Of the thirteen involved seven died. "Buried" is the second guides reflections on the human factors involved in the accident. It is common for outdoor practitioners to perceive that we can "compartmentalize" our lives, to subscribe to the idea that "who we are" has nothing to do with the decisions we make in the field. Ken Wylie makes the case that one cannot separate the person from the decisions and that "self awareness" is a powerful tool for managing risk in the field.

Decision Making: Errors of Perception

Gates Richards

  In this session, we will explore the neurobiological factors of perception that contribute to human errors in decision making. Using video, activities and magic, we will experience and discuss errors of attention, errors of pattern recognition, and priming errors. Though we cannot eliminate these hazards from our decision-making process, we can recognize their effects, account for their presence and minimize the chances of significant fallout from the traps they set. By increasing our awareness of how the brain processes information, we can take steps toward being more deliberate in our decision-making awareness, and perhaps make more consistently good decisions.

I'm Not Like the Others': 3 Activities to Minimize the Emotional Risk of Exclusion

Aparna Rajagopal-Durbin

  We want our broaden the reach of our programs to more and different people, but are we ready to manage the emotional risks that come with this diversity? How can our programs provide an experience that best honors this diversity while maintaining positive outcomes? This interactive workshop will help you train your staff to conduct three activities that set up an inclusive environment in your program.

Keeping Your Field Staff Fresh: A Model for Ongoing Training

Rebecca Bear

Jeremy Oyen

  Training part-time and seasonal field staff can pose a challenge to the program and risk management needs of your organization. REI Outdoor School will share techniques from their training program that can be utilized by seasonal and year-round programs for on-going staff training. Utilizing a variety of field, on-line, self-study, and mentorship will enhance the culture of risk management and the comfort level for field and administrative staff. Come prepared to share your personal insights.

Stupidity Explored: Mindful Leadership Amplified

Lester Zook

  "Idiots!" Many of us have, no doubt, drawn this conclusion after reading some disaster story or watching an insane Youtube video. But what is stupidity? What does research say about stupid behavior? Can it be predicted before the fact, and thus maybe prevented? How might practicing mindful leadership help us to know it when we see it, and maybe avoid stupidity before it happens? How does mindful leadership synthesize with our long held understandings of experiential learning? This workshop will explore these questions through some lecture, story-telling, group sharing, and fashioning of personal and group applications.

Training to Failure and Other Unlikely and Highly Effective Training Strategies

Jeff Jackson

  The realities of accelerated timelines and compressed training requires turning traditional staff training on its head. A focus on non-normal, training to failure, testing and sensemaking are uncommon, unlikely, and proven effective in building competency fast. This workshop focusses on applying a-typical training strategies.

Training Your Staff to be Risk Managers

Liz Tuohy

  Learn how to use the limited amount of time you have for staff training to maximize your staff 's alignment with organizational values and make them competent field-based risk managers. Learn how to influence organizational culture and build risk management knowledge specific to your program. We will address the needs of small and large programs.
        view workshop schedule  



Pre-Conference Workshops
    Our selection of pre-conference workshops allow participants to explore specific topics in greater detail with smaller groups. Participants can choose from half-day sessions to three-day courses.
    September 29–October 1, 8 AM–5 PM (3 days: Mon–Wed)

ACA Stand-Up Paddleboard Instructor Certification Workshop

Jeremy Oyen

Nick Cross

Joe Moore


  The American Canoe Association Level 1-2: Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) Instructor Certification Workshop will provide you with the skill and understanding to teach others the art of SUP. This three-day program is an intensive, fast paced workshop designed to refine your instructional techniques, learn how to assess SUP skills, and provide on-water program risk management. Pre-requisites: SUP paddling skills / ACA Membership / First Aid & CPR certification / 18 or older.
    September 30–October 1, 8 AM - 5 PM (2 days: Tues–Wed)

Inclusion and Cultural Competence for the Outdoor Professional
Aparna Rajagopal-Durbin

Marina Fleming



Diversity is what we are, inclusion is what we do, and cultural competence is what we need to do it. As outdoor educators continue to engage a broader range of people, our staff need the tools and training to welcome and value what this diversity brings. And this level of inclusion can only happen if we strive to gain more competence regarding the various cultures with which we work. In this seminar participants will learn how to be inclusive, how to gain more cultural competence, how to run some basic activities with their staff and participants to foster more inclusive environments, and how to manage inclusion-related incidents in the field.


NOLS Risk Management Training for Administrators

Liz Tuohy

Katie Baum Mettenbrink


  Using lecture, dicussion, exercises, and hands-on scenarios, this two-day training will provide a structured approach and the necessary tools to build a risk management plan appropriate for your organization. You will walk away with a detailed action plan designed to improve your curriculum, oversight structure, administrative process, staff hiring, field support services, and crisis planning.
    October 1, 8 AM–12 PM (1/2 day: Wednesday)

Parent Phone Call Lab
Justin Talbot



Test your conflict communication skills in this interactive parent phone call lab. Spend three hours preparing for and practicing challenging phone call scenarios and hone your skills by serving as both caller and coach. After each call, the "parent," an experienced program administrator, will offer feedback to help you develop your skills. We will review successes and persistent challenges, and you will leave with strategies for applying lessons learned in your own program.


Performing Under Pressure: Making Good Decisions in Stressful Times

Deb Ajango


  This workshop will provide audience members with an understanding of how people tend to react, both cognitively and behaviorally, in stressful situations. Additionally, the presenter will expore how training can influence one's response. The presenter will offer suggestions on how participants might modify staff trainings and organizational emergency action plans so that desired behaviors are more likely. Participants will be given time to create realistic scenarios, trainings, and/or checklists for use within their own organizations.

The Value and Practice of Medical Screening

Amberleigh Hammond


  This presentation will help field and admin staff better understand the overall value of screening in outdoor programs. The presentation will give screening guidelines, examples and advice as participants align their medical and psychological screening, program descriptions, student paperwork, program framing, and Essential Eligibility Criteria with current industry standards. We will discuss the predictive value of screening, what purpose it serves, student selection, and how screening fits into your program's values.
    October 1, 1–5 PM (1/2 day: Wednesday)

And the Winner is…(?) Hot Issues, Hot Cases
Catherine Hansen-Stamp

Reb Gregg


  In this interactive session, we will ask attendees to consider several 2013-14 court opinions addressing significant legal issues in the industry. Participants will consider – and attack or defend – conflicting arguments pertaining to, among other issues: negligence and the duty of care owed to participants, inherent risks and assumption of risks, who can release whom for what, when what you say or write hurts you, protection from claims of minors and other timely issues.

Creating an Emotionally Safe Environment on Wilderness Expeditions
Janae Turner

Katie Dalbey

Amy Ambachtsheer


  It is far easier to identify what our programs do that affects physical safety and to create organizational policies and procedures to mitigate those risks, but emotional safety is just as important and gets far less attention. This 4-hour pre-conference workshop provides outdoor professionals with a better understanding of emotional safety; tools and ideas for creating emotionally safe learning environments (including organizational policies and procedures, staff training, and on course lessons and activities), and an overview of anti-bullying curriculum.

Incident Reporting and Analysis

Billy Roos

Mark Vermeal


  Incident reporting, data collection, and analysis provide a critical function for outdoor (and other) organizations to enable them to better prevent or mitigate future incidents. This presentation is designed to provide participants with a variety of options for documenting, archiving, and analyzing incidents.



Poster Session
      There are many topics that are better suited for a poster presentation rather than a classroom presentation. Poster sessions will take place during the opening reception of the conference, at which time presenters will be available along side his or her poster to interact with conference-goers and answer questions. Posters will continue to be accessible for the duration of the conference as stand alone presentations.
    October 1, 5–6:30 PM (Wednesday)

new topic icon A Critical Evaluation of Certifications

Curt Davidson

Graham Ottley

  This presentation will examine the conventional practice followed by many adventure education companies and instructors seeking certifications. Certifications such as Wilderness First Responder are often used to supplement the skills of instructors. A critical examination of this process is warranted due to the high resource commitment to attain and maintain these certifications. Evaluation of the certification process is relevant due to the burden placed upon institutions obligated to offer these certifications for instructors.

new topic icon Media Training: Sound Bites, Tips and Tricks, and Communicating in a Crisis

Travis Taylor

Karmina Zafiro

  Crises come when you least expect them and news won't wait. Are you prepared to handle aggressive media under the pressure of a crisis? This interactive media training presentation will teach attendees of all experience levels how to better communicate with media during a crisis. Fineman PR's media experts will discuss the changing media landscape, Dos and Don'ts of media interviews, and how to develop and convey key messages effectively in a crisis.

new topic icon Physiological Effects of Adventure Activities: Is it All in Our Minds?

Andrew Bailey


  Seasoned outdoor athletes are cognizant of the personal physical and mental impacts of adventure activities. Trip leaders also have a feel for how each activity will affect participants. Objective data, however, paint an interesting picture of how outdoor amateurs experience various activities. Results from a pilot study on outdoor recreation students indicate that mental stress can induce substantial energy expenditure above and beyond the physical effort exerted. Students were fitted with a Sensewear armband during a variety of outdoor tasks and the results help to illuminate the unpredictable ways we experience outdoor adventure.

new topic icon Risk Management Update to Drowning and Submersion Injuries

Justin Doroshenko

Seth Hawkins

  This presentation will include an introduction to new drowning terminology, an update on drowning epidemiology, new difference in drowning care compared to other first aid events, and specific risk management interventions. It will provide an opportunity for audience interaction and involvement with the topics of drowning and submersion incidents.


Coaching Sessions

Often a one-on-one coaching experience can lead to personal professional development or learning that can catapult a program forward. WRMC attendees have the option to sign up for individual coaching sessions which will take place during the conference. Our goal is to help give attendees more focused time on a given question, or some coaching on how to implement change in your organization based on things that you have learned during the conference. Sessions are $40, offered at a significantly discounted rate. Proceeds will support the WRMC scholarship fund. The coaching sessions will be offered during WRMC workshops and are 40 min in length. Be sure to take advantage of this unique opportunity.

  October 2–3, 8:30 AM–5 PM (Thur–Fri)

Coaching Sessions


  • Sign up anytime between now and October 1st.
  • Register online or contact WRMCstaff at 307-335-2222 or
  • WRMC staff will contact you to schedule a specific conference time slot.


  • Option A: Sign up for a coaching session with a legal professional who is presenting at the WRMC. For example, you might ask your coach to review your:
    • Contract provisions with a sub-contractor
    • Participant agreement
    • Protocol for post-incident response
  • Option B: Sign up for a coaching session with a risk management professional who is presenting at the WRMC. Questions you might ask include:
    • I wish my staff would report incidents more regularly. How can I improve our reporting culture?
    • My organization has never had a serious incident. Is our crisis response plan adequate?
    • How do I decide what level of participant supervision we need on our program?
Structured Networking

We will provide topics and facilitate the formation of small discussion groups to help participants connect with others who share similar interests. The primary objectives are to initiate relationships and discussions that may continue during the WRMC and beyond and to share ideas that will help attendees improve their programs.

  October 2, 4:45–6 PM (Thursday)

Structured Networking


Open to all conference attendees.




Closer to the start of the conference, an announcement of this year's topics will be shared. Past topics include:

  • Teen Adventure Programs
  • Trail Crews & Conservation Corps
  • Volunteer Led Programs
  • International Programs
  • New Student Orientation Programs
  • Therapeutic Programs
  • Transportation
  • Secondary Schools & Semesters
  • Diverse Student Populations
  • Adaptive & Accessible Recreation
  • Accreditation & Certification
  • Instructor Hiring, Training & Rentention


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