2019 Workshop descriptions

ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO | OCT. 30 - NOV. 1, 2019

Pre-conference Workshops

Pre-conference workshops range from one hour to 2 days. Space is limited and pre-registration is required.

2 days | Tuesday-Wednesday, Oct. 29-30 | 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

NOLS Risk Management Training for Administrators ($665)
Using lecture, discussion, 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, administrative process, staff hiring, field support services, and crisis planning.

Wilderness First Responder Recertification ($335)
Hands-on, meet online. Enjoy our newly formatted WFR Recertification, which includes an online component in addition to the traditional scenarios and skills. Pre-work allows you to review the curriculum at your own pace, and focus on the hands-on element during your two days on course. You'll just need to complete all online components, including a written exam, prior to the course. Once on course, the scenario-based approach to recertification provides you the opportunity to test your skills against realistic situations. You'll practice and relearn wilderness medicine protocols, review evacuation and decision making guidelines, and receive the latest updates in wilderness medicine over the course of two days. Upon successful course completion you will earn the following NOLS Wilderness Medicine certifications: Wilderness Advanced First Aid/Wilderness First Responder/Wilderness EMT (dependent on your current certification), Adult and Child CPR & Airway Management, and Epinephrine Auto-injector. The WFR Recertification course is pre-approved for 18 hours of EMT Continuing Education Units by CAPCE.


1 day | Wednesday, Oct. 30 | 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

NEW Adventure Risk Research Symposium ($25)
Jeff Jackson
Clare Dallat
The inaugural Adventure Risk Research Symposium, moderated by Jeff Jackson and Clare Dallat, connects researchers and shares findings from those working on wilderness and adventure risk/safety research. The focus is on empiricism as a means of improving understanding or practice for wilderness/adventure risk management and safety. Presenters submitted their peer reviewed research papers earlier this year, and will present their research during this workshop. Both presenters and non-presenters are invited to attend this workshop and contribute to the discussion.

NEW Connecting to Nature: Culturally Appropriate, Inclusive, Risk Management Field Practices to Promote Community and Individual Health and Healing (with Rock Climbing) ($150)
Misty Blakesley
Marquel Musgrave

How we see Nature is fundamental to our risk in the outdoors. Is Nature a challenge to be conquered, or is it our home—a place we belong and can be nurtured. In this experiential fullday, outdoor, rock climbing workshop offered and conducted by the Mountain Center, we will explore the colonial concept of wilderness, a mythical place devoid of humans, and how we can bring people back into Nature's realm through land acknowledgement, and recognition of and reconciliation with Native people. The Mountain Center will provide transportation (climbing is 1.5 hrs from the conference venue), lunch, and all climbing equipment. No climbing experience needed and climbing is optional.  

Crisis Management: A Holistic Approach ($200)
Skip King
Will Marling
When you have a serious incident, effective communications are essential. Different groups require information - and those groups can include victims; victims' families and friends; regulatory agencies, communities; media outlets, social media channels and more. In this session you'll learn how to effectively communicate with each of these groups, and you'll have the opportunity to practice with simulations. Recommended for CEOs, risk managers, program directors, marketing/PR and client outreach personnel.

NEW Cultivating Outdoor Leadership Through Storytelling: An Introduction to Relational Public Narrative Practice ($25)
Darren Gruetze
Laurel Ady 

Harmful cultural, organizational, and personal narratives erode our capacities for connection with nature and silence diverse voices. Through lecture and small group practica, participants will identify, interrupt, and replace these narratives with values-driven, strength-based leadership stories. Participants will craft stories that: increase solidarity amongst colleagues, improve staff communication with participants, and build a radically inclusive group culture. The workshop is for those seeking to develop group cultures across boundaries of racial, economic, gender/sexuality, and power disparities.

Psychological First Aid: Staff Training and Organizational Resources ($165)
Laura McGladrey
Psychological First Aid (PFA) is a crucial first and ongoing step to mitigate stress injury (PTSD) formation following near miss and critical incidents in remote settings. This workshop is designed to equip program educators with responsibility in staff training to incorporate psychological first aid into staff education. Participants will leave equipped to integrate PFA modules into staff training, and to act as a local resource for support of near miss and traumatic stress in outdoor and international settings.

Steering the Ship: Risk Management Training for Senior Leadership ($275)
Steve Smith
Josh Cole
This one-day, interactive workshop will start with an overview of risk management theory, principles, and models; review case studies; and engage participants to apply these concepts to their own programs. Topics will include organizational structure, roles of senior leadership, organizational culture, collecting and responding to safety data, pitfalls to avoid, and being prepared for responding to critical incidents. The benefit of the workshop format is that participants will have an opportunity to apply risk management principles to their own programs while collaborating with peers from other organizations, in order to formulate an action plan to take home. 


1/2 day | Wednesday, Oct. 30 | 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

NEW Beyond Self-Care: Designing for Serious Resilience ($75)
Lorca Smetana

Stress injury and burnout among outdoor professionals testify to a serious gap in our understanding of true resilience—something beyond grit and piecemeal strategy. Grounded in systems thinking, ecological connection and somatic training, this workshop offers an accessible model for evaluating robustness and fragility and gives hands-on tools to address ongoing stress injury and resist anxiety, depression, and isolation. We will clearly map where we are drained, where we are filled, what the balance is and how to move out of resilience debt.  

And the winner is...(?) Hot Issues, Hot Cases ($150)
Catherine Hansen-Stamp
Reb Gregg

In this interactive session, Cathy and Reb will ask attendees to consider several 2018-19 court opinions addressing significant industry legal issues. Participants will attack or defend conflicting arguments pertaining to, for example: the legal duty of care owed to participants, including minors, and factors that can create, change or eliminate that duty; inherent risks and assumption of risks; contracts, including releases; the impact of standards, practices or laws, and other issues. Following each interactive, attendees will learn and discuss the ACTUAL resolution of the case.


1/2 day | Wednesday, Oct. 30 | 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

NEW A Day in the Life of International Incident Response ($25)
Kirstin French
​​​​​​​Kristen Dowling
Sara Martin

Calling all international program operators! This session is specifically designed to dive deep into the intricacies of risk management and mitigation when programming in the international field: across time zones, under international laws and regulations, in varied languages, and within vast cross-cultural contexts. Participants in this workshop will engage in an in-depth international incident response simulation and debrief. We will analyze decision making pre-, during, and post-program in order to challenge and strengthen our existing protocols. 

NEW Enterprise Risk Management: A Strategic Approach to Managing Risk ($25)
Mark Vermeal
​​​​​​​Mike Lucas
During this interactive presentation, participants will be introduced to the concept of Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) and learn how it can be used to comprehensively identify, assess, and address threats to their organizations. In small groups, participants will work through an ERM and Heat Mapping exercise, and will be provided with the tools to lead an ERM exercise with their organizations. This presentation is targeted to senior administrative staff. 


Orientation | Wednesday, Oct. 30 | 4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

First Time Attendee Orientation (Free)
WRMC Steering Committee
New to the WRMC? Feeling overwhelmed, or unsure how to interpret workshop descriptions? Or maybe just curious about how to make the most of your time at the conference? You're not alone! Join members of the WRMC Steering Committee for an orientation. We'll break into small groups and go over the schedule and event options, offer tips, help you identify workshops that will help you meet your goals, and answer whatever other questions you have. You'll also have the chance to meet other attendees and make connections before the opening reception. We hope to see you there!

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Posters

Posters are displayed in the exhibit hall for the entire conference. Poster presenters will present their posters and be available for questions during the following poster sessions:

Wednesday, October 30, 5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. (during the opening reception)
Thursday, October 31, 3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

NEW Risky Business:  Safety Reviews and How to Take Your Program to the Next Level
Cathy Fornaris

Day to day demands, small budgets and time constraints...should these issues have a toll on safety and how we run our programs? This poster presentation explores how to approach evaluating organizational practices and the effectiveness of your program's performance. We will look at how to identify gaps in our work and create action items to improve program operations and heighten risk management practices. We will discuss and problem solve the challenges with implementing a review.


NEW Behavior Management Through a Multi-Tiered System of Support 
Brett Billings
A multi-tiered system of support (MTSS) is one method to organize an intentional approach to behavior management. This poster will present interventions and supports that can be utilized in non-therapeutic programs in the hope of encouraging all clients to create success for themselves in outdoor adventure settings. The poster will best serve intermediate practitioners looking to bolster their acceptance and commitment to all clients as well as enhance staff training and understanding of behavior management.


NEW Change Management: Creating a Wilderness Expeditions and Risk Management Culture from the Ground Up
Mark Johnson
Lyle Walkinshaw

What happens when a youth camp decides to go from one camp running wilderness trips, to seven camps running wilderness trips? The Tim Horton’s Foundation Camps did exactly that, and we gave ourselves just nine months to make it happen. Needless to say, we learned a lot! Through this poster we will share the mistakes made, the lessons learned, and the light bulb moments too! You get to decide what applies to your own program.


NEW Engaging Student Leaders in Measuring Incident Rates in a College Outing Club  
Tim Burdick
Rory Gawler

The Dartmouth Outing Club runs 500+ trips annually, including climbing, kayaking, and backpacking. Students lead virtually every trip with minimal assistance from college staff. The incident rate is comparable to the professional outdoor industry. This poster will review club structure, student leader training, and including risk management methods. We will demonstrate an online tool for tracking trips, incidents, and near misses. Finally, we will discuss past incidents and emerging trends including behavioral health incidents.


NEW First Aid Protocols for Accidental Contact with Bear Spray 
Mike Jensen
Are you prepared to provide first aid on participants and staff who come in contact with bear spray? How do you mitigate the impacts of human contact with bear spray? Do you know the signs, symptoms, and possible complications of human contact with bear spray?  If you carry bear spray in your programs or on personal trips, be sure to check out this poster to learn best practices for bear spray emergencies.


NEW Leveraging Technology for Managing Risk
David Gregory
Paul Tame

Utilizing new forms of technology can support our risk management mitigation efforts and provide increasingly dynamic and innovative resources to support staff in the field. This short talk will explore case studies into how programs in Australia have leveraged mobile technologies and used them in conjunction with industry experience to better manage an ever-increasing workload in regards to: field preparations, the monitoring of operations, and the management client dietary and medical concerns.


NEW Risk Management Approach and Tools: A New Stage of Development and Integration 
David Mepham
This poster is designed for all practitioners and administrators who use or must produce documents relating to wilderness risk management. It deals with the various risk-management tools developed by OREL for partner organizations that contribute to wilderness risk management in educational programs, territories and zones, tourism, teaching, science, and industrial expeditions. These tools enable more optimal information-processing and offer greater levels of data integration than many tools currently in use in Canada.


NEW Sun Safety in Outdoor Programs 
Anna Johnson
While the negative effects of sunburn are often seen as a temporary nuisance on program, implementing a thorough sun safety protocol should be considered an important long term risk management strategy. A CDC study in 2012 showed melanoma rates in teens and young adults have more than doubled in the past 40 years. This poster will examine statistics, discuss tips and barriers to implementing effective sun safety policies and practices, and will include resources on recognizing potential short term and long term issues.

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Presentation Descriptions

Keynote Address 

Friday, 7:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Decision Making Is a Way of Life 
Kit DesLauriers

As a professional ski mountaineer and respected leader in the world of big mountain skiing and adventure filming, Kit DesLauriers has a unique perspective on managing risk. She tells the story of what led her to turn around from an 8000-meter peak attempt due to her self-diagnosed HACE, what it was like to be the first woman to solo climb/ski the Grand Teton, and how she approached skiing Mt. Everest. Kit also offers insight into life as a professional adventurer and a mother who is now watching her daughters approach challenges in the mountains. 

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Emergency Planning & Crisis Response

Thursday, 8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
CORE Crisis Management: A Preplan in Action
Drew Leemon
Katie Baum Mettenbrink

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 presenters' 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.


Thursday, 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
CORE Near Miss and Expedition Trauma Response: The How of It  
Laura McGladrey
Brendan Madden

There is a growing recognition and support for traumatic exposure that does not result in physical injuries but may result in ongoing or career altering stress responses. This workshop will present a tool-based approach to raise program awareness of near miss trauma, and identify and support stress injuries that may occur in the course of program events.


Thursday, 1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m
NEW Crisis Management:  Emotional Support for Participants, Staff, and Families 
Suellen Sack
Steve Neal

Reflecting your organization’s value and concern during a crisis and in the aftermath is a key to serving affected participants, staff, and families who are struggling to cope. Learn how to create a response that will directly aid affected individuals both in and out of the field. This workshop will provide attendees with practical experience and guidelines to support staff in the field, train family liaisons, and define organizational norms that will support participants, staff, and families during and after an incident.


Thursday, 3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m
Walking Towards the Storm: Lessons from a Crisis 
Jonathan Igoe

Tom Costley
Emily Ferrell

In July of 2013, six students and one leader were struck by a car while biking across the U.S. on an Overland trip. One of the injured students died the next day as a result of her injuries. This workshop will focus on Overland’s response to the crisis, drawing lessons from our experience engaging with the victims’ families, communicating with the Overland community, and responding to the media, all while continuing our on-going operations for over 1500 other students and leaders in the field.


Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
CORE Welcome to the Jungle: Navigating the Interface Between Social and Conventional Media in a Crisis
Skip King

Today, the combination of social media, newsrooms staffed by skeleton crews, and business models based on attracting clicks means that even comparatively benign incidents can generate explosive public reaction that can haunt your program for years. In this session, we'll examine how these channels feed each other and discuss tactics for pre-planning and interacting with both reporters and social media followers, so that your organization can ensure that when the news is bad, the story gets told fairly and is over as quickly as possible. 


Friday, 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
NEW The Waffle House Index: Learnings from a Diner in Hurricane Country
Todd Duncan

Pat Warner
What does a diner chain have to do with my emergency response planning?  We will show that there is much to learn from serving waffles during hurricanes. This talk presents and describes the Waffle House index, a key emergency response benchmark developed and used by the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA). By showcasing a dynamic corporate crisis response system designed for managing complex, large-scale natural disasters that coordinates with multiple agencies on a national scale, we will identify key lessons in response planning, organizational structure, and how an adaptive, dynamic approach can better prepare you for dealing with your own emergency events. We are intentionally seeking to look to external industry knowledge and experience to inform how we can improve crisis response planning for wilderness programming.


Friday, 1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
CORE 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.


Friday, 3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
NPS: Emergency Service SAR Unpack
Jay Shields

Kristin Kirschner
Join Jay Shields and Kristin Kirschner from the National Park Service as they unpack an actual SAR (Search and Rescue) to identify, instruct and create learning objectives on how the NPS responds to an incident. The program will diagram a SAR from start to finish and facilitate a discussion of utilizing organization staff and participants for self rescue and integration of those organizational staff into assisting incoming resources for a rescue in a National Park.

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Field Practices

Thursday, 8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
NEW Innovations in Wilderness Medicine
Seth Collings Hawkins
The past few years have seen significant changes in wilderness medicine, including dramatic changes in management of potential spinal cord injury, the introduction of psychological first aid methodology, and increased emphasis on early bleeding control. Built on the framework of the new textbook Wilderness EMS, itself named one of the Top 10 EMS Innovations of 2018 by the Journal of EMS, this talk covers these topics and more in a review of wilderness medicine innovations.


Thursday, 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
NEW Wilderness Medicine: Inclusive Practices for LGBTQ, Transgender, and Non-Binary People
Colleen McHugh

The LGBTQ community continues to experience discrimination and limited access to healthcare at disturbing rates. Backcountry programs perform medical assessments, provide first aid, and connect our participants to medical care and rescue services in emergencies. This presentation will explore practices to prepare responders and programs to perform inclusive assessments and deepen understandings of LGBTQ medicine. Additionally, it will provide practices to prepare and advocate for transgender and non-binary patients during rescue and in medical emergencies.


Thursday, 1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. 
NEW Accidents in North American Climbing: Accident Reporting and Narratives to Prevent Future Climbing Accidents
R. Bryan Simon

The purpose of the American Alpine Club’s yearly guide, Accidents in North American Climbing is to educate the climbing community, guide services, and outdoor organizations regarding safe climbing practices in an effort to prevent injuries. This presentation will describe the mission of the guide, discuss collected injury data (since 1948), and how risk managers can apply this information along with recent medical literature data to identify hazards and prevent future injury in clients and students.


Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
NEW How to Hijack Heads and Hearts: Creating Culture, Psychological Safety, and Fast-Tracking Your Way to a High Performing Team
Amberleigh Hammond

Drawing from core tenets of Daniel Coyle’s newest book The Culture Code, we will explore how we can use brain functioning, performance metrics, and research from some of the worlds highest performing teams and culturally savvy companies to make our outdoor programs more successful. We will explore tactics to create psychological safety, ways to engineer social connection, getting your participants to function as a high performing team faster, and discuss how most of our programs are already doing a lot of this work unintentionally (and ways to do it even better.)


Friday, 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
NEW Connecting to Nature: Culturally Appropriate, Inclusive, Risk Management Field Practices to Promote Community and Individual Health and Healing
Misty Blakesley
Marquel Musgrave

How we see nature is fundamental to our risk in the outdoors. Is nature a challenge to be conquered, or is it our home—a place we belong and can be nurtured. In this experiential workshop with the Mountain Center, we will explore the colonial concept of wilderness, a mythical place devoid of humans, and how we can bring people back into nature's realm through land acknowledgement, and recognition of and reconciliation with Native people.


Friday, 1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
NEW Compassionate Risk Taking for the Positive Future
Misha Golfman

Compassionate risk taking is essential for educating civic-minded, altruistic youth. Compared to adult generations, the world is safer by every measure, while we perceive it as becoming more dangerous. During this interactive workshop participants will examine the benefits of risk-taking approach to life and education, create a list of personal and institutional healthy risk-taking habits, and develop methods for holding exciting briefings with parents and students aimed at replacing the irrational fear with excitement for adventure!


Friday, 3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Updates and Overview: Navigating Health, Safety, and Security Abroad
Bill Frederick

The increasing rapidity of change in the hazard landscape of international programming is driving the development of risk management strategies and standards. In this session we’ll survey the latest trends. Using scenarios, we’ll look at what you need to know. We will also explore the question “Is world travel really more dangerous now than it used to be?” and suggest ways to incorporate risk management into curriculum to enhance the experience of international education.

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Legal & Insurance

Thursday, 8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
NEW Almost Safe and Proud of It
Reb Gregg

Acknowledging that risks, and losses, possibly severe, are inherent in what we do, we will discuss a program's legal duty of care, the management of that duty, and how to prepare for the defense of claims of negligence. Particular attention will be paid to the doctrine of Primary Assumption of Risks which, in sports and recreation of significant social value, may forgive the simple negligence of a service provider or co-participant.


Thursday, 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Responding to Sexual Assault Claims from a Proactive and Reactive Perspective
Dave Dennis
Doug Stevens
Traci McKee

As incidents of sexual misconduct become more prevalent, it is imperative for organizations to understand the legal and operational challenges these incidents present. This is a unique opportunity to discuss two valuable case studies involving alleged sexual assault claims. One involves a staff-on-staff assault after working hours. The other involves a participant’s claim against a trip leader after a program’s conclusion. Attendees will discuss strategies for investigating incidents and handling post-trip issues including victim and participant support, legal and insurance considerations, mandatory reporting obligations, and effective communications.  We will emphasize both reactive and proactive measures to minimize future risks.


Thursday, 1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Top Ten: Observations from a Recreation Defense Trial Lawyer 
Tracey Knutson

There are very specific areas of law, specific types of claims and specific instructor/operator practices that are 'hot' right now in terms of generating claims or making claims harder to defend. In this session we want to look at a literal "Top 10" and examine what these areas of law, practices, and claims are to develop our growing awareness of how we avoid creating liabilities and therefore lawsuits. This workshop is geared towards individuals with a basic familiarity of legal considerations in the outdoor recreation context.


Thursday, 3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
NEW Epi Laws: How to Find What You Need to Know 
Frances Mock

Most states now have laws that allow lay people to be trained to administer epi. But how can you find the laws that apply to your program? This session will show you how to find relevant statutes and understand what they say. We’ll read a real statute together and identify common legal requirements. We’ll also talk through some of the potential problems. You should leave with a better understanding of how to comply with  complex epi laws.


Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
NEW Have Your Cake and Eat It: Understanding the ADA to Protect Your Program and Increase Inclusivity 
Chad Olcott
Ben Tettlebaum

Are you afraid of the ADA? Shed your fears! Our goal for this interactive session is for you to leave understanding how embracing (rather than hiding from) the ADA can actually increase your programs’ inclusivity while decreasing your programs’ risk exposure. We will break down the ADA in practical terms. Then, you’ll practice developing “essential eligibility criteria” for hypothetical programs. From there, we’ll work through scenarios to help you understand when you may need to accommodate a person with a disability and when an exception may apply. By the end, you should have a better grasp of how the ADA applies to your programs, along with clear actionable steps to assist with compliance.


Friday, 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
CORE Have You Got it Covered? Insurance 101 with Exposure Scenarios that Could Lead to Catastrophic Organizational and Financial Loss
Sam Daume
Steve Neal

Sexual Misconduct, Vehicle Accidents, Medical Malpractice, Crisis Response. What do these exposures have in common? If not managed properly, an incident involving any of these can quickly lead an organization into a deep financial and legal quagmire. Are you sure your insurance policies are properly protecting your organization's assets and reputation? Also critical is having an understanding of what is required of you, the insured, to trigger coverage. Participants in this session will learn the basic structure of a good insurance program and through a series of scenarios and guided discussions, will explore the complexities of managing incident response.


Friday, 1:30 p.m.-3:00 p.m.
NEW Lawsuits, Legal Issues, and Lessons for the Outdoor Industry
Wilma Gray

Catherine Hansen-Stamp
Using actual lawsuits, participants will work through steps of litigation for defending a lawsuit. Legal theories and issues to be discussed include: who is sued, causes of action, defenses, waiver and release, third party contractors, insurance, jurisdiction, staffing, safety, post incident actions, industry standards, policy and procedures, social media, and documents. Lawsuits to be studied include programs sued in court, including a wilderness rafting program, an international adventure program, a school group wilderness excursion, and a winter backcountry skiing program. Participants will play an active role by reviewing and analyzing the defense of the wilderness organization.

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Program Administration

Thursday, 8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
NEW Managing Risk Through Participant Engagement 
Quinn Whitehead
April Grossi

A practical and successful way to prioritize safety and successfully implement risk management protocols is to engage participants as active risk managers through pre-program education, on-program instruction, and post-program follow-up. This presentation will discuss real-world ways to implement an engaging risk management strategy. Through discussion, reflection, and active sharing, workshop attendees will walk away with a tangible list of action items that can be implemented to empower their participants to take an active role in their risk management journeys. 


Thursday, 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
#TimesUp: Go Beyond Policy in Managing Harassment 
Victoria Kerr
AJ Wojtalik

Workplace sexual harassment continues to dominate the news and while the majority of U.S. organizations have a sexual harassment policy, it's clear that the presence of policy is only the first step. As leaders, we have to do more to protect both staff and organizations from the potential results of predatory conduct. This presentation will help you identify risk areas within your organization, increase training effectiveness, and respond in the case of an incident. 


Thursday, 1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
NEW Wildfire in the Backcountry
Eric Levy
Katie Baum Mettenbrink

Large, fast-moving wildfires are becoming more common across North America. Although the chance of being caught in the path of a fire is low, the consequences are potentially catastrophic. And wildfires can create other complications for our field teams and our programs: route changes, evacuations, anxious participants and families, and air quality concerns, among others. This workshop will provide a framework for managing the risk of wildfire, including pre-planning, avoiding fires, what to do in the unlikely event of being caught in the path of a wildfire, guidelines for program staff, and potential complications of wildfire-related evacuations. 


Thursday, 3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Dechı̨ta Nezǫ Gots’udı́ (Living on the Land in a Good Way): Supporting Indigenous Resurgence Through Anti-Colonial Approaches to Risk Management Planning 
Jess Dunkin
Walter Bezha

In 2017, Ɂehdzo Got’ı̨nę Gots’ę́ Nákedı (Sahtú Renewable Resources Board – SRRB) and the Northwest Territories Recreation and Parks Association (NWTRPA) began work on a safety plan for the SRRB’s land-based programming. Reflecting on the lessons learned over the past three years through the entwined processes of developing, implementing, and revising the plan, titled Dechı̨ta Nezǫ Gots’udı́ (which roughly translates as living on the land in a good way), we consider the possibilities of anti-colonial methodologies and cross-cultural approaches for risk management planning. 


Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
NEW Medical History Form Trends: The Pros, Cons, and Potential Consequences
Nadia Kimmel
Paul Nicolazzo

Leah Corrigan

The manner in which the medical history of trip participants is obtained prior to backcountry outings varies greatly within the outdoor recreation industry. We will discuss the legal and programatic pros and cons of current trending medical history forms and how program managers can support field staff in the face of medical omissions. We will also review “red-flag” medical conditions and medications and resources that can aid with decision-making in the field. 


Friday, 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
NEW What White People Working with Folks from the Global Majority Can Do (and Not Do)
Mel Mac Innis

In this session we will focus on Sierra Club's efforts to grow a culture of equity and inclusion with a special focus on the lived experience of one white manager. We will discuss specific challenges and practices that we have integrated into our organization and offer space for discussions to explore how this community can work as individuals and as a collective to make the outdoors and our organization welcoming and inclusive. This workshop is geared towards program directors and supervisors.  


Friday, 1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
NEW Abuse Prevention as an Empowerment Tactic
Courtney Aber

There are more and more examples of sexual abuse cases in the news every day and outdoor organizations are not immune. Additionally, previous abuse affects a significant part of the population. Learn how to use an abuse prevention system to empower participants and staff while helping to protect your organization as well. We will look at how policies, training, and documentation can work together to create a positive and open culture. This workshop is geared towards administrators and field staff.


Friday, 3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
NEW Beyond the Schoolyard Gate: Guiding Principles for Managing Risk Off Camp/School Property
Ann McCollum

This session is for folks from schools and camps who likely wear 12 other hats and who are trying to sift through the mind-boggling task of developing a “risk management plan” for their off-property programs. We will break down the general program areas, identify take-away principles, and provide a simple structure for identifying and addressing specific risks, including ultimately asking the question “Is this risk worth taking?” 

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Staff Training & Decision Making

Thursday, 8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
NEW Safety Differently! Key Concepts from Safety Experts in Other Industries 
Steve Smith

Traditional views of safety are deeply ingrained in how we talk about, measure, and attempt to manage risk in the outdoor/experiential education industry. Experts and researchers from other sectors (manufacturing, aeronautical, health care, occupational health and safety, etc.) have evolved and are making great strides in what is known as Safety Differently–a progressive new way of thinking about safety. Although the sectors that have primarily led this movement are not outdoor education programs, we have much to learn from the high level research and thinking associated with Safety Differently. Participants will walk away with a one-page handout showing a compare/contrast and outlining key action steps to take to apply a Safety Differently lens to their own program. 


Thursday, 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
NEW Standardizing Training: The Effect It Has and How to Do It
Amber Barnett
Julia Makowski 
Changing student demographics, shrinking budgets, and increasing expectations force us to evaluate how and what we train. This session will explore the effect implementing competency-based training and assessment has had on the training system. We will also discuss the very real impact standardizing our practices has had on our programs. Participants can expect to take away not only the learning we have had but also tangible strategies to take to their training programs.  


Thursday, 1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
NEW Breaking the Halo: Empowering Students in Outdoor Education
Katjarina Hurt

Following the death of a climbing student in 2018, we found several contributing thinking errors and a need to better prepare and empower students to confront heuristic traps.
"Breaking the Halo" offers a simple, universal approach to confronting complacency, assumptions, and communication breakdowns between students and instructors. Attendees will receive a copy of the "Breaking the Halo" book and training tips to bring back to their community.


Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
NEW Reflections and Updates on a Sexual Misconduct Systems Review 
Emily Ledingham

Liz Tuohy
Over the past two years, NOLS has undergone a comprehensive review on systems around preventing, reporting, and responding to sexual misconduct. We’ll share some of the things that led us to engage in systems review, the challenges we encountered, key lessons learned, and areas of focus moving forward. If your organization has interest in fostering an environment in which participants and staff can work, free from distraction and harm of sexual misconduct, this talk may be for you. 


Friday, 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
NEW Down to The River – a Near Miss 10th Anniversary Retrospective: Seeing the Big Picture and Shaping a Systems Story 
Elizabeth Hammond
Hilary Hickingbotham
Drew Leemon
Scott Christy

All are welcome to join four members of NOLS’ learning community on the 10-year anniversary of a significant near miss incident at Bert’s Creek, a Talkeetna River tributary in Alaska. In an interactive reflection, we will share individual perspectives and collective intelligence a decade after the unintended river swim. Explore how principles of systems thinking can help frame the big picture of incident response in your own organization.


Friday, 3:30 p.m.- 5:00 p.m.
NEW Holding Adult Volunteers Accountable: Walking the Staff/Volunteer Line  
Brian Anderson

Are field volunteers the life of your organization? Do you ever feel that there might be a different way to manage them? Sierra Club is a nationally known organization that was established in 1892 and has been running outings all over the world with trained volunteers. Join Sierra Club's full-time staff to discuss how they manage to run nearly 250 trips a year all led by volunteers with a 1.01% rate of incidents in the field. 

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Mental, Social, & Emotional Health

Thursday, 8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
NEW Emotional First Aid: Supporting Your Participants' Mental Health Needs 
Jamie Robinson
Gary Robinson

Laura Thompson
Mental health emergencies are a growing concern, especially with experiential education organizations that may not have immediate access to counseling professionals. Emotional First Aid training is a critical set of skills to better equip your organization and staff to deal with the increase in mental health issues facing programs. In this session, you will learn how to identify people in crisis, practice and learn basic helping skills, and know when and how to bring in professional help. The co-founders of P3 Mental Health Advisors will share some best practices learned while working with their organizational clients.


Thursday, 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
NEW Mental and Behavioral Health Crisis Management in the Wilderness 
Coulter Stone
Mariah Loftin
Norman Elizondo

Mental and behavioral health related incidents in the wilderness are becoming more common. How can we help support those participants while they are in our care? How can we, as supervisors, increase our staff’s bag of tools so that they feel more confident in managing these situations? Come learn the basics of how to manage those in behavioral and/or mental health crisis and the first steps in teaching your staff how to do the same.


Thursday, 1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
NEW Gender Identity Inclusion Practices: Things We Are Learning at NOLS  
Shannon Rochelle

A recent Harris/GLAAD poll noted that while 12% of the US population identifies as LGBTQ, that number among Americans aged 18-34 is 20%. Transgender, non-binary, and other gender-expansive individuals are participating in wilderness-related activities in growing numbers. This presentation is designed to share some of the things we are learning at NOLS through our efforts to become a community that includes and supports people of all genders, and to continue learning from across the world of wilderness education. Please come contribute to the conversations, learn from experiences of others, and take away some ideas that may enable your organization to support participants of all genders.


Thursday, 3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
CORE Dealing with Stress, Trauma, and Mental Health in the Workplace: A Program to Build Organizational Resilience
Mike Pigg
Victoria Kerr
Laura McGladrey

We must increase the effectiveness with which we support the emotional well-being of staff and students after exposure to significant stress. This session will outline a new program to build organizational resilience and target the effects of stress exposure (whether cumulative or single event trauma), thus minimizing the likelihood of stress injury formation. Finally, see how such a program fits into an organizational wide approach to mental health and emotional wellness in the workplace.


Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
NEW Exclusive Spaces: Managing Inherent Risks to Traveling as a Visibly Marginalized Group
Colleen McHugh
Monique Dailey

Traveling as a visibly marginalized group poses inherent risks to programs and participants. Over 20 years, City Kids Wilderness Project has experienced the challenge of traveling in white outdoor spaces as a People of Color. City Kids continues to develop a holistic approach to reducing the risk of emotional or physical harm to participants and staff through program design, staff training, and inclusion incident mitigation and response. This presentation aims to share lessons learned.


Friday, 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
NEW Ability Awareness: Emotional Well-Being for People with Disabilities 
Nathan Vink

Whether it's people on the autism spectrum, people with spinal cord injuries, or veterans with unseen injuries, it is essential to understand the unique aspects and abilities of the person, not just their disability. In a strengths-based discussion, participants will gain resources on how to adapt any program to support people with disabilities. This workshop will explore the mental, social and emotional safety of people with different physical and cognitive abilities and how recreation pursuits can be adapted to help individuals achieve the highest quality of life.


Friday, 1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
NEW The Body Doesn’t Lie: Managing Risk Through Somatic-Based Learning
Tracy Rekart

The body doesn’t lie. In high risk situations, our body will do what it has practiced. Understand your baseline reactions, learn new ways to manage your response, and practice what you need to successfully navigate high risk situations calmly and effectively. Join Tracy in this 90-minute experiential conversation to learn about cutting-edge brain science, body-based practices for students and instructors/administrators, and the challenges of being in and leading groups.

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Short Talks - Thursday

The following will be presented as 18-minute short talks during this 90-minute timeslot on Thursday, 3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Risk Management Lessons from Baja Road Signs
Eric Boggs

A near death experience prompts critical reflection on a quintessentially mundane material–the road sign. The search for meaning reveals risk management lessons that encourage us to stay vigilant and creative in the quest to run zero-incident courses by training risk managers by thinking creatively and critically through metaphor.

NEW I Did Not Grow Up Like You AND I Still Belong Here
Mel Mac Innis

In this session we will focus on what we can do as individuals and as organizations to dismantle the culture of ableism, masculinity, and heterosexism in our community. Using the Story of Self, Us and Now we will understand where we are now and how we can make transformational change.

NEW When P and P Go Out the Window
Tyler Carroll

"If they had just followed procedure." As leadership, it can be frustrating when established policies and procedures (P and P) are not followed. Instead of getting frustrated, lets get proactive. In this short talk, we will unpack five of the top reasons this occurs and look inward to see how we can improve.

NEW At the End of My Rope and Hit by a Rock and Stuck in a Hard Place: Two Patients' Perspectives vs. Perceptions
Jeannette Stawski
Christine Lagattolla

Luckily, few individuals have personally experienced a severe accident as the injured. While the industry continues to improve its curriculum and training of wilderness medicine and evacuation procedures, it's important to explore the patients vantage to expand understanding in times of an accident. In this short talk, Jeannette and Christine will share their first hand experiences as patients to help attendees expand their capacity for care, increase their attentiveness in training, and explore new ways of thinking from the patient perspective. 


Short Talks - Friday

The following will be presented as 18-minute short talks during this 90-minute timeslot on Friday, 3:30 p.m.-5:00 p.m.

NEW You Won't Find This in the Guide Book: Lyme Disease Through the Lens of a Wilderness Guide
Jaclyn Ouillette

Listen as Jaclyn shares her story of living her ultimate dream as a wilderness guide in Wyoming, to bed ridden in just a few short weeks with severe neurological lyme disease. Follow her journey to recovery that took her from the depths of despair to the mountains of Peru. Through slides and storytelling, she'll  share her early symptoms, late symptoms, and her personal journey to recovery. Lyme awareness and education is the best way to protect ourselves.

NEW We are Failing Our Leaders: A Discussion and Dialogue on How We Can Better Serve Our Field Staff
Kai Johnson

Our industry exists on the backs of our leaders (field staff), but as an industry we are failing these leaders. Leaders face a lack of knowledge about the industry, rampant instability, and a lack of community. This can lead to career-paralysis, burnout, exhaustion, loneliness, and isolation. This short talk will address how we can solve these industry challenges.

NEW In the (Data) Field: Information Management as Risk Management
Sara Martin
Kirstin French

Enrollment paperwork, incident reports, gear-maintenance logs, staff development records, participant feedback, etc.—all information crucial to safe and successful delivery of our programs. This short talk will explore challenges of managing our information effectively and potentials for harnessing our information as a vital risk management resource. Attendees will consider an information cycle model, will examine a case study, and will begin to map their own organizations’ information cycles with an eye toward risk management concerns.

NEW Building Capacity for High School Students to be Backcountry Medical Providers
Allison McGuire
Madison Dressler

The 6th-12th grade Bosque School uses medically licensed EMS high schoolers in a Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) program to perform "school nurse" functions within the school and as wilderness medicine providers on outdoor education experiences. Our novel approach maintains EMS provider skills inbetween wilderness deployments mitigating the challenge of low patient encounter numbers. Consider how your organization can partner with a local high school to provide authentic leadership and professional opportunities for students. 

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