Workshop descriptions


Credit: Nikole Wohlmacher

Pre-conference Workshops

Pre-registration required

2 days | Tuesday-Wednesday, Oct. 31 - Nov. 1 | 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Building a Foundation for Understanding Inclusion (Free)
Sydney Clark
Emily Ledingham

This workshop will provide participants with the foundation upon which we can build socially responsible and conscientious inclusion policies and initiatives. By critically examining history, psychology, and sociology, we will shift our focus away from what we need to do, and toward what we need to understand. In this non-threatening, interactive workshop, we will unflinchingly examine our identities and hidden biases, and how they inform our responsibilities as agents of change in our respective institutions.

Effective Outdoor Program Design and Management ($500)
Paul Nicolazzo
Derek Prill

The workshop will examine the complex relationships surrounding outdoor program design and management from the field instructor, staff trainer, and program administration perspectives using PowerPoint, interactive whiteboard lecture, video, and small group activities. It is guaranteed to have a positive impact on how you administer and deliver your programs and courses, and train your staff. Tuition includes our Effective Outdoor Program Design and Management textbook and workshop small group exercise manual (sent as pdf file prior to conference). The workshop is particularly useful to new programs, new program administrators and program directors, and to those reevaluating an existing outdoor program.

Navigating Health, Safety, and Security Abroad ($500)
Bill Frederick
What do international trip leaders need to be able to do and what skills, understanding, and information access do they need? This training will look at the international hazard landscape and the risk management strategies available. It includes data, standards, best practices, information acquisition and vetting strategies, cross cultural implications for safety, and emergency response. Format consists of small group work on scenarios interspersed with content lectures. Participants will receive readings packet prior to the training. 

NOLS Risk Management Training for Administrators ($635)
THIS WORKSHOP IS FULL (Contact to get on the waitlist.)

David Yacubian
Nate Ostis
Brendan Madden

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 ($320)
Gates Richards
Ben Tettlebaum
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 | Tuesday, Oct. 31 | 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

NEW Rescue Me! Experience a Response to a Critical Incident Scenario on a Remote Maine Island ($75)
Adam Shepherd
Toby Arnold
Leah McDonald

Will your crisis response plan hold up in the event of an emergency? Don't wait until one occurs to find out! Join Rippleffect for a pre-conference event out on their Cow Island basecamp and in Casco Bay as they test their emergency response plan in a simulated critical incident. Attendees will be active observers to a scenario that will test Rippleffect, the U.S. Coast Guard, and other regional agencies’ emergency response plans. Participants will be positioned to observe all aspects: field response, coordinated emergency services, administrative response, post incident protocols and an incident/scenario debrief. During the debrief attendees will be invited to share their thoughts on the effectiveness of Rippleffect's response as well as engage in a facilitated discussion on topics relating to the day.

1/2 day | Tuesday, Oct. 31 | 1:00 - 5:00 p.m.

NEW Honing Accident Analysis Skills: Classic Cases in Outdoor Pursuits ($10)
Jed Williamson
Through reviewing real accident reports from high school, college, camp, and outdoor programs, those attending will hone skills in how to analyze causes and prepare for possible next steps, which usually include talking to parents/guardians, peers, administrators, and possibly lawyers. Come prepared to participate.

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

Communicating in Crisis: A Holistic Approach ($190)
Skip King
Will Marling

It's going to be a big story. Does your organization know what to say to victims and survivors of a traumatic incident, and how to respond to their emotional needs? Meantime, the public and reporters are clamoring for details. But how do you answer their questions consistently, while remaining respectful of family privacy and the public’s right to know? This 7-hour session provides skills-based protocols for understanding victim language and culture after a critical incident – and tools to use with public communications efforts.

NEW Mental Health First Aid for Youth ($65)
Amberleigh Hammond
This course is designed to teach participants how to help adolescents experiencing mental health or addiction challenges. The instructors will introduce common mental health challenges for youth, review typical adolescent development, and teach a 5-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations. Topics will include anxiety, depression, substance use, disorders in which psychosis may occur, disruptive behavior disorders (including AD/HD), and eating disorders. Participants do not learn to diagnose, nor how to provide any therapy or counseling, but rather how to support a youth developing signs and symptoms of a mental illness or in an emotional crisis by applying a core 5-step action plan.

NEW Steering the Ship: Risk Management Training for Executives, Board Members, and Senior Leadership ($275)
Steve Smith
Joshua 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, Nov. 1 | 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

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 2016-17 court opinions addressing significant industry legal issues. Participants will consider–and attack or defend–conflicting arguments pertaining to, for example: negligence and the duty of care owed to participants, including minors; inherent risks and assumption of risks; who can release whom for what; when what you say hurts you; the relevance of standards, practices, or laws; and other issues.

Parent Phone Call Practice Lab (Free)
Paul Dreyer
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.

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

NEW How to Train High School Teachers to Safely Lead International Trips ($75)
Linda Leckie
This practical, hands on, and highly interactive workshop follows the training guidelines set out in the CAIS Effective Practices for Off-Site Activities (2014) document. Training will approach risk management from the staff leader perspective. We will explore, through discussion, small group activities, case studies and scenarios in the following four areas as they relate to leading trips with custodial groups: Prevention, Planning and Preparation, Trip Management, Review and Evaluation. 

Root Cause Analysis: A Technique for Incident Investigation ($200)
Mark Vermeal
Mike Pigg
Root Cause Analysis (RCA) is a structured process designed to help identify not only what and how an event occurred, but also why it happened. The RCA process enables investigators to identify and address the origin of a problem (the “root cause”) as opposed to just symptoms of the problem. Only when investigators are able to determine why an incident occurred will they be able to specify corrective measures that prevent similar future incidents.


Poster Session | Wednesday, Nov. 1 | 5:00 - 6:30 p.m.

NEW Answering a Rapidly Growing Organization's Top 5 Risk Management Questions 
Adam Shepherd
Toby Arnold
Leah McDonald
Tackling big questions about your organization's risk management strategies and policies? Join Rippleffect for a presentation on their process of answering their top 5 risk management questions as it relates to the rapid growth the organization is experiencing: 1) Is your insurance broker the right one for where your program is today...tomorrow? 2) How do you develop and structure an effective Risk Management Committee? 3) Pursuing AEE certification? Where do you begin?  4) Would your organization's crisis response protocol hold up in the event of an emergency? 5) What are the relationships we need to have with local emergency services and resources? Learn from Rippleffect's experience–both what has worked and what hasn't as they have gone through an organizational risk management overhaul.

NEW Antibiotic Resistant Staph Infections/MRSA 
Anna Johnson
Antibiotic resistant infections are not new to the outdoor industry, but their growing prevalence worldwide combined with the difficulty of field diagnosis and rapid onset of potentially life threatening symptoms makes understanding them that much more important in our remote environments. This poster addresses some basics in prevention, recognition, treatment from published medical journals, as well as case studies and field/administrative strategies developed by Global Expeditions Group.

NEW Collaborative Risk Management: How a Park Agency and Contracted Recreation Providers Facilitate Adaptive Recreation and Risk Management 
Marcy Marchello
Karen Foster
Brenda Davies
Learn about the benefits of a collaborative risk management model being used by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Universal Access Program and two contracted recreation providers, All Out Adventures and Stavros Outdoor Access. Together they provide adaptive hiking, paddling, and outdoor winter programs in Massachusetts State Parks. Since attending the WRMC in 2011, these 3 entities have fortified their risk management with a unified approach, resulting in a stronger foundation for navigating the unexpected and managing risk.

NEW Insuring Outdoor Operations Outside the U.S. 
Don Pachner
Operations outside of the U.S. present special consideration due to foreign systems of legal responsibility and limitations of many domestic U.S. insurance policies. This poster will explain risk management practices and procedures and exposures unique to foreign operations of outdoor organizations to manage and minimize the exposure to legal liability claims.

NEW Managing Risk Through Participant Engagement 
Sara Stinnette
Quinn Banning-Arndt

A practical 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. Our poster will depict real-world ways to implement an engaging risk management strategy. Attendees will walk away with ideas on how to use these strategies within their own organizations to empower their participants to take an active role in risk management.

NEW Positive Behavior Supports in Experiential Settings 
Brett Billings
Outdoor educators in non-therapeutic settings often concern themselves more with confronting the negative behaviors of clients than promoting clients’ positive behaviors. Positive behavior interventions and supports is one system that has proven efficacious in school settings for teaching social and emotional skills and has shown promising results in expedition settings.

NEW Pre and Post Course Briefing as a Tool in Your Risk Management System 
Josh Firmin
A robust risk management system is the combination of many different components and practices, from staff training to emergency response protocols. Pre and post course briefings between field staff and supervisors are simple tools that organizations can apply as part of their course flow to enhance risk management systems. This presentation will cover the basic components of pre and post course briefings and discuss simple and effective implementation strategies.

NEW Working with Independent Contractors 
Brett Christensen
When it comes to independent contractors, there are many important factors to consider. These include what it means to work with an independent contractor, the risks involved, how to select and vet an independent contractor, and how to maintain a positive relationship with that contractor with respect to risk management. We will review our organization's approach and experience with this task.

Presentation Descriptions

Keynote Address | Friday, Nov. 3 | 7:30 p.m. 

Emotional Risk: Inclusion and Belonging in the Wilderness Experience 
Whitney Tome
In the conservation movement, we fight for land, wildlife, air and water, both for their intrinsic value and so that all people may safely and responsibly use and enjoy these things. Yet, all people are not engaged in the fight or in the experience of enjoying natural wonders we fight to protect. As the diversity of the American population is increasing, engagement of people of color in our movement is not keeping pace. Over 48.4% of Americans engaged in some outdoor recreation in 2015, yet 74% of those participants were white. If by 2042 more people of color aren't engaged in the love and exploration of nature, we will miss the opportunity to do our best work and to have the impact and reach we desperately need.

While getting participation numbers up is part of the battle and key to our success as a movement, the major hurdles are the readiness of organizations to include people of color and appropriately address the emotional risk that they face in exploring the wilderness. The wilderness is as eye opening an experience for people of color as for anyone else, but they are too often alone in navigating the dominant culture and perception of them as outsiders. This keynote will unpack the complexities of these emotional risks, and how people and organizations can prepare and address them going forward. 

Emergency Planning and Crisis Response

Thursday, 8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
CORE 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.

Thursday, 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
CORE How To Feed Alligators: Ten Things You Need to Know About Communicating in a Crisis 
Skip King
When the news is bad, it seems like you’re in the swamp – and the residents are ill-tempered and hungry. But if we understand what reporters and social media audiences really want to know, we’re in a better position to provide it. Further, if we understand how and why they behave the way they do, we can actually gain the upper hand. In this session, you’ll gain key understanding of both conventional and social media best practices in crisis situations, and learn how to plan for successful swamp navigation.

Thursday, 1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. 
Blindspot: Near Miss Trauma 
Brendan Madden
A cultural blindspot 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 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.

Thursday, 3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
NEW Interagency Incident Response: SAR Case Studies and Paddlecraft Safety 
Lieutenant Dan White U.S. Coast Guardand
Lieutenant Commander Scott Pierce, Maine Marine Patrol
Portland Fire Department

How does your organization interact with other stakeholders during Search and Rescue (SAR), critical incidents, or disaster response? This session will explore the importance of developing interagency relationships, preparing for potential responses, and response actions and capabilities during actual incidents. U.S. Coast Guard Sector Northern New England will provide paddlecraft SAR case studies from the coast of Maine to help facilitate this discussion and further demonstrate how Northern New England Agencies work together to accomplish the mission at hand. In addition, the case studies will provide a greater awareness to paddle sport safety, including education on assessing risks, envisioning the consequences, and being properly prepared for what can and sometimes does go wrong while on the water as well as paddlecraft case prosecution. A representative from Federal, State, and local agencies will present their perspective and provide insight on how each branch works together to achieve one common goal, safely assisting a mariner in distress.  

Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
CORE Crisis Management: The Traumatic Aftermath 
Will Marling
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.

Friday, 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
NEW Lessons from the Lava Mountain Fire: Planning, Communications, Evacuation, and Post-Crisis 
Matthew Cook  
This presentation will offer a step-by-step look at the preparation and execution of an evacuation of 250 people, their gear, and 60 horses from Teton Valley Ranch Camp in the summer of 2016. The Lava Mountain Fire burned over 14,000 acres in Fremont County, Wyoming in approximately two weeks, and forced the evacuation of hundreds of local residents, including our residential summer camp. Take-aways from this session include practical advice in creating your own rock solid plans.

Friday, 1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
NEW Incident Response: The Aftermath of Infectious Disease Exposure 
Caroline Nassif  
Rita Galdos  
In the fall of 2016, Earthwatch received a call informing us that one of our participants had fallen ill with Hepatitis A. In this case study, we will focus on describing the events that followed this call, and how we handled a potential contagion. We will share with the audience the steps we took in managing this potentially damaging event, and what your organization should consider putting in place to better handle a similar situation.

Friday, 3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Practicing your Worst Nightmare: A Realistic Emergency Response Exercise
Gretchen Ostherr
This session will use a realistic scenario of a serious incident in a front country outdoor program to help identify operational concerns and practice key skills at different phases of incident response. Participants will examine the organizational resources and field response needed at each phase. After each phase of the crisis unfolds, key operational and some legal considerations will be reviewed. Attendees will leave with a hands-on training activity that can be adapted and replicated in their own programs to train field leaders in incident response.

Field Practices

Thursday, 8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
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 usability of the practice and 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.

Thursday, 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Managing Behavioral Crisis in the Remote Setting
Laura McGladrey
Will Marling

Outdoor programs nationwide are faced with extreme behaviors that, at best, are disruptive and, at worst, present significant risk for program, participants and staff. This workshop is designed to help programs identify and prepare for common yet troublesome behaviors that can be managed in the field, and distinguish them from those that represent increased risk and must be managed acutely and evacuated. This workshop will explore and demonstrate meaningful and evidence-based interventions as well as learning techniques for participants and staff in the increasingly likely case of encountering behaviors such as acting out, anxiety states, depression, aggression, and self-harm during programs. This workshop also targets the 'how' of evacuation with out of control participants. 

Thursday, 1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
NEW Strengthening your Culture of Safety Through Onsite Safety Briefings 
Caroline Dunn  
Gitte Venicx  
Risk management and preparation are only effective if there is follow-through in the field and buy-in from participants. On-site safety briefings are critical to a robust culture of safety, and they must be timely, relevant, and accessible. Effective briefings set realistic expectations, empower participants, are proactive, and consider the culture and environment you are in, as well as that of your audience. Come learn how to make this an effective tool, and practice!  

Thursday, 3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
NEW Throwing Ropes on a River: Tool or Liability? 
Nate Ostis
Most boaters carry throwbags. Many boaters don't realize how dangerous they are and what to watch out for. When it comes to shopping for gear, we're not all that different than bears – we're attracted to shiny bells and whistles. When manufacturers are faced with the task of creating next year's line of throw bags they often just add unnecessary features simply to catch our eye. The problem with many of these is they add unnecessary risk of entrapment. Join this session for developing a new lens through which to look at the river and how to dial in one of your most critical rescue tools. There is a high probability that modifying throw bags is a good next step for your organization. We're going to look at several ways to achieve this as well as drills for developing high levels of proficiency in throwing them. This will be a hands-on and active session.

Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
NEW Continuing the Conversation: A Plenary and Panel Discussion on Gender Questions 
Paul Dreyer
Elyse Rylander
Zander McRae 
Jay Satz
Emily Ledingham, Moderator

Schools, camps, outfitters, and others throughout the adventure programming industry are having great conversations about equity and risk management around the LGBTQ communities. Often, these conversations lead organizations to more questions and uncertainty. In this session, our panel will strive to answer your questions. Based on years of deep and diverse experience, our panel will provide their thoughts on industry best practices. Panel members will also facilitate small group break sessions as needed.

Friday, 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
NEW The Foreign and Familiar: International Programming as a Benefit for Wilderness Programs 
Tim Hare
Todd Duncan

This presentation will describe how the unique and varied complexities and realities of operating internationally offer good instructive lessons for informing more effective wilderness programs, and better managing the associated risks. We will explore specific transferable lessons to better understand how strengths in international programming instruct similar improvements and outcomes for wilderness trips and wilderness risk. By focusing on some unique components of international programming, participants will gain new perspectives, tools, and strategies for managing risk on all programs. 

Friday, 1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
NEW The Assessment and Management of Spine and Spinal Cord Injuries in the Field: Where We Started, Where We are Now, and Why 
Paul Nicolazzo
Management guidelines for pre-hospital spine and spinal cord injuries have undergone drastic changes over the past few years…and the ground still remains somewhat unsettled. This presentation looks briefly at the history preceding the changes, where we are now, and why. It addresses the apparent assessment and treatment inconsistencies between many urban EMS agencies—some from neighboring counties—as well as those between Wilderness Medicine schools. You’ll leave the presentation with a good understanding of the range of current guidelines and enough information to decide where you and your program stand.

Legal Considerations

Thursday, 8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
Top 10 General Dos and Don’ts to Avoid Liabilities
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. We'll be looking at: 1) social media issues 2) marketing claims 3) release and waiver conflicts with promotional materials, with respect to minors, inherent risks, poor paper work practices, etc. 4) incident/emergency response allegations not only as they relate to clients but also staff and the increased presence of OSHA into recreational arenas 5) participant duties of care, how clients bear responsibilities and duties and how duties can be defined between parties 6) third party vendors involved in recreational courses or products and how liabilities are split between multiple vendors producing a recreational course/experience/product 7) issues related to insurance companies and what happens during litigation 8) the fact that individual guides are being sued much more commonly 9) screening clients on activities and matching risks to clients, and 10) regional and local standards and the operators awareness of same.   

Thursday, 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
NEW Lessons for Handling Sexual-Related Incidents: Exploring the Legal, Operational, and Administrative Challenges 
Doug Stevens
Dave Dennis
Traci McKee
As incidents of sexual misconduct involving minors become more prevalent, it is imperative for organizations to understand the legal and operational challenges this presents. This is a unique opportunity to discuss factual scenarios modeled after sexual-related incidents involving minors. We will cover incidents between students and those involving adults employed by the program or its contractor. Participants will discuss various strategies for an organizational response, including investigating the incidents in the field and handling post-trip issues with the student’s family, the contractor, program employees, and the authorities. We will also explore the obligations imposed on Mandatory Reporters, and the impact varying legal and Agency requirements may have on operational decisions. Finally, we will discuss proactive measures to avoid future incidents and minimize their negative impact.

Thursday, 1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
NEW Incident Management from a Litigator’s Perspective: Facts, Honesty, and Compassion as Lawsuit Avoidance Techniques 
Leah Corrigan
What drives a person’s decision to file a lawsuit? Often, the decision is driven largely by emotional factors. Clients who felt under-informed, misinformed, disrespected, or mistreated are much more likely to sue in the event of an incident. This presentation will focus on how to use facts, honesty, and compassion as bedrock techniques both on the “front end” of educating clients and students, and the “back end” of an incident related to how you interact with the injured person and their family.

Thursday, 3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
NEW Protecting Your Program with Paper 
Reb Gregg
We will discuss how a quality program uses internal records – including practices and policies, incident reports, and evaluations – and agreements with participants and other service providers – including strategic descriptions of activities, acknowledgement and assumption of inherent and other risks, releases and indemnities – to manage its risks of legal liability.

Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
Hotchkiss Update: Where are We Now, What's Next?
Frances Mock
Catherine Hansen-Stamp

In 2013, a jury awarded $41.7 million to a minor for an alleged case of tick borne encephalitis (TBE) contracted on a school trip to China.  The federal court found the school had a duty to warn about the risk of tick bites and protect the student even though she was the first U.S. traveler to contract TBE in China – a duty to warn of a risk that was literally unprecedented and unforeseen. The case has a complex legal history and is still on appeal. This presentation is an update on the facts, the recent court rulings, what happens next, and what programs should do in response.

Friday, 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
NEW Screening for Mental Health: Medical Legal Considerations 
Ann McCollum  
Laura McGladrey
Obtaining, storing and utilizing mental health information found in medical screenings can provide legal, ethical, and programmatic complexity. This workshop is designed to explore the legal aspects of medical screening and decision making, as well as addressing the complexities of privacy and use of the information. Emphasis will be placed on sensitive questions and best practice in asking them. There will be opportunity for information sharing and ample time for questions. 

Friday, 1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Big Decisions in The Field (and Their Legal Implications) - Part II
Leslie Arutunian
Reb Gregg

An inebriated student walks across hot coals; an instructor checks himself into a Zambian psychiatric hospital as participants are flying to his course; a student’s brain swells after a mosquito bite and quality care requires a perilous 9000 foot altitude gain from the Amazon to Cuzco; and students get close and personal with a puma in Costa Rica. Not a typical day at the office, granted, but an opportunity for important learning nevertheless. Join our discussion of industry challenges faced in recent years by Wildlands Studies, a program instructing backcountry undergraduate courses worldwide focused on wildlife habitat, conservation, environmental impact, and stewardship.

Friday, 3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
CORE Have You Got it Covered? Insurance 101 with Exposure Scenarios that Could Lead to Catastrophic Organizational and Financial Loss 
Steve Neal
Sam Daume

Sexual misconduct, vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, crisis response: What do these exposures have in common? If not managed properly, an occurrence involving any of these can quickly lead an organization into a deep financial and legal quagmire. Are you covered? Is having an insurance policy enough? Having an understanding of when an incident (occurrence) may necessitate pulling the policy off the shelf to put it to work is critical. Also critical is understanding what is required of you, the insured. 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 exposures and incident response through the lens of an insurance policy.

Program Administration

Thursday, 8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
NEW What Does Inclusion and Diversity have to do with Risk Management? 
Steve Smith
Ava Holliday  
Risk Management and Inclusion consultants delve into the concept of integrative risk management: breaking down silos and merging risk management systems with organizational values and inclusion efforts.  

Thursday, 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
NEW Offering Perspective: Industry Standards and Practices: What Does this Mean for Your Program? 
Steve Pace  
Drew Leemon
Catherine Hansen-Stamp

It is common within our profession to refer to industry “standards.” What are industry standards? What effect do standards have on an organization’s operation – legally or otherwise? What is the significance of a program that’s accredited or an instructor that’s certified? How does one know if their organization has adopted practices that are effective and defensible? This workshop will dig into the world of standards and how it is relevant to your program.

Thursday, 1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
NEW Getting your Board on Board with Safety and Risk Management 
Mark Vermeal
Ginger Mihalik  
“My Board says that safety is our number one priority, but they don’t have a clue about safety management.” Does this sound familiar? The Boards of not-for-profit organizations have a key role in governance and oversight of safety management. Is your Board competently filling this role? This presentation will focus on developing a culture of safety at the Board level, and the skills and tools for them to effectively execute their safety governance and oversight role. We will discuss and provide useful examples of topics like: metrics (such as Incidence data, internal reviews, progress towards annual goals) that a Board can use to evaluate safety performance, and the composition of a Safety or Risk Management Committee.  

Thursday, 3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
NEW Screening Participants for International Programs 
Bill Frederick 
Most international programs struggle with managing participant pre-existing conditions under circumstances where there is a scarcity of resources and where evacuating the participant is neither simple nor easy. This session will survey pertinent legal statutes and their applicability. We’ll also review a number of variables specific to international destinations and international participants. Brief content presentations will be interspersed with small group screening scenarios as we build a matrix for a comprehensive screening strategy for international programs.

Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
NEW Creating a Comprehensive Risk Management Database
Kathleen Floberg  
Mark Bixby 
This presentation will give your organization ideas for how to move from “that sounds like a good risk management decision” to “this is a good risk management decision because it’s supported by years of data analysis.” Camp Widjiwagan has tracked incident and near miss data for 17 years. These data have been used to strengthen and guide its programming through a combination of data analysis and Committee review.  

Friday, 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
NEW Dechı̨ta Nezǫ Gots’udı́ (Living on the Land in a Good Way): Decolonization, Indigenous Knowledges, and Risk Management Planning 
Jess Dunkin
Walter Bezha

This presentation explores the development of a community-based and cross-cultural risk management plan, a collaboration between the Ɂehdzo Got'ı̨nę Gots'ę́ Nákedı (Sahtú Renewable Resources Board) and the NWT Recreation and Parks Association in the Sahtú region of the Northwest Territories. Reflections on the development, implementation, and revision of the plan, titled Dechı̨ta Nezǫ Gots’udı́ (Living on the Land in a Good Way), sheds light on the possibilities of decolonizing methodologies in cross-cultural risk management planning. 

Friday, 1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
NEW Injury in the Wild: Understanding and Preventing Outdoor Education Injury Incidents 
Clare Dallat
Paul Salmon

This three part workshop covers everything from injury incident analysis, the causes of injury incidents and risk assessment, to developing incident prevention strategies. Participants will learn about how using a comprehensive systemic approach to risk assessment and incident reporting and analysis can better reduce risk and enhance safety during outdoor education programs. Participants at any stage of their profession will find something interesting and valuable in this session, whether they are just learning their trade, responsible for designing and delivering programs, or involved with risk management operations.

Friday, 3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
NEW Now What? Bringing the WRMC Back to Your Organization 
Alex Kosseff
Andy Leider

Don’t leave the WRMC with a long list of ideas that sit on your desk! This workshop will help you build a framework for transferring your ideas, learning, and connections back to your organization in a structured, meaningful way. Identify short and long term actions, internal and external resources, and share opportunities with others focusing on similar topics.

Staff Training and Decision Making

Thursday, 8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
NEW Training Your Staff to Provide Opportunities for Participant Independence 
Anne Peick
This workshop will focus on considerations for training staff to provide opportunities for participant independence. Participant independence can come in many forms: taking charge of navigation for the day, facilitating group decision-making, planning an activity, lead climbing, or independent student travel. When done well, these opportunities enrich the participant experience and provide for impactful and lasting learning. Staff must be prepared to provide these opportunities in a way that manages risk appropriately. This, in turn, requires appropriate training so that staff can recognize opportunities for independence, assess the readiness of participants for those opportunities, and implement activities intentionally.

Thursday, 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
The Checklist Manifesto and Beyond for Outdoor Programs
Al Wright
Dr. Atul Gawande’s Checklist Manifesto book was a best seller. He brought the concept of research based protocols combined with “checklists” to surgical practice. Implementation of checklists had a dramatic decrease in surgical complications and death rates. Explore the application of Gawande’s principles to operational issues in adventure activities. The “Beyond” will explore aviation’s use of CRM – Crew Resource Management – as an additional training model for lowering the frequency of accidents.

Thursday, 1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
NEW Emotionally Invested Risk Managers 
Casey Montandon
Those of us who have been in significant incidents know the that the aftermath can be devastating. This experience helps us understand the real life implications of what we do in the field, but we can agree we would never want our staff to experience trauma or loss of life. So, how do we create emotional investment in the safety of our students among our less experienced staff? How do we go beyond educational information about risk management and risk tolerance to create emotional buy-in. By exposing staff to emotionally charged events in training, we can create a level of authentic care and sense of personal responsibility. We'll explore ways to foster this type of investment during training in order to reduce the likelihood of incidents in the field.

Thursday, 3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
CORE Leading Beyond Invincibility, Group-Think, Stupidity, and Other Catastrophic Attitudes 
Lester Zook
This session will unpack some psycho-social dynamics at work in several dangerous attitudes, and then explore leadership (preparation and management) strategies to address them. Participants will consider actual cases, and will also personally reflect on their own leadership histories and practice – approaches that can then be carried into staff training for adventure organizations. The ultimate goal is to develop leaders who are more aware of the dynamics of dangerous attitudes (in themselves and their clients), and better prepared to mitigate them before they cause a disaster.

Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
NEW Training Simulations: Principles for Effective Learning 
Katie Nelson
Kim Glodek

Need to go beyond your traditional staff training methods and strategies? This workshop will focus on the critical knowledge, tools, and strategies for effectively delivering simulations to train and prepare field staff to manage risk in the field. Through the exploration and modeling of simulation best practices and principles, participants will leave with clarity for running effective simulations, determining when simulations are the best option for training, and how simulations support real field situations. 

Friday, 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
NEW Creating a Culture of Practice 
Jose Gonzalez
From practicing your verbal SOAP note to your kayak rescue technique, creating a culture of practice is crucial to improve your organization. In this workshop, we will explore Doug Lemov’s book, Practice Perfect and its relationship to managing risk. Instructors and risk managers will shift their mindset on practicing scenarios, crisis role playing, and technical skills. How “deliberately engineered and designed practice” can revolutionize day to day activities, bringing them to the next level of excellence.

Friday, 1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
CORE 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 session provides an alternative training model that builds boundaries around desirable safety behaviors. This session is based on the presenter’s PhD research and application of industrial safety theory and findings. It has warranted top reviews at past conferences.

Short Talks

Short Talks | Friday, Nov. 3 | 3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

The following will be presented as 18-minute short talks during this 90-minute timeslot:

NEW Online Tools to Enhance Instructor Training
Ryan Jaret
This session will highlight several tools to improve and enhance your instructor trainings. These tools are cost effective, easy to use, and multifunctional. Through the use of online videos and quizzes you can assign pre-training work for staff to maximize your face to face training time, clarify expectations for instruction remotely, and provide more dynamic, instructor-centered trainings to meet individual needs.

NEW What Did I Get Myself Into? A Presentation on Understanding Cultural Barriers to Making Public Lands and Outdoor Recreation More Inclusive
Reth Duir
How can youth programs help to make public lands and the wild outdoors more inclusive? Based on his unique experience as a program participant and then a trip leader and instructor, Reth Duir will offer thoughts and insight into how we can make programs more relevant, inclusive, and successful with younger generations. Through his personal stories and professional lessons, Reth will share insights into better understanding and overcoming barriers.  

NEW How Remote Communications Aid in Self-Rescue, SAR Protocol, and Resource Deployment
Brett Wagenheim
What does a rescue look like if you’re trapped in a snow cave on a remote glacier in Alaska or kidnapped by rebels while kayaking the Amazon? How do you get back home safe? Technology has made remote travel and riskier adventures more accessible, but it has also empowered individuals to self-rescue or reach SAR successfully. This presentation will discuss how both amateur and professional adventurers are using satellite communication devices to manage a self-rescue or request additional resources. The presentation will detail real-world emergency incidents and evaluate the critical role that a reliable communication device, timely messaging, navigation tools, and a SAR organization’s remote safety and emergency response protocol play in delivering responsible and appropriate care.

NEW Student Applications and Interviews: Managing Risk Before Your Expedition
Colby Smith
This session focuses on the information gathering process that takes place before participants join your organization. We will look at how that process has evolved over time at Colorado Outward Bound School. We will then explore how that process can be used to enhance your organization's risk management by providing and receiving critical information beforehand. Next is a look at information transfer and an overview of some technological advances and solutions that are available. We will conclude in classic fashion by seeing how we can transfer this information to your organization to enhance your risk management process.