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le Voyageur

The Most Dangerous Word in a High Adventure Director Vocabulary...

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To a degree I agree I wouldn't necessarily be using objective and subjective criteria to feed complex information to Scouts who weren't at lest eligible to be Venturers unless they were clearly interested and motivated to learn the material in such depth.

 

OTOH, I like acronyms as long as they're not convoluted.

 

STOP is even if simple, at least might set a panicked Scout or for that matter a misplaced Scouter on the right path towards proper action. Remember a lot of Scouters could NOT qualify as Outward Bound guides - so we aren't talking about Wilderness Experts here.

 

It's not so much an acronym as a mnemonic but it's relatively short and if said with some rhythm is catchy and easy to remember, but "Start the Breathing, Stop the Bleeding, Protect the Wound and Treat for Shock" will never replace the training of a poor EMT much less a good one but for the layperson in a confusing and stressful situation it gives a pretty good list of places to start and a decent order of operations.

 

OODA the Boyd cycle acronym - taught to early fighter pilots is still used today to evaluate combat cycles. In some circles so quickly it's near instantaneous in other tempos it is used to evaluate entire campaigns. Does it in it's simplicity allow for a complete understanding and evaluation, of course not, but it develops a framework the rest is being built on.

 

the 4B's Beans, Bullets, Band-Aids and Bad Guys - four things the deployed Corporal always wants to continuously be aware of. Of course it is really about more complex info especially on the Bad Guys but the logistics side goes deeper also.

 

Acronym based mnemonics are rarely the full answer but they tend to be away those who have to remember information away from the cloud or reference materials can organize structures which lead to more complex actions. Especially if those actions need to be structured in a particular order that can be supplied by the mnemonic.

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I think what I'm seeing here, is the general thinking that this level of Risk Management is to be taught to scouts. Not the case, far from it. Risk Management should be a part of the High Adventure Director, as well as other Scouters skill set to minimize risk levels in the outdoor. Scouts are simply not wired for adult judgement.

Risk Management is no more than a tool to manage the activities that Scouts want to engage in. It is also that cold breath of reality that tells us that accidents are normal, and will happen. It serves to make us more circumspect, and conservative by knowing that certain lines cannot be crossed.....

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Excuse me if I am totally out of it, but I suggest that we do need to try to teach Scouts to weigh benefits against risks and to avoid risks that seem disproportionate to benefits. Not ISO 31000, but they will need THAT skill immediately and for life. Do homework or watch some media? Run with that crowd? Smoke that joint? Cross that stream? Try to hike that extra mile? Go back or go forward?

 

Some at BSA seem dedicated to rules that preclude use of judgement.

 

>If a wilderness survival situation develops, "stay put."

Kids recognize that "stay put" or "hug a tree" may not make sense. MB candidate: "In the thunderstorm on the side of the cliff as the temperature falls, the wind rises, and the lightning flashes?"

 

>Here are the priorities for wilderness survival "in this order."

Kids tend to think this inevitable order of importance is pretty funny. "My canoe flipped and I build a fire and drink water?"

 

>Follow LNT when in a wilderness survival situation, specifically as to fires where firewood is to come from the ground. (Thus showing a lack of understanding of LNT)

 

 

And Beav, I think of good training as including experience, not precluding it, and as the beginning of learning, not the end.

 

Now "Trained," is often a barb of a different sharpness. The world is full of "Trained" folk who are incompetent in the job they are "Trained" to do.

 

(As to "STOP," the order of the letters makes so little sense that discussing the "Think" portion usually includes language about gathering data and the "Observe" step is described with language about processing data. It's really SOTP, but who could remember that?)

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hmmmm....your not on the same page. The level of risk management that I'm inferring is above the critical thinking, and skill levels of scouts. Yes, the program has rules, training, patches, booklets, and a host of acronyms to help them with the process to start thinking about risks. But, it's a slow process, with a long learning curve before their brains are fully developed, and wired for adult level judgement.

Consider, for a high country ski trip, do we send an 11 year out on the slopes to do a shovel test to judge the avalanche risk, instead of a seasoned guide trained, and experienced for that task!

It's up to adults to fine tune a scouts outdoor experience with what no scout has in his skill set, which is years of experience, judgement based on those experiences, and perceptions that comes from those experiences.

It's why the thread is titled "The Most Dangerous Word in a High Adventure Director's Vocabulary", not "The Most Dangerous Word in a Scout's Vocabulary."

 

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What's your main point? What message are we to take away from your discussion -- beyond the lack of wisdom in using the word "safe," as BSA does.

 

None of my training is in risk management on the "level" with which you seem most comfortable.

 

 

 

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Can't help thinking that maybe we are splitting hairs?

There are a lot of words and terms in use that maybe are not the best or the most appropriate, but are used and for the most part accepted and acceptable. Most of us are happy to clean the kitchen and accept that it's clean a hair splitter will say that it isn't clean till it has been sanitized.

We go along with a kid being a "Bright kid". Without doing an IQ test.

Lord knows that there is risk is just about everything we do and at times in things we fail to do.

I might say that my home is safe, but might not have tested the batteries in the smoke alarm for a month?

I think that I'm a safe driver until that deer jumps out at me from out of no where.

For a very long time I used to say that Scouting was a safe place. I still like to think that way but I've now started using the term "Controlled Risk."

I can and do see why someone who is teaching a group might want to tell them that the word safe is not to be used. I'm sure that the teacher /instructor is doing his her best to try and combat complacency and ensure that the people will when they leave the class remain vigilant and on their toes.

There is a risk when we go over board stressing that nothing is ever safe that no one will ever want to do anything?

I'm happy that a High Adventure Director is on his toes and not being complacent.

I also know that were I to really try I could come up with a very long list of things that might or could happen on a small short nature hike that would frighten the living day lights out of everyone and they wouldn't want to ever leave the house.

We are in the business of teaching kids, most of us are not really expert in anything.

Many of us have received a basic training in the sort of activities that a normal Scout will participate in, maybe up to First Class Scout level? Maybe up to Merit Badge level? Along with whatever training we have some of us have done this for a little while and have some real world experiences.

The likelihood of me ever taking a group of Scouts up the Orinoco is about zero, just as the chance that a Scout doing a nature hike is going to meet up with a tiger that escaped from a zoo is also about zero.

I have to admit to not liking experts when it comes to Scouts and Scouting. All to often these experts forget that we are dealing with kids, they want to make things so difficult and seem so hard that they end up scaring the kids away.

 

Maybe I'm just old? But I'm sick to death of all these cute little mnemonics. One or two used to be OK, but it seems they have now got a life of their own and are popping up all over the place and some people want to make knowing what they stand for important.

For me they are just an annoyance.

Ea.

 

 

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OGE, I think you are correct, but that most of us are splitting hairs.

 

The first thing is that this thread isn't really about the Scouts, it is about Adults and is more specific to HA directors.

 

People are jumping in without reading the thread and commenting that we are asking too much from the Scouts - well we aren't really talking about them except to address the folks who jump in here.

 

People are jumping in without reading the thread and commenting that we are asking too little or too much from the "Trained" Adult - well we aren't really talking about them except to address the folks who jump in here.

 

The folk who have worked as Safety program administrators in one capacity or another are splitting other hairs.

 

It's kind of disjointed but I'm still getting something out of it.

 

 

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It is a Woody Allen movie, I think, "Sleeper" is the one, yes?

 

Safe at all costs. No risks. Health without pleasure. Life without adventure.

 

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Gunny2862

Think it was me who talked about splitting hairs.

I have great respect for the people who are expert in their field.

Maybe it's good that someone somewhere is telling the people in charge of high adventure activities that a safe program doesn't set the bar high enough?

But..

A good many of our forum members are what I might call run of the mill Scouter's.

Sure we when we plan an activity look at the "What if". We do our best to Be Prepared.

We know that chances are when we are out doors that the Scouts in our charge are not going to be hit by a piece of space junk. On the other hand cuts, sprains, stings and maybe the odd broken bone might happen.

We prepare for this.

If we go over board, over stressing all the dangers and all the things that might or could go wrong, not the everyday expected and the odd un-expected dangers that are out there, we run the risk of never doing anything. - This is a disservice.

I think the world of each and every Scout that has ever been placed in my care.

I'm not dumb enough to take on activities that are out of my comfort zone.

I'm clever enough to know that there is some risk in a lot of what we do.

In the real world most of the accidents that I've seen on Scouting activities have happened when the Scouts are cooking. Does this mean that we don't allow Scouts to cook?

I don't think so.

Like everything else we train as best we can, we provide the best equipment available, we teach what to do in the event of a miss-hap and provide the right equipment to take care of and deal with the mis-hap when it does or if it does happen.

Ea.

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This weekend went to a nice "safe" heavily used State Park near Tampa. (For the 1st time with a bunch of newbies--had a restaurant and a swimming pool for goodness sake. Definitely "low adventure".)I set up my hammock near some grass and felt something vibrating and buzzing under my foot. I looked down and saw a small (2 foot) rattlesnake repeatably striking at my boot.

 

Hate to think if it was a 10-1/2 year old in sneakers. So all we do has risk.

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Consider, for a high country ski trip, do we send an 11 year out on the slopes to do a shovel test to judge the avalanche risk, instead of a seasoned guide trained, and experienced for that task!

 

Of course we do!

 

How else is the lad goin' to learn? Especially these days when so many teens are optin' to ski off-piste and sidecountry areas?

 

Scouting is about helpin' lads learn and grow. That means that we don't do safety for them, we do safety with them. We model judgment and decision-making and allow them to participate in that. Even as youngsters! We expect 11-year-olds to learn the basics of hiking safety and poisonous critters for Tenderfoot and of water safety and rescues for 2nd Class and of boating safety for First Class, after all.

 

If yeh live in ski country, then teachin' the lads avalanche safety seems completely right and proper.

 

Beavah

 

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Fully agree Beavah!

Although I might prefer the Pro (not me) go do the avalanche check and then based on his experience have him then show the boys why it's good or not.

 

OGE, I agree here also. Just because someone has worked in the Safety field in one way or another may or may not make them experts in whatever aspect of safety we're talking about, and in general we should expect some modicum of common sense in our Adult leaders.

But I would also think that just like we expect a little bit more than that of our Camp Aquatics Supervisor, Or Camp RSO, we might ought to expect that same little bit more from a HA Director.(This message has been edited by Gunny2862)

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Well, given the convoluted path of the thread, I'll just go ahead and throw in my own pet peeve on safety terminology. It's when people say that "Being safe is our number one priority!"

 

When I hear this, I think the person is indeed misrepresenting the fact that the program can be "safe". Also, I find this not to be a useful guideline at all - if I were to use this in the field as a decision making tool, any time something might be unsafe, I'd avoid it, but virtually everything can be unsafe.

 

Now, depending on how you define terms or split hairs, you might think of "being safe" as meaning "keeping risk within a minimum tolerance" - and then, yes, I'd agree, that is a top priority. But the generic term just isn't accurate or useful. If the number one priority was not to have any Scout injured in the Scouting program, BSA could just shut down and easily accomplish the goal.

 

And yes, I agree, it's up to adults to manage the overall risk portfolio, but our objective is to train the Scouts to do that as far as possible.

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