"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." A.Nin
The Benefits of Risk:
We live in a culture that breeds fear and drives us towards playing “safe.” It is our opinion that many people are not encouraged to tap into their inner courage reserves and embrace their potential. During all of our ALIVE Outdoors programs, students are deliberately encouraged to take part in activities involving unfamiliar risks that are not part of their daily lives. Our goal is to use perceived and real risks as teaching tools to enhance self-confidence, deepen self-awareness and resiliency, as well as to strengthen each community’s foundation. We want people to recognize their strengths and to challenge their assumptions about themselves and others.
We believe that there are risks associated with not taking risks in our lives, and that many people reflect back on their life wishing they had more experiences where they stepped out of their comfort zone.
Outdoor education immerses people in outdoor environments and unpredictable environmental conditions. Risk management requires constant "what if" thinking. This is the practice of continuously anticipating unexpected problems and rehearsing emergency responses while engaging in program activities with the intent of identifying and thereby preventing "worst case" incidents. At ALIVE Outdoors we understand that risk management is not a check-list, but rather a culture and a habit.
Risk Management and Crisis Plan:
ALIVE Outdoors has a comprehensive Risk Management and Crisis Plan that encompasses everything we do. Our clients have all received a copy of our plan, which is reviewed and updated annually.
The goal of this plan is to reduce the likelihood of incidents resulting from the operations of ALIVE Outdoors Inc. These include physical, mental, emotional and financial losses that could be incurred by clients, instructors, sub-contractors or ALIVE Outdoors itself. Our Risk Management Plan systematically identifies areas of risk and considers what controls may be implemented to reduce the likelihood of incidents taking place.
To help educate our clients prior to our programs, all participants receive paperwork that is specific to their unique program. The act of reading these documents creates the opportunity for parents, students and other participants to discuss the importance of managing personal risk through making informed, unimpaired personal choices to optimize individual health and well-being at all times.
1. Letter to Parents/Participant
The purpose of this letter is to introduce clients to the program. It includes, but is not limited to; the intention of the program, a list of all possible activities the participant may participate in during the program and important dates and times. We work diligently to personalize and tailor each letter to highlight the specifics of each unique program, so participants (and their parents) are aware of what to expect.
2. Frequently Asked Questions
This document includes a range of questions and answers related to; the specific intentions of the program, the distance to the hospital from the program site, emergency contact information for the duration of the trip, instructor qualifications, important dates, times and packing information.
3. Acknowledgement of Risk, Waiver and Indemnity Agreement
We understand that these kinds of forms can be daunting. It is certainly not intended to cause uneasiness, but rather to educate you of the risks associated with the vast array of programs that ALIVE offers. Unfortunately, these kinds of forms are required in this day and age, and it is mandatory that each participant, or their parent if they are under 18 years of age, accepts and acknowledges the risks that are associated with the activities that we use as teaching tools through our ALIVE programs.
4. Medical Form
This form provides each participant with the opportunity to share his or her current and past medical information. We respect each person’s privacy, and only share pertinent information with the kitchen and the instructors as needed. It is critical that participants or their parents are highly detailed and honest on this form, in order to allow us to provide the utmost care. We are especially wanting to understand the history of those with allergies, such as triggers and the severity of past reactions.
Should participants have special dietary concerns we will connect them directly to the kitchen where their program is being facilitated. Those working in the kitchen will do their best to accommodate special dietary needs. It is important to note that there are times where dietary concerns cannot be met, and this will be discussed on an individual basis.
Being an ALIVE Outdoors instructor is not an entry-level position. Instructors are contracted based on previous professional experience, certifications, life experience and maturity. ALIVE Outdoors instructors are carefully selected through an interview process and two professional reference checks. Each instructor also must annually submit a clear and current criminal reference check.
At minimum, all instructors are certified in Standard First Aid and CPR. While on canoe or hiking trips ALIVE always guides in pairs. Between the pair, there will be someone certified as a Wilderness First Responder (80 hour first aid training specific to the wilderness context) as well as an instructor certified in water rescue through accredited organizations. For residential programs, certain instructors will be certified in specific program areas such as ACCT levels on the high ropes courses, and NLS guards on the water.
At ALIVE Outdoors, professional certifications are very important, however we do not believe that good judgment comes solely because someone has completed certain qualifications. We believe that strong judgment skills come from life experience, knowledge, maturity, humility and a lack of ego.