How do you change the Club culture? How do you encourage leaders to improve their skills? Should leaders be required to under take some training each year to retain their leadership “accreditation”? What sort of training would be appropriate?
It would be rather presumptuous of me to suggest that there is only one answer to this complex problem, which has troubled many a Club’s Training and Safety Officer. Any solution will however need to recognise that this will be a significant change for many Club members and hence to be successful will involve proven change-management techniques.
No doubt any possible solution will include at least some of the following:
- recognition by Club members that the Club’s leadership skills need to be improved.
- belief in the need for training by the Club Committee, followed by adequate consultation to design the program and then promotion by prominent Committee members.
- commencement with a small and carefully selected program which will be acceptable to leaders and can be successfully completed by all
- involvement of respected “elders” in the Club, both as instructors and participants
- recognition of those who have participated in, and provided, the training
- awareness raising by having one of the participants outline what they learned at a Club meeting or newsletter
An annual accreditation requirement could be used to encourage participation in leadership training, but this needs to be delicately handled to avoid putting “experienced” leaders offside. Leaders could be expected to gain a minimum of 10 points per year (equivalent to 6 hrs training) to retain their leadership “credentials”.
Some non-threatening examples could be:
- Senior First Aid Refresher (10 pts)
- GPS use (2 pts)
- PLB use (2 pts)
- Pre-trip planning ( 2-5 pts)
- Stove types, use and maintenance (2 pts)
- Dehydrator use and menus (2 pts)
- Navigation refresher ( 5-10 points)
- Ultra-lightweight backpacking ( 2 pts)
- Lightweight cooking and menus ( 2-5 pts)
For those who want some more theoretical training
The accreditation requirement (10 pts) should be incorporated into an annual Leadership Training Weekend, with topics being rotated from year to year.
To make the process less threatening, some of this training could be carried out by “expert” Club mentors during Club walks or on a one-to-one basis. It should be possible in each Club to establish a list of “go-to” people who would be willing to make themselves available for specific skills training. Leaders who were prepared to give training sessions for other leaders could be credited with double the number of points that a participant would gain.
Some Clubs have a policy of subsidizing leaders who attend accredited training courses, if they are willing to pass on the knowledge and skills they have learnt. This not only encourages participation in training in a positive way but shows that the Club values training and this is an important step in changing a Club culture which is less than enthusiastic about the importance of training.
View other relevant posts in this Bushwalk Leadership Series
This article by Bush Walker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.