Program staff hone outdoor skills in Strathcona Provincial Park
“From rolling kayaks, to rescuing participants and towing them, to reviewing flares, EpiPens and tick removal, we cover a lot of the ‘what if’ scenarios,” says Jason Cole, Director of Programs. “Spring training is an opportunity to tap into that collective wisdom of program staff. It is about integrating new staff into the Power To Be way, fostering team cohesion and enhancing the training and instruction of our current team.”
After spending a night at Strathcona Park Lodge, staff set out in kayaks and a canoe to a campsite just below Titus Mountain. Interwoven between travel and camp life, each person had the opportunity to facilitate a workshop and train their peers.
“We actually had to do it, instead of just listening,” says Carolyn Macdonald, Community Development Coordinator. “For someone who gets out on program less often than our key facilitators, I learned tenfold. Everyday I was learning and everyday I was growing. Having to teach made us all learn so much more.”
Training as a group is critical, Jason adds. “Having everyone light a fire a particular way, even though you may like to do it a different way, means the participants are seeing a consistent way to do things and that really helps with their skill retention. That is why we have this training – to bring all these different experiences together, but set everyone on a common page so we can help transfer those skills to our clients with consistency and standardization in their lessons.”
In addition to enhancing their outdoor knowledge and skillsets, the staff was able to connect as a team. Simon Parr, Curriculum Coordinator, says the trip atmosphere is best summed up by a day they had.
“It was pouring rain and had been for the past two days,” Simon says. “Everyone climbed out of a wet tent and put on their wet paddling gear in preparation for a day of rescues out on the water. We had three teams flipping boats. We capsized the big voyager canoe, we capsized kayaks and we were rescuing each other. You’d think that would make most people pretty miserable: being wet for a few days and then falling into cold water. But all around you could hear laughter. There even were people singing. Everyone was just stoked. People were happy being in the middle of nowhere, getting soaking wet and getting dunked into a lake.”
“It was really a testament to the character of people that Power To Be staff are,” Jason says.
Feedback from participants tells Power To Be that the people on program are as much of a draw as the activities. That is why the organization believes that investing in staff training is a way to strengthen its team.
“To work for an organization that sees the values of training and really investing in their people, it makes you feel good that you are going into program not only with skill yourself, but knowing that people around you also have that same level of skill and training,” Simon says.
“Our role is to keep people safe,” Carolyn says. “The more you invest in those that are running the programs, the better the programs are going to be.”
Power To Be would like to thank Simon and Sarah Glenn, Logistics Coordinator, for planning this year’s training. We welcome summer program facilitators Allison Hallett, Allison Nassichuk, Jeremy Field and Tracey Proverbs and program support specialists Jen Boot and Kendal Gerus to our team. We would also like to express our gratitude to Strathcona Park Lodge for hosting our program staff.