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Planning A Successful High Adventure Trek. Cooper Wright Venturing Crew 1519. Why do ‘Em?. High adventure treks are sought by older youth They challenge and inspire both youth and adults They grow better leaders and build better units. Trek Components. Crew. Logistics. Paperwork.

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Planning A Successful High Adventure Trek

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Planning a successful high adventure trek l.jpg

Planning A Successful High Adventure Trek

Cooper Wright

Venturing Crew 1519

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Why do ‘Em?

  • High adventure treks are sought by older youth

  • They challenge and inspire both youth and adults

  • They grow better leaders and build better units

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Trek Components




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Physical Ability & Emotional Maturity

  • Match the adventure to the group

    • Set challenging, but realistic goals

  • Set physical standards

    • Conduct crew training (shakedowns)

    • Pay particular attention to adults

  • Physically/emotionally unable crew members will ruin the crew’s experience

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  • First Aid

    • ARC Standard & CPR (minimum)

    • Wilderness First Aid (WFA, SOLO)

  • Leave No Trace

  • Specialized training

    • Safe Swim Defense, Safety Afloat

    • Climb On Safely

    • Trek Safely

    • Youth Protection Training (mandatory for advisors)

    • Back Country Outdoor Leader Skills

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Crew Concept

  • Crew size

    • Can range from 4-12 people; 5-8 is ideal

    • May be dictated by the backcountry management area’s rules

  • BSA’s Adult Leadership Policy

    • One advisor 21, second advisor at least 18

    • Co-ed crews: At least one male and one female leader, 21 years old or older

    • Three advisors recommended

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Crew Concept, cont’d

  • The Crew Leader leads

    • Organizes the crew (may have Ass’t and QM)

    • Develops the duty roster

    • Seeks consensus from crew, but makes decisions

  • The Crew Advisor advises

    • With the crew leader, develops the training program for backcountry skills and building crew unity

    • Should only step in when there is a health or safety issue

    • Daily “one-on-one” with Crew Leader

  • Build crew unity by e.g., designing a distinctive crew shirt

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  • Develop crew dynamics and unity, teach skills, and build physical and emotional stamina

  • Train at home prior to shakedowns, then practice what you have learned in the backcountry

  • Build in duration and difficulty

  • Insist on full participation right from the start

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  • Use crew/individual equipment checklists

    • Work with your outfitter – planes, equipment, shuttles, times, dates, prices

    • Check all gear, especially personal gear before ever going out

    • Learn to do with minimum; think multi-purpose

  • Teach safe operation of all crew equipment

    • Stoves, water purification/pumps, bear bags

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  • Develop tasty, easy to prepare, high energy meals

    • Good food feeds good crew morale

    • Teach proper food handling, preparation and disposal

    • Try out trek foods during training to identify likes/dislikes, and determine amounts needed

    • Use a detailed food buying list

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Trail Guides and Maps

  • Check with backcountry management area for latest maps and guides

  • Be sure to carry at least two sets of maps

    • Waterproof

    • Put emergency/accident form on back

  • Rotate crew navigator (rotate daily)

    • Responsible for preparing Time Control Plan

    • Briefs the entire crew before hitting the trail

    • Navigates for crew with makes decisions with crew input, guidance from Advisor

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Trek Plan

  • Written document that includes

    • goals of the trek

    • transportation and route to the trail heads

    • Time Control Plan for the trek

    • required permits

    • crew members including any special qualifications

    • first aid and personal medication requirements

    • specialized training requirements

    • personal and crew equipment and food

    • emergency phone numbers

    • bailout plan

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Trek Plan, cont’d

  • Is more than a Tour Permit!

  • Is shared with all the parents

  • Is left with one responsible adult at home who is designated as the Emergency Contact Person who is available to be called by the adult advisors while on the trip or parents at home

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Transportation Plan

  • Start early - plane tickets, van rentals, etc.

  • Weighs options - time, expense, etc. against car, van, plane etc.

  • If going by car

    • Limited to no more than 10 hours per day of driving

    • Recommend having two adults per vehicle to drive

    • Cars should be mechanically checked & safe

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Transportation Plan, cont’d

  • Consider for overnight lodging

    • Military bases

    • BSA Council camps

    • Federal, state and local parks

    • Youth hostels

    • Churches

    • YMCAs

  • Be sure to thank your hosts when you get home

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Trek Budget

  • Developed by the advisors and shared with the crew’s parents and committee

    • Transportation

    • Lodging

    • Meals enroute and on the trail

    • Training

    • Use fees

    • Insurance

    • Equipment purchase or rental

    • Side trips and tours

    • Crew shirts

    • Contingency

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  • National (or local) BSA tour permit required

  • Backcountry permits required for most land management areas

    • Define size of group, camping locations, food storage procedures, emergency POCs

    • Requires early coordination with backcountry management agencies

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  • High adventure activities require Class III physicals completed within 12 months preceding the activity

  • Advisors must be aware of all existing preconditions and medications for all crew members

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Consent Forms & Insurance

  • Develop a consent form specifically designed to cover the activity

    • Include a duration, locations, and expected activities

    • Have permission or not to administer OTC drugs

  • Carry copies of all medicals, insurance forms, and consent forms with you at all times (training & trek)

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Other Things to Consider

  • Activity briefing/open house

  • Parents and crew meetings

    • An early parents’ meeting helps “get everyone on the same page”

  • Fund raising activities

  • Communications (newsletter, email, etc.)

  • Social activities

  • Crew photography

  • Crew log

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  • National BSA Website

    • Passport to High Adventure –

    • Discover Adventure Directory of Council Operated High Adventure Bases –

    • Leave No Trace -

    • Teaching Leave No Trace –

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  • US Scouting Service Project

    • High Adventure –

    • High Adventure links –

    • E-mail Discussion Lists (Canoe, Philmont, Seabase, Treks)–

    • Guide to Safe Scouting –

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  • Philmont Advisor’s Guide

  • Back Country Outdoor Leader Skills Training (replaces V3LOT)

    • April 3, April 10, April 27-28 2003

  • NCAC’s High Adventure Committee Training

    • March 22, 2003

  • Other Advisors

  • Login