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Professional Development at the Woods

January 31, 2013 by Tim

The Winter is a season that allows for a different type of work at Bradford Woods. We continue to have programs, however,  we also take this opportunity to stay connected with the outdoor industry and provide some professional development to our staff. We feel it is important to stay at the forefront of the industry, keeping abreast of advances and changes as they occur, in order to deliver the best programming possible. Conferences are a great tool for just that.

Back in November the Adventure Education Program attended the Association for Experiential Education AEE International Conference in Madison, Wisconsin.  It provided the chance to get re-acquainted with old friends and make some new contacts as well as attend some interesting sessions on Experiential Learning.

Looking forward into the New Year, we have several conferences lined up for 2013. Melanie Wills, Director of Adventure Education, will be attending the Association for Challenge Course Technology ACCT International Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Wilderness Education Association WEA  is another organization we support. Tim Street, Director of Retreats and Client Services, will be attending the annual conference in February. Tim also sits on the board.  If anyone is planning on attending either of these conferences, we look forward to seeing you there.

Beyond conferences, we offer a large amount of training right here on property. This comes from both collaborating with external partners and from our own in-house expertise. In February each year, our instructional staff undergoes a 4 week training, which covers everything they need to know to work in the Outdoor Education Industry at Bradford Woods and beyond! Amongst other topics, we cover the theory behind experiential and adventure education, group management skills and Environmental Education curriculum. We also cover plenty of technical skills surrounding safety and set-up on both our low and high challenge courses. A large portion of our training is led by current staff members, drawing on the plethora of knowledge our organization hold. To supplement this we are also fortunate to have access to other individuals with great experience within the outdoor industry, such as Dr. Don Rogers, PhD, CTRS, ISU. Don has been helping us with staff development for many years, from facilitating staff team building experiences, to training on adapted climbing systems; he adds a great dimension to our staff development strategy. In fact, Don did his graduate school internship here at the Woods back in the day! We are happy to say Don will be joining us again for 2013 staff training.

As for certifications, Tim and Melanie are American Heart Association AHA CPR instructors and assist with teaching Wilderness First Aid WFA through SOLO Wilderness Medicine. Melanie will also be attending an American Red Cross Lifeguard Instructor course this spring to enhance what we already do. As a part of the School of Public Health-Bloomington, we take pride in being able to connect with our IU and public communities to encourage health and wellness initiatives.

This is just a small insight into some of the things we do behind the scenes to ensure we deliver the best programs possible and to stay connected in the industry.

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