Educational Program News
Welcome to winter in the northeast – rain, snow, rain, ice, rain, wind, snowmageddon, or nothing. Despite our winter weather situation, the Eastern Division has delivered multiple education programs for our members with more still available. MTR programs were available in November and December. Multiple patroller schools have been held since January throughout the Division, including Sugarloaf, Elk, Killington, Plattekill, and Seven Springs. A snowboard/tele-specific event was held at Waterville Valley as well. Gore will be hosting an upcoming patroller school at the end of February. Women’s clinics have been embedded in many of the patroller schools which have been very well attended.
The Outdoor Emergency Care Module of the Senior Program (OEC MSP) has been updated and reinvented to reflect more of a training program that provides growth in the area of Leadership, Decision Making and Problem Management (LDP). Once you have demonstrated mastery in your OEC skills, the patroller moves onto clinics that will focus on the objectives of LDP. The scenarios you will work with are designed to help focus your growth, more concise problem solving leading to quicker decision making, and better leadership.
Each season, at the beginning of December the Outdoor Emergency Transportation (OET) Program gathers OET staff members from across the Eastern Division for a weekend focused on leadership and professional development. This year’s conference was aptly named, Building Great Instructors. So, what makes an instructor great? The International Olympic Committee summarized it well.
Watch Western Appalachian Region YAP Advisor, Anna Hermann, as she interviews Hidden Valley Ski Patrol YAP Gracie Gonzalez about her experiences at last years 2023 Eastern Division YAP Summit held at Smugglers’ Notch. Gracie talked about what inspired her to become a patroller, what a wonderful learning experience the division YAP event was, and how it affected her growth as a young patroller and as a young adult. Gracie was the first YAP to receive the James Slattery Award.
The Avalanche team is attempting to work within our winter schedule. If you have not noticed, we have lost a week or two at the end of our season. The snowpack is not as deep as it once was. We also have an increasing population that is heading into the backcountry and our programs are requiring more avalanche training.
So our team is trying something new – a mid-week program at Smugglers’ Notch. We have no idea if this will work for our members, but we have had several requests for it. So you asked and we
Do you want to be an instructor, or know someone else who does? We in the Eastern Division are always looking for good instructors. The process is not difficult but can seem confusing to many patrollers. Becoming an instructor consists of taking the Instructor Development Course (see below) and mentoring with a qualified instructor in the discipline you want to teach. The disciplines include Outdoor Emergency Care, Outdoor Emergency Transportation, Avalanche, Mountain Travel & Rescue, Bike Patrol, and even Instructor Development itself. The mentoring phase is a very important part of the process of becoming an instructor. You will learn valuable tips and techniques for making your lessons impactful and successful.
The 2024 Patroller School schedule has been posted on the Eastern Division’s EVENT website, along with many other training events. Please use it to find division-based educational events. The four programs that actively utilize Patroller School are:
The concept of offering high-level training opportunities taught by Division staff Instructors originated with Outdoor Emergency Transportation (OET) twenty years ago
The first article of the season for the Certified team is an opportunity for the newest members to thank all who have helped, influenced, and driven their hard work and determination. Certified has a three-year completion window, so hard work is mandatory, travel is necessary, and help is always appreciated.
Each year, I have the pleasure of presenting newly minted Certified members their pins and numbers. This takes place at the end of the annual exam at our banquet. This past season, the Certified team added two new members to our ranks: Kevin Hartka, #859, and Jessie Miller, #860.
Of note – Jessie Miller #860 is a legacy Certified member; her father is Dave Ronald #171. Unfortunately, Dave is no longer with us, but the Elk Mountain Certified team members presented Jessie with her father’s pin. In addition, Jessie Miller completed her Certified candidacy in one year. It has been 27 years since the team has had a member complete all components in one season.
It had been five years since I first sat at a seat at the certified annual banquet dinner. Five years since I entered into the certified program, drawn to the group of passionate patrollers and their camaraderie, and this was my third and last test year.
It was a long road of hard studying, training, and stressful, sleepless nights, broken by two years of COVID cancelations that stole my wind and faded my memories of my first year such that my second felt much like my first. But this was it; it all came down to this last year. I had to make it happen.
Though I felt well prepared and anxious to complete the three modules I had left, the thought of going down that road again began to feel awfully daunting.
Growing up in a patrol family, first on, last off is what we did. I first heard the phrase “train to be above the bar” as a child, listening to my dad’s conversations about Ski and Toboggan training. Later I heard it as a patroller preparing for my own Senior and Trainer Evaluator exams. As I considered the goal of Certified, I knew the bar would be higher; I would need to train harder than ever to be above it. I also knew this would also be an emotional journey for me. Although my dad, Dave Ronald Certified #171, has been gone for more than 20 years, his coaching and mentorship left a lasting impact on many patrollers; quite the legacy to follow.
I set out on a mission…