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College Outdoors

Tools for Leaders

Leaders use a variety of resources to facilitate constructive conversations among leader staff and participants. Here are a couple that we have found useful in our program:

Potential Causes of Accidents in Outdoor Pursuits: A Matrix (PDF)
Designed by Dan Meyer (1979) & revised by Jed Williamson (1989-2011) ©












Suggestions for use
: Before a trip, go over what potential causes could occur given the nature of your specific outing. Discuss how the occurrence of multiple factors is often what causes problems, not just one on its own. Try and raise a culture for self-awareness given that two-thirds of the causes are human related, with only one-third having something to do with the environment. After a near-miss or incident, analyze what causes were present and why. 

Two of the most common contributing human factors: people trying to make a schedule and people wanting to please others.

 Further reading: Human Attitudes that Lead to Suffering in the Backcountry, by Lester R. Zook, Eastern Mennonite University and WILD GUYde Adventures


The Expertise Model

A visual representation created by Tod Schimelpfenig & Gates Richards (see full presentation here). Use this to bring light to the importance of awareness in leadership, mastery, and risk management.