Friday, March 11, 2011

Take me to your leader

Lead from the front?

A leader is not necessarily someone who is in front as we found out last night when Richard did a presentation and lead a discussion on leadership in an outdoor setting. Its a complex topic that could be the subject of a PhD thesis and not suited for a short blog entry.

An eye opener was when we were given a 15 point personal leadership assessment we were asked to complete. We had to contemplate our own performance in given areas of leadership and what aspects we could improve.

Here is the list. Leaders have to be proficient/knowledgeable/considerate of:

1. physical fitness
2. paddle strokes and rescues
3. equipment
4. basic camping kills
5. weather
6. navigation
7. wilderness emergency procedures and treatment
8. trip planning
9. safety and risk management
10. leave no trace philosophy
11. natural and cultural history
12. communication skills
13. decision making and problem solving
14. expedition behaviour and group dynamics
15. teaching, processing and transference.

An extensive list for sure. Maybe I should add 16 as "can walk on water"! All joking aside, a leader is more than just someone who is the best paddler or who has been paddling forever.

I can scratch off some of these items as covered or put them at the back of the line for later consideration. Some work is required, not necessarily for a leadership roll, but to become a more valuable asset to the paddle group or the broader community as a whole.


  1. I have you all beat on the "camping Kills" lmfao.

    Whats great with that list is it ties into our paddle canada discussion we had. A level 4 kayaker may be missing MANY of those things above. These things cannot be taught in a 4 day class.

  2. Lee, I wonder how strict the marking is? I've done the camping thing a few times myself, many years ago trying to get out of town ahead of the traffic to get a campsite at Gushue's Pond!

    As I'm not certified I have lots of time to work on the skills.

    Tony :-)

  3. I think the instructors try their best tony, but teaching in a "contolled" safer environment with a lack of full standardization is problematic. Infact I've seen it on courses in my current vocation. No matter how "standard" courses are they are ran by people.

    haha no tony Iwas referring to camping kills...good ol afganistan! haha

    Look forward to learning from you guys and passing anything I can onto others.