Working at a Christian summer camp means that we get to take people on fun and exciting adventures out in the natural playground God has created! Climbing rocks, hiking through canyons and creeks, and the fun of rafting on the river allows us to see different parts of God’s creation that we normally wouldn’t see. However, because we get to go to these hidden wonders, there are some risks going into it. Whether it is guiding a boat or leading people and keeping watch, it requires safety training and experience. That’s why all of our guides have to go through multiple training courses and get certified to know what to do in case of emergency. We need to know what to do when something goes wrong, so our staff take these courses focusing on giving us skills to make good decisions when an emergency comes up with our wilderness setting.
All guides no matter their camp level of leadership, have to go through a life guarding course, CPR course, and a wilderness first aid course, also known as a WFA. This is a course that focuses on fine tuning the skills necessary for outdoor emergencies. These emergencies are/can be in an environment with limited access to medical supplies, to communicate, and to transportation. What we have is what we have to work with until we can safely bring the individual to an area accessible for transportation or until help can come to us. Not only do medical emergencies need to be considered, but trauma and environmental emergencies are prevalent as well. Through the WFA course, we learn how to deal with cleaning various types of wouds, improvising with what is available for making splints, different types of allergies and toxins, as well as how to get out of the wilderness and evacuate to a safer location for the hurt. We learn how to approach the patient and to assess them to find what is wrong and how to help without putting the patient into a worse state. These are some of the main topics that are covered throughout the course. Considering our name, Rock-N-Water, we are working with situations in the water as well and what the potential emergencies could be.
Our lifeguard training starts with the important question to ask, “Can they swim?” The most important thing with being in the water is making sure you know who can and can’t swim. While we do watch out and keep an eye on everyone, it is better to know who needs that extra attention and placing them appropriately, meaning keeping them next to the guide in the raft and a non swimmer being with a strong swimmer. The next step is what to do when someone is unable to keep themselves above the water. Not only do e need to be good swimmers for ourselves, but for others as well because in that situation we need to be able to bring them back to safety. If someone were drowning, it is important to stay safe yourself because otherwise you can’t help either, meaning not allowing them to push you down to get up for air themselves. The lifeguard training is very important because it could prevent the need for CPR. We have CPR training as well for not just adults, but children as well. In the need for resuscitation, we know how to safely and purposefully work at saving someone as well as how to use the equipment if needed. All of this is required for any staff member to go through every two years so that we all are attentive of how to prevent emergencies and what to do in the case of them.
While everyone has to go through the previous training courses, those in higher leadership on adventures have to go through a longer, more thorough training course. Its one of the most intensive courses on wilderness emergencies and its called the WFR, Wilderness First Responder. This course includes extensive knowledge on traumatic, environmental, and medical emergencies. It is over a week long course that includes learning about the human anatomy and physiology sot that they know how the body works and what it needs during these emergencies. This course is required of all senior guides and ezers, which is the term we call the head guide in charge of everything throughout an adventure. Our ezers are trained in the classroom learning, practicing out different kinds of scenarios, working in the lab, and a rescues simulation during the night. Our lead guides are prepared for the uncertainty that comes with each adventure and what to do in each situation.
The guides at Rock-N-Water are equipped with the tools necessary for safely guiding others through adventures no matter what our campers capability level is. So don’t worry Moms, Dads, and youth leaders, we have your child’s safety at the top of our priority list!