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A brute kills for pleasure. A fool kills from hate.

Robert A. Heinlein

Rogaine Training

This program has to potential to be the bulk of your entire winter program. Most of the training here will carry over into other outdoor areas. Some of the training may already have been covered from the rest of your program.

As a winter activity it has a lot going for it. You are in pretty constant motion, so getting cold isn't as likely. If you are proficient at winter camping there is no reason this can't be a whole weekend event. Arrive Friday evening. Run a race that spans Saturday and Sunday, witn a mandatory stop from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. Finish at 2 p.m. on Sunday. Race Marshall can do the tally while teams break camp.

I've attempted to do a brain dump of everything I've done or tried. Unlike the Manager's Handbook, this is my first attempt at getting it all in one place. It shows. Drop me a line at rogaine@sherwoods-forests.com if you want to know when I've done significant updates. This will likely be changing fairly fast through the remainder of 2009. Suggestions are always welcome.

Some of the activities can be done indoors. A few are much easier indoors. The rest can and should be done outside. All in all you can do a first rate job of training in about 30 hours. If you are a scout group or cadet corp, the inside stuff can be done as part of your weekly meetings. The outside stuff is a jam packed weekend, or better a weekend and a day.

The leadership stuff can be taught just to the leaders. This reduces the time required for the main training program. Also, separating the team leaders from the rest of the team for some activities marks them as special. You will get some regular members aspiring to leadership positions by doing this. Doing this however makes your scheduling more complicated.

Try to do the outside stuff in Fall, not winter. There's a lot of start and stop, a lot of standing around. Done in winter, this makes for cold fingers and noses. If you have to run training in cold or wet weather, be ready for it to take longer, do the lecture/demos by the fire.

If 30 hours is totally out of reach, you can reduce this for the participants and train just the leaders. The first few races then are run as training exercises. This doesn't work nearly as well.

The goal of this training program is two fold:

Outdoor training with teens is much like it is for sports. The kids aren't nearly as keen about the practice and drills as they are about playing. If done well, however many of the sessions incorporate a micro game. These games should be structured at two levels:

The first year you run this, almost all of your people will be beginners.
After running the program for a couple of years, you will find wide variation in skill levels. Experienced people will be bored with the same-old same old.

There are several answers to this:
1. Either run several training strands for different experience levels 2. Use your experienced people to help train the new guys. 3. While the training is the same, have easy and hard exercises for the practice.

You will probably implement a combination of the above.

In an established program you are teaching to a bunch of different groups who need different parts of the training. There is not a problem with teaching everything to everyone, but you may find that first year participants are a bit overwhelmed by the stuff for the captains.

First year participants tend to fold their map, put it in their pocket for the day. For them the fun is in being the guy who spots the control, climbing the cliff or tree to read it, participating in the stunts.
I call these guys 'runners' as in messanger runners. This doesn't mean they shouldn't get map training. But don't be surprised by maps in pockets.

This is one reason we settled on four players per team. It gives two pairs for searches. It maximizes the number of leaders and navigators trained. It gives beginners something to come back for the following season.

The team has two leadership roles: Captain, and Navigator. In an ideal world a captain is in his third year, and has one previous year's experience as a navigator. The navigator has a year as a runner. I lump them together for training purposes. Many navigators will be captains, and exposure to the leadership training won't hurt. It will at least let them know what the captain is trying to do. And Captains won't be hurt by reviewing navigation skills.

I have seen exceptional students take on both the Captain and the Navigator role. One did it well. He was brilliant, with a lightning grasp of maps, spatial relationships and numbers, and was a regional class track athlete too. And he struggled with it. Most who have attempted to do this have done badly at it. I regard these as my failures in the training program.

There is too much happening on a fast moving team for one person to do it all. If the captain is doing his own navigation, generally he's not considering how his plans need to change as the day goes on, he's not managing his team to best advantage, he's not monitoring the safety of his team. The result is a mix of:

At St. John's, we have made a distinction between captain and leader.
The captain is responsible for the competitive action of the team.
He's the one who gives directions. The leader is responsible for the overall safety of the group. He will step in if the group is about to do something dumb. He is also a mentor to the captain. In essence he combines the role of safety supervisor, coach, teacher, counselor, advisor, and referee.

Through most of these documents leader refers to an adult, or very competent kid who acts in the above multitask role. Leaders (plural) refers to all three roles: Captain, Navigator and leader/mentor.

If you choose to emulate this component, this group will need some additional training. If you choose to combine the role of captain and leader, then you need to more stringent about the captain's mastery of his training.

In general a junior participant needs to be able to take care of himself, needs to monitor where the group is. If you implement tight control clusters it's to the team's advantage that he be able to follow a compass bearing and pace reliably.

Navigators need the full set of map and compass skills. Captains should also have this set, but don't have to be as good. Most captains can also use training in leadership skills.

Captains and navigators need training in time managment.

Leaders have to have safety mindset foremost, be a good enough navigator to track current position.

The entire team needs to be fit. Indeed. we had one alumni team that did a clean sweep (all controls) not because they were really good, but because they ran everywhere all day long.

Support roles:

Mapmakers need instruction in using MapMaker Pro, or other software and probably instruction in using GPS. While it is possible to self teach this stuff, for most of it you really want everyone doing it the same way.