With spring approaching and thoughts starting to switch to paddling, it becomes time to think about the summer at Zoar Outdoor. Every year during the last weekend in March, the majority of Zoar Outdoor’s staff returns to the area for Returning Staff Training. Each year, this weekend is an opportunity for staff to reconnect, shake off the rust, get some time on the water and hopefully learn some new tricks and skills.
The training usually starts off with a little bit of socializing. After catching up with the rest of the staff, everyone gets some updates on what is new at Zoar for the season. Then we break up by department. In the instruction department, we started off with some introductions and got to know the instructors who will be joining our staff this season. The rest of the morning was spent looking at various educational theories and how we can incorporate them into our programs. We talked about ways to teach skills differently and how we can improve the experience for our students. There was lots of knowledge being shared and hopefully everyone picked up some new tricks and some new ideas to work with. I know I definitely have some new ideas for this summer.
In the afternoon we focused on rescue techniques. We set up 3 stations, each focused on a different skill. The staff was split into 3 groups that rotated through each station getting a refresher on various rescue techniques. Bruce Saxman and I ran a station focused on knots for rescues. We teach everyone how to tie some of the knots that are likely to be helpful in a rescue. It was fun getting to work with all the staff.
Saturday night, the staff does a big pizza dinner before heading over to Shelburne Falls to do some bowling. This is always a great time and provides plenty of opportunities to catch up with everyone. On Sunday the staff is divided up by department. For Instruction, this is an opportunity to get back in a boat and to shake off the rust as well as share tips and tricks and have a great time.
Returning Staff Training is always a great weekend and helps get everyone prepared for another great summer at Zoar Outdoor.