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Organizer Training Process


Without Trip Organizers, OOPS cannot run trips! Organizers are essential to our club. Becoming an OOPS Trip Organizer is a 4-step process, and everyone is encouraged to consider being an organizer. You can read the details of each step below as well as some alternatives in the Notes section.

The 4 steps are:

  1. Express Interest
  2. Take the OOPS Training Class series
  3. Lead a minimum of 3 Mentored Paddles
  4. OOPS Board votes for you to be a Full Organizer

Detailed Process:

1. Express interest by contacting

2. Participate in Training Classes (see alternative option below under “Notes”)

Throughout the classes, the TO Training instructor, Trips and Education Board members, and mentors will take notes about the TO candidate for use with the Board review process. (This training is for leading Level 1 and Level 2 paddles according to the OOPS Trip Rating System).

1. A paddler development class (the slides can be found on our Documents page = Documents, Organizer/Trip Planning Resource: Paddler Development Workshop slides).

  • Topics covered include how OOPS maintains its insurance, how to post and report on trips, trip planning, group and incident management, trip levels, how to research conditions found during a paddle, safety and risk assessment, and dealing with medical issues.

2. A trip planning exercise that is held over e-mail before the risk management class.

  • Participants will research and propose a trip that will then be critiqued by the group.

3. A day-long on-water rescues class.

  • Topics covered include cold water survival, rescue priorities, paddle management, 1 and 2 rescuer T and scoop rescues, Hand-of-God rescues, using a paddle float, all-in rescues, contact towing, and emptying a flooded hatch.

4. A day-long on-water group management class

  • Topics covered include delegation, things to check when getting on the water, tools to fix on-water problems, building a group, managing challenging paddlers, where to paddle in the group as a leader, towing a casualty at speed, assessing paddlers, practicing rescues, hypothermia, lightning, and techniques to keep paddlers together.

3. Lead at least 3 mentored paddles.

  • Additional paddles may be necessary to ensure the candidate is ready for leadership.
  • What is a mentored paddle?
    • The Trip Organizer (TO) candidate must plan and write the proposal for a trip, and then review it with their mentor before posting. Candidates are trained to lead both Level 1and Level 2 trips, therefore, the trips submitted should be level 2 paddles or a combination of level 1 and level 2 paddles. Of the mentored paddles approved for TO Status, at least two must be level 2. At least one of the mentored paddles approved for TO Status must have a minimum of 8 participants (TO’s and non-TO members).
    • The TO candidate must take a leadership role during the paddle (including the pre-trip briefing using the pre-trip Checklist), accompanied by a mentor who will fulfill the full duties of a mentor (below) and a co-organizer.
    • The TO candidate must write a detailed post-trip report and then review it with their mentor before posting. If the candidate’s assessment of the trip is deemed insufficient by the mentor or a board member, the candidate will be asked to re-submit their post trip report.
  • Who can be a mentor? (Mentor Qualifications)
    • Experienced and active TOs who are good at self-assessment, assessing others, and leadership.
    • Current and active TOs who write detailed and informative post-trip reports, and turn them in within a week of the trip.
    • TOs who are willing to debrief the candidate right after the completion of the paddle.
  • What are mentor duties?
    • Mentors help the TO candidate successfully plan, execute, and follow up on their trip.
    • Mentors assess the candidate’s ability to properly self-evaluate their skill set and weaknesses.
    • Mentors debrief with the candidate immediately after the trip.
    • Mentors write their own trip report where they answer the questions below about the candidate and note any issues of importance that happened during the paddle which need to be shared (in particular, good or worrying issues that should be followed up on by later mentors).
  • The Board gets copied on all trip reports, so they will see these and presumably ask follow-up questions if they see something that concerns them.
  • Helping mentors be successful
    • When a mentored trip is proposed, the Trips Board member should contact the mentor and remind them to answer the following questions in their trip report:
      • What were your impressions of the TO Candidate?
      • Are there issues (skills, leadership style, preparedness, etc.) that need to be addressed?
      • Is the candidate able to be an effective leader? Why or why not?
      • Is the candidate ready to lead on their own? Why or why not?
      • What additional training/mentoring does the candidate think they need? Do you agree with their self-assessment?
    • The Trips Board member should contact the mentor after the trip and make sure they file a trip report that answers these questions.
    • The Trips Board member will track and encourage candidates to complete three or more mentored paddles within 6 months upon completion of their on-water training. If a TO candidate is unable to complete their mentored paddles within the expected time frame the TO committee will evaluate their circumstances and develop a plan for completion.
  • Duties of the Trips Board Member
    • Remind mentors that they need to file a separate trip report.
    • Provide additional feedback to TO candidates as needed.
    • Make it clear to the candidate when they need to do more than the three mentored paddles to complete TO training.
    • Keep trip reports submitted by candidates and mentors throughout the mentoring and approval process.

4. Board votes to make you a full organizer

After leading at least 3 mentored trips, the TO Committee discusses the candidate based on the feedback from the TO Instructor trainer, the Education and Trips Board members, and the candidate’s mentors to decide whether the candidate is ready to move to full organizer status, or if more mentored paddles are needed (this can be communicated by e-mail or in-person).

  • When the TO Committee thinks a candidate is ready to be nominated as a full Trip Organizer, they present their recommendation and a summary of the candidate’s mentor feedback for a Board vote.
  • The recommendation includes feedback about the candidate gathered during the initial classes, and any feedback received about the candidate during the mentored paddles.
  • When the Board approves the candidate to full Organizer status, the Trips Board Member sends a “Congratulations you are now a full Organizer” letter to the candidate from the Board.

Congratulations! You are now a Trip Organizer!

Maintaining TO Active Status:

  • Trip Organizers (TOs) are expected to continually self-assess and keep skills current. This includes taking classes, working with more experienced organizers/paddlers, etc… to keep growing their skill set, especially in areas where they feel weak.
  • Lead in environments one level below their skill level so that they have some margin of safety should conditions worsen or there is an incident in conditions. Trip Organizers are authorized to lead Level 1 – 2 trips.
  • To keep a status of "active" the TO needs to submit and lead at least two single-day trips per year as the primary organizer. Exceptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the TO committee.
  • Trip organizers who have lost their active status will be required to lead at least 3 mentored trips and retake TO training classes as deemed appropriate by the TO Committee.
  • Members who have concerns about a trip organizer should communicate to the TO Committee (


  • Alternatives to OOPS Training Classes: Trip Organizer on-water Training Classes can be skipped if the candidate has completed internationally recognized training such as ACA Level 2: Essentials of Kayak Touring Trip Leader or BC Paddlesport Touring Leader training, although this training must also be supplemented by instruction on OOPS-specific topics such maintaining our insurance, submitting trips and reporting on completed trips, etc., and successfully completing at least three mentored paddles.
  • For information on how to become as Advanced TO: Please see the Activity Policy under our Documents page.
  • For additional details: Please see the Activity Policy under our Documents page
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