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Risk Management in Outdoor and Adventure Programs Essay


Recently, people have recognized the excitement in adventurous activities. Families, students, children, and tourists across the world fulfill their leisure endeavors through activities such as hiking, mountaineering, rock climbing, and skiing among other recreational activities. It is noteworthy that most of the adventurous activities take place in the wilderness and risky areas. Therefore, the team members ought to possess great management skills. Leadership and risk management skills are some of the most essential management skills. Great leaders with competent risk management skills are necessary in every team that intends to go out for adventurous activities (Uhlik, 2006). This paper will give a stringent analysis of what is expected of outdoor adventure leadership and risk management.

Outdoor adventure leadership

An outdoor adventure leader takes the responsibility of ensuring that the trip is successful (Pigram & Jenkins, 2006). The team leaders direct, support, and coordinate all the happenings throughout the trip. The leaders ought to be alert at all times in that in case of emergencies, the leaders should respond in a swift manner. They should have all the skills and experiences to respond to urgent situations using the available resources. Team leaders should be great thinkers, who can find their own way of handling difficult matters. Some of the desired qualities of outdoor adventure leadership are as described below.

Decision making skills

Outdoor leaders ought to be great decision makers, as they have to make critical decisions in the entire adventurous exercise (Priest & Gass, 2005). The leaders have to display solid maturity in making sound decisions in the field. Moreover, the leaders have to formulate ways of entertaining the group and at the same time ensure that every member of the group is safe. Outdoor adventure leaders are proportionate with their judgments because they are responsible for any happenings in an outdoor trip. The leaders have significant personal and technical skills, which play a great role in the management and evaluation of the entire adventurous trip.

Integrity skills

A team leader should display truthfulness in every action. One of the most challenging aspects in adventure recreation is the checkout process that determines the eligibility of the members to participate in the trip. Some team leaders would be tempted to make wrong evaluations and incorporate incompetent people into a trip. A team leader should not employ any prejudice in selecting the members, who participate in the trip, especially if the outdoor adventure is so risky. A team leader should scrutinize the way in which group members handle situations and their interaction levels.

The leader will observe the alertness, ability to follow safety guidelines, punctuality, and ability to become an effective team player among other eligibility criteria. The leader should countercheck the observed items with the eligibility criteria enlisted in the evaluation forms. Essentially, the team leader should be thorough during the checkout exercise, as the selected members will determine the ability to prevent, evade, and transfer risks throughout the trip. Team leaders should not have any mercy on members, who fail the checkout, but instead they should encourage them to work hard and improve on their weak areas to qualify for subsequent trips.

Administrative skills

Team leaders ought to possess all the required administrative skills. The leaders should demonstrate the ability to navigate through an activity and determine the efficiency of an activity and the possible risks. A great administrator will be able to manage the paperwork that would be useful in any trip (Martin, Cashel, Wagstaff, & Breunig, 2006). The leader should handle the travel plans, the food purchase plans, and the accident reports among other paperwork in the course of the trip. The leader should always find time to jot down the most important notes during the trip, as the information would be very useful when writing the trip report. Whenever leaders feel overwhelmed with their responsibilities, they ought to delegate some duties to assistants, team members, and apprentices of the trip. The leaders ought to monitor every action, as they would take responsibility of the happenings on the trip. They should manage the group members, equipments, vehicles and all the money spent.

Risk management skills

The foremost item that leaders ought to consider is the safety of all the group members. The leader should have safety policies to govern the entire trip. The team leaders ought to ensure that the team members understand all the possible risks and the effective way to address them. Although all members should use their training skills to handle risks, they should also use their common senses in every action. Most importantly, outdoor adventure leaders should be brave people, who can manage risks that may arise during the adventure. The leader should have all rounded skills. In case of illnesses or injuries, the leader should have skills in providing medical care. In case of accidents like drowning, the leader should have rescuing skills. In case of conflicts between the team members, the team leader ought to be the advocate, and if the members lose their way, the team leader should be able to evacuate everyone.

Leading by example

Unlike other careers where leaders overrule their territories, outdoor adventure leadership requires the leader to be on the ground. The team leaders are role models to all the team members, who follow their steps. As team leaders direct and encourage others to operate in a safe environment, they should be operating in a similar manner. In making decisions, the team leader should inform the participants of the reason for choosing a given alternative and foregoing another. The leaders ought to provide a harmonious environment that will enable every team member to get maximum pleasure from the adventure recreation. A clear communication pathway would enable team members to speak out their concerns without fear of intimidation. Essentially, every team member should be actively involved in making the entire trip successful, as the leadership roles are shared amongst all members.

From the discussions, it is evident that outdoor adventure leaders ought to have a positive attitude in everything that they do. They ought to have a strong passion that drives them towards committing their time to come up with creative ideas that would solve a complex problem. Outdoor adventure leaders are influential people who are team players. With their love for outdoor adventures, they should be able to convince people to spend their leisure in adventure recreation activities.

Outdoor Adventurous Risk Management

All outdoor adventures are associated with some form of risk. To enjoy the pleasure and gain all the needed satisfaction of an adventure recreation, group members can work together with the leader to identify the potential risks, understand the actions that would lead to the risk, and employ behaviors that minimize the exposure to the risks (Harper & Robinson, 2005). Every member of the group ought to have some psychological preparedness of the risky incidences that are likely to occur during the adventurous journey. The risks always act as self-discovery incidences that ought to educate and harden the group for other adventures in the future. Essentially, there needs to be a specialized risk manager in every group, but the group members ought to have some skills though the following outdoor adventure risk management approaches.


Planning is very essential in every aspect of life. Planning for an adventurous recreation means that the program planner will consider all the potential risks that may occur during the adventure. Planning will determine the most suitable trainings needed for all the members, and it will determine the required safety tools and equipments. Planning will enable the involved stakeholders to seek for the necessary weather forecast information that would help greatly in preparing for the adventure recreation. In fact, if the weather forecasts depict that the recreation cite might have adverse weather conditions, the planners can postpone the event.

Specialized training

Before any group sets out for an adventure recreation, there is a need to have a clear outlay of the risks that are likely to occur. A specialist will train the group members on how to handle various hazards that may occur. The trainer subjects the group members into practical experiences, contemporary experiences, and relevant incidences and observes their responses after the training. The group members learn how to respond to risky incidences and move safely through the environment (Brown, 2008). They learn to respond to accidents, use the available resources, and employ the best skills to address the issue at hand. After several practical activities, the trainer ascertains that the group is ready to set off for the adventured recreation session.


Team leaders are very crucial in managing risks in every outdoor adventure. A team leader is a source of empowerment to all the group members (Ewert & Wu, 2007). The leader will ensure that the members are equipped with the necessary training, the necessary safety cultures, and the necessary safety tools and equipment. A leader will alert team members to be ready to share roles, and take part in making the adventure recreation successful. Most importantly, outdoor adventure leaders should be physically fit. The leaders should dress for the occasion, and have spare clothing to match with the changing weather conditions.

They should be in good shape to make swift movements in case of emergencies. Unlike the group members who may not be familiar with the recreation site, the leaders are versed with all the corners of the recreational cite. They ought to have a decisive plan that addresses the possible risks for the entire trip. Leaders should always think critically about the potential risks of every action and manage the risks appropriately. The leaders ought to use their articulate skills and common sense to ensure that the entire team is safe.

Shared risk management

As the group leaves for the adventurous journey, all members should be committed to ensuring that they are their brothers’ keepers. In case of illnesses or injuries, the affected should let others know immediately, where, the closest team member should be in a position to attend to the injury or illness. They should always ensure that all their actions portray safety. Mutual trust should be one of the strategies to adhere to, as everyone will feel safe in the presence of another group member (Blokdijk, 2007). A safety management system, safe communication, and a set of rules and regulations will minimize the risks in the entire adventure. To minimize the risks in an adventurous journey, all members should be attentive and cautious in every action.


The planners should work together with the leaders to ensure that everyone is set for the trip. Most importantly, the leaders should ensure that they formulate a standard team leader to participant ratio (Attarian, 2012). A hiking trip, for example, should have a leader to participant ratio of 1:5, whereas, a mountain biking trip leader can coordinate up to eight participants. With a manageable number of group members, the team leader can manage risks effectively. Before setting out for any adventurous journey, the risk specialist should ensure that every group member is equipped with the necessary safety tools and equipments (Barton, 2007). First aid kits, for example, will be essential in case a group member has some medical condition, while the compass map will help in finding the route to the intended destination. Water will eradicate dehydration issues, and most importantly, a phone will help in making an emergency call to have the emergency team responding to a fatal injury or illness.

From the discussions, it is evident that there are various risks in an adventurous recreation. The various emergencies would involve allergies, injuries, lightening strikes, snake bites, excessive heat, fainting, drowning, and loss of a member among other infinite risky incidences that depend on the nature of the adventure. The group members ought to work together with the team leader and the risk specialist to address the risks in a convenient manner.


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Barton, B. (2007). Safety, risk, and adventure in outdoor activities. London: Sage Publications Limited. Web.

Blokdijk, G. (2007). Risk management 100 success secrets. Raleigh, NC: Lulu.com. Web.

Brown, T. J. (2008). Risk management: research needs and status report. Journal of Experiential Education, 21(2), 71-85. Web.

Ewert, A., & Wu, G. (2007). Two faces of outdoor adventure leadership: Educational adventure programs and guided trips. Journal of the Wilderness Education Association, 19(1), 12-18. Web.

Harper, N., & Robinson, D.W. (2005). Outdoor adventure risk management: Curriculum design principles from industry and educational experts. Journal of Adventure Education & Outdoor Learning 5(2), 145-158. Web.

Martin, B., Cashel, C., Wagstaff, M., & Breunig, M. (2006). Outdoor leadership: Theory and practice. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics. Web.

Pigram, J. & Jenkins, J. (2006). Outdoor recreation management. New York: Routledge. Web.

Priest, S., & Gass, M. A. (2005). Effective leadership in adventure programming. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics. Web.

Uhlik, K. S. (2006). The “nature” of leadership philosophy in outdoor and adventure education: Partnership or predation. Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning, 6(2), 135-142. Web.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Risk Management in Outdoor and Adventure Programs." June 5, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/risk-management-in-outdoor-and-adventure-programs/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'Risk Management in Outdoor and Adventure Programs'. 5 June.

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