Professional leadership in outdoor activities rests on a high level of skills, ethical behaviour, safety awareness, the ability to cope with emergencies, and business sense. Our mission at Adventure Standards Africa is to raise the performance of adventure guides and operators who have in the past had little guidance. It was fine to learn by doing but there have been mistakes and disasters, costing lives and damaging the industry we serve.
Here are some principles that we stress in all our mentoring and assessing.
Go properly prepared and equipped. Learn to handle others in the outdoors, avoiding reckless behaviour and leading by example. The entire adventure outfit – from guides and managers to drivers and cooks – needs to adhere to a safety culture. Well-run adventures avoid the chain of errors, by several personnel, that usually combine to produce accidents.
Life in the wilderness demands that you appreciate your natural surroundings and impart this love to others. The ethic is one of conservation, aiming to minimise impact. Overtourism exploits nature and turns the environment into an artificial Disneyland. “Let no-one say and say it to your shame / That all was beauty here until you came”.
Duty of care
Treat clients with respect and keep them out of harm’s way as far as possible. Adventure does imply risk. Risk, however, must be limited by assessing what can go wrong and taking steps to mitigate the hazards. Deal with the psychological and physiological needs of those who tackle adventures by leading with authority and maintaining safe practices.
Master the skills
It should go without saying that adventure guides must be experts at what they do. Don’t chance it, get the skills and activate your spirit to face the unexpected. Activities are different, so you need a range of skills sets to be a working professional. Seasonal changes mean that rivers run high or dry at different times of the year: so qualify in mountain biking, not just rafting.
Challenge by choice
Adventure is “Challenge by Choice”. This is an educational concept because it means that individuals can choose – without being controlled by supervisors – the level of challenge that makes for optimum learning. People empower themselves in the outdoors by reaching for goals that help them togrow during the experience.
South Africa is a wonderful adventure playground and we welcome all comers to learn from our seasoned trainers and mentors. Those who emerge from this country are in demand worldwide due to our exposure to nature in the raw, which develops robust leaders with strong competencies.
Our mission is to help you grow and give you the tools to become a competent and confident professional.