Further Education of Guides: Stalling or Flying?

   I was talking to a river pard the other day about learning to fly a plane. We talked about what causes a plane to stall. “It’s an awful feeling”, he said. “The plane kind of shudders and jerks and well, stops flying. If you don’t do something, it starts to fall out of the sky!” “Wow,” I dumbly said, “I guess stalling is really important to learn about.” “Uhh...yep”.

   Some guides are worried about this. After mentioning the possibility of a credential in the last issue of the news (Professional Guide Workshop), some folks conjured up images of more requirements and tests and bureaucratic nonsense. One guide stated that “we aren’t academics, that’s not what we do”. So, now what?

   Well, we’ve also heard a lot of encouraging words to continue building an educational program that goes beyond the yearly Guides Training Seminar. The idea is that the GTS, as superlative as it is, only reaches the relatively few guides who can manage to get there. The excellent speakers and spontaneity of the event will continue to be a treasured event. But, the GTS is designed to cover a wide smattering of topics relatively lightly. I mean, its a great hit; but what can we do for guides who really want to sink their teeth into a particular topic? And, how can those guides link into a network of others with similar interests? How can we more effectively share the tremendous wealth of experience out there on interpretation tricks?

   We’re presently assembling a questionnaire with a few such pertinent questions on this topic. When you get it in the mail, please think and respond. And plan on helping us get something rolling at the Fall Meeting in Moab.

   Canyonlands Field Institute in Moab is interested in working with us to help establish a guide training program using their expertise in outdoor experiential education. They’ve volunteered to put on a special edition of their Endangered Fish of the Colorado River workshop in conjunction with the fall GCRG meeting. It will take place on Sunday afternoon, Nov. 14 in Moab after the GCRG Meeting.

   It’s mid July on the Plateau. The desert air has a different smell. Could it be the monsoon? If I was flying a plane up there right now, I’d want to know all about stalling. Don’t forget what we stand for: “setting the highest standards...”, “... the best possible river experience” and all that good stuff.

Andre Potochnik