Skill Badges SD312/313/415
Skill Badges: Documents skills (not courses) Mountaineers members have gained through Mountaineers courses OR that have been demonstrated to and vetted by Mountaineers Leaders.
How do skills interact with courses?
• Students can see what skills a course teaches
• Instructors can see what skills students have, and allow them to miss certain field trips if students already have those skills (at the instructor’s discretion)
• Skill badges help expedite equivalency, or negate the need for equivalency.
How do skills interact with trips?
• Trips can add more detail to prerequisites. Students will be able to participate in Alpine Rock Climbs before completing the basic climbing course or the crevasse rescue portion of the basic climbing course because they will have met the rock prerequisites
• Skill conditioners can add detail to prerequisites
What will skill badges NOT do?
• Skill badges will not automatically graduate a student from a course
The idea behind skill badges is this
• Prerequisites for both courses and activities will be able to use the “and/or” function. So, for example, a climb of The Tooth could have as prerequisites “(Basic Climbing Course) OR (Belay Skill AND Belay Escape Skill AND Snow Travel Skill AND Rappel Skill)”. A climb of Baker could have as prerequisites “(Basic Climbing Course) OR (Glacier Travel Course)”. This both
o Reduces the risk of someone not qualified signing up for a trip
o Increases the ability of qualified people to sign up for trips without extra work on the leader’s behalf
o Allows specialty programs like the popular skill conditioners to ensure safe leadership because they require a unique combination of skills. More people would be able to list skill conditioners because they would not need to be hand-vetted by the leader
• Skill badges can be set up to automate when someone finishes a field trip. This increases transparency and helps all instructors ensure student safety. For example, the Belay Escape Field Trip leader will go in and assign field trip results to participants. Those who are successful will receive the Belay Escape Badge. Those who aren’t will not receive the badge, and the instructor can put a note next to their name on the roster. This again, reduces the risk of students signing up for trips they aren’t qualified for, and it helps instructors track a student’s progress without relying on paper records. It also means that “Rescue Methods Skill” could be listed as a prerequisite for Rock 1 and 2 in intermediate, since it is a prereq. Leaders would no longer have to manually ensure that those who did not complete rescue methods aren’t signed up for Rock 1 & 2. Note: because course templates live in committees, this can be managed branch by branch.
• As we look for innovative ways to connect our community to The Mountaineers, especially in light of the Seattle and Tacoma Climbing Committees’ recent investments in advanced training, external audits and new types of programs to meet the needs of gym climbers, it gives us new ways of tracking both student and leader skills. We can add advanced training badges from professional organizations (ie AMGA SPI)
• Badges help people feel valued and valuable. When people feel valued and valuable, they are inspired to volunteer. Adding skill badges gives us an opportunity to increase levels of leadership, broaden the leadership funnel, develop new leaders, and offer professional development opportunities to existing leaders.
• Skill badges will not take the place of a course. I think everyone recognizes that in many situations, the sum of the parts does not equal the whole. Skill badges will not automate equivalency. One of the things that maintains the quality of our programs is the personalization of them – the opportunity for instructors to personally evaluate students, and for peers and leaders to evaluate future leader candidates. The idea is not to turn our organization into a list of skills. It is simply to create better, more reliable and more versatile tracking systems. We will still need course leaders to go in and graduate each of their students. There will still be plenty of opportunity for branches to personalize their courses – much like what currently happens with first aid.
Assigning “earned” skill badges for successfully completing an activity. This will be most useful for stewardship activities and clinics and seminars.
Becca Polglase commented
We will be looking for volunteers from all branches and committees who are interested in contributing time to developing these badges. To get involved, please email firstname.lastname@example.org