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September 12, 2011

Angeles Chapter Helps Navigate Outings

Angeles Outings 1

By Bob Myers, Angeles Chapter Navigation Chair

One success story for the Angeles Chapter has to do with our cross-country outings and the leaders who have to pass a navigation training course and become proficient in map and compass skills. To ensure that this requirement does not become a roadblock to potentially new leaders, we offer at least nine practice days a year. And these outings are open to already certified leaders to refresh their skills. We had a total of 122 participants in 2010. A total of 69 attempted the checkoff course with 62 percent passing.

Angeles Outings 3

The Angeles Chapter Outings program has always been strong. We've been doing navigation checkoffs for many decades, since the 1970s. Our Leader's Reference Book was first produced in 1973. We are now on the 17th edition, released in 2009. Each of my predecessors did an excellent job in teaching navigation to our leaders. Following in their footsteps, we modernized our materials and we are now offering expanded training opportunities. One reason for the success is that, by offering so many opportunities during the year, prospective leaders can attend events for practices and then checkoff at a later event. All participants receive the following materials: a 100-question exam to complete at home; a homework assignment to plant a route; and a 12-page guide of navigation hints.

We continue to refine our materials and offerings. We've begun to focus on micro-navigation skills and time management issues. We travel up some gullies, which are almost imperceptible on a map, teaching participants to look for very fine features on the map. In addition, along the way, all participants are belayed up a third-class chute to demonstrate what happens to trip time estimates when you use a rope.

This workshop is in the Wonderland of Rocks in Joshua Tree National Park, a huge maze of rocks. In February, I led a trip in the Wonderland of Rocks where a one-mile segment took five hours.

Angeles Outings 2

Our outreach includes email, trip announcements in Chapter publications, and my regular column in the Hundred Peaks Section newsletter.

The leaders on our navigation team are very talented and, more importantly, are a fun group to be around. We all share a common interest in helping prospective leaders succeed so that the Chapter's vibrant outings program continues long into the future.

Have a success story to share? We'd like to hear about it. Go to the Success Stories project on the Sierra Club's Activist Network and let others learn from your experience.


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