How will YouthSafe Outdoors benefit our organization?
YouthSafe Outdoors provides an integrated, one-stop shopping approach to help ensure boards, schools and families share responsibility, appropriately and equitably, for the safety of students involved in off-site activities. It helps ensure the confidence and peace of mind that comes with reduced uncertainty.
- Boards and Senior Administrators are provided resources to help them effectively and efficiently review and create appropriate, legally defensible policies and procedures that enable schools to offer off-site activities.
- Administrators receive tools to help them effectively coach and supervise teachers/leaders; e.g., assessing trip proposals, evaluating teacher readiness, and ensuring appropriate information exchange.
- Teachers/leaders are very well-supported with general and activity-specific safety guidelines and trip planning and field leadership tools. There are also extensive, well-organized instructional resources (lesson plans, student handouts, and support resources) to help them teach students how to be safe and self-reliant.
- Students and Parents/Guardians are provided information and tools to help them understand their roles, rights and responsibilities.
What is the Research Base of YSO?
There is very high confidence in the quality, accuracy and relevance of YouthSafe Outdoors resources because it is strongly grounded in cross-referenced empirical evidence and co-creative consultation with the end-users themselves. The resources are developed based on research from well over a thousand relevant sources including:
- Document analysis of relevant policies and procedural documents;
- Extensive primary, survey, interview and document analysis research of policies, procedures and practices in the jurisdiction and elsewhere;
- Analysis of the standard of care documents of similar educational and recreational organizations (provincial, national and international);
- Review of relevant statutes, Occupational Health and Safety regulations, case law, public inquiries and incident reviews;
- National and provincial education and recreation incident analyses and injury databases;
- Risk management, law, social science, health science, education, recreation, wilderness and travel literature; and
- Consultation, reviews, pilot and field tests involving each project’s Advisory Team, Reviewer Groups and other interested individuals and organizations in the jurisdiction.
What is unique about the YSO Safety First! Guidelines?
Safety First! is unique in several ways:
- Scope of Resources: YSO's Safety First! (SF!) provides essential information and guidance for off-site activities, including outdoor pursuits, aquatics, sport travel, artistic performance travel, and travel excursions. Each of the two Safety First! documents (Level 1 and Level 2) are customized to fit the jurisdiction and context for which it is intended.
- Underlying Assumptions/Models: Safety First! provides an exceptionally well-researched, user-friendly articulation of community and industry custom, and tools to facilitate legally defensible risk assessment and decision-making. SF! is built on a competency-based model where minimum requirements (e.g., teacher/leader skill and experience, first aid capacity, supervision ratios) match the assessed risk of the outing vs. reliance on required external leader certifications and fixed ratios. SF! promotes high adherence by reflecting safe, reasonable, attainable, ethical and sustainable practices.
Implementation Support: YSO's integrated support resources have been developed for all the key roles in the education system, to be used as the basis for policy development, procedural implementation, professional development training, and for day-to-day use in the program and at home. End-users remain completely free to choose which of the supplementary trip planning, adventure leadership, instructional and parent/guardian resources they use, when, and in what manner to meet their district policy and the guidelines articulated in Safety First!
Who initiated YouthSafe Outdoors?
YouthSafe Outdoors (YSO) was initially conceived in 1998 by Dr. Glenda Hanna, principal of Quest Research and Consulting Inc., as part of a then 20-year academic research program in the area of risk management and legal liability in outdoor education, recreation and sport.
How do I get YouthSafe Outdoors Resources?
As all of the early to mid-2000s version YSO resources were due for updating, this work is currently nearing completion. Youthsafe Outdoors is contracting directly with end-user school districts/authorities and educational organizations to ensure the resources are kept current and technical support and services are provided to end-users.
From 2017 forward, end-user school districts/school authorities are required to license in their jurisdiction’s new online version if they wish to secure access to the YSO resources. Licensed districts/authorities will receive full technical support with respect to using the resources as well as significant discounts on training workshops.
School-level staff are encouraged to contract their administrator to determine if their school is licensed in the 2017 version. School district/authority staff/board executives are encouraged to contact firstname.lastname@example.org to secure their license.
To order print copies of a pre-2017 YSO resource,
Who funded Early Versions of YSO?
Over the first decade of YouthSafe Outdoors (1998-2007), schools across western Canada benefitted from external funding contributions to YSO initiatives that were each ‘made-in-province-for-province’.
- The National Search and Rescue New Initiatives Fund
- Provincial Government departments (e.g., Education, Emergency Management)
- School trustees associations
- Provincial injury prevention offices
- Quest Research and Consulting, Inc.
- In-kind contributions by end-user partners
Schools and districts/school authorities have also benefitted from their pre-2016 YSO licenses to date through ongoing technical support, access to print and electronic copies of the resources, and the opportunity to secure training workshops. Licensed users of these early versions retain the right to use them in perpetuity, but they must license in the new resource (2016/17) and maintain a current subscription to receive access to:
a) the current online version,
b) updated content and tools, and
c) technical support, training and other YSO products and services.
What is the Return on Investment of YouthSafe Outdoors?
The value of a YouthSafe Outdoors license is exceptional. The cost of a license is far less than the cost of one preventable search and rescue operation, one serious long-term disability, one fatality, one public inquiry or one negligence action involving a student, volunteer and/or staff person. This does not include the social costs of a preventable incident with respect to public reputation and community trust and support.
Licensing school districts/school authorities benefit immensely from the economy of effort achieved through the number of YSO initiatives that have been undertaken in BC, Manitoba, and Alberta (including both school and community recreation/sport/youth development projects). While substantial content updating has been undertaken for the new online version, the time, energy, effort (of the researcher/author, educators on Advisory or Review Groups, and external funding contributions of the earlier projects allow for much lower pricing on the new version than creation of an entirely new comparable resource package would allow.
Who owns the material?
Quest Research and Consulting Inc. is the owner all of YouthSafe Outdoors resources as well all subsequent derivative resources, including both English and French versions.
What can we do with the materials?
You login into the resource area with your username and password to access the online materials. From there each licensed end-user may post the electronic resources to local area networks to be shared with other staff persons granted access having a user name and password.
Licensed end-users may print copies of parts or all of the documents they have access to for their internal use to support off-site activities involving their students. Districts/school authorities are, of course, free to publicly post their Field Trip policies, procedures, forms, etc. that may have been developed using YSO resources and tools.
No licensed end-user or other may repackage, give away or resell the YSO materials, post them on a publicly accessible website or otherwise distribute them (for profit or for free) to anyone for any purpose unless authorized, in writing, by Quest Research and Consulting Inc.
Most of the documents have been written as templates that may be customized or adapted, as desired, to fit local policies and situations (e.g., checklists, sample forms, lesson plans, gear lists). These materials are provided in electronic format that can be readily edited. In order to maintain the integrity of the risk management system, the Safety First! Guidelines cannot be edited. District/school authority policy will always take precedence over YSO resources.
The district/school authority package includes all resources while school-level resources only include the resources relevant to school staff, parents/guardians and students.