This past November was the 5th annual Midwest Risk Management Symposium (MRMS). YMCA Camps Widjiwagan, Menogyn, and Manito-wish started the MRMS in 2013 to provide an opportunity for outdoor educations of the Upper Midwest to collaborate and contribute to the advancement of risk management practices.
The theme of this year’s MRMS was Risk and Resilience. Through presentations, discussions, and workshops, we explored the interdependence of risk and resilience in our programs and unpacked the concept that while risk helps promote resiliency we need to also be resilient in the face of risk. Alan Ewert from Indiana University opened the 2017 MRMS with an engaging session one what research tells us about the interdependence of these two concepts. We also had presenters join us from New Vision Wilderness, NOLS Wilderness Medicine, the MN Department of Health, Wilderness Inquiry, Wilderness Water Safety, Northland College, and even a couple folks presented from YGTC! Joe Malhoit, a former Special Agent with the FBI, talked us through active shooter preparedness and survival while Tracey Knutson, an incredibly talented trial lawyer, gave us a lot to think about when it comes to protecting a program legally. Andy Leider from the Outdoor Safety Institute shared important lessons he’s learned in his work as a consultant in the field of experiential education, and Kris Henker shared her research on the emotion challenges people face when transitioning back into the front country after a powerful experience in the wilderness. As you see, a diverse array of topics were covered at this year’s MRMS and many new connections were formed.
While the presentations are always interesting and informative, it’s the time between sessions and at meals where the most important connection are made. The MRMS helps connect new people and this strengthens the whole community of outdoor, adventure, and experiential education. If you’re interested in joining the dialogue about risk management in these fields, please consider joining us next year! Visit our website at www.widji.org/mrms! -Kathleen Floberg, Wilderness Program Director