Safe Hiker Training
Hike Ontario’s Safe Hiker training is recommended for all Mood Walks participants. Safe Hiker training is an introduction to the skills required to hike safely, the benefits of hiking, and the trails that exist in Ontario. Hike Ontario has modified the Safe Hiker training to ensure that it is relevant to Mood Walks participants. Some topics included in the training include:
- Preparing for a Hike—collecting the required information to plan a safe route, informing others of hiking plans, and anticipating potential risks
- Packing and Outfitting—what to include in a first aid and safety kit, how to hydrate and eat during a hike, how to dress, and what to bring
- Hitting the Trail—getting to the trail, following a planned route, and monitoring hiking conditions to ensure safety, including what-if scenarios, Leave No Trace principles, and trail etiquette
Arranging Safe Hiker Training
Group leaders can contact Hike Ontario to arrange the delivery of Safe Hiker training. An experienced instructor from Hike Ontario will provide the training, which is approximately eight hours long and typically held over two days. The majority of the second day typically occurs outdoors. The training format is flexible and can be tailored to meet the needs of your organization.
Training can be held in meeting space at your agency, or your local conservation area if it has an appropriate space. To host the training session, you will require a meeting space equipped with a computer, a projector, whiteboards, and chart paper. If you do not have access to such a space through your organization, see “Working with Partners” for suggestions as to how to find an affordable meeting space locally. Group leaders can also be trained as Safe Hiker Instructors under a “Train the Trainer” model.
Certified Hike-Leader Training
Qualified participants from Mood Walks sites have the opportunity to become trained as a Hike Ontario–Certified Hike Leader. These individuals may be group leaders, volunteers, placement students, or peer leaders from your agency, or partners from your local hiking club or Conservation Authority who have been involved in your Mood Walks group.
Certified Hike Leader training is geared to individuals who are interested in leading organized hikes and walks in Ontario. To become certified, individuals will be required the meet the standards outlined by Hike Ontario. Hike Ontario requires that Certified Hike Leaders are able to:
- Demonstrate good physical fitness and the ability to move confidently and efficiently when traveling on trail
- Present a positive and commanding attitude on safety when leading a group
- Demonstrate a high standard of leadership and route-finding
- Show ability to establish effective communication with regard to hiker safety, comfort, and enjoyment
- Demonstrate respect and care for the environment
- Have a proper standard of equipment as required for day-hiking trips
In addition, candidates for Certified Hike Leader training must:
- Be Safe Hiker–certified or demonstrate a level of hiking competence and experience
- Have completed a minimum of five day-hikes
- Present a letter of reference from a recognized authority such as a Mood Walks group leader, a Certified Hike Leader, or a hiking club
For More Information
For costs and more information about Safe Hiker, Safe Hiker Instructor, and Certified Hike Leader training, please visit Hike Ontario’s website (www.hikeontario.com).