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YLT-Managing Risk – aka RAP Outdoors

How prepared are you for your next adventure? Have you created a Risk Assessment Profile (RAP)? Use a risk-management matrix to assess the real risk of your adventure and learn more about how you can create the best RAP possible and stay safe on your adventures.

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  • Does every activity require the same amount and type of supervision?  
  • What factors should you consider when accounting for the safety of an activity? 
  • Use the risk management matrix to plan for an adventure. Resource: There are three main factors to consider as a leader when managing risk (Jordan, 2007): 
  • Knowledge of participants: How well the leader understands the physical and emotional abilities of the participants.  
  • Knowledge of activity: How well the leader knows the activity, equipment, safety concerns, objectives.  
  • Knowledge of environment: The leader should be aware of hazards in the area being used. He or she should also inspect any equipment used to ensure there are no hazards due to disrepair.  
  • Leaders should change their leadership style from highest supervision levels for high-risk activities to lowest supervision levels for low-risk activities.  



  • Consider your next upcoming adventure – have you used the risk management matrix when planning? If not, talk through how it applies to your upcoming adventure.  
  • Continue to build on this skill and plan an outdoor Adventure in which everything that can go wrong does go wrong.  
  • Wait. What? Take turns on your next outdoor Adventure taking breaks from what you’re doing to discuss potential accident scenarios and how you would respond as a group to the situation.  
  • This doesn’t mean that your Crew should not prepare responsibly for the Adventure. However, even a well-planned outdoor Adventure might suffer an accident.  
  • What scenarios did you already consider when planning your adventure? Which did you miss? 
  • Always think about risks in terms of how they can be mitigated (prevented). What precautions should you take? Is there any training that you can take? 


  • What do you know now that you did not know before? 
  • What factors do you need to consider when planning for safety? 
  • What scenarios was your group unprepared for? 
  • How realistic were the proposed scenarios?  
  • How has this experience changed how you will prepare for future outdoor Adventures? 
  • What skills and courses might you want to make part of upcoming training? 
  • What would you do differently next time? How can you build on this experience? 

Keep it Simple

Learn the basics of risk management and how you can figure out the level of risk for an activity. Think about the activities you have planned. Which are the highest risk? Which are the lowest? How can you lower the risk of the higher risk activities? 

Take it Further

  • Create a comprehensive Risk Management Plan and Emergency Response Plan for an upcoming adventure, or a made-up adventure. Choose a large or complicated adventure for an added challenge! 
  • What other risks are there besides physical danger? What about emotional risks? Financial risks? Think about the different kinds of risks and think of an adventure that you might not typically create a risk management plan for, like a community project. What are some of the non-typical risks that you can think of? How can you mitigate them?