The Wilderness First Aid Training Class…first of others to come!


When the news got out that a two day Wilderness First Aid class would be offered in May for just $35, it was no surprise that the twenty spaces available filled up quickly.


I was as surprised as any when I first learned of the announcement. As the Boulder chair, who usually learns first about such things, I was at first confused, but then pleasantly surprised, at how the course was organized and implemented.  The state office asked the Boulder group if they could reserve the use of the Boulder Clubroom all weekend for May 7 and 8…no problem. And that the cost was only going to be $35 to club members…such a deal! But it was only going to be available for some members of the Boulder group (i.e. there was a cap), and registration on the CMC website was going to require a passcode issued by the state office, and that meant that I had to give them an up to date, accurate list of all of trip leaders, so that they could know who was eligible to receive the passcode. Wait, what? Huh?


This kind of course, a 16 hour, two day course, taught according to certain guidelines, costs at least $200 or more in the private market. That is an expensive proposition for persons volunteering for the CMCThe Boulder Council; but because WFA and CPR training is a requirement for our trip leaders and instructors, we had been able to find local certified instructors who would give the Club a discounted rate. But unfortunately, the last instructor we had been using moved out of state a few years ago.  So, the club officers  had been  find a replacement for this training for a few years, and were quietly despairing as we all watched our WFA certifications expire. Mine had expired last October. The news that we would be able to offer an affordable WFA course was wonderful; but these restrictive rules about signing up seemed confusing. And as far as an accurate list of our trip leaders…well, good luck with that! This has been a weak point of our organization now for some years (more about that later).


Nonetheless, I did what I could, and forwarded to the state office the best trip leader list I could find. The signups proceeded, and I did not hear any other complaints from people about signing up; except that some people who wanted to take it would not be able to since it filled. The good news about that was that the state office said that another WFA class would be offered soon. No date had been set yet, but details would be forthcoming. More good news!


Practicing first aid scenarios outside the Clubroom

As many of you must be aware, the number of trips that the Boulder Group has been leading in the last few years has fallen dramatically when compared to years ago. At least there are always some trips being offered by the Denver group. One of the main reasons for this drop, I believe, has been the aging of the Boulder trip leader population, without a consequent grooming of younger trip leaders to replace them. And, as I mentioned, asking younger people to come up with $200 for a WFA course is a sure way to turn them away. So this opportunity to attract younger members into the Club, who might want to lead trips, was a very welcome development.

2016-05-07 09.38.41

Laurie Normandeau

Having just taken the course, I was impressed with the thoroughness and quality of the instruction and content covered. Our instructors were Laurie Normandeau and Pete Manely, both of whom are on staff the CMC state office.

They essentially created this course based on materials from the Emergency Care and Safety Institute (ECSI) and the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), and have now taught the course several times. More courses are planned in the future. The executive director, Scott Robson, who attended the April Council meeting, related to us that he had found the funds in the state budget to subsidize this course, which accounts for why it costs just $35 for members to take.


Practicing first aid scenarios

The Boulder Group is looking forward to getting more trip leaders and instructors certified from this effort, and then to hopefully start to get more CMC trips being led by the Boulder Group. To that end, I have been helping on our problem of maintaining an accurate list of instructors and trip leaders by creating an online database that we can use for this purpose. Named, surprisingly enough, the Instructor Database, it is in early stage of implementation on the Boulder website. I hope anyone who was, is or wanted to become an instructor will partake in this, and update their profile on it. To access it, browse to, then select in the menu Group/Admin/Instructor Database. It is password protected, so if would like to know the password, just email me at


To see more pictures of the class at the Clubroom, you can see them on our Facebook page here.




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