| Madeline Bachner

Van-llaboration: Van Driver Training with Cottonwood Institute, Colorado Mountain Club, and cityWild

This April Cottonwood Institute (CI) continued their instructor training and professional development with a full day of professional driving and van training. CI teamed up with cityWild and Colorado Mountain Club Youth Education Program (CMC) to offer instructors an eight-hour professional development and certification in 15-passenger van driving. Collaborating with these two great organizations helps all of us achieve our risk management goals by adding high quality van training to our staff development this year.

Between the three organizations, there were 19 staff and instructors in attendance led by the amazing Paul Dreyer from Avid4 Adventure. The day started with several hours of classroom time focusing on everything from the basic principles of van “hardware” and van driving to the worst-case scenarios and evasive maneuvers to avoid them. The goals were to have fun, learn something, and leave empowered to be better drivers. That all starts with the the Mindset Shift; from driving our personal vehicles ( in whatever manner we do that), to shifting into the mindset of a professional driver. As a professional, drivers are usually driving a larger vehicle, sometimes towing a trailer, and are responsible for passengers, equipment, and their company’s image.

The afternoon led the group to a parking lot outside of Golden, CO and several hours of driving practice. Using all the cones they had at their disposal, the group practiced backing, serpentine drives in forward and reverse through cones, applying full braking from up to 30 mph and the final challenge; swerving to avoid a “deer” (instructor with an umbrella). It was a great time to challenge both experienced and new drivers to test their skills in a controlled environment and learn more about the handling of these large vehicles. CI is proud to have such experienced and dedicated instructors on our team and excited to offer more professional development to manage our risk in the field.

Many thanks to Paul Dreyer for leading, CI Program Manager Taryn Longberry for organizing the day, CMC, and CityWild for the cooperative effort to offer this educational day.


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