Risk Management

A Holistic Approach to Safety

Activities are carefully designed and facilitated to pose appropriate challenges for participants, to further learning outcomes, develop character, and to contribute to feelings of accomplishment. The emotional safety of our participants is just as important as their physical safety. 

Qualified Instructional Team

The programs we offer at Strathcona Park Lodge & Outdoor Education Centre contain an element of risk. We provide ongoing staff training for our highly qualified instructors and our continuous evaluation of procedures contribute to SPL’s enviable safety record. Through the constant upgrading of equipment and facilities, along with regular review of safety practices, Strathcona endeavours to ensure the safety and well-being of program participants. All staff must pass a vulnerable sector check. 


Perceived risk vs Real risk

Most of the risk that participants experience are perceived risks, not real risks. That is, the student perceives there to be real risk – and real consequences – but the experience is actually controlled by the instructor. For example, students on a high ropes course often perceive the activity to be risky because it takes place a few meters above the ground where a fall would normally be dangerous. The real risk of falling, however, is safeguarded by using safety ropes and trained instructors.

Real risks, the type that SPL, teachers and parents are concerned about, can be broadly defined as having a low likelihood or high likelihood of occurrence and being of low consequence or high consequence. School sports such as soccer and volleyball that students routinely participate in often involve a high likelihood of real risk – bumps, bruises and sprains – but have low consequences. These risks are generally acceptable to students and parents. Most outdoor education injuries would be similar to these types of sports injuries.

High consequence risk, often called catastrophic risk, are those which involve the possibility of serious injury or fatality. While exposing students to low consequence risks – such as the likelihood of spraining an ankle while hiking – is generally accepted, exposing students to catastrophic risk is not. Through program development, route selection, participant suitability, instructor training and other safety procedures, SPL employs various measures to manage participants’ exposure to risk.

Youth Consent Forms

Strathcona Park Lodge and its employees can’t manage all the risks on their own. A large responsibility rests with the participants to share in the safety of themselves and others during all activities. That’s why as part of our safety and risk plan we ask every participant to sign a youth consent form. This is not a waiver, nor does it pretend to absolve us of all responsibility for the safety of your child. It is an educational tool to inform parents, teachers and students of the types of activities, and risks and responsibilities involved with a Strathcona visit. By signing it, participants agree to share in the managing of risk with their instructor, Strathcona Park Lodge and their group.

Accredited Member of the BCCA

SPL is an accredited member of the British Columbia Camps Association (BCCA). We undergo an extensive evaluation by an independent BCCA review panel on a routine basis to ensure that the guidelines, safety parameters, and Accreditation standards are adhered to. Find out more about these standards on the BCCA website: www.bccamping.org

The SPL Difference

Our greatest compliment is that many schools return year after year. They come back because they know we take safety seriously. Instructors enjoy an open and honest relationship with supervisors and managers. Issues and concerns are dealt with immediately. We have detailed risk management protocols and procedures that are reviewed and reevaluated regularly.

If you have any questions or concerns about safety and risk management at Strathcona Park Lodge please email, paul@strathconaparklodge.com

We are constantly encouraging our students to push themselves out of their comfort zone and Strathcona Park Lodge provides an amazing safe environment to do just that. Kids are challenged in a positive way that has made them try things that they wouldn't normally do.

– Teacher, McMath Secondary School, April 2019