The Level 1 – Introduction to Adventure Travel Guiding course (ATGC) has been designed specifically to provide you with the basic tools to make critical assessment & decisions on a guided half day tour/trip in a low-threshold environment. You will learn to ensure the safety, comfort and providing a quality experience for clients with the main themes of customer service & group management, interpretation (both cultural & natural history) and sustainability.
Please note that this course does NOT include specific technical training of any kind for any discipline or any medical training as these areas are well served by training available elsewhere (See our Wilderness Medicine courses offered trough NOLS and Crossing Latitudes). Though we will participate in an outdoor activity this course is not activity specific, and is designed to accommodate guides working in a variety of disciplines.
Complete course content below:
Course Location: Solund, Norway. The course will be held at the Solund Leilighetshotell, 6924 Hardbakke, www.solund.com.
Solund is a municipality that comprises a number of islands that are located where the famous Sognefjord meets the Atlantic Ocean. The largest islands are (not in particular order); Sula, Ytre Sula, Steinsundøyna, Losna, Rånøyna, Nesøyna and Ospa. Solund is the smallest municipality in Sogn og Fjordane county and is also the only municipality that is not connected to mainland Norway.
How to get to Solund: There are two daily departures by express from Bergen to Krakhella, from here there is a bus to Hardbakke. If you arrive by car from Bergen running either E39 to Instefjord or via Mongstad, where you take the ferry Leirvåg-Sløvåg and follow the road to Rutledal. From Rutledal goes the ferry to Krakhella, which also express boat from Bergen arrives. If you come from the east or north, run through Førde to Lavik and further west to Rysjedalsvik where the ferry goes to Krakhella.
Course Dates: Starts 1130 on first day and ends early evening on last day. 3 days (50% Practical / 50% Theory) 6 pax. min. – 16 pax max.
All meals and accommodation included in price.
Course Language: English. The course instructors have years of experience as outdoors guides, educators and instructors with NJORD and various other companies. They come from the US and Norway.
Level 1 – Introduction to Adventure Travel Guiding
This entry- level course is aimed at those who have either no experience, never guided at all, or have minimal experience (1-2 seasons).
The introductory level is NOT discipline specific and seeks to introduce participants to general theories and concepts of guiding including three of the core competencies of adventure travel guiding as outlined by the ATTA – Adventure Travel Guide Standards.
The three core competencies introduced at this level are;
1) Customer Service & Group Management
2) Interpretation (both Cultural History & Natural History)
3) Sustainability (specifically LNT)
The course is fast paced and engaging, designed to give you an introductory and basic level perspective as to what is necessary to provide a quality guiding experience to an international market. You will spend some of your time outside of the classroom doing hands-on skills and realistic scenarios.
Through a series of daily outings and classroom lectures participants will both experience and examine what these elements look like while enjoying a three-hour excursion out in the field. They will develop an intermediate understanding of some general principles required to guide half day and full day trips in any discipline. During this course some basic expedition skills will also be introduced as an intro to the prospective discipline specific levels (Level 1, 2 & 3).
This course is designed as a non-specific discipline course which means any of a number of skills (ie; sea kayaking, biking, hiking, etc) can be included, but no prior-experience is required on the part of the participants.
In addition to scenarios, you’ll participate in engaging and lively discussions that will encompass a wide range of topics including trip briefings, equipment fitting and personalization, meal preparation & presentation, EDC for guides, content delivery (interpretation), sustainability (Leave No Trace ethics & principles).
You will complete this course with the tools and confidence to arrange, provide, facilitate, manage and guide a quality half day tour in a low threshold environment and assist on a full day tour. The Level 2 and 3 Guide courses take these skill and knowledge areas further and are for those who are looking to guide multi-day excursions (two nights or more).
You’ll be taught by dynamic educators who have extensive experience in guiding and working in the outdoors in a variety of places around the world, with a diversity of different clientele. The course is ideal for all professionals who are looking to up their game and meet the standards of working with an international clientele within the adventure travel guiding field. An LNT Awareness certification is included.
Class time & Scenarios: The Course language is English. The course is laid out to be 24 hours over 2.5 days. We will start at 11:30 on day 1 finishing approx 18:30. Day 2 will start at 08:30 and go to 18:30. Day 3 will start at 08.30 and finish at 17.00. Considerable time will be spent indoors learning about the different topics. Discussions about leadership, group dynamics and quality assurance as it pertains to customer satisfaction and safety are part of this course.
Approx 5 hours on day 2 and 3 will be spent outdoors with practical sessions and scenarios.
What to bring: Please see the suggested personal clothing and equipment list below. The arranger, the Kayak The Fjords company network, will bring sea kayaking equipment needed for an outdoor excursion.
What can you expect of us? Expect dynamic instructors with lots of backcountry experience. Expect to spend lots of time in dialogue and going over examples that will enhance your knowledge on what to do when encountering certain scenarios. Expect daily feedback from us instructors. Expect intense but rewarding days.
You can expect a curriculum that is evidence-based, not just copied out of a textbook. As this course is a pilot course and at an introductory level, we hope to provide you with a general overview that will get you started on your way to providing a professional program. We as instructors both actively work in the field as guides and management within in house guide training and training provided to the public. We as instructors also partake in a variety of different boards that include guide practitioners from around the world. This means you’re getting the latest findings and protocols in the industry.
What do we expect of you? We expect you to be on time each day. We expect you to come prepared each morning. We expect you to be respectful of other participants and our staff – both in the classroom and during all scenarios. We expect you to take good care of all equipment provided as well as the facilities we are taking the class in. We hope you will ask us if you don’t understand. We expect you to actively participate in all discussions and share what you feel appropriate, so that we may learn from each other.
We ask that all participants’ cell phones and computers will be turned off during class time. No smoking during our class time (which includes outside scenario time).
A full refund will be given if we are forced to cancel the course for any reason.
PETS/DOGS ARE NOT ALLOWED AT THE COURSE. THIS INCLUDES LEASHING THEM OUTSIDE. NO EXCEPTIONS.
Suggested Equipment List:
Hope for the Best, Plan for the Worst & Do the Best with What you have is one of our many memorable mottos. The weather on the west coast of Norway can be challenging any time of year!
Having quality clothing and equipment is important. Come to class each morning prepared with the possibility to be outside.
For Entirety of Course both Inside & Outside
– Water Bottle
– Thermos (apprx 1l.
– Waterproof field notebook (Write in the Rain type) & Pen x 2
– Headlamp with extra batteries
– Buff or Neck Gaiter
– Sunglasses and Sunscreen
– Casual clothing for classroom lectures
– Outdoor clothing for outdoor activities
– Personal First Aid Kit
– Rain Jacket (Gore-Tex or Rubber Slicker)
– Rain Pants (Gore-Tex or Rubber Slicker)
– Insulated jacket or clothing
– Insulation Layers such as synthetic thermals/ wool thermals
– Small backpack
– Beanie/ Cap (Wool or Synthetic)
– Outdoor Camp Cup (12-16 oz.), bowl and spoon
– Reference Books (natural hx. cultural hx. field guides that you may use in your area)
– Big Smile, Good Attitude, Lots of Questions & Stories & Open Mind
Also bring to the classroom: Note pad, pens or pencils & indoor shoes.
Customer Service & Group Management
Natural & Cultural History Interpretation
08:30 Customer Service Experience
Kayak or Hiking Excursion (weather permitting)
Addressing Needs & Issues
Standard Guide Equipment/Resources
Sustainability (Leave No Trace)
08:30 Content Delivery
Kayak or Hiking Excursion (weather permitting)
RECOMMENDED ADDITIONAL COURSES YOU NEED TO BE A HALF DAY GUIDE IN A LOW TRESHOLD / EASY AREA:
- NOLS Wilderness First Aid
- Technical skills training & practice equivalent to a 3 star instructor (NPF Aktivitetsleder, BC 3*, ACA Level 3 etc.)
- Level 1 – Introduction to Adventure Travel Guiding
- Leave No Trace Trainer (not essential)
In addition you need guidance from your peers and leaders, practical experience, experience and a little more experience. Did we mention you need experience?
Be aware that with NJORD Sea Kayak and Wilderness Adventures it takes between two and four weeks before an assistant guide, that have taken the courses above, will be allowed to guide half day trips on his/her own.