Outdoor Education - Safety and competence in adventure: individual ladder
Individual ladder of needs
Throughout an adventure experience there are a range of different levels
of safety. In order to gain the most from the adventure experience (peak
adventure) there is a ladder of needs that must be considered. This is
referred to as the individual "Ladder of Needs:"
5. a need to develop your potential and achieve worthwhile things.
4. a need for self-esteem, status and recognition by other people.
3. a need to join in social activity and to be liked by other people.
2. a need to be protected from danger and to feel secure.
1. : a need for air, shelter, sleep, water and food.
As with any ladder, you only move up onto the next step once you feel that
you are secure on the rung you are already on.
It is obvious we must satisfy our physical needs (rung 1) before our need
for self-respect (rung 3).
If someone is dying of dehydration (rung 1), the person might sacrifice
their need for safety in order to reach water.
Similarly, if someone has just fallen off a cliff we will probably be more
interested in our own safety (rung 2) than in joining the social group who
are gathered at the bottom of the cliff (rung 3).
Safety involves physical and psychological considerations. For an
adventure to be successful and have the potential of being a peak
experience, the complexity of all the safety issues needs to be addressed.
Safety relates directly to the elements of adventure; and in Criterion 3
you are trying to illustrate, through personal and historical examples, how
it can affect both the experience and the learning in an adventure
activity. An excellent example of how safety can affect an adventure
experience was the tragedy at Mt Everest in 1997. In his book _Into Thin
Air,_ Jon Krakauer explains that although he should feel exhilarated, his
memories are of chaos, madness and terror. He made it up and down from the
world's highest peak, while eleven others didn't.
"I had to remind myself over and over that everything was at stake here,
that I would pay with my life for a single bungled step. "
Krakauer illustrates the tight balance that exists between peak adventure
and misadventure, and how safety, technical skills and competence all
interact to create an outcome.
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