The first SAR Academy is now complete. 10 registered student candidates were successful in achieving their GSAR certification, their WSBC level 1 First aid, CPR C and their Transport Endorsement over the 160 + hours devoted over the past two weeks of Spring Break.
The instructional staff including Scott Larsen, Darlene Berry, Chris Smith, Rob Higgs, Ole Eldiq and David Coats were deeply impressed with the commitment and seriousness with which the students applied themselves throughout the 12 day residency at Tribune Bay. Days were long with instructional activities beginning at 0830 daily and often continuing on until 2100. Students were often studying or assisting one another with practical review of map and compass, knots or other skills well after midnight each day. Prior to exams they were at it into the wee hours of each morning. SAR activities were interwoven with team building and challenge activities at the Tribune Bay Education Centre – kayaking, use of the climbing tower for rappelling and climbing and a number of activities utilizing the high ropes course. (Giant’s Ladder, Leap of Faith)
The overnight survival challenge provided the students practical application of not only their survival skills but of communications, conducting an open grid search to find their shelter and fire building resources, tracking and a multi-staged night navigation course through swamp, forest and foreshore for more than a kilometre. All teams successfully unscrambled the course code word and nailed the course end point despite it being hidden within an outhouse.
The students commented in their course review about how much they appreciated the full day search exercises and support of the many CVGSAR members who came out to put them through their paces in type 1, 2 and 3 search scenarios as well as the shoreline and swift water scenarios.
It is our hope that these young men and women will seek out our teams and add a youthful vigour to our ranks in the near future.
Many thanks again to all who devoted time to this pilot project.
Paul Berry, Search Manager
Comox Valley Ground Search and Rescue
PO BOX, 3511
Courtenay, British Columbia