Every two years (for the most part) we at Zephyr Adventures have a weekend Guide Training with all our US guides. The goals are equally to have fun, reinvigorate our spirits for guiding, and improve our skills.
A few weeks ago, we conducted this year’s Guide Training in the Tampa area of Florida. We chose Tampa in part for the good weather (it was much better than the forecasts predicted), in part because we run a tour there that uses some great paved trails, and in part because long-time Zephyr guide Mike Merriman is based there and could help with local logistics.
Ten of us gathered from across the United States. We rented a nice house on the waters of the Gulf Coast, cooked meals together, had a few drinks, and sang a few songs. We skated on the bike paths, ate in local restaurants, and played “adventure bocci” in a local park. (Leave it up to us to change the rules of an accepted game.) In all, it was a great time and all of us left with renewed enthusiasm for what we love to do – guide tours.
At the same time, we covered real subjects related to our jobs. Zephyr has a 42-page Guide’s Guide (54 pages including appendices) that covers all aspects of running a tour. It covers Tour Operations, Emergency Management, Group and Individual Dynamics, and many other subjects. We covered the Guide’s Guide in detail, discussing real experiences from tours and hypothetical ones that might occur.
The net result? Our philosophy (as indicated on Page 1 of the Guide’s Guide) is that guide knowledge & preparation leads to better guide performance which leads to participant satisfaction which leads to guide satisfaction.