The outings world is changing, and the Angeles Chapter Safety Policy is changing to keep pace.
The last time we revised our Safety Policy, was in 2010, and most Angeles Chapter outings were published first in printed newsletters. That changed in late 2011 with the introduction of the Sierra Club's Online Activity Registration System (OARS). Today almost all Chapter outings are posted first on OARS. Rising costs for postage and printing have forced the Chapter and many groups, sections and committees to scale back or suspend printed newsletters.
Those two dynamics –-- the creation of OARS and the seeming death spiral of print newsletters – drove most of the changes in the revised Safety Policy. Chapter outings must be published, and Safety Committee reviewers must vet them before they can be led. Here are some of the changes we have made to adapt to publishing outings in the digital world:
- First, when Outings Chairs post an outing to OARS (or to a non-OARS website if they choose to stay outside the system), they must send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org This alerts Safety Committee's outings reviewers that the outing has been posted. In the days before electronic publishing, Safety Committee learned about outings by reading all the newsletters. That doesn't work anymore.
- Second, if your group, section or committee is among the growing number using social media (Facebook, MeetUp, etc.), by all means publicize your outings there. Please use the phrase “Sierra Club” or “Angeles Chapter” or your group, section or committee name somewhere in the posting. Most important, link back to the original posting on OARS or a Chapter website. Here's the reason: All Chapter (and Club) outings are supposed to appear near Club-mandated language pointing out that participants must sign a waiver and legally mandated California Seller of Travel language. By the way, the Seller of Travel language is really simple: “CST 2087766-40. Registration as a seller of travel does not constitute approval by the State of California.” It's extremely easy to fit the waiver and Seller of Travel notifications onto your group, chapter or section's outings web page, right above the OARS calendar. Try fitting them in a 140-character tweet.
- A great change for Outings Chairs: If you post an outing in OARS you no longer have to archive the outing write-up. Sierra Club's Information Technology folks automatically archive OARS. But if you publish an outing outside OARS (for example in print only or in a non-OARS website only), then you must continue to archive the outing for seven years.
Other changes, not related to the digital revolution:
- New E-Rock and E-Snow ratings. The Chapter got its first E-Rock leader two days after ExComm approved the revised policy, and three candidates have passed the demanding check-out.
- Restriction of snowshoe and cross-country ski trips to leaders rated at the I-level or higher unless the Safety Chair grants a one-trip waiver for one or more of the leaders to be O-rated. Waivers typically will be granted only if the O-rated leaders have demonstrated experience and if the route is suitable. Trips granted under this waiver must be cancelled if a heavy snowfall is forecast.
Angeles Chapter Safety Chair