By Bruce Boynton, Ontario Division President (firstname.lastname@example.org)
In 1972 I started my adventure in the Canadian Ski Patrol. Passing my exams and skills I was ready to patrol and make the world safe. Proudly wearing my Rainier Red jacket, my first aid bum bag and a pair of Jean-Claude Killy form-fitting ski pants, I took the lift (a T-bar) to the top of Buttermilk Ski Hill (an exhilarating 280-foot vertical). As a rookie I looked up to and admired my fellow patrollers and realized that patrolling was an all-ages venture.
At 18 I was the youngest on the hill and the wisdom and stories of experience from the senior patrollers blew me away. Even with my inexperience I felt I was part of something good. My patrol leader told me on my first day, “Trust your training and remember what we do makes a difference.” Through the years that statement still rings true.
Over the years there have been many changes in the CSP. Our first aid manual is a lot thicker and our level of expertise has developed to that of advanced trained first aiders. Our uniforms changed from Rainier Red to yellow and blue to now red (I still have all three). Our professional appearance, attitude and skills have made us a professional, highly respected and intricate part of the skiing industry. Our equipment has changed too – just look on retro days at any given hill. Hard to believe we skied on that stuff!
With this all in mind one thing has rung true. For more than 75 years of the Canadian Ski Patrol, change has been a constant force. Change is defined as “make or become different” or “take or use another instead of.” This word can excite or strike fear based on the circumstance, but one thing is inevitable. It is going to happen. Going from the Rainier Red jacket to the yellow and blue: “not a chance,” moving from the yellow and blue to red: “are you kidding?” Well it happened and nobody died. A select few felt bad but overall we look completely fantastic.
I have always thought of change as challenge to myself to do better. Sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s scary. We are a progressive and evolving organization and change will always happen. Keep in mind that change has to be positive and does take time to implement and accept, or we are just changing to change.
Our first aid training teaches us to be adaptable and work towards a positive outcome in a spontaneous situation. Applying this to a change in the CSP can only foster a better implementation of change. We know that we are evolving to a professional, passionate and proud organization. To reiterate what my first patrol leader said, “trust your training and remember what we do makes a difference.”