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  • Philosophy

    Safety: Although this is our primary concern nothing ever is completely safe. Clearly, if an activity is not operated at an acceptable level of risk it should not occur. Complete beginners can rightly expect the Leader to operate to the best standards and to be up to the job. Beginners must be involved in assessing the degree of challenge they find acceptable and learn about risk management. Activities become increasingly challenging as we progress and access a more remote environment, so all participants are encouraged to understand the fundamental hazards associated with an activity and to take a role in managing their own risk by the implementation of appropriate controls.  Safety Awareness, Risk Management and Risk Benefit are the shared philosophy at the core of AAI activities for all Adventurers, Leaders, Masters and Providers. The AAI does not want to encourage a more litigious blame culture and this is reflected in the ethos of the scheme.

    We do not publish ratios for Leaders as this can safely vary a great amount depending on many factors and should be the decision of the people involved at the time taking into consideration all relevant factors. Well-trained, experienced leaders will adjust group sizes up or down according to the conditions and their risk management strategy.

    Child Protection: There are many National child protection schemes and criminal record check systems around the world but not all countries have them and they do not necessarily cover Leaders from other countries or those who have not yet been caught.  This precludes the AAI from checking each individual Leader.
    The AAI requires AAI Professionals when working with children or young and vulnerable adults to always work with other reliable adult colleagues, covering all genders present and to ensure that they are never left alone. Failure to do this is likely to invalidate their AAI Award. This also helps to protect all parties from malicious allegations.

    AAI Providers are required to have a robust recruitment policy involving written references, training and supervision of staff and initially, probationary periods of employment. Where countries have criminal and child safety checks, these should always be used.

    Quality: The holding of an AAI Leadership award represents a standard of quality and professionalism that reassures the general public and AAI Adventurers that they can expect a good experience. AAI Providers are also measured against a range of standards that ensures the service is a good one.
    It is a requirement that AAI Professionals and Providers report any instances where the good name of the AAI may be compromised to Head Office for investigation. Adventurers are also encouraged to feedback their experiences, good or not so to the AAI Head Office.

    Value: AAI aim to be of net positive value to Adventurers, Professionals and Providers. By keeping administrative costs to a minimum and adding value to services it is intended that not being a member would be uneconomic.  The AAI does not set out to duplicate existing outdoor services that are relevant, well run and good value. AAI charges for Adventurer and Professional membership reflect the costs of services included and administration. AAI Leaders, Masters and Providers are free to decide their own charges for services and discounts on the basis of the free market and without influence from the AAI.
    As a new organisation, we depend completely on the registration and involvement of our supporters. We anticipate that there may be some initial glitches in our processes and procedures, but aim to give honest and reliable service for the worldwide outdoor community. Our services will grow as our numbers grow. The AAI is run by outdoor people for outdoor people.

    Focus: The main focus of the AAI awards are recreation and education through outdoor and adventurous activities. The activities may act as an introduction and catalyst for those who eventually perform competitively at the highest level but the coaching of such athletes is already the function of many national coaching bodies. Some believe that medals and elite national success have a trickle down benefit and encourage grass-roots activity. The AAI schemes are designed to help those who use outdoor activities for recreation or as a medium for educational purposes, regardless of their level of performance.

    Participation
    : The AAI scheme has been developed to encourage people to want to participate in adventure sports, to help Leaders to develop their careers, work and travel and have their qualifications recognised worldwide. Existing establishments are encouraged to become AAI Providers so as to promote more activity, co-operation and co-ordination.
    The AAI scheme and organisation is fully inclusive. Anyone experiencing prejudicial discrimination of any form is encouraged to report this to AAI Head Office for investigation.

    Simplicity is at the core of the AAI philosophy.  The scheme shows clearly what is expected at each level and how to progress.  The AAI has straight-forward systems. Most Adventure disciplines have three skill levels: Bronze, Silver and Gold and the AAI Leaders awards also reflect this. AAI awards are accessible, relevant and discipline specific. Active people and Leaders will find the skills and knowledge required at each level are relevant, easily understood and with commitment and practice achievable within a reasonable time scale. AAI Leaders are able to assess candidates for awards at their equivalent level of leadership. 

    Assessments: The assessment of AAI Leaders is the role of the AAI Masters who are the senior representatives of the scheme in their area of expertise. All AAI assessments are delivered in a supportive atmosphere and candidates are encouraged to demonstrate that they are able to perform consistently at the required standard. All Leaders, Masters and Providers are at liberty to produce their own calendar of courses and are free to market their AAI courses (including on the AAI website), to their anticipated level of demand as long as they operate to the AAI guidelines.

    The AAI does not formalise the amount of experience required before attending an assessment. Success is based purely on competence at the required standard. Those not yet competent in a particular module may present for reassessment at any time.

    Training: The AAI does not formalise training courses. Some accreditation schemes have a formal training course that gives a candidate trainee status once they have attended a course. No competence is assessed and this may be misleading for users. We believe that training based on the free market and the preferred learning style of candidates is more effective.  In order to moderate our standards, only AAI Leaders and Masters are authorised to assess AAI awards but anyone can offer training, as they see fit to help prepare people for assessment. They can announce their services through the AAI Forum. Market forces determine whether they are meeting the needs of their customers.

    Transferability: this is a new scheme with a world-wide remit and it is hoped that many experienced and established outdoor people and Leaders will want to join. The AAI are developing a matrix of worldwide outdoor qualifications so that people can see where their qualifications fit in with the AAI scheme. We welcome suggestions as to where other schemes fit into the AAI scheme and encourage close association with other organisations involved in outdoor and adventure activities.

    Revalidation: Some accreditation schemes require their qualifications to be revalidated usually every three years. Experience shows that in practice this does little towards ensuring that people are competent and up-to-date. The AAI recognise that our Leaders and Masters are professionals and we operate on the basis of trust. Most people are honest and conscientious and will want to ensure that they are competent and working to the required standards. AAI Leaders and Masters are required to subscribe to The AAI Code of Ethics and Guidance but ultimately the sanction of law will identify whether people are operating incompetently, fraudulently or beyond their remit. Users are encouraged to give feedback to AAI Head Office on the quality of their experience.  It is good practice and expected for all Leaders to maintain evidence of their competence and continuing experience.

    Modular: Many people who participate in adventure sports are involved in a range of disciplines and other activities. Modular awards encourage cross-fertilisation of skills and reduces repetitive reassessments of the same subject within each discipline or sport. Wherever an element is not discipline specific, all generic modules will be transferable. Some countries have developed national training schemes across a range of industries including outdoor activities. If these schemes are overly bureaucratic they may discourage some of the best people who would be most effective outdoors. AAI schemes are logical, competency-based and realistically achievable. 

    Stability:  With modern communication technology, long-established and well thought-out schemes can be modified for thousands of people worldwide in an instant. It is recognised that sports develop, equipment and techniques change but constant change leaves everyone struggling to stay up-to-date with what is going on. Suggestions as to how the AAI can improve through our on line forums or direct communication are welcome. In the forums suggestions can be made, discussed and agreed but changes to the scheme will only be implemented periodically - this would normally be every three years and with consultation of the AAI Council of Elders.

    Benefits: Many people will have some great ideas as to how AAI, with the power of an influential number of outdoor people worldwide can develop numerous benefits for AAI users. These ideas are welcome and all AAI staff are dedicated to developing services and benefits for users.  As AAI numbers increase, it is hoped it will become an influential voice for the worldwide recreational and educational outdoor movement. With the benefits of the internet, it can operate across borders and encourage a healthy cross-fertilisation of ideas and outdoor experiences. It seeks to work in partnership with local groups and major organisations to address issues of relevance to its users. Its growth will increase its potential to effect change at an international level. Translations of AAI schemes and adaptations dictated by cultural necessity will come as demand for the scheme progresses.

    Environment: Appreciation of the wild environment is a fundamental principle at all levels of our schemes. We encourage our users to be proactive in reporting environmental damage and removing litter. AAI Members and Leaders visit diverse places routinely and are the eyes and ears for the planet, reporting pollution or anything untoward that might adversely affect where we work and play. This benefits everyone on the planet. The AAI supports its members at all levels to seek remedies. AAI will co-ordinate and work with other bodies wherever possible and will be proactive in fund raising or promoting awareness schemes and raising any issues that affect our users. The AAI expects Leaders to be aware of the potential damage caused by overuse of particular venues.

    International:  We are proud to be the first International organisation to represent the interests of recreational adventure sports and those involved in using outdoor activities for educational purposes.  Initially, our communications and resources are in the English language but all nations are encouraged to get involved. As demand dictates and resources are available, we endeavour to translate to other languages. The intention is to compliment existing National schemes and enhance the opportunities and accreditation for our users world-wide.
    The world has had an International River Grading System for many years, now we have an association for active and enthusiastic outdoor people throughout the World - AAI.


    AAI supporters be they Adventurers, Professionals or Providers are encouraged to advise AAI Head Office with full details and documentary evidence of any incidents or threats of restrictive or monopolistic activity or refusal to recognise AAI Awards and Registration. Such restrictive practices would be contrary to our ethos of freedom and outdoor community inclusivity and will attract the full attention of the AAI legal team.