Monday, September 20, 2010

eNews You Can Use: Age Requirements for Training

Dear Education Department,

I recently completed my Master Educator Course and am scheduling some upcoming Trainer Courses.

I am writing to see if there is a minimum age requirement for taking a Trainer Course. I thought I had read something in your literature, but I can’t seem to find it. I’ve received a number of inquiries regarding this and want to make sure I am passing along the right information.

Can you help me answer this question?


Active Master Educator


Dear Active Master Educator,

Thank you for your email and congratulations on completing the Master Educator Course! As the number of people taking Trainer Courses continues to grow, we’ve received this inquiry many times.

Here is our answer to the question:

The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics does not have a set minimum age for Leave No Trace Trainer Course participants. However, the youngest participants we’re aware of on Leave No Trace Trainer Courses have been 13, and these have been offered by youth serving organizations such as the Boy Scouts of America.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

1. We leave it up to the individual Master Educator to determine the minimum age of participants for courses they run, keeping in mind the potential legal ramifications of having minors participate in their courses. If you’re running courses under the auspices of your organization, for example, it may be fine to have minors participate. Whereas if you’re running courses on your own, you might find that you’re not comfortable with the risk/liability associated with having minors on your courses.

2. Be mindful of how younger course participants will be able to (or not) deal with certain subject matter such as human wastes, feminine hygiene products (proper disposal of), etc. Sometimes young people can easily handle this subject matter and other times they don’t handle very well (or at all).

3. Keep in mind that the intent of the Trainer Course is to teach participants how to effectively disseminate Leave No Trace information (e.g. Awareness Workshops). While some young people are fully capable of this, others simply aren’t and may be better suited for an Awareness Workshop themselves rather than the Trainer Course.

4. Your organization may have internal guidelines regarding age of participants.

Should you have further questions please contact the Education Department. Thank you for your support. We wouldn’t be able to work with millions each year if it weren’t for volunteers like you.


The Education Department

Photo Caption: Participants stop to watch a lesson during a Trainer Course in Acadia.

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