On May 20, the NSP board voted on and approved “Request For Board Action 07-08” (RFBA 07-08), which reclassifies a portion of the membership. Starting in the fall, this classification change will be implemented. Under RFBA 07-08, the Auxiliary classification will be removed from the NSP and all members who were formerly Auxiliaries will now be referred to as “Patrollers.” Local patrol protocols will still determine what these patrollers can and can not do.

Skiing and toboggan handling approved patrollers will now be known as “Nordic Patrollers” or “Alpine Patrollers.” “Senior Patrollers” will now be any patrollers who pass the Senior EMM module and their three electives but does not pass the Senior Ski and Toboggan evaluation.  Skiing and Toboggan handling approved Senior Patrollers will now be officially known as “Senior Nordic Patroller” or “Senior Alpine Patroller,” as long as they passed the additional Ski and Toboggan Senior evaluation modules.

Below is an article from NSP that fills in some of the historical reasons for these changes:

RFBA 07-08: What it Means for You!

Background In 2005, Rose DeJarnette of the Central Division began focusing on issues facing Auxiliary patrollers. She worked to develop concepts and ideas designed to promote the Auxiliary Program, and had several discussions with people regarding Auxiliaries and their duties. The plan was to educate the membership as to the value of the Auxiliary Patroller and to also encourage the Auxiliary Patroller to seek personal development within the organization. This movement was called “The New Auxiliary Focus,” recognizing that “there is no typical auxiliary patroller. Rather than focusing on what an auxiliary patroller cannot do, let’s focus on what they can do. Auxiliary patrollers can do everything any other patroller can do, with the exception of toboggan tasks.”  

In 2007, Tom Horak, who was in charge of recruitment and retention at the time, conducted an extensive survey and learned of a disparity in thoughts, support, and training facing Auxiliaries from all angles. After Horak presented his findings to the board, Rick Hamlin, former division director of the NSP Eastern Division, organized a study group in New England and went through the process of understanding and identifying the details of issues and solutions to the Auxiliary dilemma.  

What they found from their research was that there were patrollers who were getting too old to pull a sled, but still had valuable skills and knowledge to contribute, and there was a misunderstanding regarding what an Auxiliary can and can’t do. Being an Auxiliary means you don’t pull a toboggan with a patient, but save for that one skill, Auxiliaries do all the work that sled-pulling patrollers do. Many teach OEC and CPR, ski, and are a very valuable part of NSP.   

Based upon these findings, Hamlin created and presented RFBA 07-08 to the board, and it was preliminarily approved, pending research into how to put the change into practice. This year, the Governance Committee took it under their auspices to understand the issues and what had been done and moved to put it into the NSP Member Survey.  

There was an overwhelming response. Over 20 percent of the members took the survey, and based on that feedback, the change has been made. From now on, Auxiliaries will be reclassified as Patrollers, reflecting their strong work and contributions to their areas. The change to Patroller is timely, reflecting the varied patrolling responsibilities and enhanced benefit to our guests. Also, the change of classification removes the potential liability which legal counsel has suggested the term Auxiliary brings to NSP.  

This change will help further growth of our organization by bringing the membership closer together, as we are all patrollers and are bonded by the primary-focus discipline of OEC. It will also provide equal opportunity and encouragement for personal growth and advancement of all patrollers, and enable all patrollers to be appropriately recognized for their accomplishments, enthusiasm, service, and contributions to the local patrol and NSP.  

One major benefit is it will enable local patrol leadership to recruit, train, and deploy many new members to serve in non-sled handling roles, providing service and safety as OEC technicians. This will enable more patrolling coverage as needed in the base-lodge vicinities of the winter-sport area, freeing sled-handling patrollers to spend more time in on-mountain patrolling where they are most effective and needed.

Many NSP members believe that OEC is the defining discipline of the NSP, and that it creates a commonality of expertise in patient care with all members: Alpine and Nordic Patrollers, Alpine and Nordic Seniors, Certified Patrollers, Instructors, and National Patrollers. We are all very capable OEC technicians, and just because a member does not participate in sled handling, it doesn’t make them inferior. Sled-handling patrollers will soon note that having more newly-designated Patrollers on duty means that they will likely be able to spend more time on the mountain.

This change also creates an opportunity for our elders or injured Patrollers to transition into a meaningful active position on the local patrol without losing their earned credentials or being relegated to an Auxiliary reference or retirement. It gives an Alumni Member a chance to continue OEC care duties and also be as a mentor and instructor, sharing well-needed skill-sets with younger members and newly-recruited members.