How to Lead a Black Rock Ranger Training

So you want to Lead an In-Person Black Rock Ranger Training?

Every training has A Lead Trainer. Any Trainer is eligible to fill this role which is responsible for the success of the entire training. Lead Trainers manage the training team for setup/strike, logistics, timing, feedback, and Clubhouse responsibilities for their training. The Lead is also responsible for applying the policies and procedures set forth by the Training Academy.

While there is a degree of autonomy with respect to individual trainings, Training Academy policies must be applied to each in order to maintain consistency and objectivity. This ensures fair application of training and on-boarding processes across the Ranger Organization.


    Pre-training season checklist:

    • Monitor the Trainer’s list for the Training Academy announcement posting the publication of this year’s training materials (early-mid April).
    • Attend at least one all-trainer call. If unable to attend, contact the Training Academy.
    • Study ahead! Use the current version of materials—these change yearly to reflect policy updates and keep the training fresh and up to speed
    • Know the current Ranger Application Process. You are likely to be asked about it.

    Step one, by APRIL 30…

    Request a training date. The city and date for your training will be listed on the Ranger website and appear in the Clubhouse about a week later. Rangers will not be able to see or register for an In-Person Training until they have successfully completed the Online Course. (If you need to schedule a training before the first weekend of May, please contact the [email protected] .)

    The Training Academy fields many questions about when and where trainings will be held. We recommend you fill out the Training Logistics form as soon as possible so trainees can begin to plan, even if you don’t have all of the information yet.

    The minimum information needed for the Training Logistics Form:

    • An identified Lead Trainer
    • Location capable of accommodating up to 40 trainees and all training activities
    • Month the Training is to be held. Exact dates aren’t necessary for form, but are required BEFORE the Training can appear in the Clubhouse
    • If held at a Private Residence, you need the address and permission to publish it in the Ranger Secret Clubhouse

    Rangers will not be able to see or register for an In-Person Training until they successfully complete the Online Course.

    Additional information necessary to complete the training request:

    • Contact information for owner of training location (if different)
    • Number of trainees your location can handle (optimally 40)
    • Handles of the Lead Trainer and committed training team
    • Number of radios and training packets you will need
    • Nearest FedEx Office location, where all printed training materials will be sent
    • Address for shipping other training materials, such as radios
    • All COVID protocol information, and enforcement plan
    • Any Special Accommodations you require
    • Any additional or unusual information about your training you want listed in the Clubhouse—for example, is your training at an event, and requires special entry?

    Even If you don’t have all this information by April 30, enter what you can into the form, and contact the Training Academy once you have the rest. 

    We highly encourage post-training social gatherings! If you plan to have one, start thinking about what it could be and what you might need.

    Advanced Ranger Trainings (ARTs)

    If you plan to host a Facilitated ART (Green Dot, Sandman, Tow Truck) and secured a trainer, contact the ART’s Cadre and ask them to add the appropriate slots to the Clubhouse. If you want to host a facilitated ART but don’t have an ART trainer yet, contact the Cadre for assistance: 

    Step two, a few key reminders…

    • You MUST successfully complete the Online Training Course before you can train.
    • Register for your training as a Trainer, or Associate Trainer if you are Ubering.
    • Your training team has completed the Online Course and signed up for the training.
    • If you requested Facilitated ARTs, verify they’ve been published in the Clubhouse.
    • Confirm your training and ARTs are listed on the Training and Resources page of the Ranger website. If they are not, contact the TA at [email protected] to add them. Only the date and city will be published on the Rangers’ web site. The details become available to trainees in the Clubhouse once they successfully completed the Online Course.

    Step three, at least three weeks prior to training…

    • Confirm with your venue operator that it will be accessible on your training date.
    • Email the TA to verify your training information at [email protected]
    • The 2022 Ranger Training requires each Trainee to have a radio. Verify you requested your radios and confirm where and how they are getting to the training.
    • Schedule a conference call with your training team to review the material and use Appendix A to pre­-assign sections so you can all prepare. Executing this step three weeks in advance is essential for a successful training, ESPECIALLY if any team member is new to instruction or the material. 
    • If you need a conference call line, email the TA with a date and time to schedule one for you: [email protected] 

    Trainees and confidential information

    • Review all Universal Feedback information for trainees registered at your training. This information is noted on the Trainers Report and specifics are available by contacting the TA.
    • It is at the discretion of the Lead Trainer whether to explicitly share the information with the Training Team. If you choose not to share the information, it is then up to you as the Lead Trainer to be attentive to any trainees with such notations.

    Other Training Logistics

    • Have a plan and timeframe for communicating with your trainees to allow for adequate planning.
    • If you plan to host a facilitated ART at your training, sync up with the facilitator. As best practice, include info about Facilitated ARTs associated with your training in your communications, and Bcc the Ranger facilitating the ART to keep them in the loop.  

    Step four, at least two weeks prior to training…

    Contact your trainees

    • For details on how to email everyone signed up for your training, refer to this document. You may use this sample written by k8 as a template or write your own.
    • Announce your training location, directions, COVID protocols, and relay other needs (e.g., participants should bring chairs, coffee, food, etc.). Bcc ART Facilitators, if any.
    • Facilitated ARTs usually start at 10 AM. Attendees should go directly to the ARTs meeting area as they do not need to check in at the beginning of the In-Person Training. Consider assigning someone at the door to direct lost souls. 

    Step five, at least one week prior to training…

    Finalize your logistics

    • Contact your Training Team and make sure everyone is prepared to deliver their sections. Specifically check in with any new Associate Trainers.
    • Ensure you have received the radio pack, manuals and training guides. If not, contact ranger-training-acadmy[email protected] for information and guidance.
    • If a trainer is coming from out of town, verify their travel plans and sleeping accommodations, and ensure they contacted the TA if they planned on being reimbursed for travel.

    Step six, the night before the training…

    Get everything in order

    • Charge the radios and set them to a unified channels.
    • Review the training materials and remind your team to do the same so it is fresh in everyone’s mind!
    • Organize supplemental materials, for ex: easel, clock, snacks, chairs, etc.
    • Attendance sheet printouts, from Secret Clubhouse: Log in >”Training” > find your training > “Signup Sheet” > Print
    • Trainer Report printout for each trainer. > located next to the “Signup Sheet” button. 

    Step seven, the start of training day…

    Get everything in place

    • Set up materials: Training guides, appendices and handouts, Trainer’s Report, signup sheet, name tags, writing utensils, charged radios, any extra supplemental materials
    • DO NOT set the sign-in sheets out until the end of the day.
    • Time-keeping means (a wall clock is ideal – checking cell phones can be distracting).
    • “D-lot” setup: Whiteboard for “parking” questions; to come back to when there’s time.
    • 9:30 am – Assign a radio to each trainee (once a trainee learns to operate theirs, you may delegate them to show others how to use the radio). 
    • 10 am – Start your training promptly.

    Stay ahead of any problems that might arise:
    Do you have an adverse weather backup plan?
    Do you have keys for all the areas you need to access?
    Do you have trainers/actors assigned to all of the training demos?
    Do you know where the scenarios are going to be?
    Do you have the scenario math worked out and figured out the potential pods?

    Step eight, throughout training day…

    Keep the training on track:

    • This may mean interrupting storytelling, digressions, and parking questions in “D-lot”.
    • Digressions jeopardize the schedule: Fear not, jump in, and move things along!
    • Guide Trainers gently if they veer off course or start jeopardizing the schedule.
    • Make sure that training ends on time with ALL material covered.
    • The role of Lead Trainer doesn’t mean having to teach the entirety of the material, but it does mean the Lead Trainer is responsible for the entirety of the curriculum being covered.

    Manage the scenarios

    The scenario section is NEW for 2022. Make sure you understand it thoroughly!

    Setting up, explaining, and managing the scenarios and their rotation can be difficult and chaotic. The Training Academy changed the Scenarios in 2022, making this easier.

    • Have a dedicated time keeper who is not you.
    • Have at least two trainers (you may be one of) to manage the scenario rotations.
    • It is best practice to have a member of the Shift Command Team, or a Trainer, in each of the Scenario Pods fulfilling the “Resource Role.” If you do not have enough, a Ranger with 5 or more years should work. The TA strongly suggests not assigning this role to a Ranger with less than 5 years of rangering experience on playa.
    • If you have delegated scenario set up to someone else and it looks to be breaking down, be prepared to step in and gently guide things back on course.
    • DO NOT allow veteran Rangers to hijack any of the scenarios or the rotation process. As Lead Trainer you are responsible for following the Training Guide and achieving the stated Learning Outcomes.

    Manage the Feedback

    The feedback section is NEW for 2022. Make sure you understand it thoroughly!

    The feedback process this year has expanded from past years. In addition to collecting feedback from Vets to give to the Binaries, the Training also allows for the Binaries to provide feedback to the Vets. In the past we used a combination of a ranking system and typed feedback for Potential Rangers and Auditors. Beginning in 2022 the rankings are applied to, and required for ALL trainees. The Training Academy developed a list of objective attributes and guidelines (see below) to assist in identifying the appropriate rank.

    Guidelines for Ranking in the Ranger Secret Clubhouse
      • Above average to outstanding: situational awareness, communication skills, problem solving abilities, and employs mediation strategies in a natural and compassionate manner
      • Above average to outstanding: listening skills, demonstration of kindness and empathy, and builds Social Capital with ease
      • Exceptional radio skills: clear, concise, with no hesitation or unnecessary usage
      • Not authoritative or confrontational, easily demonstrates a "not about me" attitude, receives and integrates feedback well.
      • Exceptionally personable: this individual will clearly pass mentoring with no reservations.
      • Average to above average: situational awareness, problem solving abilities, employs mediation strategies. Needs practice and/or experience to grow these skills, has clear potential
      • Average to above average: listening and communication skills, likely successful without burning Social Capital
      • Average radio skills, mostly clear and concise. Would benefit from radio practice and/or experience. Can make an adequate radio call.
      • Not authoritative or combative, demonstrates a "not about me" attitude, receives and integrates feedback reasonably well
      • Personable: this individual will benefit from the mentor walk experience and you have no strong reservations walking a shift with this individual. They will likely pass or may pass with reservations
      • Below average to average: situational awareness, problem solving abilities, employs mediation strategies but needs much practice and experience, Might benefit from additional training, but that is not a given.
      • Below average to average: listening and communication skills, empathy and compassion, likely to burn Social Capital and may create a Personnel Issue.
      • Poor to average radio skills: hesitates, is not clear, cannot execute a radio call well. May improve with a lot of practice
      • Somewhat authoritative, confrontational, or defensive, does not receive feedback well.
      • Doubtful this individual would pass mentoring without significant improvement. You may avoid walking a shift with this person, or wonder how they passed.
      • Red flags: anything that may trigger an investigation/follow­up, or trigger a pre­bonk. (Ex: Showed up altered, observably poor behavior at training, serious misconduct or known allegations in their local community)
      • Lacks situational awareness and problem solving abilities, does not employ mediation strategies, would require significant additional training at minimum.
      • Lacks listening and communication skills, lacks in empathy or compassion, highly likely to burn Social Capital and carries a Personnel Issue risk.
      • Poor radio skills, hesitates, is not clear, cannot execute basic radio calls, would require a significant amount of practice.
      • Overtly authoritative, confrontational, and/or defensive, does not accept feedback.
      • This individual would not pass mentoring, and you would not walk a shift with them.

    Provide direct feedback to all of your trainees, veterans as well as prospective volunteers.

    Feedback can and should be provided for ANY trainee, whether they are a veteran or potential volunteer. Beginning this year, for all feedback noted in the Clubhouse, the Lead Trainer will have to indicate whether or not the feedback was provided directly to the trainee. As in the past, substantive feedback is required on anyone receiving a ranking of 1, 3, or FLAG. 

    Manage the Sign­-in Sheet:

    • Have the Sign-in Sheet available at the END of training, not in the morning or at lunch. DO NOT let the Sign-in Sheet wander off at the end of the day. This is your only written record of which trainees were present.
    • Make sure all critical information is legible. 
    • Make sure everyone signs and fills in the sign-­in sheet you brought to the training.

    Step nine, the end of training day…

    Debrief on the Prospectives

    • Gather your Training Team to have a conversation about the prospective volunteers, immediate impressions and any characteristics you noted throughout the day.
    • The Lead Trainer should write down all impressions on 1s, 3s, and Flags, to enter into the Clubhouse, as is required for anyone ranked as such (ranking guidelines above). 

    Debrief on the training

    • Discuss what went well and what you would do differently next time.
    • Provide each other feedback, both positive and constructive.
    • Encourage everyone to fill out feedback forms for one another after the training

    Everyone should have been registered for the Training through the Ranger Secret Clubhouse, and the NO WALK-INS policy enforced. In the event you did permit someone who was not registered to remain, you both must contact the Training Academy separately and explain the circumstances. Trainers no longer have the ability to add trainees to a training. This must be completed by the Training Academy.

    If there is sensitive information about any trainee that you do not want to put in the Comments field, please email it to the Training Academy at ranger-­[email protected]

    Step ten, within 24-48 hours after the training…

    Use the Sign-up Sheet and your notes to enter rankings, feedback information, and mark the trainees as “trained” in the Secret Clubhouse.

    For off-playa trainings, the below must be done within 24-48 hours.
    For on-playa trainings, please complete by 7:00pm.

    • Enter Prospective Ranking information and comments/impressions into the Clubhouse. Use the drop-down field in the Clubhouse to enter 1-2-3-FLAG, and WHY, into the Comments field. Comments are not required for a ranking of 2. Comments ARE REQUIRED for a ranking of 1, 3, or FLAG. And you must verify that direct feedback was given to the trainee.

    Wrap up these final objectives.

    • If your travel expenses were pre-approved by the TA, fill out an Expense Report and send it along with your receipts to the Training Academy and Ranger Accounting.
    • Pack up all radios and return, or send them on to the next training location.
    • Email a thank­ you note and instructions for providing feedback on the training to all who completed the training. Once you mark trainees as completed in the database, you can get a list of email addresses of all the people who passed training by going to the “Training” tab in the Clubhouse and clicking “List Emails.”
    • Complete an evaluation for everyone on your Training Team in the Ranger Secret Clubhouse. This feedback will be shared with them over the course of the training season to help them improve.
    • Email comments on Facilitated ART modules to the Training Academy and the appropriate cadre.