Fall 2022 Division Director Newsletter


We are now into the Fall of our 2022-2023 season.  Refreshers, ski swaps, and resorts and patrols getting ready for that first opening day.

The Fall Division Meeting in Midland, Michigan, was very successful, and thank you to the Eastern Michigan Region for hosting this great event!

Our Rusty Parka News Editor, Katie Flanagan, has stepped down, so if anyone is interested, please send an email to Assistant Division Director Allison Lavene ( ad4@nspcd.org ).  In the meantime, it was suggested that I send out newsletters to the Division.  Speaking of Newsletters, all the Division Directors have decided to put out a newsletter, This News Update has been created by the Division Directors as a way to increase our communications with you. We meet monthly as a team to discuss Division and National business and to support and share ideas with each other.  Our goal is to provide you with a consistent message on a variety of topics as they come up. The message we send will be simple. If you want to know more about any information sent, remember I am only a phone call, text, or email away.

One of our projects, your Division Director team is currently working with several people from the National OEC Committee to revamp and revitalize the Senior Program. The goal of Seniors is to dive into the development of high‐level scene and care management by solidifying your leadership, problem‐solving, and decision‐making abilities.

This season 2022‐2023, changes in the OEC component include:

  • More focus on leadership, problem‐solving, and decision‐making
  • Less intimidating
  • Less resources/people required to evaluate
  • Renewed energy from your senior instructors and evaluators
  • Same high standards

What are NSP and the Central Division doing to serve the needs of our members and patrols?

  • We have over 120 patrols across 8 regions in 8 states, with over 7300 members, including alumni and hosts.
  • Our patrols and their members vary widely in size, and all are unique.
  • Our division program supervisors work with region administrators, ITs, instructors, and patrol leadership to provide course content to members across all NSP disciplines.
  • Our goals are to serve our members’ needs, ensure our patrols work productively and cooperatively with ski and bike area management and deliver educational content backed by solid quality assurance.

Yes, it’s another year so we have the opportunity to vote for four National Board members. One of the issues I hear every year is, “I’m not sure who the Candidates are.”  There are several avenues for you to get to know the Candidates. First, is in the same section on the National website WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW, you can find the Candidate page to read about each candidate. The second is to check the National Calendar and join the Candidate Call-in Form, (hosted by our own Jeff Olson), The first forum is this week.

I constantly get asked who should I vote for or who did I vote for.  I always answer that first, I look for honesty and integrity.  Second, institutional knowledge and experience, and finally, outside experience that brings value to the organization.  In my opinion and for me, there are only five candidates that bring these characteristics to the position.  Unfortunately, we can only vote for four, so there are choices.  I have stated when asked who I would vote for and why by disclosing my choices, but again those are individual interactions and not for this type of forum.

Finally, there is a lot of negativities floating around from both inside and outside the NSP.  What can Central Division patrols and members do to help NSP weather the current storm of criticism?  We should do what we have always done:

  • Take the high road. Stay out of the limelight, do our jobs, and lead by example.
  • Keep doing the great job that we are known for.
  • Maintain good relationships with our resorts and land management units.  Stay attuned to the needs of area management.  Be open, welcoming, and encouraging to guests.
  • Tell positive stories:  Why did you become a patroller?  What does your patrol mean to you?  What has your patrol done to make a difference in the lives of guests to encourage safe outdoor recreation?
  • Stay out of the fray.  Don’t get involved in public debates about what NSP should do differently.  If you have ideas, concerns, or suggestions, share them with your patrol, region, and division leaders.  Again, I am available to every member by email, text, and just a phone call away.
  • Be good ski patrollers and lead by example.

I look forward to skiing around the division and an opportunity to talk with each of you!


Mike Schons