Teen Travel Network

Risk Management Policy

Learn more about Teen Travel Network's program policies

Risk Management Policy

Teen Travel Network adopts a rigorous approach to understanding and proactively managing the risks we face in operating educational travel programs for teens.

We recognize taking strategic decisions which entail calculated risks and managing those within

sensible parameters are fundamental to meeting commitments and the TTN promise to our staff, participants and their families, partners and members of the communities in which we operate.

TTN’s risk management strategies have been modeled after our sister organization, Global Leadership Adventures, which has been operating with high safety standards since 2004. TTN utilizes GLA’s decades of experience in managing risk during experiential education programs. Our similar values and goals while providing safe, secure, high-quality travel programs to teens allows us to align our risk management strategies and maintain similar management systems.

We believe risk management must be integrated into the day to day management of our operations and above all, it should guide our decision making and form an integral part of our culture at TTN. We believe and are committed to making safety and risk management our top priorities.

Our risk management strategies have been guided and informed by an investment GLA has made to hire a third party professional consultancy, NOLS,  a long-time expert in the field of risk management in the context of outdoor leadership programs. For nearly a full year, a team of reviewers examined multiple components of our organization, from the enrollment and screening process to staff training practices to our activities and policies in the field.  Suggestions stemming from this review process have been a key component in continuing to uphold GLA and TTN’s already high safety standards in an ever-changing world.

Our risk management systems aim to ensure that:

  • Our Departmental Managers, Program managers, and field staff have an up to date and accurate understanding of the tangible physical and emotional risks relevant to their areas of responsibility and the strategies and controls in place to mitigate these risks.
  • Appropriate and continuously updated risk management education and training will be provided to all staff annually.
  • Risk management processes and practices are diligently applied by all of our staff.
  • Policies and procedures are developed to guide our actions relating to specific risk activities during in-country programming.
  • Regular evaluation and improvement of our risk management approaches and systems is undertaken.
  • Information regarding the status of a range of risks is regularly presented and reviewed by Terra’s Risk Management Committee.
  • Major risk issues are promptly reported to the Director of Program Operations & Risk Management and the Executive Director for managing.
  • Management’s report on TTN policies for monitoring and managing risk (which includes near misses, policy changes, developments, concerns & successes)  will be reviewed by our Board of Directors annually.

This policy statement is reviewed and updated annually.


TTN risk management provides policy, oversight and guidance of field risk management at the global and local program level. The role of the Program Staff member is to collect information, monitor, investigate and evaluate injury, illness and near miss incidents, establish risk management policy, maintain acceptable global Operating Standards, collaborate on curriculum development tasks and review marketing materials for accurate descriptions of programs and disclosure of risks inherent to TTN programs.

Risk management protocols outline the specific roles and responsibilities of each staff member and of students in a specific type of emergency; the steps required to carry out the plan; and how to maintain a safe environment for the remainder of the group when an emergency does not involve all participants.

Each Regional Director, Program Manager, Local Director, International Director and Mentor shares responsibility for risk management at the Field Level. Program Managers address risk management with Program Directors and Mentors during pre-program training, weekly check ins, program evaluation and program de-briefings.

The local management teams formulate specific risk management parameters for each program site. Local Directors provide periodic reports to the Program Managers, monitor risk management policies and relay concerns from participants and staff regarding program design and implementation of emergency procedures and program standards and practices.

Program Site considerations include safety of: accommodations, service sites, facilities and equipment; fire precautions; health and hygiene, transportation, physical and political environment.

Program Activity considerations include: participant/ staff ratio appropriate to supervision of activities, vetting of transportation, excursion venues and program elements involving risk; relevant certification and qualification of staff and excursion leaders.

International and Local Directors and Mentors directly influence the health and welfare of participants through their training, leadership, expertise and experience. Program Directors are experienced field staff with supervisory responsibility for overall program integrity and participant safety. Program Directors have demonstrated requisite levels of skill, judgment, risk management expertise and experience to manage international teen programs in remote settings.

Staff training content regarding health issues include awareness of and response to suspected physical, mental health and behavioral issues; the processes for collecting, storing and accessing pertinent health information for all parties and by institutional/ organizational policy, and provides for consultation by appropriate health and mental health care providers as deemed necessary.

Safety training includes policies and scenario-based skill development of appropriate and responsible staff response to support students during incidents of crime, personal safety violations, sexual assault,  harassment, and more.

Program Managers oversee the evaluation process of Program Staff performance and make recommendations for staff re-hire and program changes. Program managers also work together with field specialists and Field managers to review and refine risk management protocols per program site.

Students have an important role in managing risk during programs. Parents and students must: read the detailed program descriptions and other enrollment information provided to them; complete an accurate, truthful and comprehensive health history and honestly describe their physical and mental health and ability to meet the minimum requirements of a TTN program, including rigors, risks and remoteness of their particular program; abide by all policies, staff instructions and commit to upholding the terms of the Code of Conduct at all times.

  • On TTN programs, students are expected to, under the direct and indirect supervision of Program Staff, learn and practice leadership, judgment, decision making and to implement the safe practices and risk management methods employed in the program.
  • TTN’s enrollment process is often a student’s first experience with TTN’s risk management philosophy and is followed and supported throughout their pre-trip coordination. TTN audits its risk management performance on a regular basis through program briefings, written evaluations and incident reporting audits. TTN will use its incident database to review processes and policies and to analyze and understand injuries, illnesses, near misses and other incidents in the field and to learn from these experiences and inform where necessary, revisions to our field risk management practices.
  • Program Staff conduct an orientation with students that addresses various aspects of the program including travel and living conditions, cultural norms, responsible travel overview, group norms and expectations, staff and student roles and responsibility for managing risk for themselves and for the group. This process is intended to alert students and to inform them that objective hazards and risks exist and that risk management and safety is central to all TTN programs.

Information contained in written emergency plans includes:

  • entry, exit and group assembly points;
  • evacuation and emergency response plans;
  • contact details for: ambulance services/ hospital/ doctor, police, program staff and program administration personnel and relevant government agencies (embassy, consulate, local immigration, national police)
  • alternate methods of communication when reliable telecommunications fail
  • a plan in case of the inability to communicate between designated emergency leaders
  • contingency plans for situations involving the loss of a program leader
  • a system for accessing emergency health and consent information for program participants.

Other Teen Travel Network Policies

Teen Travel Network

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