2012 Type 3 and 2 Academies

By John Banuelos
Academy Sergeant

After four weeks of commitment, 38 new Type 3 members (25 adults and 13 Explorers) officially joined the Team on September 27th. A graduation of sorts was held in the FOB parking lot late that night as they received their Sheriff ID cards. You never heard a louder group of cheers and congratulations given for fellow members; it was a level of enthusiasm that created delight for all who observed the ceremony.
After a break, 23 fresh Type 3 members and 10 Explorers pressed right into the Type 2 Academy, adding two more weeks of effort to their already full-time lives. Their enthusiasm never dissipated. They all wanted to be Type 2 ground-pounders and were ready to take on UNO.

Like every UNO before this class, the secret was kept, the challenges were laid out, and UNO was unleashed on 30 ready, willing and able students of 2012. Dungeon Master Larry Fong, with the help of his minion of SAR veterans, orchestrated the challenges for the next 24-plus hours.
At 0300 hours on Sunday, when I said, “The next phase of UNO begins now,” nobody gave me a cheery look (rather quite the opposite). Luckily, it was the sleep phase. Tired and worn, they bedded down to await the dawn and the final phase of UNO. Few slept, some struggled, but all kept their focus on the mission. Dawn came, and with it, the final challenges of the new day. The participants were not as fast or as spry as the day before, but they persevered through the early morning.

Sunday morning brings the “Mogadishu mile.” On this day, 20 new Type 2 candidates, with nine explorers and Eddy Crochetiere (now a certified Type 2) did the “mile” with Lisa McGraw, the volunteer subject, carried on the stokes wheel. As they neared the end, the smiles of the Class of 2012 beamed once again.

How many CocoSAR members does it take to do the academies and UNO?
I can tell you with great pride that 100 members contributed to the development of these 38 members. Eighty members helped with the Type 3 Academy. An additional 20 joined in during the Type 2 Academy and UNO. Chris Poppett’s logistic crew, Larry Fong’s minions of UNO, the bulk of the team resources, the Hasty squad, and so many more contributed to making the Type 3 and 2 academies a success. I thank each and every one of you for your support. Job well done.

This ratio of 2.5 veterans helping in the development of one new member was not lost on the Class of 2012. Even after UNO, they all stayed on to help put away and rehab the equipment. Once done, as a group they presented to the Academy staff, the Command Staff, and to the full Team of CoCoSAR, by proxy, a plaque. Its message was simple; from the original 38, it was a heartfelt thank you to the full team for all that we had done to help them.

Explorer Rafting Trip

On August 6th, 2012, Walter Eichinger and a group of CoCo SAR Explorers went on a three day camping and whitewater river rafting trip near the American River. This trip included class 3 rapids, sunburns, ping pong, and lots of pranks.

Here are some pictures of Walter and the soggy Explorers (Adam Blake, Alex Plam, Casey and Michael Riggs, Cody Million, Colton Bryson, Dominic Rosso, Greg Miller, Michael Lim, and Tyler Davis):

The Callout Has a New Format

Technology is changing nearly evey aspect of the world around us, and The Callout is no exception. If you're reading this article, you can see the team newsletter has evolved to a new, online format. There are a number of reasons for the decision. First and foremost is the ease of updating. For a volunteer organization, putting out a quality publication month after month is a daunting task. For the newsletter staff, that last week each month before publication is a stressful time. That problem has now largely been solved.  Working on the newsletter no longer requires  specialized skills or expensive desktop publishing software. In fact, the tools used are free. (The new format is actually created with blogging software called WordPress.) That means anyone interested in helping with the newsletter can participate; all that's necessary is a connection to the Internet. 

A second important reason for putting the newsletter online is the expanded functionality. It's now much easier to search for past articles or other specific information—especially as content accumulates over time. While still maintaining the look and feel of a newsletter, the new format also gives The Callout more of a progressive flare. The newsletter itself is now directly connected to the World Wide Web, making it much easier for the rest of the world to find us, while providing the user with a richer, more engaging experience. With what amounts to a bottomless page, articles aren't limited to what fits on an 8½ x 11 sheet of paper. One great benefit there is that now more photos and larger images can be incorporated into the newsletter. And when a particular topic warrants coverage in more detail, the space is there to do it.

Interactivity is a final key feature of the new newsletter. The new format makes it easy to create slideshows of trainings, searches, and other special events. For the first time, videos can easily be embedded into the newsletter. Watch for more of that interactive content appearing in the coming months. Another possibility under consideration is opening up some of the articles for comment and discussion, the same way readers can post questions or comments after a blog post. This type of two-way communication is much more in alignment with modern trends toward social media.

At this point the new format for The Callout is still experimental. The months ahead are likely to see a variety of changes as we experiment with various ideas . In the meantime, try it out, click on the links, and explore the site. Tell us what you like and what you don't. Your experience will help us improve the newsletter to an even more important means of communication. Please send your thoughts to the editor at newsletter@contracostasar.org.


Joe Keyser named MRG Training Sergeant

Joe Keyser has has been promoted to the newly created position of Mountain Rescue Group Training Sergeant. Joe is an experienced backcountry guide and has been a regular participant on MRG trainings. He has a thorough understanding of the curriculum and field work candidates must complete to become Type I searchers. Joe joined CoCo SAR in 2009, and completed his Type I Training during the summer of 2010. Later that year Joe accepted the role of MRG logistics corporal, where he initiated best practices in setting up gear records (including rope logs critical to meeting safety standards), completed the MRG gear requisition, and rehabilitated the cache on the MRG truck

John Banuelos named Academy Sergeant

John Banuelos has been appointed to the position of Academy Sergeant, taking on one of the most important roles on the team. The annual academy classes are the first in-depth experience new team members have with CoCo SAR. Instilling a positive attitude in our new recruits, while training them in the skills necessary to find people and save lives, is critical to our long-term success, and sets the foundation for team culture. As more than half of us have experienced directly, John has been a key contributor to our academy classes for the last several years as Academy Corporal. As a team, we are privileged to have John take on such a critical role.

New Logistics Lieutenant

Chris Poppett has been promoted to the Logistics Lieutenant position. Chris has been an active member of CoCo SAR in a variety of areas. He has been both a Logistics Corporal and Academy Corporal for several years. Chris and the Logistics Division have been extremely valuable to the team, working tirelessly behind the scenes to get us ready for searches and trainings, then clean up after us when the fun is done.