The Benelux Association of Canyoning Professionals was founded as a reaction to the rising need among canyoning professionals for acknowledgment and regulation of the profession of canyon guide. We are a non-profit organization that aims to group guides and other canyoning professionals who share similar goals and together shape the future of canyon guiding.
At the BACP, our objectives are to:
1. train, support and represent the professional canyon guides of the Benelux;
2. promote and defend the common interests of canyoning professionals;
3. provide a platform to promote and support the canyoning sector and its guiding community.
To achieve those aims, we offer our members high-level instruction programs based on years of expertise. We also establish contacts worldwide and maintain membership in related associations. Members have access to resources, services and credentials to boost their career as a canyon guide, but are also connected to the larger community of guides and clients in Europe.
Both commercial and non-profit organizations are represented by the member’s of the BACP’s board which have build up an expertise throughout many years of training, professional guiding, teaching and managing in the field of canyoning. They are assisted by specialized consultants and a highly skilled team of instructors in order to maintain the high standards of professionalism and safety expected in an outdoor sport such as canyoning.
Maarten Simons (President) has been canyoning, caving and diving worldwide (Nepal, Oman, Bolivia, Borneo…) since 1996 and started working as canyon guide and rope techniques specialist in 2001. Since then, he kept track of the latest developments in the field of canyoning and ropework through several courses (Speleo secours, EFC moniteur, Irata level 2, Grimp IMP 3) and became canyoning instructor at the Flemish Canyoning Federation as well as at Bloso (Flemish Sports Agency). In 2008, he added working as freelance outdoor safety coordinator/auditor to his activities. When not in the outdoors, Maarten can be found working at the Antwerp fire department as team leader of the RED team (climbing team).
Els Van haver earned a Bachelor’s degree in Recreational Management and later on a Master of Science in Physiotherapy at the Brussels Free University. She worked as a travel guide and teached kayak, horseback riding and athletics at profit and non-profit organizations before turning into a canyoning professional in 2005. Besides managing an outdoor activity agency, she’s mainly specializing in canyoning with particular target groups such as disabled athletes or underprivileged groups.
The BACP instructors form a critical part of the success and effectiveness of the BACP’s training programs. They are all experts in one or more diverse areas (such as canyon techniques, first aid, physiology, legislation) and therefore, the BACP does not edit its own instructor certificates. Instead, aspiring instructors are qualified to teach specific courses if they:
- demonstrate an extensive personal and professional experience in their domain;
- are motivated to share their knowledge and skills and are pedagogically grounded to do so;
- attach importance to personal development and ethics;
- have a passion for the outdoors.
The main goal of the BACP is to form professional canyon guides. Canyoning remains an adventure sport involving certain risks. Therefore technical skills are the core topic of the course. Being a good professional however, requieres a lot more than technical skills. At the BACP, we therefore apply a professional profile that attributes 4 roles to the canyon guide:
The canyon guide as a professional is able to:
- guide groups in canyons of all levels in a safe and efficient way;
- gather the most up-to-date information about the canyon, to analyze this information properly and to anticipate weather changes.
The canyon guide as a manager is able to:
- establish a canyoning activity according to the interests and abilities of the participants respecting thereby safety procedures;
- manage the logistics of the activity, know the local and international regulations and apply them.
The canyon guide as a didacticus is able to:
- guarantee a positive dynamic within a group and to treat the participants in an emphatic and respectful manner;
- assess the different characteristics of participants in an outdoor activity and to act accordingly.
The canyon guide as a care provider is able to:
- act in a preventive way to avoid the most frequent injuries and accidents;
- deal with an accident properly and efficiently.
For more details on the content of the canyon guide program, consult the course section.