Becoming a Stepping On Workshop Leader

Stepping On is a researched program proven to help older people reduce their risk of falls, improve their ability to safely navigate their environment, and ultimately, increase their quality of life. The workshop is offered once a week for seven weeks in communities throughout the state. Participants gain specific knowledge and skills to prevent falls in community settings. It is designed specifically for people who are: 1) at risk of falling, 2) have a fear of falling, or 3) who have fallen one or more times. Workshops are facilitated by trained Leaders and provide a safe and positive learning experience.


Thinking about becoming a Stepping On workshop leader or just want to know more about the program?  Watch this short video.

What is the role of a Leader?
The Leader is a current or retired health care professional, social worker, health educator, fitness expert or aging network professional.   Individuals should have previous experience facilitating a group program based on adult learning or self-efficacy principles, experience working with older adults in a professional setting and have a sponsoring organization that is willing to commit the resources needed to implement and sustain Stepping On.  

The Leader must attend and successfully complete a three-day Leader Training course generally provided by two certified Master Trainers.  The primary role of the Leader is to facilitate the seven Stepping On workshop sessions.  Other roles related to the workshop include recruiting participants; arranging, reserving and setting up the room and equipment, preparing materials needed for the sessions, inviting the guest experts, preparing and sending out the materials needed by the guest experts and creating the display.  Some of these responsibilites may be shared by the sponsoring organization or other partner organization.

Having a trained Leader provide the workshop is critical for the program to be effective.  Facilitating a Stepping On workshop requires specific skills.  The Leader must come to the Leader Training with an understanding of group work, a commitment to working with older people, a belief that falls can be prevented, and competence in performing, progressing and monitoring balance and strength exercises.  The Leader Training ensures that Leaders understand how to facilitate a group, learn how to use adult learning principles and decision-making theory to affect behavior change and fully understand the program content.  Leaders must be committed to keeping abreast of new knowledge about what works in falls prevention.

Leaders may also recruit and train Peer Leaders to assist with workshop organization and facilitation.  A Peer Leader is age 60 or older, a former workshop participant, and committed to being a positive role model in the workshop.  Peer Leaders demonstrate a commitment to and a belief in falls prevention, have a strong desire to lead by example, are comfortable in front of a group, and are able to participate in the strength and balance exercises that are part of the program. 


Organizers of the Leader Training will purchase and provide a copy of the Stepping On North America Leader Manual for every Leader, available from Freiberg Press, Inc.


Why should you consider becoming a Leader?
As a Leader, you will have the satisfaction of discovering the contents of the program, learning the key elements of falls prevention and learning group leadership and facilitation skills that you can also use in other areas of your life. Most importantly, you will watch older adults with a fear of falling or history of falls gain important knowledge and skills to reduce falls and gain confidence, by practicing the exercises and using the skills and tools that you have shared with them. 

What will you learn at the Leader Training?
At the Leader Training, you will learn the skills and knowledge you need to effectively lead the workshop. Like the Stepping On workshop itself, the Leader Training is interactive and fun. The trainers are experienced workshop Leaders who have received further training to become Stepping On Master Trainers. It takes place over three full consecutive days, with time for breaks and lunch. Leaders must attend all three days. 

How do you become a Leader?
You need to be a health professional, aging network professional, or fitness instructor to lead this course. Leaders receive thorough training. The Leader’s Manual gives exact instructions and tips in a user-friendly structure. Local and state coordinators provide program Leaders with on-going support and opportunities for education. If you are interested in committing to the Leader Training and then leading at least one workshop annually, please see our Leader Training opportunities


Stepping On Leader Application Form:

If you're interested in becoming a Stepping On Leader, please fill out and submit the online Stepping On Leader Training Application. This form provides basic information about both the Leader and his/her sponsoring organization, the Leader's background and interest in becoming a Leader and their understanding of the commitments involved.


Note: Individuals applying for Leader training must first view the approximately 20 minute webinar for the specific program for which they are applying. This webinar will provide you with important background information on the program, its purpose, structure, evidence-base, Leader qualifications and characteristics, support for Leaders, and how to apply for Leader training. Note that the application will ask you the date you watched the webinar. It is also advisable for a representative from your sponsoring organization to view the webinar as well. 


Peer Leaders 

A Peer Leader does not need to attend the three-day Leader Training, but it is the preferred training method.  A Peer Leaders must be age 60 or over, a past participant of a Stepping On workshop and interested and able to be an enthusiastic role model in the workshop, including demonstrating all strength and balance exercises.   Use this outline when training individuals to become Peer Leaders.