After years of hard work and preparation, we are pleased to share that we’ve been accredited by the Association for Experiential Education (AEE) — a Boulder, Colorado-based not-for-profit organization, with roots in adventure-based education, that exists to connect the global community of outdoor educators and expand our collective capacity to enrich lives through experiential education.
According to AEE’s website, The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE) is one of only 14 wilderness-based adventure programs in the U.S. to meet the organization’s strict standards for wilderness/adventure programming, and the only such program to be accredited thus far in 2015. AEE’s Accreditation Council voted unanimously at the end of October to grant us a three-year accreditation term, adding in a letter sent to our executive director by the organization’s Director of Accreditation:
“You and your staff are to be commended for engaging in the accreditation process and committing the time and resources to operate such an outstanding program.”
Based on an AEE accreditation peer review team site visit earlier this year, which took place at NCOAE headquarters in Wilmington, N.C., as well as field observations and a deep review of our administrative and field operation documentation, the Accreditation Council found NCOAE to be in compliance with AEE Standards for the following:
- Program Governance
- Environment and (more…)
There are lots of things that separate the work we do here at The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE) from others who offer outdoor education, wilderness trips and wilderness medical training for youths and adults. For starters, unlike other many other outdoor adventure education providers, we operate using a core curriculum that researchers have proven has a positive impact on participants’ self-confidence, interpersonal relationships, and civic and environmental responsibility. In addition, both the North Carolina Office of Emergency Medical Services and the State of North Carolina have approved us to offer an intensive 19-day EMT-Basic training curriculum.
But for those of us who work at NCOAE, that’s not enough. Like you, we demand a lot of ourselves, and as an emerging leader in our field, we want to be held accountable to standards far greater than those which we have set for ourselves. That’s why we’ve actively chosen to pursue accreditation from the Association for Experiential Education (AEE), the leading authority on standards for outdoor and adventure-based education programs in the United States and beyond.
If you’re unfamiliar with it, AEE’s Accreditation Program was conceived in the late 1980’s after a rapid increase in the number of adventure-based outdoor education programs starting popping up in the U.S. Quickly, AEE’s members and leaders alike saw the need for standards of program quality, professional behavior, and appropriate risk management.
In the mid-1990s, AEE developed the most comprehensive standards for common practices in the adventure education industry, becoming the nation’s first recognized accreditation body focused on outdoor and adventure-based education programming.
Since then, the AEE Accreditation Program’s standards-based evaluation process — which is led by AEE staff and a group of objective, independent reviewers with deep outdoor program management experience — has become the industry-accepted level of professional evaluation for programs like ours. And like any other leading organization in the field, we support these standards and are now going through the process of brining our operations into compliance with them.
The road to AEE Accreditation ensures only the best outdoor and adventure-based programs are included. Here’s an overview of the AEE Accreditation process: (more…)
If you’re interested in advancing your career in outdoor and adventure-based experiential education, you really should attend one of AEE’s 2014 regional conferences. AEE (which stands for Association for Experiential Education) is a professional membership association with roots in adventure education that’s committed to the development, practice, and evaluation of experiential learning in all settings. And the organization’s regional conferences – which take place each spring between March and May – offer truly awesome and exceptional professional development opportunities for outdoor and adventure-based educators.
For those of us who work at The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE), AEE’s lineup of regional conferences offers us the opportunity to:
- Network with others in our field
- Expand our understanding of topics related to the work we perform
- Stimulate our professional curiosity and programmatic creativity
- See lots of old friends and colleagues
- Make new friends (enough to last a lifetime)
This year, AEE is offering spring conferences in seven geographical regions across the U.S., including: (more…)