There’s a paradox in this outdoor education industry of ours, and that seeming contradiction is this: Sometimes you have to go indoors in order to continue to enjoy the outdoors. Think back to the last time you opened your eyes under a canopy of trees, or glided across a lake on a kayak, or looked up and visually plotted out a course for a complex climb.
For the outdoors enthusiast — and especially for those of us who work in the outdoor industry — this is our life. We’re outside, showing others how to appreciate themselves and the backcountry. But our line of work is often a complex blend of gregarious solitude. We spend our days giving our students the best of who we are.
While we’re concentrating on the experience for the benefit of the novice as well as the experienced adventurers under our charge, we’re missing out on valuable time set aside to connect with our peers on a deeper level — outside of work.
The outdoor season ends, and many of us return home or follow the seasons to continue this work. In many instances, we pass up the opportunity to learn what’s new in the industry.
The solution? Look for outdoor industry conferences, trade shows, and summits you can attend. Traditionally, conferences are those large, more formal events that feature industry speakers, time in lecture halls and breakout rooms, and good dose of PowerPoint presentations. At the larger such gatherings, there’s usually a convention exhibit hall featuring industry vendors.
Summits, especially in the outdoor industry, on the other hand have a looser feel, with industry pioneers and luminaries speaking and offering demos, opportunities to meet with fellow outdoor pros during hands-on adventure-based activities, and the chance to participate in both formally led and informally organized discussions and salons. Summits often incorporate more interplay, with the opportunity to socialize with industry pros, designers and leaders taking precedence over formal education.
Below, we’ve listed some upcoming outdoor industry gatherings for those times when you’ve stepped off the trail and find yourself with some time to delve into what makes our industry tick. These outdoor industry summits, conferences, and trade shows are an excellent opportunity to (more…)
The Outdoor Education industry is abuzz with news this time of the year. What with school almost back in session and the industry’s largest and most influential conferences coming up in just a few months, its no wonder there’s so much outdoor education news to catch up on.
In no particular order:
There’s a new trade magazine just for the college and university outdoor education industry. The inaugural issue of Outdoor Insider — published by The Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education (AORE) — is now available online without a subscription.
The 2nd edition of Administrative Practices of AEE Accredited Programs is now on sale for just $3.00. Published by the Association for Experiential Education (AEE), this book is an invaluable resource for any outdoor education program administrator. And at just $3.00, buying it now is a no brainer.
AEE is now accepting workshop proposals for its Symposium on Experiential Education in the Digital Age, which takes place in Boston, Mass. from May 2-3, 2015.
The latest issue (September 2014) of the Journal of Experiential Education is now available. Articles include:
- Effects of a Developmental Adventure on the Self-Esteem of College Students (This study examines the effects of outdoor developmental adventure programming (ODA) on college students’ self-esteem. Although some previous studies have shown that outdoor adventure programming has positive effects on self-esteem, others did not find any effect. A quasi-experimental study was conducted over 5 months, which included two pretests and two posttests to address some limitations of previous studies.)
- The Social Climate and Peer Interaction on Outdoor Courses (This two-study report investigates achievement goal theory in the social domain to gain greater understanding of how the social climate of outdoor courses relates to peer interactions.)
- Building a Community of Young Leaders: Experiential Learning in Jewish Social Justice (This study assesses whether more frequent participation in Jewish activist learning events is associated with higher levels of engagement in social justice-related activities and conceptions of Jewish identity. The study design was cross-sectional and comparative.)
- Case Study — Behavior Change After Adventure Education Courses: Do Work Colleagues Notice? (In this case study, a mixed-method approach is used to examine the extent and type of changes in workplace attitudes and behavior, as self-reported by soldiers who had participated in 6- to 10-day “Experiential Leadership Development Activities” (ELDAs) delivered by the New Zealand Army Leadership Centre.)
- Appreciative Inquiry and Autonomy-Supportive Classes in Business Education: A Semilongitudinal Study of AI in the Classroom (In this article, the authors describe 10 separate classroom experiences where an appreciative inquiry (AI) exercise was used for course creation. Post-exercise surveys of students showed that the AI exercise was perceived to be a successful practice.)
- Book Review: Adventures in Social Theory: An Introductory Guidebook
The Association for Experiential Education’s 42nd Annual International Conference is fast approaching. This year’s gathering of outdoor and adventure-based educators, academic and students takes place in Chattanooga, Tenn., Oct. 23-26.
The Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education is getting ready to host its (more…)