AORE Annual Report 2014 - Page 16

Report by: Ann Marie Hingley & Will Symms

Portland proved its allure by drawing the largest-ever AORE crowd of professionals, students, and vendors from across the nation to experience Portlandia in all of its glory. Over 600 people journeyed to Portland to participate in the 2014 National Conference. The core of the conference planning team consisted of Reed College, Portland State University, and the AORE National Office; much additional support was provided by the Board of Directors and many Pacific Northwest programs including: Whitman College, Central Washington University, Lewis and Clark College, and Nike. New this year, consulting firm Event Garde joined the conference planning team to guide the Association in delivering conference consistency and structure for future success.

The "Core of Discovery" theme was selected for the conference in a playful homage to Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery Expedition. The theme was twofold: to challenge attendees to reflect on the core values and competencies of outdoor recreation, and to remind us of the importance of continuing to explore and push preceived boundaries. The conference kicked off with the keynote address by Stacy Bare, the Sierra Club's Outdoor Program Director. His talk energized and challenged outdoor professionals to be leaders in the field by adapting ourselves and our programs. We were reminded that we can have a huge impact on the field of Public Health and that as we strap on our skis, or climbing gear we are all, on some level, adaptive athletes. This theme carried throughout the conference with the addition of an Inclusive Recreation track. The eight presentations in this track covered the gamut of inclusive and adaptive rec, from boats to bikes to learning disabilities. We hope that the conversations about inclusion that started at the conference will continue into future years.

Over 90 educational sessions were presented over the course of three days; these presentations

by AORE members are the backbone of the conference experience.

The 2014 conference also celebrated the 10th Anniversary of the Research and Publications Symposium with a highlight address from Dr. Jim Sibthorp of the University of Utah. The Student Development Committee continues its work for the development of student members through specialized presentation, resume review, job posting services, and the "Take a Student to Lunch" event. Thirty-eight vendor members shared their products and expertise in the Exhibit Hall. Once again, the Exhibit Hall Social was a great chance to meet and greet with vendors, and the pint glass fundraiser allowed attendees to sample some great NW libations.

Portland is known for many things weird, and the host team wanted to make sure that attendees were able to get a taste of life outside of the conference center. One morning featured a 5K run along the waterfront and across a couple iconic Portland bridges, followed by a Voodoo Donut breakfast. Students had the opportunity to actively recreate at the Multnomah Athletic Club climbing wall, meet professional Adidas climber, Kevin Jorgenson, and be social with fellow students. The Super Social was co-hosted with NIRSA Region VI and was held at the historic Crystal Ballroom. After a very successful live auction, the March Forth Marching Band rocked the house with a show that will become part of AORE legend.

Overall, the 2014 conference hit the high notes that attendees expect from their conference experience. Portland, OR was a conference highlight in its own right; the city truly lived up to its reputation for good food, great beer, and excellent entertainment. The educational sessions and the keynote address were inspiration for us to continue the good work that we do personally, and for our AORE Committees to continue with initiatives that carry our profession forward.