AORE Annual Report 2015 - Page 4

Letter from the ED

Dear Members,

With the membership approving the 2015-2020 Strategic Plan, AORE continues to move its mission forward under four guiding pillars: Advocacy, Organization Health, Relationship Engagement, and Education. I would like to use this opportunity to outline some of the major accomplishments achieved in each of these pillars in 2015.

Advocacy: To influence, educate, and provide value to diverse populations and communities through accessible learning opportunities in the natural environment.

AORE is a steering member of the Outdoor Access Working Group, which works to develop outdoor industry recommendations for improving sustainable access to public lands and waters. In 2015, AORE traveled to Washington, D.C., as well as both Outdoor Retailer shows, the SHIFT conference in Jackson Hole, and the Wilderness Risk Managers Conference, to voice members’ concerns about current permitting access. AORE is collaboratively seeking solutions to best enable member programs to facilitate programs on public lands.

AORE was highlighted in the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) September/October issue of Associations Now about diversity and inclusion in conference spaces. The article mentions how 2014 keynote speaker Stacy Bare served as a catalyst on this issue, and AORE has since launched a diversity and inclusion task force, which rapidly produced a D&I statement, set up training for its board of directors, and scheduled a workshop on the subject at its next conference.

Working with the University Risk Management and Insurance Association (URMIA), AORE has started to find ways to educate campus legal counsel on the programs and services AORE members provide. This in turn will help reduce or demystify misperceptions about risk and outdoor recreation, ideally opening communication channels among upper administration and programmers so that they can better facilitate--not reduce or limit--programming.

Organizational Health: To build and maintain an integrated and thriving, volunteer-driven national organization that embraces open communication and shared leadership.

AORE is delighted to celebrate the arrival of Emily Thomas as Assistant Director and Membership Manager. Emily comes to AORE with a demonstrated background in association management, and her professionalism, customer service, and technology savvy have already improved member service and delivery.

To invest in members’ professional development, AORE’s second Leadership Institute was held for BOD and committee chairs. With continued emphasis on the Strategic Plan, the eight-hour training addressed issues that leadership has been experiencing within the organization. To build our organization around common visions and purposes, the institute included sessions on mission alignment, facilitating meetings, and collaborations to efficiently meet the needs of our growing membership and the community surrounding around us.

On January 31, we lost a dear colleague and lifetime friend and advocate of AORE. Patsy Kott, an AORE founder and the first Director of the Outdoor Adventure Program at Texas A&M University, passed away peacefully, surrounded by friends and family. The Patsy Kott Service Award was established to commemorate Patsy’s countless contributions. The award recognizes long-term professional work or service that has a lasting impact on the association and its mission; it is important to recognize the people who dedicate themselves to allow AORE to be what it is. A distinguishing characteristic for this award is significant, steadfast long-term service that supports the association from behind the front lines.

Relationship Engagement: To cultivate relationships that strengthen and expand the association so it can provide strategic professional development and connection to the industry and our partners.

The results of the marketing survey of AORE membership are simple: AORE members feel that they are receiving the right amount of communication and prefer email, but the information is not as relevant or engaging as it could be. To address this feedback, AORE started a technology transition to more robust association management software with better customer relationship management. Once completed in 2016, this will enable timely content to be designed and delivered for each membership tier.

Further expanding strategic relationships, AORE signed partnership agreements with the Association of Experiential Education, Paradox Sports, the Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training Center, the Adventure Cycling Association, and the Outdoor Foundation. By curating and engaging with other national nonprofits, especially those who have great expertise in serving diverse populations, protecting natural places, or provide professional development opportunities, AORE gives members access to myriad resources to better assist them with their programs and service delivery.

AORE is pleased to unveil its AORE365 Alliance Partnership Program. This program was developed to give the industry partner community opportunities to align itself with AORE through a comprehensive marketing platform. This is a unique opportunity for our industry partners to help build and maintain year-round, 365-day relationships with our members and the outdoor recreation and education community nationwide. As AORE continues to add value to its membership and industry as a whole, we recognize that the companies we work with have desires to philanthropically support our mission.

Education: To design and deliver transformational learning opportunities that advance individuals, programs, and organizations in the field of outdoor and adventure education.

Entering into an agreement with Sagamore Publishing for the Journal of Outdoor Recreation, Education, and Leadership (JOREL), AORE and the Wilderness Education Association aspire to connect our association journal to more students and academics by leveraging library subscriptions and making the content more readily accessible.

The 2015 Summit Series and workshop for the annual conference provided insight on aligning infrastructure with education outcomes. Addressing the "adventure gap" that exists--in which some demographic and socioeconomic groups are underrepresented in adventure recreation--series speakers discussed its impact as well as inclusion initiatives they are using to help close the gap in adventure recreation and education.

Much research needs to be done to advance AORE and fulfill its mission. Dr. Alan Ewert is conducting research funded by an AORE grant to address “Bridging the Gap: Examining the Effects of Short-Term Adventure-Based Programs in College Environments.” His research will help AORE members assess the value of these short-term programs and measure their effect on participants. AORE’s research grant aims to provide information that the BOD wishes to explore to move AORE forward, or that the BOD sees as an opportunity to support our mission and advance the profession.

Our mission is to continue to make AORE a valuable and necessary resource for all those involved in outdoor education. By focusing on these four strategic pillars, we are working to ensure that we are fulfilling the mission our organization undertook more than 20 years ago to advance the field of outdoor recreation.

Adventure On,

Jeannette

started to find ways to educate campus legal counsel on the programs and services AORE members provide. This in turn will help reduce or demystify misperceptions about risk and outdoor recreation, ideally opening communication channels among upper administration and programmers so that they can better facilitate--not reduce or limit--programming.

Organizational Health: To build and maintain an integrated and thriving, volunteer-driven national organization that embraces open communication and shared leadership.

AORE is delighted to celebrate the arrival of Emily Thomas as Assistant Director and Membership Manager. Emily comes to AORE with a demonstrated background in association management, and her professionalism, customer service, and technology savvy have already improved member service and delivery.

To invest in members’ professional development, AORE’s second Leadership Institute was held for BOD and committee chairs. With continued emphasis on the Strategic Plan, the eight-hour training addressed issues that leadership has been experiencing within the organization. To build our organization around common visions and purposes, the institute included sessions on mission alignment, facilitating meetings, and collaborations to efficiently meet the needs of our growing membership and the community surrounding around us.

On January 31, we lost a dear colleague and lifetime friend and advocate of AORE. Patsy Kott, an AORE founder and the first Director of the Outdoor Adventure Program at Texas A&M University, passed away peacefully, surrounded by friends and family. The Patsy Kott Service Award was established to commemorate Patsy’s countless contributions. The award recognizes long-term professional work or service that has a lasting impact on the association and its mission; it is important to recognize the people who dedicate themselves to allow AORE to be what it is. A distinguishing characteristic for this award is significant, steadfast long-term service that supports the association from behind the front lines.

Relationship Engagement: To cultivate relationships that strengthen and expand the association so it can provide strategic professional development and connection to the industry and our partners.

The results of the marketing survey of AORE membership are simple: AORE members feel that they are receiving the right amount of communication and prefer email, but the information is not as relevant or engaging as it could be. To address this feedback, AORE started a technology transition to more robust association management software with better customer relationship management. Once completed in 2016, this will enable timely content to be designed and delivered for each membership tier.

Further expanding strategic relationships, AORE signed partnership agreements with the Association of Experiential Education, Paradox Sports, the Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training Center, the Adventure Cycling Association, and the Outdoor Foundation. By curating and engaging with other national nonprofits, especially those who have great expertise in serving diverse populations, protecting natural places, or provide professional development opportunities, AORE gives members access to myriad resources to better assist them with their programs and service delivery.

AORE is pleased to unveil its AORE365 Alliance Partnership Program. This program was developed to give the industry partner community opportunities to align itself with AORE through a comprehensive marketing platform. This is a unique opportunity for our industry partners to help build and maintain year-round, 365-day relationships with our members and the outdoor recreation and education community nationwide. As AORE continues to add value to its membership and industry as a whole, we recognize that the companies we work with have desires to philanthropically support our mission.

Education: To design and deliver transformational learning opportunities that advance individuals, programs, and organizations in the field of outdoor and adventure education.

Entering into an agreement with Sagamore Publishing for the Journal of Outdoor Recreation, Education, and Leadership (JOREL), AORE and the Wilderness Education Association aspire to connect our association journal to more students and academics by leveraging library subscriptions and making the content more readily accessible.

The 2015 Summit Series and workshop for the annual conference provided insight on aligning infrastructure with education outcomes. Addressing the "adventure gap" that exists--in which some demographic and socioeconomic groups are underrepresented in adventure recreation--series speakers discussed its impact as well as inclusion initiatives they are using to help close the gap in adventure recreation and education.

Much research needs to be done to advance AORE and fulfill its mission. Dr. Alan Ewert is conducting research funded by an AORE grant to address “Bridging the Gap: Examining the Effects of Short-Term Adventure-Based Programs in College Environments.” His research will help AORE members assess the value of these short-term programs and measure their effect on participants. AORE’s research grant aims to provide information that the BOD wishes to explore to move AORE forward, or that the BOD sees as an opportunity to support our mission and advance the profession.

Our mission is to continue to make AORE a valuable and necessary resource for all those involved in outdoor education. By focusing on these four strategic pillars, we are working to ensure that we are fulfilling the mission our organization undertook more than 20 years ago to advance the field of outdoor recreation.

Adventure On,

Jeannette