AORE Annual Report 2016 - Page 10


AORE Advocacy Abroad in China is a program made possible by Dr. Li Li Ji and the University of Minnesota’s School of Kinesiology, coordinated through the school’s American Culture Center in Sport, which conducts a program twice a year to introduce sport culture into universities and Chinese society. It offered AORE Executive Director Jeannette Stawski and AORE member Mitch Hoffman a chance to speak at five universities about the value of outdoor recreation.

From May 16 to June 2, 2016, Jeannette and Mitch spoke at rural institutions, often to first-generation students, in communities where students’ parents were mostly farmers. Prior to the speech, the audience of Chinese administrators, professors, and future educators did not wholeheartedly embrace the intrinsic value of outdoor recreation. The highly risk-averse culture and the media’s portrayal of outdoor activities as dangerous also proved to be a challenge when trying to articulate the value that AORE members espouse.

Despite these challenges, our chance to share AORE’s belief that outdoor recreation positively affects people at a critical developmental time in their lives made the trip a success.

New Programs

In June 2016, thirteen members of AORE along with Executive Director Jeannette Stawski, traveled to Peru with the generous support of G Adventures as part of the AORE and G Adventures Global University. In its first year, the Global University program was intently aimed at the academic and experiential format of global outdoor learning to foster a community of experts within outdoor recreation and education. Through working within the outdoor education community, AORE and G Adventures sought to support the appreciation of our natural environment, raise the bar of practice and performance in the global programming development and enhance the profession of outdoor education and recreation through facilitated discussions on best practices, networking with industry leaders and industry experts in order to impart knowledge and inspire others while on a truly unique global adventure in Peru.

In addition to exploring Peru’s culture, landscape, and history, the delegation examined the how and why of international outdoor travel for college and university outdoor programs, a recent trend in the field. At the heart of the program were discussions of the need to design and manage international outdoor adventures intentionally, to enhance the value of participants’ experiences. The group also discussed some of the similarities and differences between guiding in Peru and guiding in the United States.

Much like the Inca looked to the future and took the time to plan and build Machu Picchu, the outdoor recreation industry and individual programs have the opportunity to be intentional in designing and implementing international outdoor adventure trips. AORE and G Adventures Global University is just the beginning of the discussion.