AORE Association News June 2016 - Page 3

From the Executive Director

AORE members face many common issues, but some of your concerns are unique to your school, landscape, or other circumstances. For the association to develop resources that serve members well, AORE needs to know what you are interested in and what problems you’re struggling with. And we have a lot to learn from each other—members’ shared knowledge is immense. The discussions we have about the issues we face also help move AORE forward as an organization.

In the first half of 2016, I've had the opportunity to meet with members in California and Florida. In February, Jenn Velie and I traveled to southern California to meet Mad Rock Climbing Global Sales and Marketing Director Kenny Suh. While there, Jennifer Hopper hosted a gathering for AORE member programs at the University of California, Riverside. In April, Jenn Velie orchestrated a Florida member program meeting at the University of Central Florida. I enjoyed the conversations on both coasts and appreciated members sharing their feedback.

Both west and east coast meetings brought together various program directors and students for a half day of regional networking and exchange of ideas. Each school shared updates on new facilities, program growth, or diversity of programming. I toured facilities, including rental centers, trip centers, and climbing walls. I reconnected with past and current Board of Governors members, visited with students who have moved into internship, graduate assistant, or director roles, and met people who wanted to learn more about how AORE could support their work in outdoor recreation and education. Everyone had something to share, and everyone had something to learn.

For instance, the members I met with in California are pleased with our advocacy efforts meeting with other stakeholders in Washington, D.C., to craft a permitting process that helps AORE members. They were excited that the association has made progress in addressing the challenges they have experienced regionally when attempting to acquire permits. I was able to highlight the Access Committee’s work and AORE’s role in the Outdoor Access Working Group, as well as how members serve as ambassadors for proper access to public lands.

Member programs in Florida were eager to share how they are redefining outdoor recreation and the ways they have increased access to outdoor pursuits on their campuses. They celebrated their collective efforts toward diversity and inclusion. Many of the Florida colleges and universities have high enrollment numbers and diverse populations, so some of them have strategically designed gateway programs and initiatives to engage a wider variety of program participants. As we deploy AORE’s Big Brother, Big Sister, and Aurther Carhart initiatives, many Florida schools have been solicited as pilot programs.

Also, the Florida schools are leveraging their unique wilderness—one not typically associated with outdoor recreation. They are teaching basic camp craft skills in a rugged and diverse landscape that includes ocean and rivers, and teaching inland trekking with a wide array of plant and animal issues specific to the region.

Each group of members shared success stories detailing how AORE has helped them with their professional development and how excited they are about what AORE is doing for them. Members told me how much they value the professional development they’ve gained from AORE conferences—including honing their administrative skills through education sessions, and what they learned from the Summit Series and other content that will help them advance their careers. Other directors explained how the conference’s networking opportunities allowed them to connect with professionals at a similar level, who are now sharing resources and strategies. The ability to connect with vendor members—covering both manufacturing and strategic partners—allows members to efficiently gather information and points of contact to use after they return to their programs.

As AORE looks to secure future conference locations, California and Florida members are considering taking on roles as conference hosts. Judging from their passion, strong sense of community, and rising professionalism, other AORE member programs will certainly benefit from attending future California and Florida AORE conferences. While we've been able to streamline and standardize conference operations—which enhances the conference’s value to attendees—each conference host team brings the local knowledge and expertise that is essential for conference success.

I look forward to meeting with more members in 2016 and beyond. I hope to see your programs and personalities shine and learn what resources AORE can continue to develop and offer.

Adventure on,

Jeannette Stawski, CAE


Dear AORE,

Emily Thomas

Assistant Director and Membership Manager

Association of Outdoor

Recreation and Education

1100 N Main St. Ste. 101

Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Work: 810.299.2782

Meghan Sullivan

Office and Communications Manager

Association of Outdoor

Recreation and Education

1100 N Main St. Ste. 101

Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Work: 810.299.2782

AORE is humbled to have a team of full-time staff, part-time staff, and independent contractors that dedicate their time, skill and passion to our mission. From those working 5 hours a month to 40 hours a week, AORE is also made up of these passionate individuals:

Aaron Wolowiec

Allison Burtka

Brad Hunt

Brent Bell

Cally Hill

Jenn Velie

Kate Pojeta

Mia Axon

Mitch Hoffman