AORE Association News September 2015 - Page 3

From the Executive Director

Dear AORE,

A professional association is an organization that seeks to further a particular profession, the interests of people engaged in that profession, and the public interest.

As a nonprofit professional association, AORE serves its membership by advancing the profession of outdoor recreation and education and by serving as a centralized body for exchanging information, addressing common member issues, and promoting the preservation and conservation of the natural environment. Individuals, organizations, and vendors join together to have a larger and louder voice on common issues that are barriers and challenges.

Professional. A professional is defined in Webster’s Dictionary as “a person engaged or qualified in a profession.” An outdoor recreation and education professional is someone who is, has been, or aspires to be an outdoor practitioner or academic. In this professional role, your work is to engage, educate, inform, advance, teach, coach, and guide people, in whatever capacity you serve, in outdoor pursuits. This is your work; it is not a hobby but rather your livelihood. You believe in powerful transformative experiences, and you continue to advance yourself to provide this adventure education.

You’ve shared your stories of success, and they reach far beyond discounts on gear, swag, or stickers. You know that being a professional is larger than that. For the sake of our profession and the reasons we care about this profession, sometimes we need to think bigger. Sometimes we need to act with the bigger picture in mind.

As a profession, we have been navigating a culture change—trying to correct a misperception of the work we do that implies our work does not have value. Members have been engaged in dispelling these notions for decades; members have attempted education in recreation sport departments, with federal agencies, in academic departments, and in the aisles of Outdoor Retailer. Through a unified voice, members have used research and literature to support the profession, relying on numbers and economies of scale to achieve objectives.

AORE members used the Strategic Planning process in 2014 to highlight the areas affecting the profession and have set strategic initiatives to address these issues over a 5-year plan. The Board of Directors guided committees to develop annual goals, and you’ll find out about the ones that have been achieved, are under way, or are upcoming in Atlanta, Georgia. This is the very basis of our association: members giving feedback, compiled and formulated by the Board into the plan, and delivered through committee work.

We need to continue to express the value of outdoor recreation and the reason to support AORE—because we need to address critical

databases to track retention and purchases to articulate an outdoor professional’s potential reach and scope. We need to continue to use this unified voice to reach further and to reach out to people who have not historically been well represented in our profession.

Association. Webster’s defines association as an organized group of people who have the same interest, job, etc: a connection or relationship between things or people. AORE serves as a collective voice and, focusing on the combined interests of the whole, speaks in a unified voice to address issues of common concern. Together, AORE members have navigated issues that affected their ability to serve their members, implement best practices, and leverage

issues, including diversity and inclusion, as well as access to public lands. I ask you to continue to value yourself by investing in your professional development; I ask you to continue to advocate for AORE in your department so you can serve more participants; I ask you to continue to advocate for AORE in your communities and networks, keeping the bigger picture in mind. Continue to advance the profession by seeing how you can give to, connect with, and engage others who would find value in or who need to know about this professional association serving the industry. You have asked for much work to be done over the next four years, and it will take all of us, collectively combining our skills, knowledge, and experience to do just that.

Adventure on,

Jeannette Stawski

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