Heartland Region

AEE Heartland Regional Conference
Mar 31 - Apr 2, 2017
Upham Woods Outdoor Learning Center
Wisconsin Dells, WI 

Gereral Conference Information

Keynote Speakers
Jeff Weidman
Jeff Weidman got his first job in the outdoor industry doing stock work at a backpacking store at age 16. His career arc in the industry spans the next 4 decades. Jeff became a retail buyer for an 8 store retail chain in the midwest. He left and became a partner in BP associates representing outdoor brands such as JanSport, Yakima, Cascade Designs, Pearl Izumi, Camelbak, Shimano, and many more. He went on to purchase Rutabaga, the paddlesport shop with a partner in Monona WI. 14 years ago, Jeff started volunteering with Big City Mountaineers and never looked back. Jeff has been an instructor, volunteer mentor, board member, board chair, and interim executive director for the Big City Mountaineers organization.

Jeff Weidman will speak about the nonprofit Big City Mountaineers, from its humble beginnings, in Miami Florida over 25 years ago, to providing a wilderness mentoring experience for many under-privileged teens today. Big City Mountaineers serves over 1000 teens annually through hubs in Seattle, Portland, Bay Area, Denver, Minneapolis, Miami, and Boston.

Dr. Chris Cavert
Dr. Cavert has been actively educating groups of all ages for more than 30 years. He is an author, speaker and professional trainer in the area of experiential adventure-based education focusing on how activities within this field help to develop and enhance pro-social behaviors and emotional intelligence – especially with youth populations. Currently, he is the principal player and program developer of FUNdoing.

Dr. Cavert holds a Physical Education teaching degree from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse, a Masters Degree in Experiential Education from Minnesota State University at Mankato, specializing in curriculum development, and an Educational Doctorate degree in Curriculum & Instruction from Northern Arizona University. His doctoral focus and dissertation research related to facilitator preparation in the field of adventure-based education (i.e., challenge course practitioners).

With every choice we are faced with as we navigate, educate and participate in our adventures, there are three options - yes, choices for our choices. We can step into them, we can step away from them and we can stand still. Particularly as educators stepping in, stepping back, or standing still with educational decisions lead to educative, miseducation or even noneducative consequences - as most of us have already discovered. How do we choose to engage? What influences our engagement? Are we conscious of our choices of engagement? Let's 'play' around with this idea. Let's find out together where it leads.

UW-La Crosse Graduate Credit
Attend the conference and earn graduate credit through UW-La Crosse! The deadline to register for credit is March 31 and the fee is $110. Click here to access application information.

Registration Rates
Registration fee includes meals. Lodging is not included.
On-site lodging or off-site lodging is available at an additional cost.

Registration Type

Early Bird
ends Feb. 28
ends Mar. 15  
after Mar. 15
Member   $100  $125  $150
Student Member  $50 $75  $100 
Non-Member $145   $170 $195 
Student Non-Member $75   $100  $125
Presenter Member $75   
Presenter Non-Member $100
One Day $75
Volunteer $75

Vendor Option
Showcase your business/organization and network with conference attendees! Purchase a vendor table ($100, purchase through registration form) to offer information about your business/organization or to offer products, books or services to conference attendees.

Pre-Conference presented by Chris Cavert - $25
March 31, 2017 12 pm - 3 pm
(lunch not included)

Experience and explore Dr. Chris Cavert’s collection of highly versatile team building and cooperative group activities including the portable, low cost, build-your-own PVC system. This pre-conference workshop is about creating (or expanding) a portable challenge course program without spending a lot of money. Absorb useable ideas and collect resources for your challenge course, school, or camp programs.

Chris will also be providing tips and tools related to facilitating teambuilding activities and how these types of activities are directly connected to character building and 21st century skills.

Great learning and resources for teachers, youth leaders and mobile adventure-based teambuilding facilitators with little room for storage but a great need for a variety of activities. Be prepared to “microspand” your repertoire by learning how to use what you already have to do more. You don’t need a lot to go big!

The activities presented in this workshop are suitable for groups of 10 to 25 participants 13 years old and older. All the necessary props for the ground-based and low element activities are easy to find or can be made with accessible resources. All facilitation experience levels are welcome – there will be something new for everyone.

Dress comfortably for movement and fun at your own speed. Please bring a healthy snack to share with the group.

Lodging Options
On-Site Lodging Options
  Dormitory Room
  • $37.50 per night / per person
  • sleeps 4
  • $30.00 per night / per person
  • bathhouse in separate building
  • sleeps 28
Tent Camping
  •  $15.00 per night / per person
Off-Site Lodging Options
Wintergreen Resort 

60 North Gasser Road
Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin 53965
(5 minutes from conference site)
Call 1-800-648-4765 and ask for the Association for Experiential Education room block
Please reserve by 3/10/17


Great Wolf Lodge
1400 Great Wolf Drive
Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965
(5 minutes from conference site, offers water park option for families)
$147.49/night, water park passes included, resort fee has been waived
Call 1-866-965-9653 and ask for Association for Experiential Education Reservation #:1703HOLM
Please reserve by 2/28/17

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