Northeast Region 

Regional Conference Awards NERAC 

Northeast Region Awards

Josh Miner Dialogue  and  PICOUP Award


In 2001, the Northeast Regional Conference hosted Josh Miner as one of the keynote speakers.

As a founding trustee of Outward Bound, Josh was instrumental in bringing the experiential philosophy of Kurt Hahn to the United States. Conference attendees were fortunate to hear Josh's vision and passion firsthand, as he shared stories, metaphors, and lessons of children, curiosity, and character. Josh passed away nine months later.

In an effort to capture the essence of the wisdom he shared, in 2003 the Northeast Region Advisory Council established the Josh Miner dialogue series. The series consists of a public undefined dialogue or conversation between the years' honoree and another professional in the field. The "interview" traditionally takes place during the Northeast Regional Conference. This format gives conference attendees a chance to get to know the honoree in an informal setting that often reveals best practice advice and nuggets of wisdom, as well as personal stories and mistakes to avoid.

The Northeast Region Advisory Council in conjunction with the Regional Conference Host Committee selects the Josh Miner Dialogue Series honoree.

2016 Honoree - Dick Prouty
Dick Prouty was the CEO and Executive Director of Project Adventure, Inc. from 1982 until his recent retirement in January 2015. During that period, Dick established Project Adventure (PA) as an organization with significant worldwide influence of the direction and content of the experiential education field. PA developed applications of Adventure Education for schools, colleges, therapeutic agencies, youth development organizations, and corporations, resulting in the training and certification of over 350,000 professional educators, trainers and therapists. Major application areas were in academic integration, counseling and conflict management, physical education and health, and organizational development. Dick led PA from an organization in 1982 of 7 staff and $300,000 in revenue to 130 staff in the US, $11M in revenue, and four international affiliates in 2006. After the financial crisis of 2008, he led a consolidation back to a 2014 operation of $4M, 40 staff, and four international affiliates with another 25 plus staff. Dick also led the development of a widely recognized social-emotional theory and evidenced based research for PA's programs, that, in 2006, resulted in becoming a model for Behavioral Management Through Adventure (BMTA) on the federal SAMSHA website for programs that work.

In the last 30 years, Dick authored numerous articles on Adventure Education and co-authored the primary text on Adventure-Based Counseling, Islands of Healing (1988), with 90,000 plus copies sold to date. Dick was Editor in Chief of the Publishing Division at PA that published 25 plus titles, with well over 1.5M total titles sold in 25 years, including the classics Silver Bullets and Quicksilver by Karl Rohnke.

Developing and partnering with organizations that helped spread the adoption of experiential education practices has long been a focus for Dick. He was instrumental in developing and served in leadership positions on the Boards of the AEE Accreditation process, the Association for Challenge Course Technology (ACCT), the Independent School Experiential Education Network (ISEEN), Project Adventure Japan (PAJ), and Project Adventure Asia Pacific (PAAP).

Currently, Dick is the Chair of the Board of the Waring School in Beverly, MA and the Co-Chair of TownGreen2025, an organization he has recently developed to pursue a carbon balanced footprint for Cape Ann, MA in 10 years. He and his wife, Doris, have two children and four grandchildren, who are a central part of their life together.

Future Honorees
Do you have a suggestion for a future honoree? The Northeast Region Advisory Council is interested in hearing from regional members about who they believe would be a good candidate for recognition as the Josh Minor dialogue series speaker. If you have a suggestion, please read and fill out this form and send it to the Northeast Region Chair.

Past Recipients
2016 Dick Prouty
2015 Jed Williamson
2014 Nicki Hall

2013 Hendricks Davis
2012 Karen Warren
2011 Rob Rubendall
2010 Lance Lee
2009 Jim Schoel
2008 Pam McPhee
2007 Craig Dobkin
2006 Keith King
2005 Phil Costello
2004 Dan Garvey
2003 Karl Rohnke

A DVD of the past Josh Miner Keynote presentations can be purchased through Scott CatucciThe cost of the DVDs are $10.00 for the first and $5.00 for each additional copy.


Person In Charge Of Unlocking Potential

Michael Gessford will be remembered for his playful spirit, his dedication to the field of experiential education and his kindness and generosity. Mike possessed a unique way of empowering others to achieve their best. In a world of people so quick to offer answers; Mike asked questions. His confidence in others abilities and his endless pursuit of knowledge urged those around him to dig deeper within themselves. Mike was a perceptive educator who gave the world his all and asked for nothing in return. PICOUP is a phrase Mike himself came up with to describe his "job title": Person In Charge Of Unlocking Potential.

This award is dedicated to the memory of Mike Gessford (1962-2011), the original PICOUP. Mike would have liked to remind everyone, "follow your bliss."

The PICOUP Award will be given each year to someone in the Northeast AEE community who selflessly gives of themselves for the betterment of others. This award is to honor an individual who has the ability to empower others to achieve their best regardless of personal gain.

2016 Honoree - Kamora Herrington

Congratulations to the 2016 AEE Northeast Region's PICOUP Awardee, Kamora Herrington, a true Person In Charge Of Unlocking Potential!

Kamora Le'Ella Herrington is the Mentoring Program Coordinator for True Colors, Inc., a support and advocacy organization for sexual minority youth based in Hartford, Connecticut. 
Herrington, who holds a BS in Human Services from Springfield College has over 20 years of experience in the human services field and has become a vocal advocate for LGBT youth. 
In 2009, Herrington appeared on the Tyra Show titled "Hell to Pay: Gay Teen Exorcism" after one of the youth in her program was videotaped being exorcised.

In 2010, Herrington was featured on the CNN special report titled "Gay Teens Talk Their Truth." She is a 2010 Faith Works Fellow with the Conference of Churches based in Hartford and is committed to bringing understanding to the intersectionalities of identity.

In 2010 and 2011, Herrington, a member of the National Black Justice Coalition's (NBJC) Leadership Advisory Council, participated as an activist leader at the "OUT on the Hill Black LGBT Leadership Summit" in Washington, D.C. to organize with other thought leaders, faith leaders, philanthropists and activists who are organizing to empower their communities while educating Congressional leaders, the Obama Administration and federal agencies about Black LGBT public policy concerns.
 Currently, Kamora is the Cultural Competence trainer for the City of Hartford’s Youth Development Practitioners Academy and Middle Management Institute as well as a consultant for the State of Connecticut’s Safe Harbors Program which ensure the safety and well-being of LGBT youth in out-of-home care. She is a sought out speaker who regularly lectures at the UCONN Rainbow Centers Out To Lunch series as well as other colleges and universities. She has keynoted for regional and local organizations including Pride@Work and Public Allies. 
Her proudest accomplishment has been raising her two sons. 

Past Honorees
2016 - Kamora Herrington
2015 - Keith King
2014 - Brent Bell

2013 - Hutch Hutchinson
2012 - Beth Sayers 
2011 - Mike Gessford

Award Logistics
Nominations for the PICOUP award are invited from AEE NE regional members by the membership services coordinator no later than August 1st, as which point the NE council will vote upon the nominations.

A large plaque will be made that will be displayed during the NE Regional Conference.

  • This plaque will have PICOUP Person In Charge Of Unlocking Potential on the front and the description above affixed to the back.
  • The plaque will have space for many small placards to be added each year with the new honorees name.

The honoree each year will be given a small plaque with the italic description above.

The award will be given each year on Friday before the Keynote address and the large plaque will hang in a common space throughout the conference.