Northwest Region

2018 Northwest Regional Conference
May 17-20, 2018
Connect Charter School
Calgary, AB, Canada 

Scholarship  Registration Rates  Meals & Lodging  Schedule  Workshops

Keynote Speaker - Bob Sharpe
Bob Sharpe has been involved in outdoor and experiential education over the 43 years that he has been in the Yukon. During this time, Bob has held a wide variety of positions. He was a principal, Director of Research, Superintendent, Coordinator of Curriculum Development and teacher throughout this period. Bob developed and taught a program of experiential studies in sciences that involved students participating in 45 days of outdoor experience each semester while teaching six academic courses. He now teaches experiential courses at the post secondary level and teaches other teachers how to conduct field studies.

Playnote - Dr. Julian Norris
Julian is a perennially curious guide and educator who supports individuals and whole systems to encounter and unlock their own unique capacities. Originally trained as an anthropologist, his career experience over the past three decades has included working night shifts with a street crisis team, conducting research in the Sumatran rainforest, working as a nightclub doorman, supporting community development initiatives in First Nation communities, co-founding a Rediscovery camp, and directing the Outward Bound schools in western Canada.

Julian is currently a faculty member at the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business. He co-chairs the Haskayne Adventure Leadership program which offers which uses wilderness-based, contemplative and experiential programming to cultivate advanced leadership capacities. He also teaches at the Banff Centre and co-directs the social innovation residency program Getting To Maybe.

Julian’s work is seasoned by his love of the bardic traditions, shaped through a lifetime spent in wild and storied landscapes, honed from a long-standing commitment to contemplative and somatic disciplines, and weathered by a life-long apprenticeship to the complex and sometimes shattering mysteries of the human psyche and the living world. He feels enormously privileged to support the practical dreamers, social alchemists, soulful guides and visionary leaders working to build new life-enhancing patterns of consciousness and culture in these extraordinary times.

Friday Lunch - Film and Q&A 

Leanne Allison is a filmmaker based in Canmore, Alberta known for her award winning films, Being Caribou and Finding Farley. She is the co-creator of the National Film Board interactive documentary Bear 71. This project is widely considered a seminal piece in the world of interactive media winning a design award at the Cannes Lion International Festival for Creativity and a global FWA award for Favourite Website of the Year in 2012. This project was originally inspired by motion-triggered camera images gathered at wildlife overpasses and underpasses in Banff National Park. Her film Highway Wilding that features wildlife crossing structures screened in 300 locations around the world with the Banff Mountain film festival. Her latest film, ‘Living with Wildlife’ is currently touring at festival around the world. Her track record shows her ability move between mediums to tell powerful stories that make an impact.

For links to all her films check out


Click here for the complete schedule!

Some people you serve are challenged in following directions, behave appropriately with others, cross boundaries and are unable to stay within the lines of a planned activity. By the end of the workday, staff can be found exhausted, unsure of what to do next, and discouraged by their unsuccessful efforts. Taming a group full of tigers and settling down Tasmanian Devils is no circus act and definitely not an easy task. Learn and utilize a new skill that will bring more balance to a shared environment. Topics emphasized include:

  • Effective communication tools and agreements
  • Thinking out of the box about barriers and boundaries
  • Understanding the differences between independence, dependence, codependency and interdependent relationships
  • Games and activities that teach while being inclusive to all – for both inside and outside the classroom
  • The Big R Words – Routines, Responsibilities, Relevancy, Rights, Rules, and Relationships when working with children and youth
  • Personal stories and examples of resources that provide perspective of the teacher, student, family and community worker regarding the need for change, challenge and more direct approach to care

Adventures in Social Emotional Learning: a Guide to the Experiential Educators Games and Activity Toolbox – Sheldon Franken – Inquiry Adventures, Vancouver
Social-Emotional Learning is about building self and social-awareness to enable growth. Adventure education is the use of kinaesthetic activities to promote learning. This workshop will explore experiential-based games and activities can be used to enhance social-emotional learning, well-being, and resiliency with all students and clients of all ages. There will be a strong emphasis on the practice of the experiential learning models of framing and debriefing. These tools and resources can be used in your classrooms, schools, and practices immediately. Come ready to be active, and engage in a variety of experiential based social-emotional learning activities.

Giving Meaning to the Mundane: Using Ceremony to Connect & Deepen - Liz Hodgson & Andrew Cotterell – Enviros, Calgary
Our lives are full of moments and occasions that we often rush by. As soon as one thing is completed we are looking to the next thing, the next path, the next goal. This workshop explores ceremony as a way to add punctuation to activities, programs and life. We will share how we have incorporated ceremony into an addictions treatment program and how it can hold space for connection, presence, and meaning. Participation in this experiential workshop will equip you with the tools to develop ceremonies for your own programs that add meaning, depth and connection for participants.

Join the Dark Side: Engaging Experiential Educators in Conserving the Night Skies - Maureen Luchsinger & Laura Griffin – Ann and Sandy Cross Conservation Area, Calgary
The workshop uses our “Conserving the Wilderness of the Alberta Night skies” program to introduce participants to light pollution and its effects on ecology and astronomy. Light pollution is an environmental issue that is becoming better known as increasing scientific literature is being published on its negative consequences on the natural world. With the advent of LED technology, the problem has increased every year for the last 5 years. The workshop addresses how this will impact the study of Scotobiology and how we can build our communities more sustainably. How can one incorporate this current issue into their curriculum? We will go through aspects of our program to highlight the techniques of cross-curricular activities, collaborations with external institutions, and incorporating citizen science into an environmental program to make student learning more impactful. Tie-ins to multiple grade level curriculums will be addressed.

Loose Parts Play in Educational Settings - Tracey Gilmour – Ever Active Schools, Edmonton
During this session, Ever Active Schools will introduce you to Loose Parts Play in educational settings. Perhaps you are considering starting small and want to create a box of materials you can take outside at recess each day for your students to play with. Or maybe you want to enrich a larger play space with loose parts. It doesn’t matter how big or small your budget or plans are, you’ll find the tips and guidelines to make it happen.

In this session we’ll:

  1. Explore the multiple benefits of loose parts play for children’s well-being and development through a comprehensive school health lens
  2. Consider the practicalities of implementing loose parts play in your setting
  3. Understand the risk-benefit analysis for play
  4. Answer common questions and share information and resources to help you gain support for your loose parts play project

Locks of Discovery - Kevin Trump – Synergo, Portland
With the emergence of the modern day Escape Room, more and more schools, camps, and team-building programs are exploring creative ways of implementing these popular activities to their own curriculum. Since we can't morally (and potentially legally?) lock participants in a room until they 'crack the code,' we've turned the idea from breaking-out of a room to breaking into a series of boxes, using activities to stimulate all learning styles creating a high level of engagement and curiosity, all while asking ourselves along the way, "What can we discover together?" In this workshop we will be exploring the fundamental aspects of the Escape Room and how to modify similar activities as well as traditional team-building initiatives to fit curriculum goals and program outcomes.

Social Emotional Learning in program design and delivery - Dylan Oosterveld – Boys and Girls Clubs of Calgary, Calgary
A few years ago the Boys and Girls Clubs of Calgary recognized a need to better understand and articulate the impact in our clubs programs. At the time we were faced with multiple challenges including a high density light touch program (out of school time), a large staff team with varied skills and experiences and multiple sites across the city. We embarked on a multi-year project that resulted in a redesigned program model that emphasizes our unique identity in terms of services and outcomes framed by Social Emotional Learning (SEL). In the adoption of our new identity we managed significant change, developed new evidence based SEL programming and incorporated robust outcome measures. I will share key elements of this journey and map out the fundamentals of our new program experience, facilitative outcomes, and core outcomes that form our foundation of Social Emotional Learning practice.

Take the Action Challenge: Experiential Education through action learning projects - Jaclyn Angotti – CPAWS Southern Alberta
With youth spending less time outdoors, it is becoming increasingly critical to provide experiential learning opportunities that connect them with nature and build awareness of and care for environmental issues. Jaclyn will demonstrate how to facilitate student-led action projects where students tackle a conservation issue. These projects can be as simple or as complex as you wish. Action projects meet knowledge outcomes, while developing critical thinking, problem solving and teamwork skills. You will leave this session with ideas and resources to bring stewardship alive for your groups while meeting curriculum objectives. Action learning projects are experiential in nature and can be used for any topic. Although the examples will be environmental, the principles can be applied to any other learning project (e.g. social justice, health, personal growth, etc.) Together, let’s create the next generation of world leaders!

Enhancing Experiential Learning with Liberating Structures - Fernando Loureiro & Carolina Ribeiro de Almeida – Aprendix, Nelson, BC
Liberating Structures introduce tiny shifts in the way we meet, plan, decide and relate to one another. 33 adaptable microstructures make it quick and simple for groups of people of any size to radically change how they interact and work together. Educators can choose what suits their likes and dislikes then mix and match them flexibly to address their challenges. Ten leadership Principles highlight what becomes possible when LS are used to structure everyday interactions.

The Jaguar Warrior: Aztec wisdom for high performance teams - Héctor Trejo & Diego Sánchez Resendiz – Galika, Mexico
This training develops specific leadership skills such as negotiation, team work, decision making, discipline, communication and problem solving. This program is designed to set a space of self-awareness with the participant so he/she can reinforce and develop the passion for service and teamwork as a common goal. Awaken the inner Jaguar Warrior that each one of us possesses deep inside ourselves... guided by the ancient philosophy of Collaboration and Contributionism, we learn to succeed together through the absence of our fears. The Aztec discipline generated top class warriors that had an strategic role in the expansion of the empire. Without these warriors the empire wouldn’t be able to survive. Thanks to their commitment and determination to face adversity with no fear, with discipline and persistency, the Jaguar Warrior could become "Pipiltin" -the high class among the Aztecs and leave their conditions of Macehuales -the lower class.

Beyond the Worksheet: Moving Social and Emotional Learning into Practice and Play – Lori Ann Litke – Bridges Consulting, Lethbridge
We will share stories, personal insights and experiences that will help to gain an understanding of why social and emotional learning in schools is so important. Participants will have the opportunity to engage in experimentation through games, activities and play that will help shape their understanding of how to engage students in these lessons and will leave with concrete examples to take back to their classrooms and programs.

Scholarship Opportunity
Scholarships are available to support attendees. Funds are limited. Each application will be reviewed by the conference conveners and approved at their sole discretion. Scholarships are offered in the form of a post-conference refund.
Submit your scholarship application now!

Service Crew - application will post the week of 4/23
Earn credit towards your registration fee by becoming part of the Service Crew, a dedicated group of volunteers helping to make the conference a success. In exchange for your time and effort during the conference, earn a 30% to 70% refund on your conference registration fee, based on the amount of time you serve. The Service Crew is the heart and soul of the conference. Service Crew jobs include registration, bookstore, setting up workshop spaces, tech help, meals, set‐up and teardown, and various other administrative and logistical jobs. 

Application coming soon!

Registration Rates
Registration rate includes lunches on Friday and Saturday. But, does not include breakfast or dinner and lodging.
Breakfast and Dinner plans are available for an additional fee.

Registration Type
Canadian residents rates in CAD
US residents rates in USD
Early Bird Rates
end April 12
Regular Rates
begin April 13
Member - Full Registration $195 $275
Student/Senior Member - Full Registration $60 $110
Non-Member - Full Registration $250 $300
Student/Senior Non-Member - Full Registration $115 $175
Presenter - Full Registration $100 $100 
One Day $95 $145 
Exhibitor $75 $75 
Meal Options
Dinners  $25/meal x Friday +/or Saturday
Breakfast $10/meal x Friday +/or Saturday

Lodging Options

YMCA Camp Riveredge - located along the Bow River approximately 5.5km from conference site.
$10/person/night per tenting site. Accommodations include potable water, power and port-o-potties. Covered eating area, fire pits and BBQ are also available.
Available to borrow from Connect Charter School (host venue) are tents, sleeping bags and sleeping pads.
Contact Info: John Cadman ( to book.

Mount Royal University - located 2 km (20 minute walk or 5 minute drive) from conference location.
$54.50 per night per bedroom in a 4 bedroom apartment. Equipped with individual lockable bedrooms, one full bathroom per two bedrooms with a kitchen and living room in the centre of the apartment.
Guest accommodations include linens, towels and basic kitchen items. FREE high-speed WIFI and complimentary parking.
Roommate requests are available based on availability – all parties will need to book individually unless paid for by one credit card. Please contact Residence Services.
Toll free: 1-866- 264-7875 Phone (403) 440-6275
Fax: (403) 440-6281 Email:

Grey Eagle Casino
Located 1.5km from the school. Prices will vary depending on the rooms that are available.
Contact info: 403-719-8777 Toll Free: 1-844-719-8777,

** Bikes are available to sign out from Connect Charter School for any of these options. 

Tentative Schedule