West Region

 View the Conference Brochure

AEE West Regional Conference
February 24-26, 2017
Rob Hill Campground
San Francisco, CA 

Registration Rates Conference Schedule Workshop Descriptions Post Conference Sailing

Roots and Foundations of Experiential Education

Join us for an incredible weekend of learning growing and collaborating at the 2017 WRAEE Conference! Attend an invigorating workshop with a side of Ocean View, connect with fellow attendees by firelight and camp under the shade of Eucalyptus trees in the Presidio of San Francisco! Be on the lookout for more info to come!

Keynote: Experiential Learning – Embracing Our roles in Experiential Education, Learning and Love
Now, more than ever, is the time for us to more deeply embrace our roles in Experiential Education and Learning.  Our role as progressive educators and leaders is critical in an ever-changing world with enhanced and emerging challenges. We can accomplish this -  by embracing the moral tenets and values of our historical roots and present day leaders. I ask - what is your individual role as an aspiring leader/change agent, and how can we continue to deepen and define our values to better serve?   We all play a significant role in AEE's call to create "a more just and compassionate world".

Sky Gray with her daughter and childhood friends at the March on Washington

Our Keynote Speaker: Sky Gray M.S.

Sky is the former Executive Director of the nationally known and accredited Santa Fe Mountain Center, founded in 1979. She has been involved in Experiential Adventure Based Education since she was a participant as an adolescent. She has been a backcountry field instructor and adventure based facilitator for vulnerable youth and adults throughout her career. She has been an active member of Association for Experiential Education (AEE) since 1984 and served as the Director of Accreditation and served on the Accreditation council. She now serves as a board member of AEE. She is holds a certification in Non-Profit Transformation Leadership from the University of Notre Dame.

Currently, Sky and her family live in Santa Rosa Ca. She is the Program Manager for the Valley of the Moon Children’s Center for Sonoma county Human Services Department. She continues to be a fierce advocate for children and youth and for social change and justice. She continues to advance transformative work through the use of trauma informed principles, inspired leadership concepts and experiential learning practices. She works closely with Dr. Nina Roberts doing consulting work around diversity and humanistic risk management.

Registration Rates
Registration rate includes camping fee. Meals are not included (exception: Youth - Saturday Only includes lunch).

Registration Type Price
Early Bird ends Jan 31
Member - Full Registration $100 Early Bird / $115
Student Member - Full Registration  $65
Non-Member - Full Registration $115 Early Bird / $130
Student Non-Member - Full Registration $95
Service Crew $55
Presenter  $0
One Day $100
Youth - Saturday Only (includes lunch) $15
Meal Plans Price
Full meal plan, includes Saturday dinner   $40
Saturday dinner only $20

New This Year: Youth Rate
This year we have decided to include a high-school conference track on Saturday 2/25!
We will be asking for proposals geared toward or led by a high school audience, and including a 1-day youth rate of $15 including lunch!

Lodging Options
1475 Central Magazine Road
San Francisco, CA 94129
(415) 561-5447
Conference attendees are welcome to camp on location at Rob Hill Campground! The campground sits atop the highest point in the Presidio and overlooks Baker Beach and the beautiful Pacific Ocean. Fee is included in your workshop registration should you choose to lodge with us (there are no shower facilities at the campground).

240 Fort Mason
San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 771-7277
Distance from conference:
 4.3 miles, 13 minutes
Cost: $
Set in historic Fort Mason, the San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf Hostel offers a range of accommodations including both private rooms and shared dorms.  The Presidio, Crissy Field, and the Golden Gate Bridge make up the hostel’s backyard, with Fisherman’s Wharf, North Beach, and the Marina district within walking distance.  Hostel guests enjoy free continental breakfast, a spacious theater-style TV area, a recreation room, and beautiful bay views.  Starting at $28 per night, the San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf Hostel is an affordable lodging option that is easy on the eyes and light on the wallet.

Fort Barry Building 941
Sausalito, CA 94965
(415) 331-2777
Distance from conference:
 6.3 miles, 16 minutes
Cost: $
Just north of San Francisco, the Marin Headlands Hostel is a favorite amongst visitors to San Francisco.  The hostel offers incredible options for hiking, biking, and more in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area with convenient access to Muir Woods and Mount Tamalpais State Park.  Hostel guests enjoy fully-equipped kitchens, on-site laundry, and free parking.  Starting at $28 per night, the Marin Headlands Hostel is a beautiful lodging option without compromising cost.

42 Moraga Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94129
(415) 800-7356
Distance from conference:
 1.8 miles, 6 minutes
Cost: $$$
Inn at the Presidio is an elegant boutique hotel where visitors can enjoy an overnight stay in the heart of the historic Presidio, the former military base and part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.  Located at Pershing Hall, the Gregorian Revival-style building has been restored as a guest lodge featuring 22 spacious accommodations, including 17 suites with fireplaces.  Guests can enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi, continental breakfast, evening wine and cheese reception, Eurotop beds, and the calm, quiet atmosphere.

2755 Lombard Street
San Francisco, CA 94123
(888) 206-1895
Distance from conference:
 2.3 miles, 7 minutes
Cost: $$$
Travelodge at the Presidio, SF is located just outside the Presidio National Recreation Area.  Its central location near the Golden Gate Bridge and Downtown San Francisco make this Travelodge an accessible option with plenty of dining, shopping, and sightseeing opportunities within walking distance.  Free limited guest parking.  Public transportation options are also nearby.

Whether an apartment for the night or a lake-house for the weekend, AirBnB is a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world.

2017 WRAEE Conference Schedule

Friday 2/24
8:30 to 9:30 Registration (check out camping gear)
10:00 to 1:30 Welcome & Open Space snacks and Light lunch offered
1:30 to 2:00 Break
2:00 to 3:30 Workshop Session A
3:30 to 3:45 Break
4:00 to 5:30 Workshop Session B
5:30 to 6:30 (set up camp, tents if needed)
6:30 to 7:30 Community BBQ Rob Hill
7:30 to 9:00 Playnote
Saturday 2/25
8:00 to 9:00 Registration (check out camping gear)
9:00 to 9:20 Welcome & Opening
9:20 to 9:30 Break
9:30  to 11:00 Workshop Session A
11:00 to 11:15 Break (snacks available)
11:15 to 12:45 Workshop Session B
12:45 to 1:15 Lunch   Walk to keynote
1:15 to 2:00 Keynote
2:00 to 2:15 Break
2:15 to 3:45 Workshop Session C
3:45 to 4:00 Break
4:00 to 5:30 Workshop Session D
5:30 to 6:15 Break set up tent
6:15 to 7:15 Catered Dinner/Awards
7:15 to 10:00 Campfire Storytelling/Activities with ranger Fatima and members of the Ohlone Tribe.
Sunday 2/26
9:00 to 12:00 3 Hour Guided Presidio Hike
1:00 to 4:30 Sailing with Blue Water Foundation
12:30 to 1:00 Closing Back at Rob Hill Campsite

Post Conference Activity
Whether you want to raise the sails, tack underneath the Golden Gate bridge or just enjoy the views from the water come step aboard Golden Bear, a former 46ft racer and Benjamin Walters, our founders classy 43ft ocean cruiser for the post conference activity. Blue Water Foundation is an all-volunteer nonprofit dedicated to bringing the joys and challenges of sailing to San Francisco Bay Area youths. Check them out at bluewaterfoundation.org to get inspired.
Sail is on the 26th from 1pm to 4pm.
Spots are $25 each, space is limited (20 sailors max), if interested sign up on-site.

2017 Workshop Descriptions

Session A:
Creating Equitable Inclusive and Culturally Relevant Programs (Part 1)
Rena Payan
This workshop will work with participants to think critically about their programs and how they can be strengthened Equity, Inclusion and Cultural Relevance. We will be exploring the work of Cultural Relevance, including how power & privilege dynamics, bias, and blind spots may be hindering our programs.

Improving communication and confidence; Activities and practices for yourself and to share with others
Bernadine Rosso
Communicating with others can be tricky for most people. Leading programs for teens, one of my primary objectives is to not only increase self confidence, but to teach skills for communicating effectively. It is paramount for teens to get their needs met and ideas across to others as a huge part of their growth and development. If self esteem is low, embarrassment and failure are big fears. Interacting with others can pose potential for confrontation, and so, is avoided all together. Learning to listen and share authentically, I believe, are essential life practices for everyone.

Session B:
Creating Equitable Inclusive and Culturally Relevant Programs (Part 2)
Rena Payan

Technology Integration in the Classroom
Vicky Lee
How we change the way we use technology in the classroom? Technology integration provides students more autonomy in their learning, increases engagement, supports English Learners, and provides necessary soft skills. This workshop exposes educators on resources and tools on how to implement tech integration. Participants will learn about Google Classroom and applications, e-learning, hybrid and flipped learning, text messaging apps, games, video recording lectures, and animated presentations. In the 21st century, technology has now become more than just a tool; tech has changed our daily lives.

Session A:
Restorative Practices (Part 1)
Maggie McGarry
Vicky Lee
In this workshop participants will learn to identity emotions, communicate through affective statements, lead restorative circles, and transform conflict. By establishing a safe environment, creating relationships, and building community we will focus on prevention, intervention, and restoration. Let's identify what harms us as individuals and communities and practice strategies to repair that harm. This workshop will incorporate topics from various EE thematic strands.

Above All Compassion (The purpose of EE then and now.)
Jason Schmidt and Maggie Lyons
The roots and foundations of Kurt Hahn's influence on the field of experiential education were at least in part a result of his living in Germany when a demagogue (Hitler) rose to power. When one truly digs into Hahn's body of work and theories on education you walk away with the understanding that, for Hahn, all of his methods were meant to serve the overarching goal of creating compassionate citizens. This was his most fundamental belief on the purpose of education. Are there parallels between 1930's Germany and '17 in the USA? What is the purpose of EE now?

Latino Marching Band: Teaching Pride, Respect for Cultural Diversity in High School ELD Classes
Jessie Davidson & Hollie Retzinger
Building Community, Social Justice, Empathy and Interaction through Latino Marching Band
With English Language Development standards and interaction strategies, essential questions about cultural identity and its role in "becoming American", and knowledge of how important cultural performance becomes when a student moves to a new country, we will demonstrate and practice methods for building group cohesiveness and pride, despite different languages and language abilities.

Ready, Set, Adventure Race!
Brenna Johnston-Kosher
This active and outdoor workshop will combine team building activities, puzzles, riddles and exploration of the area. Participants will learn how to implement adventure programming into their outdoor adventure or on-campus curriculum to encourage experiential learning in new and exciting ways. This is a fun activity that participants can run on their own with a large or small group with a very little budget. Wear appropriate clothing for this event and be prepared for weather, fun, and adventure!

Session B:
Restorative Practices (Part 2)
Maggie McGarry
Vicky Lee

MindSight: Spark Your Power of Imagination and Become a better Speaker
Janet Janssen
Want to become a better speaker, storyteller to gain better engagement in conversations in the boardroom, the classroom or with friends?
Maybe you just want to have some fun and learn how the power of the brain and nature can spark your creativity. Learn the three-step process to help you achieve goal planning, called The Power of Imagination.
Bring a scarf for a group exercise called, MindSight.

Growing the Collective Wisdom in Groups
Kelly Munson
Through the creation of nature mandalas, we'll explore the elements that allow for the emergence of collective wisdom in groups and a greater sense of wholeness in oneself, with others and with all of life.

Activities to Enhance Emotional Intelligence
Shabbir Latif
Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is a better predictor of success in life than IQ. EQ competencies are learnable and measurable.
After a quick introduction of a model developed by 6seconds EI network, we will immerse into activities to highlight and enhance some of the emotional intelligence competencies. The workshop includes an interactive exploratory phase where participants will be encouraged to share ideas on how to facilitate various other activities to highlight and enhance emotional intelligence competencies.

Session C:
A Presidio Sense of Place
Damien Rafa
The Presidio aspires to fulfill the vision of the larger Golden Gate National Recreation Area: to offer a meaningful national park experience for urban people who don't typically visit national parks. This 90 minute field trip will visit the two primary centers of public engagement in the Presidio: the new Presidio Visitor Center (opening day on February 25th!) and the Presidio Officers' Club (opened in 2014). Participants will deepen their sense of place in the Presidio while reflecting on how the effectively these facilities are connecting with urban audiences.

Essentials and Foundations of Giving and Receiving Feedback
Joy Thompson & Terry Williams
Effective communicators know “feedback conversations” are growth opportunities and they know how to provide feedback in such a way that it makes a positive difference for everyone involved. Participants will learn how Neuroscience assists our self-awareness and understanding of others empowering our ability to more fully give and receive feedback. There are ways feedback can be structured to be effective and long lasting. This experiential session provides the skills to help everyone understand and apply empathetic listening and compassionate communication to help you build rapport with others and create stronger relationships.

Continuing Kurt Hahn’s Vision of Social Justice Based Experiential Education
Ethan Kerr
Kurt Hahn famously told American Outward Bound founders that they had built their Colorado school in the wrong place. On the same trip he spent a month in Watts and Harlem, speaking and acting out his commitment to underserved communities and justice through experiential education. It is time the experiential education community remembers this foundation of our work and applies equity in our work! This workshop will explore what Equity Literacy is and how experiential educators can integrate anti-oppression language, activities and outcomes into their programs.

Game On: All ages game and group initiatives share
Johnathon “Joc” Clark PhD, Avery Munson Clark, Ander Munson Clark
Bring your very favourite game and learn the favourite games of other participants. As experiential educators we all use different initiatives and games to either break-the-ice or get our groups to go deeper in their understanding of group dynamics & human interactions. Whether it's about collaborating, reinforcing positive values, strategizing, seeing systems, having fun and a few great laughs; this will be a chance to add to your toolkit and synergize with your peers.
Please bring a favourite game that you're willing to lead or simply come to absorb ideas and best activities from your fellow experiential educators and gamesmiths.

Session D:
Backyard Bound
Inspiring Young Emerging Leaders
Come hear youth present about their outdoor youth summit! Backyard Bound, in its 6th year, is a n outdoor youth leadership summit completely put on by high school students, for high students. Last year, youth brought 60 other high school students from around the Bay Area to Yosemite National Park to celebrate the centennial. Learn how youth plan, and implement this summit and the impacts the outdoors have had in their life.

White facilitators as white saviors, working with racially diverse youth
Fleur Larsen
In this training, we will look at the way implicit bias, cultural norms and power and privilege affect our ability as challenge course facilitators to thoughtfully and successfully facilitate. We will be specifically looking at racial justice, white privilege and white savior mentality in an effort to better meet the needs of all our clients.

  • In what way do our bias cloud our judgment about how to best facilitate a group? 
  • Have white facilitators examined their conditioning of white privilege?
  • Are white facilitators coming from a place of wanting to save or fix, i.e. white savior complex?

Storytelling With Purpose
Jani Jackson
Stories help audiences connect with you or your message - whether you are a leader, teacher, facilitator or speaker. In this interactive workshop you'll learn techniques for finding your own personal stories and sharing them in ways that will make your teaching and presentations more engaging and dramatic. You will create at least one story, practice sharing it with others, and plan how to use it to make a more powerful impact at a future event. At least 75% of the workshop is experiential. No previous skills are needed.

6 Generations of Facilitated Learning
Jason Ryba
This workshop will explore the different realms of facilitated learning, based on research from Priest and Gass (1997). From guided outdoor excursions, canopy zip tours, and challenge course experiences to classrooms, outdoor education centers, and therapeutic programs you will better differentiate the approaches to learning in these different contexts and utilize best practices for whatever situation you're in.
The 3 takeaways are:

  1. Identify the 6 generations of facilitated learning
  2. Recognize the best practices for each area
  3. Notice what's in your comfort zone and practice in planning to incorporate other stages
Sunday Workshops
Vinyasa Yoga
Lise Hisakawa
Join Lise for some Vinyasa yoga, get in touch with your body and rooted into the earth, the spirit of the Presidio and sense your surroundings.

Presidio Guided hike with Stephen Jungco
Stephen is a Seasonal Staff member with the Camping at the Presidio Program. He will be leading us in a hike of the Presidio, along the Batteries to Bluffs Trail. You will have the opportunity to learn about the park’s native plants, wildlife, history, and take in gorgeous views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Pacific Ocean.

The Art Studio becomes the Growth Mindset Studio, The Center for Jedi Mind Training.
Ilana Ingber
Plath said, “the worst enemy to creativity is self doubt.” Learn strategies to teach mindfulness, risk-taking, positive self-talk, and a growth-mindset attitude to enhance your student’s creativity. Come to this dynamic session to hear more about how children can learn to be more present in their lives, less fearful to make mistakes, and more grateful of their current skill level. Help make your students more aware of their internal voice so they can replace negative thinking with positive self-talk. By changing your student’s attitude about mistakes, prepare to see unbelievable growth in their abilities.
WRAEE Awards
Each year, the region gives out special awards:
  • Rising Star Award  Given to an emerging leader within the field of EE.
  • Exemplary Practices Award – Given to a person or an organization demonstrating exemplary practices within the field of EE.  Areas of practice include, but are not limited to: leadership, service, positive impact, ingenuity, legacy or other contributions to the field of EE.
  • Servant Leader Award – Given to an individual who demonstrates active, excellent leadership and exhibits the highest level of ethical practices.
To nominate someone for an award send an email about who the nominee is and why you would like to nominate them to wraeeconference@gmail.com.

Our Sponsors

 Bay Area Wilderness Training 

Pacific Leadership Institute (PLI): "A program of San Francisco State University"

The Children are Our Future

Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy

Odyssey for Youth

Westminster Woods Camp & Conference Center

Youth Empowerment Institute

Outdoors Empowered Network

Tribal Wisdom Academy

SEER Education