2021 International Conference Education & Programming

What's on the Agenda?

This year, our theme is "Common Roots, Many Branches". Individually, we branch out with our varied backgrounds and experiences across a variety of disciplines and settings. Collectively, we unite through our roots in Experiential Education.

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Daily Schedule At-A-Glance

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*Schedules are subject to change and more events will be added!

Extended Education Sessions 

Extended Education sessions take place prior to or after the start of the conference, and are in-depth workshops and activities that provide an expanded opportunity for professional development. Extended Education workshops and activities are designed to provide individuals with an opportunity to enhance their Conference experience and dive deeper into a particular topic. 


Various Speakers

Opening Circle: 10/19 6-9PM ET

Workshops: 10/26 11AM-2PM ET, 10/28 6-9PM ET, 11/2 11AM-2PM ET

Closing Circle: 11/4 6-9PM ET

All events will be recorded and made available for attendees to view until October 2022

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Behavioral First Responder

Curt Davidson

Dates: 11/16, 11/23, 11/30, 12/7, 12/14  Times: 6:30p-7:45p EST (each day)

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The Behavioral First Responder is designed for instructors, administrators, and counselors of all varieties who want to understand common behavioral issues and helpful responses within the experiential education context. Our course will teach you overarching theories, models, and techniques adapted from the fields of social work, counseling, and psychology to help you understand the dynamic nature of behavioral situations, underlying motivations, and methods and strategies to manage and mitigate behavioral crises. This course starts with an in-depth look at preventative strategies with the idea that we can tailor programming and staff practices to avoid behavioral and mental health issues while on our programs. Next, we'll explore helpful tools to manage and mitigate behavioral and mental health incidents. This includes de-escalation skills, behavioral assessment, and development plans for moving forward and helping the student continue to have a successful course. Finally, this course will examine how to help students enact long-term, pro-social behavioral change. Simply put, this certification is designed to help you ally with the student before, during, and after their difficult moment. Participants will walk away from this course with practical applications of theories and models taught via activities, instructor facilitation techniques, and many more resource for promoting healthier behavior and promoting mental health through Experiential Education.

Let's Build an Adventure: Implementing Table-Top Roleplaying Games as an Integrative Educational Strategy

Jeromy Slaby

Dates: 11/4-11/5  Times: 7-9am & 10am-12pm PST (both days)

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The explosion of popularity in table-top roleplaying games like Dungeons and Dragons, Pathfinder, and Call of Cthulhu, has opened up a unique opportunity to provide students with a relevant and engaging way to not only teach academic content but also to build social-emotional skills. This extended session will walk through how each part of the adventure building and playing process can be utilized as an educational component. Much of this workshop will focus on exploring, developing, and testing different integration ideas at each step as a group. It will address questions like, “How can I use the worldbuilding stage to integrate science and social studies?”, “How can I adjust the rules so that students have to practice specific communication skills?”, or “What can I do to ensure that one of my students feels represented and included in the process?” This session will utilize the Dungeons and Dragons 5E system but will explore this integration in a way that can be applied to any system that you are familiar with. A general understanding of how roleplaying games work is preferred but not required.

Risk Management Information Systems: Implementing Safety I and Safety II approaches with IncidentAnalytix

Rick Curtis

Date: 11/5 Time: 1:00p-4:30p EDT

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Managing risk is more than simply collecting incident reports. You need a comprehensive data collection and analytics system—a Risk Management Information System (RMIS)—to analyze incident and close-call data and provide detailed analytics to identify trends and develop actionable insights to reduce risk and enhance program safety. Using case study analysis and hands-on practice with on-line incident data you will learn how to combine the benefits of traditional Safety I methodologies with the newer Safety II methodologies and practice applying Rasmussen’s Systems Model of Contributing Factors and Mitigating Factors using IncidentAnalytix, the most comprehensive RMIS developed for the outdoor education industry.

Mental Health First Aid Certification

Jason Ryba

Date: 10/27 Time: 7:30a-2:00p PT 

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Mental Health First Aid, through the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, teaches you how to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illness and substance use disorders. This training gives you the skills you need to reach out and provide initial support to someone who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem and help connect them to the appropriate care. Like CPR and general First Aid training, this certification will prepare you to feel more confident when you are in a situation to help someone else; a family member, friend, coworker, or others.

Taking the Next Step in Risk Management by Integrating Safety I and Safety II: Using Safety Science to Improve Our Programs

Steve Smith

Dates: 10/27, 11/3, 11/10, 11/17 Times: 10:00a - 12:00p PT (each day)

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Traditional safety management takes a top-down approach, using policies and training to prevent accidents from happening, or to minimize the negative effects when they do happen. This very common approach is known as Safety I. It has served us well and taken us to a fairly high level in our ability to manage risk. A refreshing, research-based new approach, known as Safety II, offers an opportunity for us to evolve and advance. Safety II lends itself very well to outdoor education programs, as it seeks to pursue positive capacities rather than avoid negative outcomes as the primary objective. Rather than coming from the top down, Safety II recognizes the expertise at the ground level and sees people as potential solutions to safety concerns. Safety II, also known as Safety Differently, is a well-researched approach which is gaining momentum in industries that operate in complex and hazardous environments. We will share lessons learned from these various industries (healthcare, oil and gas, aeronautical, maritime/shipping, etc.) and studies that help outdoor programs understand and begin to explore how to apply a Safety II lens to their operations.

Risk Management for Outdoor Programs

Jeff Baierlein

Dates: 11/3 (45 min), 11/10, 11/17, 11/24, 12/1 Times: 11:00a - 12:30p ET

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The Risk Management for Outdoor Programs training by Viristar is a comprehensive, 40-hour online course that provides a systems-based approach to understanding why incidents occur and how they may be prevented. Topics include human factors in incident causation, systems thinking, legal considerations, safety standards, emergency response, risk management planning, and more. The course has weekly Zoom calls with independent work and small group projects in between. Participants review outdoor risk management models, learn best safety practices, develop a Risk Management Plan outline, complete a mock Risk Management Review, and develop a Strategic Improvement Plan for their organization. Details at

Extraordinary Facilitation - Insights from half-a-century of working and playing with groups.

Dr. Jim Cain

Date: 11/15 Time: 11:00a - 2:00p ET

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Author and Teambuilding Guru Dr. Jim Cain shares the collective knowledge gained from working and playing with groups over the past 50+ years, including over 100 tips to help you become a better facilitator, his favorite teambuilding activities of all time, creative debriefing techniques, the ten teambuilding books every facilitator should own and a special collection of best practices for virtual facilitation.