It's in the Experience

The Association for Experiential Education brings you ‘It’s in the Experience’ – a podcast series produced by AEE featuring the varied voices of those using experiential education principles and methods.

During each 30-minute episode, two guests from different professions, or backgrounds, or geographic locations or something else all together; will answer questions posed by the host, Sherry Bagley. Each episode will dig into the things the guests have in common and the things setting their programs apart. This conversational podcast offers an engaging and often humorous journey to learn about experiential education in its many forms and uses.

Subscribe Today and Never Miss an Episode!

Subscribe today on Podbean, Apple Podcasts, Amazon, iHeartRadio, PlayerFM, Podchaser, Spotify, Google or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.

Meet Your Host

sherry headshotSherry Bagley is the Executive Director of the Association for Experiential Education. In this role, she gets to assist in the elevation and expansion of experiential education by building an inclusive and accessible community; supporting research and programs; and presenting resources to public audiences. Her career path has taken some hard turns from driving tug boats in the Marshall Islands to catering weddings on the beach. She found her true calling when she began working in the experiential education field over 13 years ago. She can often be found out on or in the water swimming, fishing, boating, kayaking, snorkeling, and scalloping. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida in a 100-year-old house with her amazing husband, 2 great kids, 2 polite dogs, and 2 ridiculous cats. 

Sponsor the Podcast

Want to get in front of over 300 monthly listeners in the Experiential Education industry? We'd love to work with you. Contact us about sponsoring an episode of the podcast or fill out this form.


Episode 1: Miles Apart In our inaugural episode, host Sherry Bagley sits down with Brian Croft, Assistant Director of Outdoor Education-Touch of Nature at Southern Illinois University and Rod Field, Founder and CEO at Higher Ground Group Australia. The three talk about the commonalities and differences in experiential education in the U.S. and Australia, their career journeys in the industry, and the importance of being involved with the AEE community. Oh, and there might even be discussions about Madonna and James Bond!  

Episode 2: Career Stages In this episode, host Sherry Bagley sits down with Callie Auman, Assistant Director for Challenge Course and Team Building at UNC Charlotte's Venture Outdoor Leadership program, and Brad Daniel, co-founder and executive director of 2nd Nature TREC in Black Mountain, NC. The three talk about the evolution of experiential education, career journeys, freedoms of owning a business, the benefits of working for a university, and the differences between environmental and experiential education. All of this AND a heated discussion over the best kind of cookies! 

Episode 3: Creating Leaders In this episode, host Sherry Bagley sits down with Jane Panicucci, owner and principal of the Active Learning Group, and Jay Zarr, co-owner of Story Tellers Travels and Imagine If a Mind, Body and Spirit Connections Company in Colorado. The three talk about getting involved in experiential education, career journeys, equipping leaders through experiential education, the importance of volunteering, industry challenges, and creating relationships. Oh, and we have a commonality discussion on whether or not ice cream should be considered a food group! 

Episode 4: Social Work and Adventure Therapy: Where They Fit in Experiential Education In this episode, host Sherry Bagley sits down with Dr. Anita Tucker, a professor at the University of New Hampshire and associate director of the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Center, and Tony Alvarez, owner of Alvarez Consulting LLC, formerly Adventures In Training Inc.. The three talk about their career journeys in social work and experiential education, the definition of adventure therapy and how it fits into experiential education, the importance of shared experiences, collaboratively writing books, and the answer the question: “what is the weirdest thing you’ve used as a prop during an initiative?

In this episode, host Sherry Bagley, sits down with Esther Ayers, a dedicated researcher and advocate for mental health in Latinx communities, and Shoshanna Sumka, executive director of the Independent Schools Experiential Education Network (ISEEN). The three talk about their experience with experiential education and personal journeys in the field, the intersection of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging and experiential education, and the differences between researchers and practitioners.

In this episode, host Sherry Bagley, sits down with Bryn Lottig, co-founder of Kikori, and Christy Brock, executive director and founder of New Adventures Counseling. The three talk about business ownership, the importance of work-life balance, being involved with AEE’s Therapeutic Adventure Professional Group, their favorite reflection prompts, and their vision for experiential education. 

In this episode, host Sherry Bagley, sits down with Dr. Amy Climer, founder and CEO of Climer Consulting, and Mo Kappes, Assistant Director of Experiential Education at University of Wisconsin-Madison. The three talk about the AEE International Conference and what keeps them coming back year after year, what to look forward to at this year’s conference, challenges they’re facing in experiential education, and what they have learned from each other.  

 In this episode, host Sherry Bagley sits down with Joanna Bettmann Schaefer, a professor at the University of Utah College of Social Work, and W. Thomas Means, an assistant professor at University of Wisconsin La Crosse and director of Camp Brosius. The three talk about their career journeys in academia and doctoral work; the difference between wilderness, recreation and adventure therapy; finding research projects and associated researchers; and the importance of being connected in the experiential education community.  

Episode 9: Creating Community: Fostering Connection and Belonging through Experiential Education
In this episode, host Sherry Bagley sits down with Stephanie Speicher, an associate professor and the digital fluency faculty in residence at Weber State University, and Antonio Galván, founder, CEO, and senior trainer at Galika. The three talk about experiential training and development for organizations, creating community and a sense of belonging in a digital landscape, facilitating experiential education for adults, creating spaces for experiential ed, and geographic differences in the industry.  

In this episode, host Sherry Bagley sits down with Aaron Leonard and Fred Borroel to discuss their paths in experiential education, current triumphs and struggles, helping the helpers, client marketing efforts, and advice for the next generation of experiential educators. Aaron Leonard is a retired U.S. Army officer who now leads the therapeutic outdoor adventure program Another Summit at Guardian Revival, and is the founder and chair of New York’s Outdoor Rx Coalition. Fred Borroel formed RelateAbility, PLLC, where he specializes in relationship building services for families, colleagues, and peer groups and is dedicated to helping trauma survivors achieve relational goals and to helping trauma serving professionals balance self-care with their capacity to care for others.

Episode 11: The Evolving Industry -Exploring Experiential Education: Journeys, Passions, and Insights
In this episode, host Sherry Bagley sits down with Chris Ortiz, the associate director for the leadership development team and the program director for team development at Shaver's Creek Environmental Center, and Steve Smith, founder of Experiential Consulting LLC. The three share their unique journeys into experiential education, delve into their passionate pursuits within the field, discuss the evolving needs of the industry, and reminisce about some enlightening 'ah-ha' moments. 

Join host Sherry Bagley as she engages in a conversation with Kim Sacksteder, MSW, LISW-SV, CCAT, co-owner of Adventure Therapist, and José González, director of experiential education at The Overlake School in Redmond, WA. Delve into their personal journeys in experiential education, exploring their professional focuses and the paths that led them to become volunteer leaders and integral members of the AEE Accreditation Council. Discover the significance of accreditation for programs and gain insights into what the landscape of accreditation may look like a decade into the future.
Join host Sherry Bagley as she engages in a conversation with Rosanne Mistretta, assistant director for program development, SUNY NY Master Teacher Program, and Jeromy Slaby, science teacher and experiential programs coordinator at the Jewish Day School of Metropolitan Seattle. Together, they delve into their extensive careers in experiential education, sharing insights on their work focus, classroom practices, and guiding principles. Gain valuable advice for new teachers entering the realm of experiential education, learn about their commitment to community engagement, and discover the valuable lessons they've learned from each other along the way.
Join host Sherry Bagley as she chats with Sarah Gough, executive director for Play For Peace, and Marilyn Levin, development director at Play For Peace. They share their career journeys in experiential education, reflect on the impactful relationship between the Association for Experiential Education and Play for Peace, and discuss the significance of collaboration in advancing the industry. Don't miss their valuable advice for aspiring experiential educators and the insights they offer for future generations.
Join host Sherry Bagley as she chats with Zac and Celine Adair from the National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education. Together, they share their experiences and insights on creating positive and empowering experiences for individuals of all ages. They discuss the challenges faced by outdoor education providers, including staffing, certification issues, and changing student attitudes, as well as the importance of collaboration to standardize basic technical skills and maintain full schedules year-round.

Episode 16: Research & Mentorship

Join host Sherry Bagley as she chats with Denise Mitten, PhD, an internationally recognized for her innovative scholarship in outdoor and environmental pedagogy, ethics, and gender, and Jill Overholt, associate professor of outdoor leadership at Warren Wilson College. This episode delves into the significance of research in experiential education, focusing on understanding program impacts and addressing biases. They explore the diverse benefits of nature, including physical, social, and spiritual aspects, and discuss the importance of nuanced approaches to these topics. The conversation also highlights the critical role of mentoring the next generation of experiential educators, underscoring the need for kindness, social and environmental stability, and connection in the field.