What is ActivatEE?

What is ActivatEE?
By Dan Miller, Chief Learning Officer, AEE

Do you know about ActivatEE? It’s kind of like AEE’s version of TED Talks. Each year at our international conference, a small handful of individuals take the stage and share their story. Some stories are about quitting your job and following your passion in life; some stories are about finding the courage to embrace a world that doesn't always embrace us; there is one about fatherhood and at least one story is about a giant hotdog helping someone find their voice.  Through them all run the threads of community, resilience, and inspiration.

When we started hosting ActivatEE a few years ago, we had no idea that it would quickly become the highest rated event at our conference...but it has.  Attendees have said:

‘I LOVED ActivatEE and ALL the presenters put forth amazing, relevant, poignant, heartbreaking, motivating, and inspirational stories that NEEDED to get put out into the world. For this I applaud their courage, skill, and all the help and coaching that went into such an evolved event.’

‘ActivatEE was excellent - it's great to see people willing to show vulnerability and share. It helps our community come together.'

‘The ActivatEE speakers were incredibly inspiring and heartwarming.’

So why does a session like this fit in so well at our conference? Experiential education (EE) is all about creating stories. Our stories often give meaning to our lives in the same way that experience gives meaning to education. Our stories (and the stories of others) provide new lenses through which to view the world. They help shape our values and fill our well of compassion for others. These stories are the epitome of EE in that lessons are brought to life. They are given meaning and relevance that inspire us to keep learning even when they lesson is over.

We are grateful for the dozens who have volunteered to speak at ActivatEE over the years. You can now view the 2017 ActivatEE Playlist on our YouTube page.  Key messages from each one include:

Gitanjali Sarangan: Inclusion is the gift of presence. Inclusion is being the dance.
Clemencia Caporale: We can't prepare for everything, but we must be prepared to care for ourselves.
T. Grant Lewis: Small acts of kindness remind us that we are never alone.
Jaclyn Ouillette: Focus on the inner journey and let every step be a step of gratitude.
Will Marble: Follow your heart...wherever it takes you.
Maurie Lung: No more silence. 

Now what? Perhaps you clicked some of the links and heard some of the stories mentioned above. Perhaps you were inspired to think about your own story and what others can learn from it. The submission form for ActivatEE 2018 will go live in a few months. Do you have a story to tell?

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