Our Mission & Values

Various images of AEE Members at conferences and events

Our Mission

To elevate and expand the global capacity of experiential education by:

  1. Building an inclusive and accessible community for experiential education professionals that is firmly rooted in the philosophy, principles and practices of experiential education.
  2. Supporting the academic research, publication and dissemination of authoritative information for promoting, implementing and advancing the philosophy, principles, and practices of experiential education.
  3. Presenting our collective resources and knowledge to supportive public audiences to elevate and advocate support for the expansion of experiential education.

"I consider AEE to be an umbrella organization that provides a professional home for a wide range of experiential educators from fields such as adventure education, environmental education, formal and non-formal education, environmental interpretation, challenge course facilitation, and research. As such, it is well positioned to be the organization that brings multiple organizations and professionals together from a wide variety of professions. This is important for moving the larger work forward." - Aaron, Member since 2012



AEE Members represent hundreds of professionals, students, and learners who work or study in some capacity with Experiential Education. Our over 2,000 members are from over 25 Countries, bringing global perspectives to everything that we do. We provide individuals and organizations access to research, networking, professional development, and opportunities for connection. 

"AEE has helped me gain a greater understanding of all the amazing things and programs that people are working on around the world and has brought inspiration to my own work life!" -Tia, Member since 2019

Icon of people and globeEXPANSIVE

AEE members don't fit into just one category. We recognize and champion the fact that experiential education can take place in many different settings and contexts, and work hard to create a community of inclusion, open dialogue, and access to facilitate the connection between individuals from all areas of professional focus, perspective, and background.

AEE Members include: Practitioners, Training & Development Professionals, Classroom Teachers, Professors, Students, Researchers, Clinical Adventure Therapists, Parks & Recreation Professionals, Camp Directors & Staff, Consultants, Non-Profit Directors & Staff, Environmental Educators, and more.

Whatever your area of practice, study or interest, you belong here.

"When I was introduced to AEE I had only been working in the outdoor adventure and education field for about a year. The impact that the relationships I have developed through AEE has allowed my career in this field to grow well beyond my expectations." - Jim, Member since 2014

icon of people with arms up in the airWELCOMING

We have fun. Lots of it. This community is vibrant and thrives on collaboration and connection. Meet trailblazers and experts, collaborate with others in your geographic region, bounce ideas around with professionals from other areas of practice, and create lasting professional connections and friendships.

"AEE is the most supportive, welcoming organization I have ever been involved with. The organization blends professionalism and collegiality really wonderfully. I have met so many interesting people from whom I have learned so much. It also gives me a lot of confidence in my field since I feel very informed about cutting-edge concepts and ideas." - Rosanne, Member since 2017 

"I find the AEE community to be very giving and collaborative - people openly and willingly share ideas, tools and strategies and help colleagues grow themselves and their businesses. For me, it is truly a sense of working together to make the world a better place." - Maura, Member since 2016

icon of plant growingHERE FOR YOU, GROWING WITH YOU

We would not be able to provide resources to this global community without support from the community! If you enjoy using our free community resources, have attended a community event, or want to support future initiatives, please consider donating to AEE or joining AEE as a Member. Your contributions, no matter how small, allow us to continue to grow, keep pricing accessible and sustain this organization.

"Through my involvement in AEE, I have been connected to learning, mentorship, job opportunities, and lifelong friendships. Although my primary work does not directly involve adventure therapy at the moment, I sustain my membership and involvement in the organization because I value my connection to our field and AEE as my professional home." - Alex, Member since 2006

Our Values

  1. Global Community — Is an essential progression to further experiential education methodologies and practices around the globe.
  2. Adventure and Challenge — Are two fundamental elements inseparable from the application of experiential learning, not only in the natural world, but in the classroom, workplace and beyond.
  3. Reflective Leadership — Approaching leadership roles with presence and personal mastery is vital in strengthening our best practices as experiential educators.
  4. Social Justice — Supporting people of diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and cultures is an integral part of developing successful experiential education programming.
  5. The Natural World — Conservation of the natural world is key to protecting the enjoyment and learning of all individuals, communities and future generations
  6. Creative Play — A vital part of life-long development, that not only supports healthy emotional, social, intellectual, and physical growth but greatly enhances engaged learning experiences.

AEE IDEA Statement

AEE’s mission commits us to “building an inclusive and accessible community for experiential education professionals”.

Our organizational value of social justice is defined as:

Supporting people of diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and cultures is an integral part of developing successful experiential education programming.

Given that, we want to reaffirm that AEE is committed to being an organization where folx belong and are accepted for who they are. With this statement, we reaffirm our commitment to ensuring our members feel they belong in our community.

Additionally, as a membership organization, we are committed to providing resources and support to our members to develop and operate socially just and inclusive programming.

To that end, we the AEE staff and Board of Directors:

  • Commit to diversity, working to bring members of many backgrounds and from around the globe into our organization and into leadership in our organization
  • Commit to inclusion, taking intentional steps to support our membership in working across differences of race, culture, gender, and more
  • Commit to equity, by creating systems to expose inequities in order to make opportunities within our field accessible by all.

We acknowledge that creating and sustaining an organization where all folx belong will be uncomfortable at times, but we’re excited for foundational work that is necessary to fulfilling the full spirit and intent of our mission and values.

We also know the above commitments require action, and we will follow up with plans to integrate this work into all our conferences, operations, programs, leadership, and other efforts.

The Social Justice task force has worked closely with the staff and Board to create AEE's IDEA (inclusion, diversity, equity, accessibility) statement.

The History of AEE

The Association for Experiential Education (AEE) is a nonprofit international professional membership organization officially incorporated in 1977 but with roots back to 1972. AEE is governed by a Board of Directors who are elected by the association's members. The Board of Directors establishes AEE’s mission, goals and ends, and hires an Executive Director to implement them.

Our community is composed of experiential educators, practitioners, inquirers, researchers, and students with the shared goal of elevating the field of Experiential Education. We enrich the experiential education community through regional and annual conferences, defining professional standards, providing accreditation to organizations, and presenting the latest news and research through AEE Newsletters, publications, and the Journal of Experiential Education. We provide a variety of networking and professional development opportunities.


old edition of the JEE and historical photo of members sitting in the grass

1972 - 1988   Conference History  1990 - 2008

2022 Circle Up Panel Series on YouTube

Want to know more or have questions?
Please contact us!