Our Strategic Framework

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.

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.

IMPACT: Community Testimonials

"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

"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

"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

"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

"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

"I am thankful for my network of practitioners from across the world that have focused their talents on a form of Experiential Learning. The community that we have built is moving the organization into the future and continuing the impact potential we have for our world." - Sam, Member Since 1997

"AEE is an organization that prioritizes experiential education as a vehicle of social change. The focus on building community, elevating diverse stories, and implementing best practices in a variety of domains makes AEE a unique professional home for people of multiple disciplines. AEE has been my professional home since I was a graduate student. I am now a tenured professor, and it is still my professional home because AEE both challenges and supports me personally and professionally." - Christine, Member Since 2013

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

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