Member Spotlight: Kristina

Member Spotlight,

Meet Kristina Book!

kristina bKristina(she/her/hers) grew up in the suburbs of Denver and now lives in Colorado Springs, CO. Kristina is an Instructor of Adventure/Experiential Based Learning at The United States Air Force Academy - Center for Character and Leadership Development.

Tell us a bit about what you do at your organization. 
Run the Experiential based Learning program in which we provide individual and group development to the cadets of US Air Force Academy and the faculty/staff who support them during their 4 years at USAFA. We focus on developing teams, communication, and character through facilitated activities and discussion. I also support facilitator concept integration training for faculty/staff. Days are based on groups we have schedule, getting groups scheduled or working on curriculum/training support. It ranges day to day always keep me and my team busy.
Tell us more about yourself! 
Started in exp ed field during high school in a program that used ropes course as tool for learning and teaching leadership. I found my passion there. 18 yrs later I hold BS in Recreation and MS in Experiential Education. Worked at camps, fitness centers, for Challenge Course vendors as trainer, eco adventure and now military. I am engaged with Association for Challenge Course Technology as a working group chair, conference presenter and always showing up with an experiential and education mindset that sometimes gets lost in production.
What excites you when you think about the future of Experiential Education?
With COVID and other world events I think experiential ed has been reignited. Professionals are eager to connect to learn how to create connection in their classrooms, board rooms, and communal spaces. We have had to innovate to create engagement across the inter-webs and geographically separated. A key piece to me of experiential learning is that we create connection and transferability beyond the single moment. We engage past the present and teach to think beyond. I think we need that in our world and I feel like people are actually hungry for it.
I love how much Experiential Education is really a part of the mission I am working with "Developing Leaders of Character." To develop we need to experience and I get to engage with that aspect daily. It's an honor to do this work and be part of the Experiential Education field.
Who or what inspires you?
People inspire me. I feel I can tell when someone truly cares for me and care what I have to say and are willing to engage with me on various topics with curiosity and sharing rather than the opposite. I am encouraged by the people who share themselves, their expertise, their knowledge, and the facts despite the push back or disagreements they confront. When you know someone is truly seeing you even when you disagree with them it means so much. I hope I have been and will be that as to move forward.
In your free time, we can probably find you:
Play with my pups, working on a boat model (small scale) or with family.
How long have you been involved with AEE?
I have been a member off and on over the last 10 years. During the pandemic I made a commitment to engage with others who do similar work to me. I attended lots of workshops and round tables. I feel different since I don't have a class or specific group of students I work with daily or even monthly. And I still feel what I do is important to the greater good and is a contribution to our field. Over the next few years I am looking to engage more regionally to support Exp Ed here in Colorado & Rocky Mountains as I feel we need a stronger regional network.
What is the most rewarding part about being a Member of AEE?
I think the connections to others who do similar but different work has been most valuable piece for me. While I'm not an educator, per say, I am still included, still valued and seen. I have spoken with therapist who speak to some of the work I have done with individuals and teams. it's great to hear about the overlap and also what I can learn from them to do my work better and within common practice of those who do it in a therapeutic space.

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