Regional Conference Sponsorship Service Crew Host Committee NERAC Awards
facebook instagram follow


Northeast Region Awards

Josh Miner Dialogue  and  PICOUP Award


In 2001, the Northeast Regional Conference hosted Josh Miner as one of the keynote speakers.

As a founding trustee of Outward Bound, Josh was instrumental in bringing the experiential philosophy of Kurt Hahn to the United States. Conference attendees were fortunate to hear Josh's vision and passion firsthand, as he shared stories, metaphors, and lessons of children, curiosity, and character. Josh passed away nine months later.

In an effort to capture the essence of the wisdom he shared, in 2003 the Northeast Region Advisory Council established the Josh Miner dialogue series. The series consists of a public undefined dialogue or conversation between the years' honoree and another professional in the field. The "interview" traditionally takes place during the Northeast Regional Conference. This format gives conference attendees a chance to get to know the honoree in an informal setting that often reveals best practice advice and nuggets of wisdom, as well as personal stories and mistakes to avoid.

The Northeast Region Advisory Council in conjunction with the Regional Conference Host Committee selects the Josh Miner Dialogue Series honoree.

2021 Honoree - Sanford Tollette


Serving as Joseph Pfeifer Kiwanis Camp's Executive Director for over 45 years, Sanford Tollette has transformed a Camp reserved primarily for underprivileged white boys to a Camp open and dedicated to helping troubled youth of all races and genders. In 1988, E.D. Tollette expanded from summer adventure programming to year round programming with the addition of the academic Alternative Classroom Experience (ACE). ACE helps 150 at-risk children each year turn their lives around through an intensive residential educational program.

Future Honorees
Do you have a suggestion for a future honoree? The Northeast Region Advisory Council is interested in hearing from regional members about who they believe would be a good candidate for recognition as the Josh Minor dialogue series speaker. If you have a suggestion, please read and fill out this form and send it to the Northeast Region Chair.

Past Recipients

2020 Katherine Kennedy
2019 Jasper S. Hunt
2018 Mike Gass
2017 Laurie Gullion
2016 Dick Prouty
2015 Jed Williamson
2014 Nicki Hall

2013 Hendricks Davis
2012 Karen Warren
2011 Rob Rubendall
2010 Lance Lee
2009 Jim Schoel
2008 Pam McPhee
2007 Craig Dobkin
2006 Keith King
2005 Phil Costello
2004 Dan Garvey
2003 Karl Rohnke

A DVD of the past Josh Miner Keynote presentations can be purchased through Scott CatucciThe cost of the DVDs are $10.00 for the first and $5.00 for each additional copy.


Person In Charge Of Unlocking Potential

Michael Gessford will be remembered for his playful spirit, his dedication to the field of experiential education and his kindness and generosity. Mike possessed a unique way of empowering others to achieve their best. In a world of people so quick to offer answers; Mike asked questions. His confidence in others abilities and his endless pursuit of knowledge urged those around him to dig deeper within themselves. Mike was a perceptive educator who gave the world his all and asked for nothing in return. PICOUP is a phrase Mike himself came up with to describe his "job title": Person In Charge Of Unlocking Potential.

This award is dedicated to the memory of Mike Gessford (1962-2011), the original PICOUP. Mike would have liked to remind everyone, "follow your bliss."

The PICOUP Award will be given each year to someone in the Northeast AEE community who selflessly gives of themselves for the betterment of others. This award is to honor an individual who has the ability to empower others to achieve their best regardless of personal gain.

Past Honorees
2018 - Anna Kay Vorsteg
2017 - Jim Grout
2016 - Kamora Herrington
2015 - Keith King
2014 - Brent Bell

2013 - Hutch Hutchinson
2012 - Beth Sayers 
2011 - Mike Gessford

Award Logistics
Nominations for the PICOUP award are now being accepted until April 1st, as which point the NE council will vote upon the nominations. Submit the 2021 PICOUP Award Nomination Form Here