Pre-conference Workshops

Pre-Conferences take place prior to the start of the conference, and are in-depth workshops that provide an expanded opportunity for professional development.  For our 2017 conference, AEE is excited to offer the following options:


Back to Basics: Experiential Facilitation
Presented by Marin Burton, PhD of the Center for Creative Leadership
11/8 9am-4pm @ Le Centre Sheraton Montreal

Let’s get back to the basics! In this workshop we will engage in a dynamic day of professional development focused on increasing your facilitation capacity. We will explore facilitator mindsets and characteristics of effective facilitation. We will consider how AEE’s principles of experiential education and the experiential learning cycle apply to your facilitation practice while using leadership development content to pull back the curtain on fundamental experiential facilitation skills. You will also meet and develop relationships with other AEE community members interested in developing their capacity for experiential education through engaging in a shared experience.

Agenda Includes:

  • Community Building and Setting Norms
  • Characteristics of Effective Facilitation
  • Experiential Education Principles & Mindsets 
  • Experiential learning cycle explored through initiatives
  • Framing & Debriefing
  • Facilitation practice experience & reflection

Facilitator Info:  Dr. Marin Burton is a senior faculty member at the Center for Creative Leadership in the Societal Advancement Division. She designs and delivers leadership curriculum utilizing intentional educational and experiential methodologies. She has been an experiential educator for over 20 years.

NOLS Risk Management Training
11/7-8 8am-5pm @ Le Centre Sheraton Montreal
$700 (Discounts: 10% off for AEE members and NOLS Grads, 15% off for AEE Accredited programs)

Risk management planning is critical for any organization taking students or participants into remote environments or outdoor settings. Using lecture, discussion, exercises, and hands-on scenarios, this 2-day training will provide a structured approach and the necessary tools to build a risk management plan appropriate for your organization.
During this training, participants will:

  • Learn a structured approach to organizing a risk management plan.
  • Think analytically about curriculum, administrative processes, staff hiring and training, field support services and crisis planning.
  • Use the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) risk management framework to evaluate an incident and a program for weaknesses in their risk management plan.
  • Participate in exercises to help people evaluate their organization’s approach to staffing, contracting, and emergency and crisis planning.
You'll come away with the following tools to help you manage risk:
  • Risk Management Action Plan Workbook 
  • NOLS Crisis Management Template
  • NOLS Wilderness Medicine Protocol Package ($149 value)
  • Risk/Release, Health Screening, and Orientation Checklist examples
  • Self-study Program Assessment Tool

Experiential Brain-Based Approaches to Engage, Motivate, Build Community and Create Lasting Lessons
Presented by Jen Stanchfield of Experiential Tools
11/8 9am-3:30pm @ Le Centre Sheraton Montreal
$125 AEE Members, $145 (non-members) 

Join this interactive and engaging workshop and fill your toolbox with experiential, brain-based techniques to inspire and motivate learners, create a positive and supportive environment, and facilitate meaningful reflection and group dialogue. Take away innovative activities to get participants moving, talking, reflecting and keep them engaged. Maximize buy-in, social and emotional learning, group building, and create lasting lessons. These techniques create multiple pathways to learning and allow educators to review and reinforce academic and training content in novel ways that empower participants to take ownership of their learning experiences. Leave with creative inspiration and new perspectives on your role as a facilitator or educator.

We will explore

  • Experiential, brain-based methods to actively engage learners physically, emotionally, socially and intellectually.
  • Strategies for increasing participant involvement, buy-in, and ownership of learning experiences.
  • Fundamentals of experiential group facilitation and teaching such as the importance of participant choice and control, sequencing, ongoing assessment, and meaningful reflection to create lasting lessons.
  • A variety of group-building activities to develop rapport, community, and social-emotional skills such as positive communication, problem-solving, collaboration, and decision-making.
  • Methods to help educators design, sequence, facilitate, and adapt activities to enhance learning outcomes and take advantage of “teachable moments.”
  • Interactive activities to build community and promote social and emotional learning while enlivening lessons and differentiating instruction.
  • Innovative reflection tools and techniques to increase relevancy, meaning, depth of understanding, and connection to future learning situations.
Presenter Info: Jen offers practical resources derived from her diverse experiences with learners of all ages incorporated with brain research to increase meaningful engagement, reflection, social-emotional skills, and community-building. Jen is author of Inspired Educator-Inspired Learner and Tips and Tools for the Art of Experiential Group Facilitation.


WMA Wilderness First Responder Recertification (WFR-Recert) Course
Instructor: Danny Pelad
11/6-8 8am-6pm @ McGill Sports Complex – Currie Gymnasium (2 miles from the conference venue)

This course is action-packed with most of the topics covered through simulations, review exercises, skills rotations, and patient assessment drills. We will revisit concepts that you learned in earlier courses and bring you up to date on changes in the field of wilderness medicine.

Our classroom is in the McGill Sports Complex in the heart of Montreal. This gives us great access to the forests of Mount Royal, right outside of the building.

The certification and curriculum for this course is from Wilderness Medical Associates International (WMA). WMA has set the standard in wilderness medicine and rescue training for over thirty years. The cutting-edge curriculum is constantly updated by a group of healthcare professionals, has been taught on all 7 continents, and is recognized around the world.


  • You must have an unexpired Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certificate from WMA or another approved provider such as Sirius, Solo, NOLS / Wilderness Medical Institute or Slipstream. If you have questions about your eligibility, please contact WMA. Please bring your certification card to class on the first day to show your instructor.
  • We will send you a study guide to complete before the course. It takes most students 10 to 15 hours to review the material, answer the questions, and complete the case studies in the study guide.  
  • You must be 16 years of age to participate in this course. 16 and 17 year olds need written proof of parental consent.
  • Please use your previous WMA textbook for the course preparation. If you no longer have your WMA text, or are certified with another provider, please let us know (email: [email protected]) and we will send you the WMA text.


  • Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification
  • CPR Healthcare Provider Level certification (CPR for adults, children, and infants. Includes AED training)
  • Text book, SOAP note booklet, WMA field guide, case studies workbook, notebook (with lecture notes) 

Instructor Info:  Danny has worked full time in the outdoor industry as an expedition leader and skills instructor since 2002. He is a Wilderness-EMT. His favorite things about instructing with WMA are meeting people with a variety of talents and watching students gain confidence as first responders. 

 Outdoor Orientation Programs Symposium (OOPS)
11/7-8 9am-5pm @ Le Centre Sheraton Montreal

Session 1: November 7 | 9:00am – 12:30pm | Writing Proposals to get Funding by Greg Corio, West Virginia University
Cost: $50 Student / $75 Professional

Session 2: November 7 | 1:30pm – 5:00pm | Creating Assessments for your Program by Mark Ceder, University of San Diego
Cost: $50 Student / $75 Professional

Session 3: November 8 | 9:00am – 5:00pm | Outdoor Orientation Program Symposium by Brent Bell, University of New Hampshire
Cost: $110 Student / $170 Professional

Session Fee for all 3 events: $190 Student / $290 Professional 

The Outdoor Orientation Program Symposium is dedicated to bringing program directors, school administrators, student leaders, researchers, and land managers together to discuss strategies for supporting students in wilderness pre-orientation programs.

Every Symposium provides context for program development and growth, best practices, new program techniques, and nuts and bolts information that help established and aspiring outdoor orientation programs. Attendees will learn from multiple presenters and a keynote speaker in multiple presentation formats including experiential formats. Meals are not provided during the OOPS session on 11/8. There will be a 1 hour break for lunch on your own.

The outdoor orientation experiences provide students and young leaders with the unique opportunity to develop supportive peer groups during transition to college. These intensive, adventure-based experiences impact over 25,000 students a year, providing many students with their first intensive outdoor recreation experience. These experiences have also become a burgeoning area of growth for outdoor recreation leaders.

In 2012, the 2nd Outdoor Orientation Census was completed and in 6 years the number of outdoor orientation programs increased from 162 in 2006, to 185 in 2012. Perhaps most impressively, the number of student participants increased by 5,000 in the same time period.

Stories About Borders: Valuing Inclusivity
Presented by the AEE Therapeutic Adventure Professional Group (TAPG)
11/7/17 12pm-8pm, 11/8/17 8am-4:30pm @ Le Centre Sheraton Montreal
$195 – Two Day Registration (Member); $225 – Two Day Registration (Non-Member); $150 – Two Day Registration (Student Member); $180 – Two Day Registration (Student Non-Member); $100  One Day Registration (Member); $130  One Day Registration (Non-Member)

This year’s Therapeutic Adventure Professionals Group Pre-Conference will be held at the main conference site in Montreal, with off-site field trips for the purposes of community building and recognizing important achievements in the field of Adventure Therapy. Participants will have the opportunity to increase their understanding of engagement, assessment, intervention, and evaluation through the lens of an adventure therapy practitioner, as well as participate in visioning for the future of the field. This will be a great opportunity to learn about Adventure Therapy at its most fundamental and clinical levels, across all forms of delivery, as well as an opportunity to network with professionals in the field and have fun while doing it!

Mental Health First Aid 2-day Certification Course
Instructor: Jody Radtke, RCC
11/7-8 9am-4pm @ Le Centre Sheraton Montreal

Educators need to be prepared to respond appropriately to all participants who arrive at our programs. We are trained in group dynamics, teaching progressions, first aid and facilitation to name a few; but what do we know about responding to our students with mental illness? What if one of your participants experiences their first panic attack on a course due to the use of eustress in programming? That’s the one that inspired me to go to grad school and study psychology after over 10 years in the field as a full-time outdoor educator. But not everyone has the time or inclination to be a full-time student; nor do we necessarily need that level of training for most of our programming.

Over 2-days, the mental health first aid course focuses on the four most common mental health disorders including substance related, mood related, anxiety and trauma related, and psychotic disorders. Participants who take this course are well prepared to interact confidently about mental health with their family, friends, communities, and workplaces.

International evaluations and feedback have found the following outcomes for participants undertaking an MHFA course:

  • Increased awareness of signs and symptoms of the most common mental health problems
  • Decreased stigma related to mental health
  • Increased confidence interacting with individuals experiencing a mental health problem or crisis
  • Increased help actually provided to individuals in crisis or experiencing a mental health problem

Instructor Info:  Jody is an outdoor educator, wilderness therapist, clinical counsellor, professional coach and all-around fun person to hang out with. Witty and engaging, her presentation style will leave you contemplating our collective human experience, becoming our best selves, and finding humor and lightness in the journey.

Enhancing Your Wilderness Interpretive Skills in the Urban Environment
Instructor: Rob Baker
11/8 9am-10am @ Le Centre Sheraton Montreal, 10am-4pm @ Park L'Anse A L'Orme

Come step into one of Montreal's most active urban wilderness environments and hone your interpretative skills. Work with expert animal tracker Rob Baker to enhance your tracking and naturalist skills. Learn about how to incorporate your local backyard park and make it a meaningful wilderness setting for your students. This workshop will include pedagogical theory, hands on naturalist skill training, transport to and from the field site, and lunch. We look forward to a day spent sharing the wealth that local urban wilderness environments can bring to your program.

Instructor Info:  Rob Baker holds several certificates from tracking, wilderness, and conservation authorities across North America, including the prestigious Level 3 Track and Sign Certificate from CyberTracker—the gold standard in tracking certification. In all, Rob has amassed 20 years of tracking experience.