Professional Organizations

 Association for Experiential Education (AEE)

  • Please refer to for this and more information regarding AEE, its professional groups, conferences and upcoming events.
  • Primary purpose is to expand educators' and practitioners' capacities to enrich lives through the philosophy and principles* of Experiential Education. The association is committed to connecting educators in practical ways so that they have access to the growing body of knowledge that fuels their growth and development; publishing and providing access to relevant research, publications and resources; raising the quality and performance of experiential programs through its accreditation program; and increasing recognition of experiential education worldwide.
  • Serves challenge course operators; school, college, and university staff and faculty; therapists; outdoor education practitioners; expeditionary learning, wilderness, outdoor behavioral health agencies; organizational development specialists; experience-based professionals working in the nonprofit, private, and academic arenas; and membersof many other areas of experiential education internationally.
  • Provides networking, training, education; develops accreditation standards; accredits programs; and supports research and political action.
  • Publishes the Journal of Experiential Education.
  • A member association governed by a volunteer board of program directors.
  • Brief History: In the early 1970s, a group of educators assembled in Boone, North Carolina, USA, to discuss ways in which education could be made more relevant for students. This group believed that the core of learning is greatly enhanced by experiential forms of education. Now, AEE has more than 1,200 members in over 30 countries around theglobe are part of that discussion.
  • The following are significant historical events in AEE as they relate to AT Best Practices:
  • In 1980 AEE determined a need for a specialized professional group that focused on therapeutic intervention. Thus, was born Adventure Alternatives in Corrections, Mental Health and Special Populations.
  • In 1991 an Ethical Code was adopted by AEE AACMH & SP. Just after, in 1992, AEE created an online list serve that is still a primary form of communication for members. Lastly, in 1995, the AT list serve was created to encourage and provide a forum for dialogue regarding adventure therapy specifically.
  • Please see ( for these and many other significant dates in adventure programming.
  • Therapeutic Adventure Professional Group (TAPG)
  • Primary purpose is the "development and promotion of adventure-based programming and the principles of experiential education in therapeutic settings and to the professional development of our members and the profession as a whole." Furthermore, TAPG "facilitates networking for professionals within our various fields and shares information, techniques, and concerns regarding the therapeutic use of adventure.
  • Serves AEE members who work within the fields of health, mental health, corrections, education, and other human service fields.
  • Provides networking, training, education; code of ethics; develops best practices documentation; and supports research.
  • Publishes the Insight newsletter.
  • A volunteer professional group under the Association for Experiential Education.
  • A Leadership Council structure is intended to afford the most representation of membership possible, supporting the membership and mission and purpose of TAPG. The Council coordinates activities and provides direction for the professional group. Leadership Council members serve for a term of 3 years.
  • Code of Ethics: Since therapeutic adventure programs profoundly affect individual lives, it is the purpose of these guidelines to advocate for the education, empowerment, and safety of those who participate in these programs by establishing a minimum standard of ethical care and operation. Individuals who adhere to these guidelines will be considered as upholding, contributing to, and promoting a high standard of operation and service by the Therapeutic Adventure Professional Group of the Association for Experiential Education.

Asia Association for Experiential Education (waiting for information)

  • Vision: Learning by doing on reflection, with giving, with sharing.

The Association for Challenge Course Technology (ACCT)

  • Primary purpose is to "to promote the use of Challenge Courses Technology and to set minimum standards for Challenge Course and Aerial Adventure Course installation, operation and inspection."
  • Represents and serves challenge course builders, facilitators, insurance representatives, attorneys, course managers and owners, university professors, K-12 school teachers, park district personnel, camp personnel, and others interested in challenge courses internationally.
  • Provides networking, training, education; sets minimum standards for developing and running challenge course programs; accredits programs and vendors; and supports research and political action.
  • Publishes the Association for Challenge Course Technology Standards.
  • A trade association governed by a board of program directors.

The Canadian Adventure Therapy Symposium (CATS)

  • Primary purpose is to share resources, develop standards of practice, and gather collaborative input for those using adventure therapy in Canada.
  • Serves practitioners, academics and students from across Canada engaged in the health, mental health, substance abuse, education, justice and related human service fields have been in attendance at each symposium.
  • Provides training, education, and networking.
  • CATS views itself as an adhocracy, a volunteer organized gathering.
  • Next Symposium is scheduled for Spring 2013

International Adventure Therapy Conference (IATC)

  • Primary purpose is to build an international network of relationships between people through the exchange of ideas and the growth of purposeful and friendly relationships" (Ringer: in Itin, 1998:2)
  • Provides an International Conference every three years
  • Serves an international audience of adventure therapy professional who have a commitment to developing theory, research and practice in the field.
  • The 6th IATC Conference will be held in Czech Republic in September 2012.
  • Publications
    • 1IATC: Itin, C. (1998). Exploring the boundaries of adventure therapy: International Perspectives. Proceedings of the First International Adventure Therapy Conference, Perth, Australia. Association for Experiential Education: Boulder, Colorado.
    • 2IATC: Richards, K, & Smith, B. (Eds.) (2003). Therapy within adventure. Proceedings of the Second International Adventure Therapy Conference, Augsburg, Germany. Zeil: Augsburg.
    • 3IATC: Bandoroff, S., & Newes, S. (Eds.). (2005). Coming of age: The evolving field of adventure therapy. Proceedings of the Third International Adventure Therapy Conference, Vancouver Island, Canada. Association for Experiential Education: Boulder, Colorado.
    • 4IATC: Mitten, D., & Itin, C. (2009). Connecting with the essence: Proceedings of the Fourth International Adventure Therapy Conference, New Zealand. Association for Experiential Education: Boulder, Colorado.
    • 5IATC: Pryor, A. et all (in print). 5IATC proceedings. European Science and Art Publishing.

 The National Association of Therapeutic Wilderness Camping (NATWC)

  • Primary purpose is to "support the establishment and continuation of therapeutic wilderness camping organizations; with the attendant responsibility to educate the public as to the existence of such organizations and their success in helping troubled young people change their lives for the better."
  • Represents therapeutic wilderness programs for young people across the United States.
  • Provides networking, training, education, counselor certification; and supports research and political action.
  • Serves as a reference for parents and professionals searching for appropriate programs.
  • Publishes the Journal of Therapeutic Wilderness Camping.
  • A member association governed by a volunteer board of program directors. 

The National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP)

  • Primary purpose is to "serve as an advocate and resource for innovative organizations which devote themselves to society's need for the effective care and education of struggling young people and their families. Our vision is a nation of healthy children. We are the voice inspiring, nurturing, and advancing the courageous work of our schools and programs."
  • Serves therapeutic schools, residential treatment programs, wilderness programs, outdoor therapeutic programs, young adult programs and home-based residential programs in the United States working with troubled teens and troubled adolescents.
  • Provides networking, training, education, and supports research.
  • Publishes the Journal of Therapeutic Schools and Programs.
  • A member association governed by an elected, volunteer Board of Directors.

Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Research Cooperative (OBHRC)

  • Primary purpose is to "administer and deliver an active, comprehensive research program on outdoor behavioral healthcare programs operating in North America." They strive to "conduct multiple ongoing research projects on OBHRC issues; increase accessibility to wilderness & adventure therapy research, and inform the public and professionals outside of OBHIC on the true value of wilderness and adventure therapy.
  • Represents Wilderness & Adventure Therapy Programs.
  • Provides research and evaluation.
  • A member organization overseen by a director.