AEE Therapeutic Adventure Professional Group (TAPG)

Welcome en Francais y Espanol Translation by Bart Steck, Volunteer

This website is an evolving statement by AEE's Therapeutic Adventure Professional Group (TAPG) aimed at describing our professional group. It is an effort to bring about an open forum for discussion and learning that is representative of this field of practice. We invite a broad range of readers including practitioners, insurance companies, government monitors, other professional organizations, students, teachers, consumers, and the general public.We do not assume that our thoughts are inclusive of every application of adventure therapy across the world or even within the United States.

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TAPG Mission

The Therapeutic Adventure Professional Group is committed to the development and promotion of adventure-based programming and the principles of experiential education in therapeutic settings. We are also committed to the professional development of our members and the profession as a whole.

TAPG Statement of Purpose

Therapeutic Adventure is the professional group for those AEE members who work within the fields of health, mental health, corrections, education, and other human service fields. Our primary purpose is to facilitate networking for professionals within our various fields and share information, techniques, and concerns regarding the therapeutic use of adventure. We define therapeutic as moving toward healthy change with intentional interventions. We represent the interests of our membership to the Board and larger professional communities through workshops, conference and pre-conference activities, and best practices development.

Adventure Therapy Best Practices

AEE's Therapeutic Adventure Professional Group(TAPG) has been engaged in efforts to produce a statement of best practice for adventure therapy (AT) since 2001, with writing beginning in 2007. TAPG has coordinated Adventure Therapy Best Practices conferences that have, and continue, to serve as catalysts for this effort. The intent of this effort is to identify, establish, and promote appropriate AT practices. The following is to be considered a working document in its attempt to provide preferred programming standards for the administration of adventure and wilderness therapy programs. This statement will reside on the TAPG website and be updated as the field grows in knowledge and understanding. Please click here to access the best practices document

Interested in becoming an AEE Certified Clinical Adventure Therapist?  

As the field of Adventure Therapy progresses forward, evolves and gains popularity, professionals from the wide variety of Adventure Therapy settings have come together to express an interest and a need for greater professionalism in Adventure Therapy. After the tremendous efforts of those involved in creating the Adventure Therapy Best Practices, and the advent of specific certification standards that meet the needs of Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Council programs, a growing need for an adventure therapy certification became more and more apparent. Learn more about certification here. 

   Leadership Council

The Leadership Council structure affords 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. The Council currently has the following positions: 

Tuesdey Spangler MSW, LISW, LCSW, CCAT 
Home Remedy & Outdoor Connection and Counseling Private Practice Clinician 
Field of Practice: Community Based / Private Practice
Columbus, OH
Pronouns: She, Her, Hers  
"Get Lost in Nature and You will Find Yourself".
Professional Development
Alex White, MS, CMHC​, CCAT
Clinical Mental Health Counselor, University of Utah; Adjunct Professor, Westminster College, 2021 TAPG Best Practices Conference Convener 
Field of Practice: Private Practice / Higher Education
Salt Lake City, Utah
Pronouns: he / his / him
"There exists within everyone a grand passion, an outlandish thirst for adventure, a desire to live boldly and vividly through the journey of life."–Kurt Hahn
Morgan Decker, MSW, LCSW
Marshwood High School
School Social Worker & Impact Facilitator
Field of Practice: School Based
Pronouns: she/her/hers

"Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Publications and Communications Coordinator
Kim Hinzy, MSW, LSW
Clinician & Associate Director at Adventure Works 
Field of Practice: Community Based / Private Practice
DeKalb, IL 
Pronouns: She, Her, Hers
"Maybe you are searching among branches for what only appears in the roots." -Rumi
Conference Coordinator
Christy Brock, MSW, LISW-S
Founder and Executive director at New Adventures Counseling, 2021 TAPG Extended Education Series Conference Convener 
Field of Practice: Community Based / Private Practice
Cincinnati, OH 
Pronouns: She, Her, Hers
“There is freedom waiting for you, on the breezes of the sky. And you ask ‘What if I fall?’ Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?” ~Erin Hanson
Past-Chair & Member at Large
Beth Sandman MSW LISW-S, CCAT
Senior Adventure Therapy Clinician, The Buckeye Ranch
Field of Practice: Community Based
Central Ohio
Pronouns: she/her/hers
“You can have anything you want in the world- once you help everyone around you get what they want”.  - Bob Ross
Anita R. Tucker, PhD, LICSW
Professor, University of New Hampshire, Department of Social Work Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Center, Assoc. Director
Field of Practice: Researcher / Author / Higher Education
York, ME
Pronouns: She, Her, Hers
“No significant learning occurs without a significant relationship” - 
Dr. James Comer
Johanna J Ancheta, LLMSW
Social Work Professional 
Field of Practice: Community Based
"the voice of the Great Spirit is heard in the twittering of birds, the rippling of mighty waters, and the sweet breathing of flowers." - Zitkala-Sa

TAPG Awards: Mark Ames Scholarship & Heart of Adventure Therapy

Heart of Adventure Therapy Award
The Heart of Adventure Therapy Award is given yearly to either an organization or an individual who embodies the heart of adventure therapy! The purpose of the award is to honor an individual, organization or program that provides exemplary adventure therapy services. This individual or organization should exhibit the mission and vision of the Association for Experiential Education, and should also employ TAPG’s Best Practices. TAPG members will nominate agencies they feel are deserving of the award and TAPG Leadership Council members will vote on this award. Nominations will be solicited in January each year from the Leadership Council.

Heart of Adventure Therapy Award Winners

2020 Kim Sacksteder
2019 Gary Stauffer
2018 Maurie Lung
2017 Andrea Knepper
2016 Fred Borroel and Michael Gass
2015 Adventure Works 
2014 Red Top Meadows

Mark Ames Scholarship 
TAPG awards the Mark Ames Memorial Scholarship to provide an opportunity to attend TAPG's Pre-Conference workshop to an individual who otherwise could not afford to attend. 

In addition, many TAPG members have been presented with national AEE awards. Please take a look at the list, and if you do not see someone's name there that should be, consider nominating someone for this year!

Mark Ames Award

Mark Ames was a model leader and community member to the Therapeutic Adventure Professional Group (TAPG) of AEE. He contributed much in his time with us, bringing the true heart of Adventure Therapy work to our personal and professional development efforts. This year, the award is being offered to support an attendee to the TAPG Best Practices event that will be held in Park City, UT, from August 23rd-25th, 2021. This scholarship covers one complete registration fee for the TAPG Best Practices Conference 2021. Accommodations, food and transportation are the responsibility of the recipient.

Michael Stratton Practitioner of the Year Award

2019 Bobbi Beale 
2015 Kim Sacksteder
2014 Tony Alvarez
2008 Gary Stauffer
2007 Denise Mitten
2005 Jim Schoel
2000 Lee Gillis

Outstanding Experiential Teacher
1998 Mike Gass
1997 Christian Bisson 

Servant Leader
2014 Christine Norton
2012 Anita Tucker
2011 Terry Williams

2008 Sandy Newes, Dennis Call
2007 Bobbi Beale
2005 Scott Bandoroff
2004 Christian Itin

Organizational Member of the Year
2014 Camp Mary Orton

2008 Santa Fe Mountain Center
2006 Georgia College and State University
2005 Omni Youth Services
2003 The University of New Hampshire Outdoor Education Program
1997 Project Adventure

Karl Rohnke Creativity Award
2015 Gary Stauffer

2011 Maurie Lung
2010 Kim Wasserburger

Distinguished Researcher Award
2015 Denise Mitten
2012 H. "Lee" Gillis
2011 Mike Gass
2010 Keith Russell