AEE Therapeutic Adventure Professional Group (TAPG)

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. Have Questions? Want more information? Email us at 

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Upcoming Events

TAPG Pre-Conference at the AEE International Conference

group of people laying on the floor with heads together creating a circle!

We are excited to announce the TAPG Pre-Conference will take place October 31-November 1, 2023 in Madison, Wisconsin before the AEE International Conference November 2 - 5, 2023.  

See Details & Register Now

This years theme: Guiding the Experience 

About Guiding the Experience: As professionals in Adventure Therapy and Therapeutic Adventure, we believe in the depth and power of shared experience. We know that seen and unseen factors are at play in the prep, planning, delivery, and debriefs we facilitate. We also recognize the vital importance of the lived experience of ourselves and the participants in the activities that we facilitate and guide. All of these factors influence what is learned and taken into the daily lives of those involved. This Pre-Conference aims to focus on the various elements it takes to effectively Guide the Experience.

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 this community 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 this community 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. 

   Meet The Leadership Council!

The Leadership Council structure affords the most representation of membership possible, supporting the community 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.

Alex White HeadshotAlex White, MS, CMHC, CCAT (he/him)

I’m Alex White (he/him). I am a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Adventure Therapist (CCAT) based in Salt Lake City, Utah. I am the Chair of the Leadership Council of the Therapeutic Adventure Professional Group, a small but mighty community of dedicated adventure therapy (AT) / therapeutic adventure (TA) enthusiasts from across the field. We represent different backgrounds, cultures, specializations, and areas of practice, and are committed to providing opportunities for learning and connection in this realm for which we are all so passionate. Thank you for your interest and involvement in the TAPG community! 

Marl Reinert HeadshotMarl Reinert, MSW, LCSW, CCAT (she/they)
Pre-Conference Coordinator
Location: Sitka, Alaska, USA / Indigenous land of the Lingít Aaní (Tlingit)
Communities of practice: Residential treatment / community mental health / non-profit / private practice
Years involved with AEE / TAPG: 5 and counting!
Favorite AT activity: Canoeing and Teambuilding/Low Ropes
What does TAPG mean to you?: TAPG has been a space to grow, create, learn, improve, celebrate, and laugh with other like-minded folks.  I am excited to be able to give back to this community in similar ways that I received as well as give in new ways!
If you could have dinner with any three people, dead or alive, who would they be?  
Maya Angelou, Ze Frank, and Irvin Yalom
Ask me about… 
Arts & crafts; La Croix; Canoeing; baking; Jellyfish and other marine life; curriculum development; board games

Lindsay Myrick HeadshotLindsay Myrick, MS, LCPC-S (she/they)
Location: Gooding, Idaho, USA / Indigenous land of the Shoshone Bannock
Community of Practice: Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare
Years involved with AEE / TAPG: At least 8
How are you using / integrating AT into your current professional life?
I am a primary therapist at an OBH program so AT is one of the core modalities I utilize with individual clients, groups and families. I am also a supervisor and the primary modality I use in group supervision is experiential education. 
What does adventure mean for you in your life: I don't know how to function without it. I also think adventure is more of a state of mind and engagement, rather than a certain type of activity.
Best / most embarrassing trend you participated in:
Frosted tips of my hair in middle school. Looked like a boy band wannabe. It was bad. 
Ask me about… 
Wilderness Therapy, Integrating EMDR and Adventure Therapy, Prescott College, Research 
Jay Pepitone HeadshotJay Pepitone, MA, NCC, LPCC (he/him)
Marketing and Communications Coordinator
Location: Eagle County, Colorado, USA / Indigenous land of the Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute)
Communities of Practice: K-12 Schools, Higher Education, Teaching / training / supervision, Community Mental Health, Non-profit, Private Practice
Years involved with AEE / TAPG: 1
What does TAPG mean to you?
A community of individuals with a magical mixture of commonalities and differences that inspire and support each other while working together to grow the field of Adventure Therapy.
Show you’re currently binging: Captain Planet
Ask me about…
Clinical Curriculum Development for Groups, Rock Climbing Therapy, Juggling Therapy, School-based Therapy (k-12), Clinical Use of Humor
Morgan Decker HeadshotMorgan Decker (she/her)
Outgoing Chair
Location: Dover, New Hampshire, USA / Indigenous land of the Pennacook Nation
Years on the LC: 5 – Past roles: Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary
Community of Practice: K-12 Schools
What does TAPG mean to you? Having a community of people with shared values and interests who are supportive while challenging you to grow personally and professionally.
Favorite Facilitation Tool: Beanie Babies
Go-to Karaoke Song: Don’t Stop Believin’
Ask me about: Social Emotional Learning and K-12 integration, breakout escape room activities, and creating new initiatives and activities.
Christy Brock headshotChristy Brock (she/her)
Vice Chair
Location: Cincinnati, OH / Indigenous land of the Myaamia, Shawandasse Tula (Shawanwaki/Shawnee), Kaskaskia,  Hopewell Culture, and Adena
Years on the LC: 4 - Past roles: Pre-Conference Coordinator, Member-at-Large
Communities of Practice: Higher education, teaching / training / supervision, community mental health, non-profit, private practice
How did you find / learn about AT? 
When I was in undergrad, I went to a company picnic with someone at a camp. As we walked to the zip line, I heard our facilitator talking about having her MSW. As I was in school for my BSW, I asked her what she did with her degree. She told me she was an adventure therapist. I then proceeded to ask if she needed an intern. She said she did, and I instantly fell in love with adventure therapy. (The facilitator was Kim Sacksteder!)
Show you’re currently binging: 
Schitt's Creek (again, always. Ew, David.)
Ask me about… 
Anything. I'm an open book, and love to chat with folx about pretty much anything.

Daniel Cavanaugh HeadshotDaniel Cavanaugh, PhD, LCSW (he/him)
Location: Portland, Oregon, USA / Indigenous land of the Multnomah, Wasco, Cowlitz, Kathlamet, Clackamas, Bands of Chinook, Tualatin, Kalapuya, Molalla, and many other tribes who made their homes along the Columbia River. 
Communities of Practice: K-12 Schools, Higher Education, Research, Teaching / Training / Supervision, Community Mental Health
Years on the LC: 2 - Past role: Member-at-Large
What does TAPG mean to you? TAPG means community. It’s a place where I can connect with others to play, learn, and practice. I love this group of people and I wouldn't trade them for anyone else. 
Best / most embarrassing trend you participated in:
There are some very emo/goth pictures of me floating around from 8th grade. Too much eyeliner, nail polish, and fishnet stockings. I'm glad I'm too old for digital cameras at this time.
Ask me about… 
Using adventure for prevention, health promotion, and resilience!
Jesy Cordle HeadshotJesy Cordle, PhD(c), LRT, CTRS, CCAT (she/her)
Professional Development Coordinator
Location: Columbus, Ohio, USA / Indigenous land of the Kaskaskia and Erie
Communities of Practice: Higher Education, Residential Treatment, Research, Teaching / Training / Supervision, Community Mental Health, Non-profit
Years on the LC: 1
What does adventure mean to you in your own life?
Adventure is a state of mind, an attitude, or spirit as well as potentially being an action that involves some form of risk with an unknown outcome.
Last / best live music experience:
Last live music experience was with the TAPG social where we had The Dirty French Broads
Ask me about…
AT/TA certification, supervision and training opportunities in AT/TA, the use of AT and adventure-based programming in recreational therapy, the use of expedition-based programming in AT, the use of flatwater and whitewater interventions in AT, applying leave no trace ethics into AT/TA, and integrating animal-based interventions with AT/TA interventions.
Erin Carpenter HeadshotErin Carpenter, MA, CTRS (she/her)
Location: Tacoma, WA, USA / Indigenous land of the Puyallup, Cayuse, Umatilla, and Walla Walla
Communities of Practice: Higher Education, Residential Treatment, Research, Community Mental Health, Non-profit
Years on the LC: 1 - Past role: Secretary
What does TAPG mean to you? TAPG has been an opportunity to connect with like minded people doing similar work. This community has been humble, kind, and willing to share knowledge. In the short time I’ve been involved with TAPG I’ve gained clarity, confidence, and affirmation for the work I do. 
Go-to karaoke song: Just a Girl, by No Doubt
Ask me about…
I am interested in bringing in voices from other allied health care professions into this community.  I also have a background in organizational development with interests in whole system and universal design.
Tony Alvarez HeadshotTony Alvarez, LMSW (he/him)
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA / Indigenous land of the Anishinaabe, Odawa, Ojibwe, Wyando, Fox, Sauk, Shawnee, Kickapoo, Miami, Musketoon, and Cherokee.
Community of Practice: Teaching / training / supervision
Years on the LC: 1 (this time around)
What does TAPG mean to you?
A professional home, a responsibility, an ethical stance, a safe home for friends and colleagues!
What does adventure mean for you in your own life?
My kids have engaged in adventure play for much of their lives. Birthday parties for any of them were "the talk of the town", so to speak!
My life is guided by the 7 adventure beliefs and I strive daily to walk that talk!
Also, nature and the outdoors and an active lifestyle are ever present!
Ask me about…
Any and all questions and topics that are relevant to this work are available topics to engage in conversation about!

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

2021 Tony Alvarez
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 
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. 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. 

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.

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
2021 Federico A Borroel
2017 Maurie Lung
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
2022 The Children Are Our Future
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
2017 Michelle Cummings
2015 Gary Stauffer
2011 Maurie Lung

2010 Kim Wasserburger

Distinguished Researcher Award
2021 - Will Dobud 
2017 - Christine Norton
2016 - Anita Tucker
2015 Denise Mitten
2012 H. "Lee" Gillis
2011 Mike Gass
2010 Keith Russell