Association of Experiential Education (AEE)

We believe learning through experience positively transforms people and our world.



Did You Know?

The Association for Experiential Education officially incorporated in 1977 but roots back to 1972, and currently has hundreds of members from around the world. Our members influence and inspire over one million individuals each year, with our accredited programs working with over 300,000 people annually.

Our Mission

To elevate and expand the global capacity of experiential education by:

1. Building an inclusive and accessible community for experiential education professionals that is firmly rooted in the philosophy, principles and practices of experiential education.

2. Supporting the academic research, publication and dissemination of authoritative information for promoting, implementing and advancing the philosophy, principles, and practices of experiential education.

3. Presenting our collective resources and knowledge to supportive public audiences to elevate and advocate support for the expansion of experiential education.

Our Values

1. Global Community — Is an essential progression to further experiential education methodologies and practices around the globe.

2. Adventure and Challenge — Are two fundamental elements inseparable from the application of experiential learning, not only in the natural world, but in the classroom, workplace and beyond.

3. Reflective Leadership — Approaching leadership roles with presence and personal mastery is vital in strengthening our best practices as experiential educators.

4. Social Justice — Supporting people of diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and cultures is an integral part of developing successful experiential education programming.

5. The Natural World — Conservation of the natural world is key to protecting the enjoyment and learning of all individuals, communities and future generations.

6. Creative Play — A vital part of life-long development, that not only supports healthy emotional, social, intellectual, and physical growth but greatly enhances engaged learning experiences.

AEE IDEA Statement

AEE’s mission commits us to “building an inclusive and accessible community for experiential education professionals”.

Our organizational value of social justice is defined as: 

Supporting people of diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and cultures is an integral part of developing successful experiential education programming.

Given that, we want to reaffirm that AEE is committed to being an organization where folx belong and are accepted for who they are. With this statement, we reaffirm our commitment to ensuring our members feel they belong in our community. 

Additionally, as a membership organization, we are committed to providing resources and support to our members to develop and operate socially just and inclusive programming.

To that end, we the AEE staff and Board of Directors: 

  • Commit to diversity, working to bring members of many backgrounds and from around the globe into our organization and into leadership in our organization

  • Commit to inclusion, taking intentional steps to support our membership in working across differences of race, culture, gender, and more

  • Commit to equity, by creating systems to expose inequities in order to make opportunities within our field accessible by all.       

We acknowledge that creating and sustaining an organization where all folx belong will be uncomfortable at times, but we’re excited for foundational work that is necessary to fulfilling the full spirit and intent of our mission and values. 

We also know the above commitments require action, and we will follow up with plans to integrate this work into all our conferences, operations, programs, leadership, and other efforts.

AEE's Social Justice Task Force (SJTF) has the duty to help ensure AEE is doing all we can to realize our value of social justice. This can show up in many different ways including: evaluating potential partnerships with other businesses and organizations to see if they share our values; reviewing organizational documents to ensure we are using appropriate language, we are accessible to all and that we are holding ourselves to our values; providing resources for our members who are looking to align with social justice issues; reviewing of conference plans to ensure sound choices around diversity, equity and inclusion are being made.  

The Social Justice task force has worked closely with the staff and Board to create AEE's IDEA (inclusion, diversity, equity, accessibility) statement

The History of AEE

The Association for Experiential Education (AEE) is a nonprofit international professional membership organization officially incorporated in 1977 but with roots back to 1972. AEE is governed by a Board of Directors who are elected by the association's members. The Board of Directors establishes AEE’s mission, goals and ends, and hires an Executive Director to implement them. 

Our community is composed of experiential educators, practitioners, inquirers, researchers, and students with the shared goal of elevating the field of Experiential Education. We enrich the experiential education community through regional and annual conferences, defining professional standards, providing accreditation to organizations, and presenting the latest news and research through AEE Newsletters, publications, and the Journal of Experiential Education. We provide a variety of networking and professional development opportunities.

READ ABOUT OUR HISTORY: 1972 - 1988      1990 - 2008

Want to know more or have questions?
Please reach out to our staff or Board of Directors.