November 9-11 was the Association for Outdoor Recreation and Education in held in Minneapolis, MN. Over 600 professional program staff, administrators, student leaders and more gathered for this year's conference. I went out a day early for the annual Outdoor Orientation Program Symposium (OOPS) Preconference.
The OOPS Preconference is a great learning opportunity for colleges and universities who operate or are interested in developing an outdoor orientation program for incoming students. This year over 40 people joined from dozens of organizations to share and explore best practices for outdoor orientation programming. OutdoorEd.com was there videotaping the event and we'll be sharing those videos here soon.
One of the highlights of the conference was the incredibly inspirational keynote presentation by Joe Stone. Joe has always been an avid outdoor enthusiast. Flying, biking and hiking in the mountains is what Joe lives for. On August 13, 2010, everything came crashing down when Joe had a Speed Flying accident in Missoula, Montana that rendered him an incomplete c7 quadriplegic. Not willing to let this newly acquired disability slow him down, Joe has been on a mission to not only get his outdoor lifestyle back, but he is working to inspire others along the way. In 2013 Joe was the first wheelchair-using quadriplegic to attempt a 140.6-mile Ironman triathlon. He is now a motivational speaker, a peer mentor, an outdoor adventurer and a co-founder of the Joe Stone Foundation. Joe's upcoming film, It's Raining, So What will be released in November 2016.
Next year's AORE conference will be held November 1-3, 2017 in Roanoke, Virginia. Check the AORE web site for details.