Association for Experiential Education
||The topic of this article may not meet Wikipedia's notability guidelines for companies and organizations. (March 2014)|
|This article relies too much on references to primary sources. (March 2014)|
The Association for Experiential Education, or AEE, is a nonprofit, professional membership association that promotes experiential education. Currently based in Boulder, Colorado, USA, it was founded in the early 1970s in Boone, North Carolina by a group of educators who believed that the core of learning is enhanced by experiential forms of education.
AEE exists to connect educators in practical ways, and to expand their capacity to enrich lives through the philosophy and practice of experiential education. The association is committed to supporting professional development, theoretical advancement, and the evaluation of experiential education worldwide. This includes the publication of and access to current research and resources, and increasing the quality and performance of experiential programs worldwide through AEE’s accreditation program. There are now more than 1,550 members, from 33 countries. AEE seeks to contribute to making a more just and compassionate world by transforming education, and promoting an educational philosophy that fosters personal growth, leadership, development, teamwork, and environmental stewardship.
AEE members have affiliations in education, recreation, outdoor and adventure programming, the environment, mental health, youth development, programming for people with disabilities, service learning, and organizational development. Professionals, organizations, and students who share the mission and vision of AEE join to benefit from and contribute to the network of resources championing experiential education. This includes the publication of an academic journal, as well as regional and international conferences.
Journal of Experiential Education
AEE hosts eight regional conferences and one international conference annually, which jointly serve more than 1,800 attendees with hundreds of workshops, prominent speakers, continuing education units, regional and networking opportunities, and entertainment. Educators, practitioners and students from around the world come together at these events with the goal of developing professionally, and promoting, defining, and applying the theories and practices of experiential education.
After a rapid increase in the number of adventure programs in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the need for standards of program quality, professional behavior, and appropriate risk management became imperative. In 1994, AEE responded to that need by developing the most comprehensive standards for common practices in the adventure education industry, becoming the nation's first recognized accreditation process focusing on adventure education programming. Since then, the AEE Accreditation Program’s standards-based evaluation process by objective, independent reviewers has become the industry-accepted level of professional evaluation for adventure programs. Organizations that meet these standards attain accredited status as evidence of their commitment to quality and safety, belief in professional standards, and allocation of resources toward continued excellence and improvement. This provides the public with an objective, independent verification of a programs’ quality, and holds the organizations accountable to the current best practices.