The AORE Annual Conference

Held once a year, the mission of the AORE Annual Conference is to provide professionals, students and organizations who advance the field of outdoor recreation and education the opportunity to learn, network and improve performance while ensuring the association’s financial viability. AORE strives to design and deliver transformational learning opportunities that advance individuals, programs and organizations in the field of outdoor and adventure education.

Outdoor programmers, teachers, leaders, students and supporters from college and university non-credit recreational programs and degree granting programs, military bases, community recreation centers and other not-for-profit outdoor programs find the AORE conference is the year's most important event for career development. For several days in late October and early November, outdoor professionals come together to share ideas, learn new techniques and re-energize themselves for another year. The AORE conference is the gathering of friends and colleagues, a place to improve performance and meet new people in your field.


Educational Topics

Program Management and Administration 

Designed to help professionals develop procedures, operations, and overall administration of programs. Presentation topics include staff development, marketing, technology, budgeting, and institutional support. Other areas include running various aspects of the business of outdoor programs including rental center operations.

Risk Management and Wilderness Medicine 

Intended to improve preparedness for crisis and medical situations and provide updates in the wilderness medicine field. Presentation topics include writing risk management plans, revising policies and procedures, legal advice, and updates to wilderness medicine.

Social Justice (Diversity, Environmental Stewardship, Advocacy and Sustainability)

Provides meaningful instruction and discussion pertaining to outdoor ethics, land management, access, diversity, equity and inclusiveness, minimizing carbon emissions/footprint, advocacy, and conservation - all efforts that create a more just society and decrease injustice.


Designed for all aspects of running outdoor trips or clinics, events, and programming for participants. Presentations include topics ranging from logistical planning and permitting to technical skills and backcountry cooking. Sessions also include information on specific types of trips such as international trips and orientation programs.

Climbing Wall and Challenge Course and Other Technical Skills 

Large activity structures pose particular challenges for operation, maintenance, risk management, and programming. Presentation topics include climbing wall competitions, challenge course development, and staff training in both of these areas.

Student Development 

Designed specifically for student attendees, this track is aimed at improving leadership, communication, and programming awareness. Presentations by students are strongly encouraged in these sessions, though they can be placed in other topics as well.

Career Development 

Anyone looking for a job in the outdoor industry, or advice on career advancement, should pay special attention to these sessions. Presentations will relate to resumes, interviews, graduate schools, field work, military positions,and additional career development advice.

Summit Series 

Sessions for the mid-level to seasoned professional are available through the Summit Series at the AORE Annual Conference.

Research Symposium 

The AORE Research Symposium strives to connect academics and practitioners of the outdoor and recreation field. The symposium provides an international forum for scholarly exchange and discussion about outdoor recreation and education research, theoretical and applied and creates an amazing opportunity to bridge research and practice.

Pre- and Post-Conference Workshops 

Pre- and Post-Conference Workshops give attendees a one-stop shop for industry training and certification renewals. These workshops, held before and after the conference, add to the many perks of attending the annual conference. Workshops include trainings, certifications and social events relevant to students and professionls in the industry.

Student and Career Center 

At the Student and Career Center attendees can browse graduate assistantship, internship, full-time position and summer position announcements from organizations and programs across the country. Attendees are welcome to drop off their resumes for potential employers to pick up ad sign-up for one-on-one mock interviews and resume review sessions.

Exhibitor Hall 

Situated in the heart of it all, our Exhibitor Hall is packed with equipment outfitters, training companies, guiding companies and more--all there to network with attendees. This gives our attendees the opportunity to ask questions, compare price points and use that information to negotiate and leverage opportunities during face-to-face meetings.

Awards and Scholarships

AORE celebrates hard-working students and professionals for their achievements in our industry by awarding a conference, certification or research scholarship to deserving members each year.

Student Scholarships

Each year the Student Development Committee awards multiple scholarships for student development and assistance in attending the AORE Annual Conference. The winners will receive a scholarship to attend the AORE Annual Conference.

Professional Conference Scholarships 

The Professional Conference Scholarship opportunity is a need-based conference scholarship, and applies only to those who require additional funding to attend. Osprey has generously sponsored this scholarship in years past. The winners will receive a full or partial scholarship to attend the AORE Annual Conference.

Greg Hawkins "Go Big or Go Home" Scholarship presented by Petzl

In the spirit of Greg Hawkins and the way he lived his life, Petzl has generously sponsored the Greg Hawkins "Go Big or Go Home" Scholarship. The $1,000 scholarship is awarded to an AORE professional member or group of members to help fund a personal outdoor endeavor. This scholarship reminds us to never lose sight of our personal spirit of adventure as outdoor professionals.

Student Literary Award

The Student Literary Award recognizes students with excellent writing skills. Two awards are given annually; one to an undergraduate student and one to a graduate student. The award winners will receive a scholarship to attend the AORE Annual Conference and a scholarship to attend the Student Development Workshop offered during the pre-conference sessions. Winning and other selected manuscripts may be included in the edited papers of the AORE Conference on Outdoor Recreation and Education. Award winners are expected to present their paper at the AORE conference.

Professional Development Scholarships

In some cases, companies offer scholarships for professional skill development to student and professional members of AORE. Winners receive a scholarship for the course tuition only and are responsible for travel, housing and other ancillary expenses during the course.

Green Program Award

The award recognizes an AORE Organization program's commitment to environmental stewardship with current practices and policies including purchasing (products, gear, supplies, and food), energy efficiency, waste diversion, carbon offset programs, water usage, and transportation.

Student Bridge Builder Grant

The Bridge Builder Scholarship is awarded to student leaders involved in an initiative to increase inclusion, diversity, and/or multiculturalism within their outdoor community. Examples of initiatives could be a special trip or clinic, an innovating hiring practice, a special outreach event, etc.

AORE Conference History

The AORE conference doesn't just happen. It needs a school, community or organization to host the conference and a small core group of people who are willing to put in extra long hours to make it a success. The conference is truly a grass roots effort--it's every one of us, working cooperatively to make it happen. >> See where AORE has traveled.