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2016: Minneapolis, MN
AORE 2016 was a collaborative effort by the entire University of Minnesota, Department of Recreation and Wellness. The conference was held inside the newly expanded Recreation and Wellness Center on the Twin Cities campus providing a unique atmosphere for attendees to interact with the campus population during the conference. With easy access to light rail transit and in the heart of downtown Minneapolis, attendees had many options for food, culture and socializing. The event kicked off with and amazing keynote address from Joe Stone, with a message of empowerment and passion through his life as an incomplete quadriplegic. AORE 2016 had over 630 attendees and more than 65 educational sessions between November 9-11th. Featured events included the annual Super Social and Auction at TCF Bank Stadium and the Annual Awards Banquet was held in the beautiful MacNamara Alumni Center.
2015: Atlanta, GA
Program directors, staff, and students from Georgia Tech, Kennesaw State University, Georgia State University, and The University of Georgia as well as other outdoor professionals from additional Georgia universities joined together to host one of the largest conferences in AORE’s history tipping the scale at over 600 attendees. The conference ramped up with several pre-conference sessions and on Tuesday night the Student Social with Adidas sponsored climber and Ninja Warrior, Ian Dory. The Student Social was held at Georgia State University Recreation Center allowing for a great space to have students compete against Dory in a NinJa Warrior style obstacle course event. The conference keynote speaker, former NASA Astronaut Nicole Stott, kicked off the conference the next morning with fascinating and inspiring stories of her adventures in space. Also during the opening of the conference, AORE founding member Tim Moore warmly remembered fellow AORE founder, Patsy Kott, and made a big announcement to generously match every dollar raised that day for the newly established fund for the Patsy Kott Service Award. In total, the Patsy Kott fund raised more than $15,000 in 2015--$10,000 of that from Patsy herself as a donation included in her will. The next few days consisted of 55+ education sessions, employer presentations sponsored by the National Park Service and facilitated by the Student Development Committee, as well as great socials and time spent networking with vendors in the exhibitor hall. The well-received Summit Series again upped the ante for serving mid-level professionals with advanced topics and insights. This year also marked the 11th annual Research Symposium which included a special keynote address by Dr. Ed Gomez, 12 presentations as well as a dozen poster presentations that were well attended in the pre-function area of the conference. The Silent and Live Auctions as well as the massive National Outdoor Book Awards auction helped raise funds to advance AORE’s mission. The closing banquet saw the presentation of dozens of awards, a slideshow of #AORE2015 photos, and an invitation for all to attend the 2016 AORE Annual Conference.
2014: Portland, OR
Reed College, Portland State University, and professionals from programs across the Pacific Northwest joined together to host a record-breaking conference (643 people in attendance!). The theme “Core of Discovery” was a reference to Lewis & Clark’s westward discovery expedition and the necessity of exploring new horizons while being true to our core values in recreation and education. The conference keynote speaker, Stacy Bare, spoke about ending “bro-culture” and making the outdoors relevant to everyone. As part of this focus on inclusion, a new educational track was added on adaptive and inclusive recreation. In addition to the 80 education sessions, there were employer presentations sponsored by the Student Development Committee, vendor presentations, and the well-received Summit Series. This year also marked the 10th anniversary of the Research Symposium which included a special keynote address by Dr. Jim Sibthorp and ten presentations. The Board of Directors introduced the Association’s new strategic plan; the pillars of Advocacy, Organizational Health, Relationship Engagement, and Education will help to collaboratively align efforts from across the membership. The city of Portland was much of the attraction for folks to attend the conference, and the downtown location meant that attendees had no shortage of quality food and entertainment options. Correspondingly, some of the biggest highlights of the conference were the social events. The Student Social was held at local climbing gym with sponsored Adidas athletes in attendance to sign posters and give away swag. The Super Social, co-hosted with NIRSA Region VI, was held at the historic Crystal Ballroom and the March Forth Marching Band put on an amazing show that will not soon be forgotten.
2013: College Park, MD
Leadership of this year’s conference looked a bit different than previous AORE conferences. The program managers at the University of Maryland wanted to give the student trip leaders of the adventure program an opportunity to apply their skills and talents to the planning and delivery of the AORE conference. We trust our students to plan and deliver quality adventure education trips for their fellow students in wild and remote places with harsh consequences and inspiring rewards, so we wanted to give them the challenge to plan the ultimate adventure trip; hosting a national conference. The student leadership team, with the support of professional staff from the University of Maryland’s Campus Recreation Services, collaborated with the National Office, BOD and members of each of the committees to showcase an innovative and ambitious AORE conference. The theme, Building Bridges, was not just a play on words to represent the iconic Chesapeake Bay Bridge in Maryland’s backyard; the theme was selected to represent and highlight the notion that the value of our profession and our association can benefit a wide and diverse population. Through intentional program design, outdoor recreation and education can support and enhance entities such as higher education, federal land agencies, MWR, veteran services, community recreation, and municipal offices of sustainability and transportation… to name only a few. The goal of this year’s conference was to showcase a few established partnerships between the AORE and other communities of practice and to celebrate the benefits and future opportunities to serve a wider population of people who want to play, learn and grow in the outdoors. This year’s conference consisted of four partnership-driven symposiums that took place within the core of the conference schedule. Symposium topics included Access, Biking, Research and OOPS and consisted of national leaders from within the AORE and beyond the AORE. The Access Symposium made historical strides in strengthening the relationship between the AORE and the high level decision-makers at the federal level of the National Park Service and the US Forest Service. Thanks to the relentless work of the Access Committee, the AORE now has a voice in legislation around permitting and public land use access for outdoor programs. In line with our commitment to building bridges, our keynote series invited two inspiring leaders who share the mission of the AORE. Joe Mornini, founder and Executive Director of Team River Runner, inspires veterans to take up kayaking as a healthy way to transition into life after combat. As a result of Joe’s speech, university outdoor programs are now starting up local Team River Runner chapters at their schools. Jamie Williams, President of the Wilderness Society, gave an empathic speech about the need to protect our open spaces so future generations can provide life-changing experiences in the outdoors, just as we have enjoyed. Jamie’s presence solidified the AORE’s role at a national level in providing unified leadership for conservation and preservation. Conference attendees benefited from more than 100 quality educational sessions which included our second annual Summit Series. The SCA sponsored another successful career fair with the support from the Student Development Committee. The Exhibitor Hall was packed with our loyal vendors as well as new vendor members including Adidas and Lowa. Amidst all of the intense learning opportunities by day, there was plenty of fun to be had. Members enjoyed a night on the town in historic Annapolis for the Regional Socials. The Super Social was headlined by local band, Thomas Wesley Stern, and the silent and live auction brought in a generous pot of money for the Student Scholarship Fund. The AORE Conference in College Park, MD was just 10 miles from our nation’s capital and hopefully this symbolic location energized AORE members to innovative their work by reaching out to partnership groups on campus and in the community to deliver the mission of the AORE to more people in more places throughout this beautiful country.
2012: Snowbird, UT
Program managers from the University of Utah and Westminster College, along with outdoor professionals from Utah State University, Weber State University, Utah Valley University and Southern Utah University joined together to host the biggest conference in the Association’s history. The 2012 conference theme was “Building a Brighter Future." We focused on highlighting the programs, knowledge and students who will shape the future of human powered outdoor recreation and education. Industry experts delivered over 130 presentations including the first ever Summit Series. This series of presentations was designed to “strengthen industry relationships, encourage new dialogue, address issues of common concern, and assist AORE Professional members.” The AORE Career Center was a major highlight of the conference, again hosted by the Student Conservation Association and energetically staffed and supported by the Student Development Committee. They had many jobs posted, received many resumes from job seekers and had many employers give presentations about open positions. The Exhibitor Hall was filled to capacity with over 40 AORE vendors exhibiting their products and services along with 6 partner agencies and programs. Unique to Snowbird 2012 were our Tram Ride to the top of Hidden Peak (11,000 ft) which unfortunately had to be cancelled due to high winds (can’t control the weather) and our high altitude 5k fun run/walk in which 47 participants braved rain, hail and snow during the hour long event which started at just over 8100’ and climbed to over 8800’ before returning to the start! Our keynote address from Majka Burhardt shared how members can participate in “Additive Adventures” her term for when “adventure extends beyond exploration to create cultural and environmental connections.” The Super Social and auction were highlighted by Ted Klass, a 3rd generation professional auctioneer who really brought authenticity to the auction and helped raise lots of cash to support AORE, along with a live performance by Who’s Your Daddy, a local blues and rock band. Many participated in pre & post conference activities designed to teach skills, review risk management practices and build teamwork. Some post conference activities were however hampered by the 54 inches of snow that fell between Friday morning and Sunday afternoon. The snowfall was a reminder to all who attended what makes the Wasatch Mountains one of the most magical places on earth!
2011: San Antonio, TX
The University of Texas at San Antonio and a contingent of outdoor professionals from throughout Texas (and beyond) pulled together to host the biggest conference in the Association’s history. Many thanks are due to the home institutions of our largest-ever host committee: Colgate, Baylor, Texas A&M, Texas A&M Commerce, Texas Tech, Southern Methodist, Trinity, Rice and Texas Christian University, as well as the United States Navy. Drawing on the rich cultural heritage of the San Antonio Missions and the Riverwalk District, our conference theme was “Dimensions of Diversity." We focused on highlighting the broad sweep of people, places and passions that the AORE touches and challenging our membership to continue imagining and reaching further in terms of innovation and inclusion. Industry experts delivered 125 presentations. The AORE Career Center was a major highlight of the conference, hosted by the Student Conservation Association and energetically staffed and supported by the Student Development Committee. They had 28 jobs posted, received 33 resumes from job seekers and had 18 employers give presentations about open positions. The Exhibitor Hall was filled to capacity with 33 partnering vendors. The Bike Summit allowed our members to envision the future of cycling in the U.S. and have a dialogue about the AORE’s role in that future. Kayaking workshops by Ben Kvanli and Team River Runner gave hands-on insight into the state of the industry of adaptive paddling. Keynote addresses from Sam Drevo and Dudley Edmonson charged the membership to draw on our strengths and work towards more effective inclusion. The Super Social was a Texas-sized hoe-down complete with barbeque, great music and a mechanical bull.
2010: Keystone, CO
The University of Wyoming Outdoor Program, in conjunction with Colorado State University, Colorado School of Mines, Colorado Mountain College, Leadville, Fort Carson Adventure Programs and Education, and Metro State College in Denver worked together to host the 2010 conference in at the Keystone Resort and Conference Center in Keystone, Colorado. The theme was “Summits of Success,” for not only the beautiful summits surrounding the center in Summit County, Colorado, but also a celebration of the successes of our programs and the industry as a whole. Over 500 people attended the conference; 38 vendors, 80+ presentations, and the first ever climbing wall summit, which brought together industry leaders to answer some tough questions facing climbing wall manufacturers, suppliers, managers, and users. The 2010 AORE conference also hosted the first ever Winter Skills and Demo Day, where conference attendees could choose from a number of outdoor activities, programs, and demo equipment for a half day on Saturday. Programs included snowshoeing, skiing (AT and tele), LNT workshops, WFR medical scenarios, avalanche awareness, and a trip to the Woodward at Copper barn. Keynote speakers included Mark Jenkins from National Geographic, and Angela Hawse, who is a sponsored Marmot Athlete and mountain guide. 535 participants.
2009: Minneapolis, Minnesota
The University of Minnesota, Department of Recreational Sports hosted the 2010 annual conference on the campus of the University of Minnesota. The conference theme was “Today’s Education, Tomorrow’s Recreation.” The conference committee was collaborative effort by the entire Department of Recreational Sports staff including representation from many of the program areas beyond the outdoor program staff. The 380 conference attendees enjoyed great keynote speakers: Fabrizio Zangrilli, sponsored by Marmot, and Dr. Leo McAvoy. Dr. McAvoy entertained the attendees with his historical perspective of our field from his over 40 years as an avid outdoor enthusiast, professional and educator. Attendees shared information in 86 meetings and presentations, highlighted by a groundbreaking wilderness medicine summit on Saturday. Attendees networked into the night at the upscale Super Social and Student Auction, sponsored by Nicros in the McNamara Alumni Center, and gathered with their regions in the unique establishments in the campus Dinytown neighborhood. Other events included a bouldering competition with over 70 competitors, the 5th Annual Research Symposium and the first ever vendor hall presentation stage. 380 participants.
2008: San Diego, CA
The University of California-San Diego, University of San Diego and Point Loma Nazarene’s outdoor program staff and students partnered to bring the 2008 AORE national conference to San Diego’s Town and Country Resort. The conference theme was ‘A Climate for Change’ and highlighted increased AORE member awareness and action toward environmental sustainability and opportunities for professional growth and change amidst San Diego’s renowned ‘Sunny and 75’ climate. 480 attendees delved deeper into their practice through the 80 educational presentations and 17 pre and post conference workshops. 40 vendors lined the conference hall to share their goods and services with the AORE membership. The host crew brought two signature ‘So Cal’ events to conference attendees. The Halloween Wavehouse super social saw many members and AORE leadership testing their meddle on a 10 foot barreling wave, while attendees cheered them and enjoyed the surf side venue. The Day at the Bay event offered the opportunity for attendees to network and build community while surfing, sailing, rowing, and kayaking together on Mission Bay. Keynote Steven Kazlowski shared stunning images and stories from his efforts to photo document the impact of climate change on the polar bear of Alaska and their Artic coastal habitat. Keynote Jon Bowermaster offered attendees an example of combining personal adventure with an environmental purpose from his kayak adventures. The final night of the conference featured a full house screening of the 3rd annual Reel Rock Film Tour. This year’s award recipients were: Jim Rennie Leadership Award – Rachel Peters; David J Webb Program Excellence Award – Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission; and the Bill March Student Achievement Award – Ashley Gray. 480 participants.
2007: Asheville, NC
The 2007 AORE national conference was held in Asheville North Carolina at the Crowne Plaza Resort in the beautiful Southern Appalachian Mountains of Western North Carolina. The conference theme was, "Starting Early, Reaching Broader" and reflected an awareness that our younger generation holds the keys to the future access and educational potential of recreating in wild places. The Association’s desire to inspire the outdoor recreation leaders of tomorrow contributed to the recruitment of over 75 educational presenters, 19 pre- and post-conference workshop offerings, 40 high-quality vendors, and nearly 500 attendees. A keynote presentation by the BLM's Bob Ratcliff addressed the up and coming trends and demographics of tomorrow’s recreationists, which proved to be both eye opening and compelling. As always, the conference provided for the much-needed fun, relaxation, listening enjoyment, social interaction and networking opportunities of the professional, associate and student participants. In addition, the 2007 conference offset its carbon use through Native Energy and implemented numerous other environmental initiatives setting the stage for the stewardship ethic of future conferences. This year’s award recipients were: Jim Rennie Leadership Award – Raymond Poff; David J Webb Program Excellence Award – Portland State University Outdoor Program; and the Bill March Student Achievement Award – Jeff Keenan. 488 participants.
2006: Boise, ID
Idaho’s capital city and Boise State University welcomed AORE participants with open arms, warm weather, and lots of opportunities for networking on campus and at downtown social venues. “Exploring the Next Dimension” was the objective set by the hosts, Boise State University Campus Recreation and the AORE Board of Directors for the 20th AORE conference. “Exploring the Next Dimension” included large increases in involvement on behalf of participants, vendors, presenters, sponsors, and board members. Boise 2006 hosted a total of 12 days of programming. The conference served 531 participants (plus 22 host staff) and hosted 17 pre and post conference activities, 91 conference presentations, 55 vendor representatives, 35 vendor booths, regional socials, a former Board of Directors social, a club night super social, and an awards dinner that was highlighted by a 3-D slide show. The work of the conference hosts, Boise State University Campus Recreation and the AORE Board of Directors established a solid conference template that will serve both future hosts and the membership that attend the next generation of annual gatherings. 531 participants.
2005: Buffalo, New York
Buffalo 2005 AORE Conference - We saw nearly 350 outdoor professionals and students participate in a conference that was designed to be "green" friendly. Opening remarks from Russ Crispell's "Spirit of Teddy Roosevelt" set the stage for dozens of great workshops, presentations, and our first research symposium. Buffalo proved to be an outstanding site offering ACA canoe certification, an adventure race, and a wonderful bouldering wall in our vendor hall. Buffalo wings were served with entertainment from a rock and blues band. Again this year the Student Scholarship Auction and The National Outdoor Book Awards (NOBA) Auction were well-attended, fun, and very exciting events with nearly everyone joining in the bidding mania. Jeremiah Gray, Washington State University, was the Bill March Student Achievement Award recipient; Steve Hutton, Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission, was the winner of the Jim Rennie Leadership Award; and Cornell University Outdoor Education had the honor of receiving the David J Webb Program Excellence Award. 338 participants.
2004: Burns, Tennessee
“Getting Back to Nature” was our theme for the ICORE 04 held at Montgomery Bell State Park near Burns, Tennessee. We did get back to nature in this beautiful state park and ICORE 04 was a resounding success. A big thank you to Wayne Taylor from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, and Linda Rosenkranz, from Vanderbilt University for all of their hard in hosting this dynamic event. Folks enjoyed pre-conference activities ranging from biking to Wilderness Risk Management, to caving. During the ICORE, educational sessions were packed with excited individuals anxious to learn something new, share of themselves, and become rejuvenated in spirit. The excitement continued into the twilight hours with a bluegrass band one evening and a D.J. another. The student scholarship auction was an uproarious event, with many fine items to bid on. One individual actually purchased his own waterbottle back for $50. Tim Moore gave $200 to the David J Webb scholarship fund and challenged those in attendance to meet his donation. And, they did. The National Outdoor Book Awards (NOBA) auction with hundreds of books and titles to bid on was another dynamite event. The conference ended with a banquet where the leadership awards were presented, and we enjoyed a multi-media slide show and talk by Dr. Buddy Gilchrest, emeritus from Baylor University. Tina Carter, University of San Diego received the Jim Rennie Leadership Award, Bruce Newman, University of North Carolina – Ashville, received the Bill March Student Achievement Award, and the Miami University-Ohio Outdoor Pursuit Center (Mark Freidline) received the David J Webb Program Excellence Award. 317 participants.
2003: Orem, Utah
The ICORE 2003 conference was held in Orem, Utah at Utah Valley State. Conference Hosts Kim Reynolds, Lynn Zwaagstra, Rob Jones and Brian Wilkinson, planned a plethora of educational sessions hitting a variety of topics including risk management, wilderness medicine, adventure races, industry standards, and other various skill sessions. Fifty-eight educational sessions were offered and included a record number of round table sessions. Students from all around the Western states and across the nation attended and contributed to a record enrollment. Local vendors gave generously towards the student scholarship auction, and the auction even included a raft donated by Holly Anderson from Vanguard Inflatables. Several thousand dollars were generated for future scholarships. The social and auction were held at the lovely Sundance Resort amongst the beautiful Wasatch mountains and forests. Keynote speakers included Peter Metcalf, President/CEO/Co-Founder of Black Diamond Equipment Ltd., and Kevin Kobe, Assistant Director of Utah State University Outdoor Recreation Center. We definitely were successful at “Building Connections” in Orem. 426 participants.
2002: Charleston, South Carolina
ICORE 2002 was hosted by Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission and was held at the Charleston Riverview Hotel. With a conference theme of “Preserving the Past, Protecting the Future,” the historic city of Charleston provided the perfect setting for students and professionals to come together to examine our shared history, and to help set the course for the future of both our Association and our industry. Networking and professional development were again hallmarks of the conference, and highlights included 37 educational sessions, 23 hands-on clinics offered during the Festival of Outdoor Learning, keynote addresses by Dr. Dan Dustin and Mike Fischesser, 10 pre and post conference workshops, certifications, trainings and more! Jenny Kafsky-DeGarmo was honored with the Jim Rennie Leadership Award, Bridget Weikel was recognized with the Bill March Student Achievement Award, and Brigham Young University Outdoors Unlimited received the inaugural David J Webb Program Excellence Award. 336 participants.
2001: Pocatello, Idaho
"Daring to Be Different" was the theme for the 15th ICORE conference hosted by the Idaho State Outdoor Program and the Cooperative Wilderness Handicapped Outdoor Group. Throughout the conference, the emphasis was on inclusive outdoor programming. Bilateral amputee, Steve DeRoche got things rolling, showing off a display of his old outdoor socks and regaling conference attendees with stories of a full life of adventure. Later paraplegic, Mark Wellman spoke of his historic climb of Yosemite's 3,000 foot El Capitan and his remarkable cross-country ski journey across the Sierra Nevada. On display during the conference was a sensitive and inspiring photographic exhibit on Tibet by Galen Rowell. The high point was a Dutch oven cookout and old fashioned hoe-down held in a barn. Interestingly enough, the impetus for the conference theme came about when a non-outdoor educator, an attorney, who had been invited to speak at a previous ICORE conference, warned against including disabled individuals in outdoor program activities. Too much liability, she said. "Poppycock," said the organizers from Idaho State. And "poppycock" said the conference attendees, all 300 of them, able bodied and disabled, as they wheeled and danced together late into the night. 304 participants.
2000: Oxford, Ohio
ICORE 2000 was hosted by Miami University and held on the university’s tradition-rich campus in Oxford, Ohio. The conference theme, “What We Learn Along the Way,” complemented and reinforced the spirit of sharing that has always been a guiding principle of the conference. It was a busy conference: 58 educational sessions, 13 pre and post conference programs, a career center, a climbing competition, vendors, and a campfire jam session. Evening speakers included Gudy Gaskill, the diminutive powerhouse of a woman whose persistence and leadership resulted in the 500-mile Colorado Trail. Paul Piana presented a refreshingly unpretentious and lighthearted style narration of a video of a big wall climb. And closing the conference was Bill Irwin, who is blind, but who, through sheer will and determination, hiked the 2,168 miles of the Appalachian Trail. It was a stirring and moving program — and Irwin and his faithful canine companion, Orient, were feted by a long and thunderous applause. For many, the Oxford conference will be remembered by its warmth, welcoming smiles and heart-land graciousness. 384 participants.
1999: Jackson Hole, Wyoming
The 13th ICORE conference was held in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and was dedicated to the late Paul Petzoldt. It was a fitting and appropriate dedication. Petzoldt was an influential figure among the outdoor education community, a friend of many in the field, and was known for his pioneering climbs of the Teton Range, a short distance away from the conference site. Hosted by Clemson University and held at Snow King Resort, attendance rose to 350. Highlights of the conference included over 50 educational sessions. Thirty exhibits and a keynote address by John Gans, Executive Director of the National Outdoor Leadership School. The membership and leadership of AORE continued their work to re-build the organization after its recent separation with the Outdoor Recreation coalition, approving revisions to its by-laws, developing new membership categories, and establishing an office in Boulder, Colorado. 350 participants.
1998: Fort Walton Beach, Florida
The 1998 ICORE conference was sponsored by the Air Force Outdoor Recreation Community and was held in beautiful Fort Walton Beach, Florida. With the Gulf of Mexico a sand dollar throw from the hotel, conference participants enjoyed fishing, beach combing and evenings cooled by ocean breezes. An emotional high point was tom Whittaker’s multi-media session, “One Foot on the Road to Everest,” a personal odyssey from depression, which engulfed his life following an accident in which his foot was severed, to exhilaration, which came after his successful ascent of M. Everest, the first by a person with a disability. AORE continued its odyssey as well. After a lengthy membership meeting, the members decided to end the Association’s five-year relationship with the Outdoor Recreation Coalition of America and form an independent, not-for-profit, professional association. 188 participants.
1997: Merida, Yucatan, Mexico
In keeping with its international title, the 11th ICORE conference headed south to the beautiful city of Merida, capital of the state of Yucatan. It was a true international partnership with the Universidad Autonoma de Yucatan serving as conference host and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln handling the overall coordination. Visits to the Mayan ruins and the closing dinner and Folkloric Dance show made for an unforgettable conference. 110 participants.
1996: Salt Lake City, Utah
Taking place beneath clear skies and the soaring Wasatch Mountains, the 10th ICORE conference was hosted by the University of Utah. Speakers included Denise Mitten, Executive Director of Woodswomen, Inc., and renowned climbers/adventurers Conrad Anker and Doug Robinson. The Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education (AORE) presented its first awards, including the Jim Rennie Leadership Award and the Bill March Student achievement Award. 348 participants.
1995: Ithaca, New York
Cornell University hosted the conference and decorated the Alberding Field House with live pine trees. Rising above the Alberding forest was the Linseth climbing Wall, which was available throughout the conference for climbing. Presenting at the conference were some of the distinguished founders of the modern outdoor recreation movement including Paul Petzoldt, Josh Miner, and Royal Robbins. 319 participants.
1994: Colorado Springs, Colorado
For the first time, a branch of the United States Armed Forces, the US Army Community and Family Support Center, hosted the conference. Attendees came from throughout the world and enjoyed one of the most memorable social gatherings of any of the conferences; a barbeque and hoe-down held at the Fort Carson Army Base in a huge tent, which, when the music started, quickly filled with the dust rising above the thunder of dozens of stomping feet. 320 participants.
1993: Corvallis, Oregon
After nearly 10 years of debate about the “A” word (Association), the big step was taken at Oregon State University. The Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education (AORE) was created by conference participants and became organized as a sub-group under the auspices of the Outdoor Recreation Coalition of America. The Conference name went through one final change, becoming the International conference on Recreation and Education (ICORE). 166 participants.
1992: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Living up to its new moniker, the conference headed north of the border and truly became international in scope. At the University of Calgary, conference participants could unwind after a busy day by bouldering on a climbing wall, which, to everyone’s amazement was most conveniently located in the outdoor program center’s office. Other participants unwound more unconventionally by taking a wild run down the Olympic Luge course. It was at this conference that participants authorized the formation of an Association Development Committee and identified conference sites for the next two years. 359 participants.
1991: Moscow, Idaho
Returning to the west at the University of Idaho, the conference went through another name change. From its inception, the conference had attracted a strong contingent from Canada, and it now became known as the International Conference on Outdoor Recreation. 151 participants.
1990: Boone, North Carolina
The first eastern conference was held in the beautiful Broyill Inn and Convention Center on the hilly, forested slopes of the campus at Appalachian State University. At the Appalachian conference, the Association of Experiential Education made a strong push to assimilate the National Outdoor Recreation Conference into their organization, but conference attendees once again demonstrated their inclination towards independence and declined the overture. Jim Rennie of the University of Idaho volunteered to host the conference in 1991, starting the trend of holding a conference each year. 303 participants.
1988: Fort Collins, Colorado
Colorado State University continued the now emerging conference pattern. Remarkably, the Colorado conference, like the two previous conferences, was not managed and supervised by an association, as are most other conferences. It was organized in the manner of true common adventure, solely by cooperation and volunteer effort. In Fort Collins, as the other conferences, participants debated the formation of an association; but on the whole, they simply wanted to network and work together cooperatively, unencumbered by the control of an outside authority. 304 participants.
1986: Davis, California
Energized and committed to the early foundation set by the Bozeman conference, several universities from California organized the second national outdoor gathering. The Davis conference added new dimensions including a sobering dramatization of the court proceedings on an outdoor liability case. It was also marked with light-heartedness. At one evening programs, the field of outdoor education was parodied by an ad-lib comedy troop. Conference organizers included Steve Leonoudakis, Dennis Johnson, Rodney Neubert, and Mike Cavaness. The conference named evolved to: National Conference on Outdoor Recreation. 274 participants.
1984: Bozeman, Montana
Sponsored and organized by college Outdoor Programs from Montana, Idaho and Illinois, this was the first National conference devoted solely to non-profit outdoor recreation and education providers. Conference organizers included Jim Rennie, Ron Watters, Mike Cavaness, Dudley Improta, Jim Rogers and Steve Johnson. Buzzing with energy and excitement, this early gathering, simply called the conference on Outdoor Recreation, reflected the passions of a nascent field. It was enlightening and inspiring as much as it was delight-fully contentious and unruly, as was the case during a heated and animated panel discussion on certification. Always there was the feeling of camaraderie and optimism that outdoor programs had come upon a vehicle to share common interests and concerns. 185 participants.