WHAT IT IS:  A multi-day virtual summit centered on increasing inclusive practices in regard to Water Sports, Lands & Hiking, and Workplace Culture.

WHEN IT IS:  April 12-14, 2022 | 11 AM - 5 PM ET; 10 AM - 4 PM CT; 9 AM - 3 PM MT; 8 AM - 2 PM PT

WHO IS IT FOR:  People who facilitate outdoor recreation and education programs.  If you guide, train or encourage people to get outdoors, this Summit is designed for YOU!

WHY ARE WE DOING IT:  AORE is hosting this three day summit to provide attendees with a wider recognition of exclusionary practices within outdoor recreation and education and to help them gain better understanding of how they can actively work to make change as leaders in the industry.  

WHERE IT WILL BE:  Online through Zoom!  We strongly recommend that attendees treat this professional development opportunity like they are participating at an in-person event by prioritizing the time for participation and by reducing distractions.


This agenda is tentative, as sessions are confirmed this agenda will be updated. 

Please note that times listed below are in the Eastern Time Zone.




DAY ONE
Tuesday, April 12th

WATER SPORTS

11-11:05 AMAORE Welcome
11:05-11:30 AM
Therapeutic Recreation for EVERYONE
Presented by Jon Totten
Jon shares his journey to therapeutic sailing.
All-Forward: Sexual Harassment in the Whitewater Rafting Industry
Presented by Dr. Maria Blevins
This presentation will be an overview of what was found in a qualitative research project investigating sexual harassment in the whitewater rafting industry. It will highlight how people described the working environment, outline some organizational challenges that are unique to the rafting industry, and offer some things to consider as we think about how this industry can change.
11:30-11:40 AMBREAK
11:40 AM - 12:05 PM
Advancing Inclusion in Outdoor Programs
Presented by Crystal Skahan
This presentation will outline the importance of outdoor recreation for people with disabilities and share resources for attendees to continue to explore information, partnerships, and opportunities to enhance professional development and inclusive outdoor programming. 
12:05-12:15 PMBREAK
12:15-12:40 PM
Diversify Whitewater: Making Paddling More Accessible for BIPOC & Allies
Presented by Lily Durkee
Lily will present an overview of Diversify Whitewater (DW), a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to increasing accessibility of paddling for BIPOC & allies. Lily will describe their free community paddling events and show how successful they have been for introducing individuals and families to paddling. Lastly, Lily will announce DW's events schedule for 2022 and indicate how interested folks can get involved this year and in future years.
12:40-12:50 PMBREAK
12:50-1:15 PM
Inclusion on the River; Words from an Idaho Outfitter
Presented  by Greg McFadden
As one of the few LGBTQ owned river rafting businesses in the country, Greg will speak through the lense of a gay river guide since 1990 and how his career experience has lead him to be a voice of inclusion in today’s guiding industry.
1:15-1:25 PMBREAK
1:25-1:50 PM 
Remote Launch-Site Access
Presenter: Joe Moore
ADA and ABA Standards for Accessible Design apply only to certain locations, and they do not apply to paddlesports launch sites / water entry points.  In the absence of published design standards, entities need a framework to evaluate the sites they use for programs, activities, and services.  This session will provide decision makers a framework to evaluate what makes a water program launch site more or less accessible to the greatest number of users.
1:50-2:00 PMBREAK
2:00-3:00 PM

Networking Breakout Sessions

1. Hosting a Community Paddling Event
Lily Durkee
Lily will share the strategies that have been successful for Diversify Whitewater for developing welcoming, inclusive, and free events and conducting outreach for participants and volunteers. There will then be time for discussion about community organizing in paddling and recreation more broadly.
2. Navigating the Waters of Gender Equity in a River Recreation Context
Emily Ambrose &  Dr. Maria Blevins
Come to this networking space to consider how today’s dynamics factor into a safe and welcoming river environment for all genders. Dr. Maria Blevins & Emily Ambrose of the A-DASH Collaborative will facilitate conversation and connection based on the challenges and needs around the current river climate, as it relates to building trust, addressing harassment and discrimination, and focusing on having a great time on the water.
3. Training and certifications - best practices in the paddlesports industry. 
Joey Parent
This networking and small group discussion will highlight some challenges and successes of implementing paddlesports trainings and certification courses. We will also discuss current best practices in the paddlesports industry. There will be time during the session to break out into groups and discuss topics related to whitewater, flat water and coastal paddling.
4. Adaptive Rec Programming – How adaptive are you?
Steven Foy
As program managers and coordinators strive to make their services and  experiences available to people of all ability levels there are inherent challenges  that arise. In this session we will discuss the efforts and elements of programming  that facilitate opening your doors to an audience of broad skill and ability levels.

3:00-3:10 PMBREAK
3:10-4:10 PM
History of racism and the effect on Black participation rates in water-based outdoor recreation.
Presented by Joe Moore
Black people and People of Color participate in water-sports at a disproportionally low rate.  In this session we will explore some of hte historic and contemporary causes of the lower rates of participation.  We will also discuss potential solutions as well as strategies to overcome obstacles to solutions. 
4:10-4:15 PMBREAK
4:15 - 5 PM
Self Identity Breakout Rooms
These breakout rooms are intended to provide a space for attendees to reflect and discuss content from the day in a safer space. These are not intended to be facilitated discussions. Room to include:
  • African American/Black
  • American Indian/Native American
  • Asian
  • Caucasian/White
  • Hispanic/LatinX
  • Multi-Racial/Bi-Racial
  • Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander
  • South West Asian or North African

DAY TWO
Wednesday, April 13th

LANDS & HIKING

11-11:05 AMAORE Welcome
11:05-11:30 AM
Redefining Epic on the Trail
Presented by Kate Van Waes

This presentation will center on connecting with and servicing trail users who aren’t pushing limits or setting records, who aren’t even aiming for anything Instagram  worthy, who don’t see an hour-long hike on a paved suburban trail as a first step to something but rather as The thing. What if these trail users, who find joy in just being on the trail, saw themselves in marketing, social media, advocacy discussions, and outdoor leadership?
Universal Design of Outdoor Spaces and Programs
Presented by Mike Passo
This session will explore the concept and application of universal design in outdoor environments including parks and trails. We will explore the many ways that you can welcome people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities into your programs without diminishing the environment and experience.
11:30-11:40 AMBREAK
11:40 AM - 12:05 PM
Hike it Baby: How Bringing Babies Outside Can Lead to a More Inclusive Outdoor Community
Presented by Jessica Carrillo Alatorre
Jessica Carrillo Alatorre, Executive Director, will share an overview of Hike it Baby, a national 501c3 nonprofit that believes that inviting families to play outside together in nearby-nature, acknowledging their individual relationships with the natural world, and providing responsive and relevant resources and a supportive environment to nurture their own sense of belonging in outdoor spaces, is a wonderful way to build a community. She will share insights on what it means to go from saying anyone can join a hike to actively living a mission that creates opportunities and removes barriers so families with babies and young children can take their first steps outside.
12:05-12:15 PMBREAK
12:15-12:40 PM
Trail Training Core Competencies
Presented by Mike Passo
This project seeks to identify shared language around trail skills and expertise. Working with federal land management agencies, American Trails, PTBA, and Indiana University‘s Eppley Center conducted a stakeholder outreach process to develop competency language. Join the session to learn about this project, opportunities created by shared language, trail competencies as part of trail education and career pathways, and the results of the academically-led survey process.
12:40-12:50 PMBREAK
12:50-1:15 PM
Finding My Purpose in the Outdoors
Presented by Jessica Newton
Jessica Newton, Founder and CEO of Vibe Tribe Adventures shares how she found her career in the outdoor industry.
1:15-1:25 PMBREAK
1:25-1:50 PM 
Barrier Busting Before You Begin
Presenter: April Rosenthal
This session will provide you with at least 5 things you can do to create an inclusive and welcoming environment for individuals with disabilities into your outdoor programming. Discussions will include asking yourself when does your program really begin and how do you encourage registration in your programs. We will also discuss non-discriminatory essential eligibility and prerequisites and how do you communicate them.
1:50-2:00 PMBREAK
2:00-3:00 PM

Networking Breakout Sessions

1. Intention vs Implementation: Fulfilling the Spirit of the ADA
April Rosenthal
This session is meant to expound on the Barrier Busting Before You Begin session. Take a deeper dive into ADA in the outdoor recreation and education setting. Discussions will be around the benefits of inclusive practices for individuals with disabilities. What are the gains to go beyond the letter of the law of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)? How can you embrace practices geared to the spirit of the law? What are your current practices and how can you do better. 
2. Accessibility and The Outdoors
Mike Passo
A shared conversation about how to create a welcoming and accessible outdoor environment that doesn not ruin the characteristics and value of that environment.  Why is it important? What are some creative solutions to your challenging problems?
3. How might we shift our perception of nature so that we can develop a deeper appreciation of our close to home trails? How can we get more of our neighbors to join us on those same trails?
Amy Camp
4. Getting Permission to Go: Navigating the Federal Lands Permitting System
Paul Sanford
Planning an inclusive program also means making sure you have the permission to take people where you want to go. In some circumstances, that means obtaining special recreation permits or commercial use authorizations from the federal land management agency. This session will feature an open discussion of the permitting process and offer tips and tricks for navigating the process successfully.

3:00-3:10 PMBREAK
3:10-4:10 PM
Redefining Epic Careers in the Outdoors
Kate Van Waes, American Hiking Society
Jessica Carrillo Alatorre, Hike It Baby
Jess Newton, Vibe Tribe Adventures
Moderated by Jeannette Stawski 
What is epic? In the 21st century outdoor industry, epic has been framed by picture-perfect adventures highlighted on social media, and those stories and individuals can tend to dominate the conversation.. It is time to celebrate, support and make room for every experience in the outdoors. Together, let’s redefine epic and widen the conversation so that folks who experience the outdoors in different ways see themselves in leadership and decision-making roles.
This panel celebrates all experiences in the outdoors—big and small. The panel will consist of leaders who have helped redefine what it means to have a career getting people outside, as parents, partners, and as people.
Hear from our panel of leaders share about the trails they have traveled - literally and figuratively - as they share their epic career path. 
4:10-4:15 PMBREAK
4:15 - 5 PM
Self Identity Breakout Rooms
These breakout rooms are intended to provide a space for attendees to reflect and discuss content from the day in a safer space. These are not intended to be facilitated discussions. Rooms to include:
  • African American/Black
  • American Indian/Native American
  • Asian
  • Caucasian/White
  • Hispanic/LatinX
  • Multi-Racial/Bi-Racial
  • Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander
  • South West Asian or North African

DAY THREE
Thursday, April 14th

WORKPLACE CULTURE

11-11:05 AMAORE Welcome
11:05-11:30 AM
How We Got Here
Presented by Gerry James
Together Outdoors Lead, Gerry James will share his story, examine how historic systems of exclusion intersect with current barriers to access, and what lead him to working with Outdoor Recreation Roundtable.
Listen, Ask, Slow: Back to Basics for Better Outdoor Work Places
Presented by Emily Ambrose
The outdoors can be all about action in our recreational environments. As the leaders and people who work and play in these incredible environments, taking a moment to check in with those around us will build better communities and work environments. This talk brings us back to basics – infusing the actions of feedback into equity and inclusion work, for our colleagues, friends, and community members. 
11:30-11:45 AMBREAK
11:45 AM-12:45 PM
Together Outdoors - Summit Chat
Presented by Gerry James
Gerry James, Coalition Lead at Together Outdoors, will discuss the state of diversity, equity, and inclusion in outdoor recreation and how we can build a more inclusive and welcoming outdoors by uniting businesses, trade associations, and NGOs to make the outdoors great for everyone. James will discuss historic and modern barriers to outdoor recreation access, strategies to break them down, and future opportunities to help ensure safe and welcoming outdoor experiences. There will also be time for Q&A. 
12:45-1:00 PMBREAK
1:00-2:30 PM
Goal Setting in DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion)
Presented by Rachel Hailey
In this workshop, participants will find answers to questions like:
  • What is diversity?
  • Why do the work? 
  • What does a D.E.I. initiative look like for my organization?
Participants will learn how to chart a course of action to foster diversity, equity, & inclusion in their organization with actionable systems and tangible outcomes. They will also learn how to set DEI related goals by quarter to ensure success.
This session will consist of both lecture and break out rooms for practicing the topics discussed. 
2:30-2:45 PMBREAK
2:45-4:15 PM
DEI in Hiring, Recruitment & Retention
Presented by Rachel Hailey
Participants will learn strategies for attracting a more diverse candidate pool, and methods to retain them over time. Participants will also be given specific action oriented tools to break down barriers to inclusive hiring.
This session will consist of both lecture and break out rooms for practicing the topics discussed. 
4:15 - 5 PM
Self Identity Breakout Rooms
These breakout rooms are intended to provide a space for attendees to reflect and discuss content from the day in a safer space. These are not intended to be facilitated discussions. Rooms to include:
  • African American/Black
  • American Indian/Native American
  • Asian
  • Caucasian/White
  • Hispanic/LatinX
  • Multi-Racial/Bi-Racial
  • Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander
  • South West Asian or North African

ATTENDEE INFORMATION

  • Information to join the sessions will be shared the morning of each day. Be sure to check your spam/junk folder each morning you are registered to access that days sessions. 
  • Log in to each session a few minutes early.  As you log in, staff will be verifying your registration and admitting you to the live session from the waiting room. Logging in early helps ensure you don’t miss any of the presentation. 
  • Be sure your name on Zoom matches the name you are registered under.  This will allow quicker access into the session. 
  • Some sessions will be recorded.  Due to the nature of certain sessions (such as breakout rooms and/or networking sessions) some sessions will NOT be recorded. Registered attendees will have access to view recordings through Monday, May 2nd.
  • Be prepared and fully engaged for each session.  This is an intentionally designed adult learning experience. To prioritize your learning and transference of knowledge, our hope is that you will minimize distractions (email, phone) and maximize participation (use chat feature, engage in conversation) for the Summit sessions.
  • Keep your microphone muted for the presenter portion of each session.  If you have any questions, please utilize the chat box feature in Zoom. 
  • Plan to have your video on. Especially during the breakout room portion of each session.
  • Contact Jenny Hill via email [jhill@aore.org] for any assistance needed with troubleshooting.

Ready to Sponsor? Purchase Your Package in our Online Store under Sponsorship.

Download the PDF. 

Why is this not free?

Registration fees are necessary in order to fairly and equitably compensate speakers and to offset administrative costs.

Package OptionsAORE Member PriceNot Yet Member Price

Daily Rate
Choose your day.

$79.00$99.00
Full 3 Day Summit$199.00$249.00
Group Rate
(Full Summit)
up to 20 attendees
$999.00
Less than $50 per attendee!
$1999.00
Less than $100 per attendee!

For any questions regarding registration, please reach out to Jenny Hill at jhill@aore.org.

REGISTER HERE!

AORE is committed to providing universal access to all of our events. Please contact Jenny Hill via email at jhill@aore.org or by phone at 810.299.2782 to request reasonable accommodations. Advance notice is welcome in order to arrange for any services.

We are looking for "Breakout Room Hosts".  These volunteers will assist attendees in the networking sessions each day.  Training will be provided. If interested, please complete the form to the right. We'll be following up with interested volunteers soon with more information. 


Emily Ambrose

Engage Coaching & Consulting | A-DASH Collaborative

Emily Ambrose has dedicated over 15 years of her professional career and personal life to leadership development, training, facilitation, diversity, inclusion, and equity work. With a passion for making the sometimes taboo topics accessible and relatable to all, Emily has worked closely with non-profits, outdoor industry companies, and presented at conferences on how to shift work culture and infuse diversity, equity, and inclusion into the workplace, including as a raft guide in the Grand Canyon and as a member of the A-DASH Collaborative. Specifically focused on issues around the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community (LGBTQ), Emily has extensive experience with co-creating Safe Zone workshops and presenting on sexuality and gender identity. Other passion areas include sexism and sexual harassment, deconstructing racial bias, understanding white supremacy culture, and recognizing the interwoven nature of oppression. 

Dr. Maria Blevins

Utah Valley University | A-DASH Collaborative

Maria Blevins is an Associate Professor of Communication at Utah Valley University. Before academia, Maria was a whitewater rafting guide on the New and Gauley rivers in West Virginia and on the Snake River in Wyoming. She also served as the Madison River Manager for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Her love of river running, and the river community inspired her to research sexual harassment in the whitewater industry. The goal of her research and involvement in A-DASH is to make river running an inclusive community for all people.

Amy Camp

Cycle Forward

Amy Camp is a trails and tourism consultant, a placemaker, and a certified coach. She helped launch the nationally recognized Trail Town Program® in 2007, and now consults communities on how they can rethink trails and tourism. Her book, Deciding on Trails, details the history of the Trail Town movement and recommends best practices for trail communities. Amy served on the Board of American Trails from 2012-17, and now serves on the Board of the Continental Divide Trail Coalition. She is an Associate Certified Coach through the International Coach Federation. Amy lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she first grew to love communities and began her work to help improve them.

Jessica Carrillo Alatorre

Hike it Baby

Jessica Carrillo Alatorre has been a part of Hike it Baby since the summer of 2014 when she took her 6 month old for a new moms hike. There she met HiB founder, Shanti Hodges and sparked a friendship and partnership that has helped make HiB what it is today. Growing up on the Oregon coast, Jessica spent a lot of her youth outdoors, falling in love with nature. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Management and Organizational Leadership from George Fox University, which has helped her to excel first as the Operations Manager and now as the Executive Director at Hike it Baby, ensuring that as the organization grows, policy, procedure, and personnel are put in place to help the non-profit’s long-term success. Jessica is passionate about bringing equity and inclusion into the outdoors and is working with a variety of experts, board members, staff, and volunteers to help shape HiB into a more inclusive and equitable organization. She is committed to building a future where the outdoors is a safe, accessible space for all families to enjoy, regardless of their race, gender, ability, socioeconomic status, orientation, or religion and the definition of outdoorsy isn’t limited to one type of person with specific gear engaging in specific activities. Since its grass-roots beginning in 2014, Hike it Baby has reached more than 1 million people off and online. Social media has been an integral part of the organization, allowing Hike it Baby to connect with 280,000 families through Facebook, nearly 40,000 families on Instagram and nearly 50,000 families a month through the Hike it Baby blog. 
Jessica and her husband Chris enjoy hiking with their two girls, Natalie (born in 2014) and Elisabeth (born in 2017) around the Portland metro area they call home. Their favorite hikes often include waterfalls and wildflowers. Continually inspired by the passion and commitment of the volunteers who drive Hike it Baby along with the mission that has created the kind of community she wants her girls to be a part of, Jessica is proud to be raising a generation to love the outdoors.

Lily Durkee

Diversify Whitewater

Lily Durkee is the Co-Founder, President, and Events Director of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization Diversify Whitewater, which works to promote Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in paddlesports by removing barriers for Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and allies in kayaking, canoeing, stand-up paddling, and rafting. Lily started kayaking at the age of 9 at Valley Mill Camp in Maryland, which launched a lifetime love of whitewater. She competed in kayak slalom as a teenager and has since enjoyed kayaking recreationally along with other outdoor activities like running, skiing, and mountain biking. Off the river, Lily is a PhD candidate in Ecology at Colorado State University, where she studies evolutionary ecology and conservation.

Steven Foy

Nantahala Outdoor Center

Steven Foy is the Director of Outpost Operations at the Nantahala Outdoor Center and has  been with the company since 2008, when he started as a River Guide. His focus has been on  expanding urban recreation opportunities, facility expansion and Guide development. Steven  holds degrees in Recreation Management from Texas A&M University and Ohio  University. While earning his Master‘s Degree Steven served on AORE‘s Research and  Publication Committee. Additionally, Steven has served on the America Outdoors  Association Board of Directors since 2017. Now based in Asheville, NC Steven has guided  and played on rivers, trails and ski slopes across the country. His recent adventures have  taken him as near as the French Broad River and as far as rivers in Nepal and bike trails in  Italy.

Rachel Hailey

Rachel Hailey & Associates Consulting

Rachel is the Owner/Transformationalist at Rachel Hailey &Associates Consulting, a
firm which deals directly with the outdoor industry to foster DEI in organizations. Her main objective is to transform the outdoor industry into a diverse, equitable, inclusive and accessible space. Rachel is committed to creating an industry where
anyone can experience, thrive, and lead in the out of doors no matter their circumstances, and has a focus on underserved and underrepresented
communities. She has served and inspired over 100 organizations in the creation of actionable systems aligned with creating diversity, equity, and inclusion in outdoor spaces. She is a frequent writer for industry publications like Adventure Park Insider and Ski Area Magazine, and has given talks on DEI & Social Justice on international platforms. Outside of her endeavor to bridge the gap between racial and ethnic diversity in the outdoors and social justice, Rachel can be found magical creatures in the woods with her daughter and German Shepherd.

Gerry James

Together Outdoors

Gerry Seavo James is the Together Outdoors Lead at the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, where he leads a cross-sector coalition of over 100 organizations, individuals, business leaders, federal agencies, activists, manufacturers and service providers who share a commitment to building an inclusive outdoor recreation community. Prior to ORR, Gerry founded Explore Kentucky, an outdoor-oriented social enterprise which works expand outdoor accessibility, build environmental literacy, and improve quality of life for folks in Kentucky. Through Explore Kentucky and other endeavors, Gerry has created and stewarded several outdoor events and guided programs, lead development of the Beaver Creek Blueway Trail, created the Waterman Series (a paddlesports racing league), and served as a founding steering member of Kentucky Rural – Urban Exchange. Gerry is an American Canoe Association (ACA) certified instructor in various paddling disciplines. He was awarded the ACA‘s Joe Pina Leadership Award in 2018. 
Gerry earned a Bachelor‘s of Science in Mass Communications Area from Campbellsville University. He is also an Air Force veteran, social artist, photojournalist, and past Outdoor Afro leader. Since 2010, Gerry has adopted the Commonwealth of Kentucky as his home.

Greg McFadden

Canyons River Company

Greg McFadden owns and operates Canyons River Company which runs 6 to 12 day trips on the Middle Fork and Main Salmon. Greg has guided since 1990 and run rivers around the world. He stills rows commercially in Grand Canyon as well. Greg resides in McCall Idaho and spends winters catski guiding in Aspen Colorado. He lead his first LGBTQ river trip in the late 90’s.

Joe Moore

Adaptive Expeditions

Ten years after becoming an amputee, Joe Moore left a law career to share his love of an active outdoor recreation lifestyle with others. In 2011, Joe began a journey of training, education and exploration to become an adaptive sports and recreation industry leader. In 2013, Joe joined the staff of the American Canoe Association (ACA) to help redevelop its adaptive paddling program and to lead the organization‘s education and outreach efforts. In 2014, Joe designed and implemented the inaugural ACA Adaptive Paddling Summit. In February 2015, Joe founded Adaptive Expeditions, an interactive, experiential nonprofit designed to empower individuals with physical and / or sensory disabilities with the skills and confidence to maintain active, independent lifestyles. Adaptive Expeditions leads local programs in Charleston, SC and teaches outdoor recreation industry best practices around the country.  Since 2015, Joe has led 96 professional credentialing workshops in 39 different states.

Jessica Newton

Vibe Tribe Adventures

In 2016, Jessica Newton the founded a Colorado-based national 501(c)(3) non-profit organization called, Vibe Tribe Adventures (VTA), formerly known as Black Girls Hike, a global outdoor recreation and adventure sports organization for Black, Indigenous, People of Color communities, whose mission centers on helping the urban community reconnect their natural right to nature through outdoor recreation, extreme sports participation, backcountry and water safety and stewardship, outdoor industry employment, and outdoor industry entrepreneurship access. Ms. Newton has been recognized internationally for creating opportunities for the urban community to explore the great outdoors, With the help of her team, she has created a community of adventurers on the trails, on waterways and in local neighborhoods across the globe. In January of 2018 Jessica, was formerly appointed by Mayor Michael Hancock for the City of Denver, Office of Sustainability Advisory Council. She is the award recipient of the President’s award from the Colorado Black Women for Political Action, The Salute to Excellent Award for Community Leader of the Year and The African Americans Who Have Made a Difference award. Along with these many accomplishments, Ms. Newton is a national board member for the American Hiking Society. Jessica Newton has made it her life’s mission to continue to be a pillar to the urban community to help break down barriers of outdoor accessibility, by advocating for diversity, equity and inclusion to be a part of the everyday practices within the outdoor industry and by creating opportunities that encourage the next generation to go into environmental, engineering and science careers. Jessica has 2 amazing children who loves to spend their family time at the lake where they live in Denver, CO.

Joey Parent

Virginia Commonwealth University

Joey Parent was born and raised in Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. He started exploring rivers and trails on an old BMX bike that his father pulled out of a dumpster and a hand me down canoe that his mother gave him. While the gear has gotten nicer and the trips have gotten longer, a yearning to explore has remained the same. Joey attended Virginia Commonwealth University for undergrad where he received a BA in photography and film, while also working part-time at VCU's Outdoor Adventure Program. He later went on to the University of Tennessee where he was a graduate assistant for the UT Outdoor Program and earned an MS in Recreation and Leisure studies. A circuitous few years in Idaho, Montana, Thailand, India and Colorado eventually brought him back to Richmond, Virginia where he now lives with his wife and their two dogs. Joey currently directs the Outdoor Adventure Program at VCU where he hopes to inspire others to live their own adventures.

Mike Passo

American Trails

Mike Passo is the Executive Director of American Trails. Mike has also served as the Executive Director of the Professional Trailbuilders Association and the owner and operator of a sea kayak outfitter called Elakah Expeditions. Mike has led groups of all backgrounds, ages and abilities on sea kayak expeditions in the San Juan Islands of Washington, Vancouver Island in British Columbia, and in Glacier Bay, Alaska. Mike has conducted an extensive study of outdoor developed areas nationwide to determine the cost implications of construction according to proposed Americans with Disabilities Act standards, and a Congressional study on improving access to outdoor recreational activities on federal land. He has a B.S. in Recreation Resource Management from the University of Wisconsin—Madison, including three years‘ coursework in Landscape Architecture and Civil Engineering. He has presented on Universal Design and Programming at several national conferences and served on the Board of Directors of American Trails since 2000. His love of the outdoors and his own paraplegia has given him a great interest in the creation of an accessible outdoor environment that does not ruin the characteristics and value of that environment.

April Rosenthal

Arlington County's Department of Parks and Recreation in the Community Recreation Division

April is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS). She has been in the field for over 25 years. She currently supervises the Therapeutic Recreation (TR) Office in the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) for Arlington County, VA. She is responsible for oversight and management of all programs for individuals with disabilities, including specialized adapted offerings and inclusion support in general recreation programs.
She graduated from Green Mountain College, VT with a BS in Therapeutic Recreation (TR). After 4 years in clinical TR at various rehab centers in Boston, she attended Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC) and graduated with an MS in TR Administration with a minor in Outdoor Recreation and Education. There she was trained in Wilderness Education Association (WEA) philosophies and practices where she went on extended trips backpacking in the Shawnee National Forest, of Southern Illinois, canoeing in the Boundary Waters based out of Ely, MN, and overnight backpacking in the Grand Canyon.  
She has previously worked in Lakewood, CO as the manager for Recreation and Inclusion Services for Everyone (R.I.S.E.) program and prior to that as the Outdoor Adaptive Recreation Specialist at Cleveland Metroparks in OH.
Before being promoted to the Unit Manager at Arlington she worked as a Programmer II in the TR unit with an array of responsibilities including supervising adapted classes and social clubs, leading outdoor recreation programs, coordinating inclusion support, running social skills playgroups, offering ADA consultation, and supervising and directing various summer camps.

Paul Sanford

The Wilderness Society

Paul Sanford is the National Director of Recreation Policy at The Wilderness Society, where he manages TWS' recreation policy agenda and its programs to connect more people to the outdoors. A native of Cleveland, OH, Paul has a Law degree from the University of Toledo and a Bachelor's degree from Ohio University. Paul has been a public policy advocate at the federal level since 1991. He began his recreation career in 2004 as the Stewardship and Policy Director at the American Canoe Association. He transitioned to the Wilderness Society in 2011 because he believes in the deep connection between people and place that is forged by recreation on public lands, and wants to ensure that people can enjoy wilderness while at the same time working for its protection. Paul’s favorite outdoor activity is kayaking on the waters of the Mid-Atlantic region.

Crystal Skahan

Northeast Passage

Crystal Skahan is the Education and Training Director at Northeast Passage, an Adapted Sport and Recreation Therapy program of the University of New Hampshire.   Crystal has 20+ years experience facilitating adaptive watersport programs, and coordinates volunteer and instructor training opportunities to enhance inclusion and recreation opportunities for individuals with disabilities.  Crystal currently serves as the Chair of the Universal Paddling Committee of the American Canoe Association.

Jon Totten

Dogsmile Adventures

Jon was born and raised in Wisconsin where fell in love with the great outdoors as a young boy. He headed west to Idaho at the age of 18 in search of a higher education and a career in the wilderness. Idaho’s vast mountains, rivers, and lakes didn’t let him down. Upon graduation from the University of Idaho, Jon became a professional outdoor educator with the North Idaho College Outdoor Pursuits program where he spent 12 years leading countless adventures and falling deeply in love with sailing. Jon would eventually earn his US Coast Guard Captain’s license and leave the college to work as a professional sailor piloting boats in the San Juan Islands of Washington state and throughout the Caribbean Sea. 
Jon has returned to North Idaho with the intention of creating therapeutic sailing opportunities for EVERYONE. Boat rides make people feel better; but not everyone has access. I’m gonna fix that. I’m gonna give it away.

Kate Van Waes

American Hiking Society

Kate joined American Hiking in 2017. She brings a wealth of advocacy experience  from the ONE Campaign, where she was a Policy Director, setting policy and  strategic direction for ONE in the areas of agricultural development, hunger and  nutrition, climate change, energy poverty, women and girls, trade, and  development in fragile states. Prior to ONE, Kate served as Chief of Staff and  Senior Policy Advisor in Secretary Clinton’s Office of Global Food Security, helping  to lead the Obama Administration’s flagship global hunger initiative, Feed the  Future. Kate joined the State Department initially under a fellowship with the  American Association for the Advancement of Science and focused on the  intersection of emergency humanitarian aid and terrorism and hunger-related  United Nations negotiations. She started her career as a planetary and glacial  geologist, participating in several NASA Mars missions and working with the  International Space Science Institute in Bern, Switzerland, the University of  Copenhagen’s Neils Bohr Institute, and the Smithsonian Center for Earth and  Planetary Studies. She earned her Ph.D. in Geological Sciences from Brown  University in 2004. Kate hails from Montana, where she developed a deep passion  for spending as much time outdoors as possible. She and her equally outdoorsy  husband and two daughters live in the ancestral lands of the Piscatoway (now known as Silver Spring, MD).