A Recap of AORE's 2020 Virtual Annual Conference

We are so grateful to our attendees, presenters, exhibitors, sponsors and staff for an amazing virtual experience!

Missed the conference? You can still purchase access to all presentations!!

Here's some words from Jeannette Stawski, AORE Executive Director, followed by some fun conference facts...

Jeannette Stawski - Coffee Chat production for Annual ConferenceI never would have thought that AORE would host a virtual conference.  Hosting an in person, indoors, annual conference for outdoor facilitators has often been an easy joke, but AORE’s conference in any format the intention is the same; broaden collaboration and articulate the value of outdoor education, offer high quality education opportunities, and broaden networks.  

Our 2020 virtual conference did achieve those outcomes, and we were able to provide this information and build these connections with a robust virtual platform, a week’s work of education - over X sessions - that was not limited to what an in person attendee could make.  With reduction of travel, housing, and food, and a significantly lower registration fee, we were able to remove other historically cited barriers for participation.

As members become increasingly more proficient in offering on-line programming, much of the credit of our conference goes to presenters who worked to accommodate presenting digitally/remotely.  Knowing attendees need timely and relevant information, we were able to host many conversations with industry leaders as well as two panels addressing white supremacy in outdoor recreation and the future of wilderness medicine certification in an time of Covid-19.  

Mikah Meyer brought his story to life with the 2020 Keynote session.  Attendees connected via networking sessions and socials.  Vendors shared their videos and made themselves available with unlimited access.  

I’m thankful for all those who had a hand in building and delivering the 2020 virtual conference - and I want to especially acknowledge Kate Pojeta whose expertise not only in technology, but in designing and orchestrating this conference led to it’s ultimate success.  We were delighted to see the feedback from those who attended, and we are confident that future events will continue to be well received.  
AORE brought together 300 people from 126 different organizations across 6 different countries in their first virtual annual conference - this includes attendees, speakers and exhibitors. Within the United States alone, 38 states were represented.

Jeannette Stawski video chats with conference attendeesAORE provided seven (7) scholarships from its development funds and was able to support 61 different affinity groups/organizations to attend with the recent gift from Abby Rowe’s family foundation.

Of those that attended, 40 were new/1st year members - and of course, we were ALL 1st-time AORE VIRTUAL attendees!

Our exhibitors and CareerHQ vendors gave attendees a chance to explore 20+ booths!

With many presenters collaborating on a variety of sessions throughout the week, we offered 109 scheduled sessions (everything from breakouts to socials). 63% of those were educational in nature (including research and discussion sessions/panels).

Our team behind the scenes produced 55 live sessions throughout the week!

When the conference was over, it wasn’t over!
Over a third of our attendees logged BACK into the platform after the last conference day!

DID YOU KNOW you can purchase access to all presentations - even if you did not attend??

Panel Session - Dismantling White Supremacy in the OutdoorsTop 10 highest attended education sessions in real-time:
These were the sessions with the highest recorded live attendance during the scheduled session time.
10. The Stories We Tell Ourselves: Narratives as Tools for Transformational Leadership
9. Coffee Chat [F]: Chatting with an Epidemiologist about COVID and the Outdoors
8. Beyond Limits - Creating Impactful Outdoor Adventure-Based Experiences
7. Wilderness Medicine: Discussing the Future of Certification and Training
6. Committee Showcase
5. Coffee Chat [Tu]: Confab with Sages of the Outdoors
4. Coffee Chat [Th]: The Adventure Gap and Outdoors for All
3. A Qualitative Study of the Impact of the Pandemic on Outdoor Recreation
2. Keynote: Mikah Meyer
1. Dismantling White Supremacy in the Outdoors

Board Member Victoria Lopez Herrera during a conference Coffee Chat sessionTop 10 highest viewed education sessions overall:
These sessions had the most visitors overall at any time of the conference, including pre-event, during and post-event.
10. Errors of Perception: Improving decision-making through increased awareness of cognitive illusions
9. Maximizing Serendipity in Adventure Education
8. Beyond Limits - Creating Impactful Outdoor Adventure-Based Experiences
7. Adaptive Ready Facilities and Programs
6. A Qualitative Study of the Impact of the Pandemic on Outdoor Recreation
5. Building Inclusive Connections with Wellbeing and Resilience: Program Development, Research and Facilitation
4. Keynote: Mikah Meyer
3. The Stories We Tell Ourselves: Narratives as Tools for Transformational Leadership
2. Risk Management for Outdoor Programs
1. Dismantling White Supremacy in the Outdoors

Total cups of coffee consumed by AORE team during conference week: we stopped counting after 50.