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call for presentations

The 2024 International Conference on Outdoor Leadership


Guiding Wilderness Education with Intentionality

February 7- 9, 2024 - YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly in Black Mountain, NC

Submission Deadline:   November 15, 2023

PDF of Call:   

Submissions:    Now Open


The Wilderness Education Association invites proposals for the 2024 International Conference on Outdoor Leadership, themed "Finding True North: Guiding Wilderness Education with Intentionality." This conference aims to deliver an inspired, practical, and motivating learning experience for outdoor leaders, educators, researchers, students, and enthusiasts. We encourage submissions that explore and advance the field of wilderness education with a focus on intentionality, purpose, and mindfulness.

Categories of proposals may include: Pre or Post Conference workshops, General Sessions, Practical Sessions, Research Sessions, and Student Sessions. We encourage submissions which advance the professionalism of outdoor leaders, specifically related to: 

  • The WEA 6+1 Curriculum
  • Innovative Approaches to Outdoor Skill Development: Designed for outdoor leaders to cultivate mindfulness practices while honing technical and interpersonal skills for holistic growth.
  • Overall Health in the Outdoors: Promoting mental and physical well-being
  • Inclusive & Mindful Wilderness Education: Creating accessible outdoor experiences promoting mindfulness and nature connection for diverse backgrounds.
  • Leadership, Team Building, and Mindful Communication: Strategies for fostering effective leadership skills, teamwork, and mindful communication in outdoor setting for both leaders and participants.

We invite students, practitioners, and academics to submit proposals for one or more of the following workshop categories. All session proposals should be 15 minute, 30 minute, 60 minute or up to 3 hours for practical sessions.

*Presenters are expected to present in person and that they will need to register at the discounted conference presenter rate on the conference registration page.

Presentation Categories

General Sessions

The General Sessions allow for engaging and interactive exploration of evidence-based ideas, research, and practices within the WEA 6+1 curriculum. We encourage submissions related to the 2024 conference theme "Finding True North: Guiding Wilderness Education with Intentionality". These sessions require engaging facilitators equipped with high-impact visuals and experiential techniques to challenge attendees in knowledge and skill development. These sessions tend to appeal to a more general audience with thought-provoking and research-supported insights and applications. (60 minutes)

Practical Sessions

Student-centered, problem-based, experiential, and collaborative (SPEC) sessions rooted in practical experience, e.g., demonstrating an innovative method for teaching snow shelters, or maintaining XC skis, or kitchen setup in the winter. Share your expertise with implementing high-quality, SPEC learning moments in the outdoor classroom. Preference is given to those proposals with a clear emphasis on transferable leadership and educational skills. (60-180 minutes)

Research Sessions

The Research Sessions may include accepted oral and poster presentations (or you are welcome to do both) that focus on empirical and conceptual research in the area of outdoor leadership training and development. A designated time will be scheduled for poster displays. Presenters will have 15 minutes to present their research, followed by five minutes of questions. A typical abstract submitted will include a literature review, statement of purpose/need for the study, methods used, results, discussion, and references. Data analysis does not need to be completed by the submission deadline but is expected to be completed by the final abstract submission date prior to the conference. (15 minutes)

Student Sessions

The Student Sessions at the WEA conference are an ideal time for students to design and deliver a workshop to other students and conference attendees in a warm and friendly environment. The Student Session Block is a dedicated time for students to get comfortable presenting personal experiences on WEA courses or in outdoor leadership academic programs, or insights for improving training and leadership development from their perspective. (15 minutes)

Pre- or Post-Conference Workshops

Occurring before or after regular conference programming, these workshops are a space for concentrated learning and experiences with specific and tangible outcomes, i.e., certifications, other credentialing, organizational training, etc. Pre- and post-conference workshop providers are not required to attend the conference and are thus not required to register for the conference.

Please note that preference will be given to speaker presentations that:

  • Align with the conference theme: Finding True North: Guiding Wilderness Education with Intentionality 
  • Focus on the following topics: WEA 6+1 curriculum; Innovative Approaches to Outdoor Skill Development; Overall Health in the Outdoors; Inclusive and Mindful Wilderness Education; Safety, Risk Management, and Environmental Stewardship; Leadership, Team Building, and Mindful Communication
  • Emphasize leadership, educational skills, and developing judgment 
  • Incorporate stories, examples, case studies, and best practices

Reviewing Presentations

A team of volunteers will complete blind reviews of proposals and make recommendations to the Conference Leadership Team. Presenters whose proposals are accepted will be notified as quickly as possible. Presenters will receive Early Bird pricing for registration regardless of the time of notification or registration.

The WEA 2024 International Conference on Outdoor Leadership is built on the work of people like you: professional educators and practitioners dedicated to developing outdoor leaders who make quality decisions based on good judgment.

Wilderness Education Association, Inc.
151 NC Highway 9, Ste B, Box 136
Black Mountain, NC 28711

© 2021 Wilderness Education Association, Inc.

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