The Association for Outdoor Recreation Education (AORE) held its 21st Annual Conference this past weekend in Asheville, North Carolina and Recreational / Technical Tree Climbing was there to present itself. Held on the University of North Carolina / Asheville campus, the conference attracted several hundred outdoor recreation students and professionals from across the country and those people now have our activity on their radar.
A recreational tree climbing pre-conference workshop was held on Wednesday, October 31, and sixteen students and professionals were on hand and registered for the workshop to see what we had to show. Wild Bill, Beth Sayers, Daryl Essensa,and I began the workshop with an introductory climb using DRT that allowed everyone there to get up into the large white oak that we were using in the campus forest. After the DRT climb, the rest of the day was spent demonstrating basic SRT, multiple-pitch climbs, and use of the PACT system for adaptive climbing. Tree Boats, portaledges, and skychairs were also demonstrated and quite a few of the participants spent time relaxing in the tree. Everyone went away from the pre-conference workshop excited and quite a few were heard to comment that they didnt know that tree climbing was like this. Several of them have already confessed that they have been converted and will be in touch to learn more.
The core-conference began on Thursday morning, running through Saturday, and tree climbing was again on the program for a Saturday morning in-house presentation. For that one I had Hunabku there to help with a short talk on informal non-program climbing, and Beth Sayers and Daryl Essensa from Georgia College and State University to talk about formal programmed climbing. After a thirty minute talk and powerpoint presentation I turned the presentation over to Hunabku, Beth, and Daryl. Following that was question-and-answer. There were fifty four people in the room and no one left early and no one went to sleep. The excitement was running high and everyone was crowding around the table after the meeting broke up to ask more questions. I expect to be receiving quite a few e-mails in the coming days.
I considered the whole thing a great success and I am still feeling pumped a day and a half later. I expect a number of these people to be appearing on our website in the near future, either just looking or actually showing up on the forum, and they have already been assured that their presence will be welcomed.
For more information about AORE and what they do, take a look at www.aore.org