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The Power of Outdoor Recreation w/Jeannette Stawski



The Power of Outdoor Recreation w/Jeannette Stawski

One of the few positive aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic was a renewed interest in outdoor exercise. Certainly, driven by necessity during that period of time, it has still persisted as a viable environment to engage a variety of individuals in various types of physical activity and exercise. Indeed, anyone who has any time being physically active outdoors knows the benefits extend far beyond just physical exertion. 

The unique benefits of movement outdoors, and more specifically, outdoor recreation, will be the topic of conversation with our guest in episode 96, Jeannette Stawski, the Executive Director of the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education (or AORE). In this discussion we’ll not only touch on the unique physical and mental health benefits of outdoor recreation, but we’ll also talk about it as a viable means for reducing accessibility barriers to being physically active.  

At the very core of this discussion is the need for fitness professionals to continue to push outside of their typical comfort zone of indoor exercise and consider how to leverage the outdoors as a “big green gym.” Beyond that, it is clear from this conversation with Jeannette that fit pros need to consider how they can best collaborate with the outdoor recreation sector to create synergistic relationships that foster greater health within local communities. 

Our Guest: Jeannette Stawski

Jeannette currently serves as the Executive Director of the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education [AORE] where she works with an international complement of outdoor professionals to develop and refine industry best practices and provide professional educational support.  Jeannette has a master’s in nonprofit administration, and a bachelor’s degree in resource policy and behavior from the University of Michigan.  Jeannette is also a Certified Executive Coach as well as Certified Association Executive [CAE]. Jeannette completed 11 years as the director of Outdoor Adventures at the University of Michigan. Prior to working for U of M, Jeannette worked for five summers as a professional outdoor guide. She has worked as an LNT Master Educator, NOLS instructor, instructor for the Wilderness Medicine Training Center, and EMT.   Jeannette serves as chair of the Coalition for Outdoor Access Steering Committee and on the Industry Advisory Board for OSU Center for the Outdoor Recreation Economy.  

Jeannette has been asked to write a book published by The Mountaineers, called "The Outdoor Leader.  Resilience, Integrity and Adventure".  Leadership is the focus of the book and it will center an experientially-informed how-to book covering core themes of outdoor leadership for today’s general outdoor recreationalist and takeaways for leading in any capacity.    It is targeted for publication in Spring of 2024.

Links from this Episode:

Participation Report - Outdoor Foundation

Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education [AORE]

Stanford researchers find mental health prescription: Nature

Nature has the power to increase happiness and reduce stress

The wellness benefits of the great outdoors

Here is what you can expect from the Outdoor Professional Conference:  AORE's premier professional development program provides a powerful mechanism for outdoor programmers and educators to invest in leadership development and build core competencies, learn about innovations and best practices, exchange research, and broaden awareness of challenges and opportunities in the industry. The annual conference is intentionally hosted during the shoulder season to ensure those we serve are able to access the knowledge they need to be successful year-round. Industry professionals, aspiring and emerging professionals as well as students join us each fall for our conference, which delivers a hefty number of educational hours, including inspiring keynotes, robust panel discussions, interactive workshops, and a research symposium.

Why with Athletic Business? AORE is here to serve our members, and best respond to a rapidly changing work environment, economy, and workplace. As we have watched our membership change and grow over the years, we have taken note of how we can best support the membership in being connected, empowered, and relevant. This partnership will give our members access to the same great networking opportunities and education you all know and love — but also expand opportunities with leadership and management. This will give attendees the opportunity to learn how to grow themselves - and the business of getting outside!