Environmental Quality Protection, Beautification

Wilderness Education Association

We have standards

aka WEA

Dresden, OH

Mission

To promote the professionalism of outdoor education and leadership by establishing standards through curriculum design, implementation, advocacy, and research-driven initiatives.

Notes from the Nonprofit

Experiences in wild, outdoor places provide powerful opportunities for learning and personal growth, improved health and wellness, and learning and enjoyment. The Wilderness Education Association believes such moments of adventure in nature are deepened when facilitated by a professional outdoor leader. As the demand and need for outdoor recreation opportunities in the U.S. increases, professional outdoor leaders will become even more essential for sustaining those wild places and ensuring quality wilderness experiences for everyone. The WEA and its members believe the most effective leaders are motivated, academically prepared, professionally evaluated, and bound by industry codes of ethics. Today, the WEA sets standards for outdoor leadership education and accreditation; provides curriculum and assessment for outdoor leadership training and development; and offers credentials to individual leaders and educators.

Ruling Year

2014

National Office Administrator

Kevin Earhart Sutton

Main Address

WEA National Office PO Box 601

Dresden, OH 43821 USA

Keywords

outdoor leadership, judgment, decision-making, certification

EIN

83-0245256

 Number

4099031227

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Environmental Education and Outdoor Survival Programs (C60)

Professional Societies, Associations (N03)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990-N.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2017, 2016 and 2015.
Register now

Social Media

Blog

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve

Experiences in wild, outdoor places provide powerful opportunities for learning and personal growth, improved health and wellness, and learning and enjoyment. The Wilderness Education Association (WEA) believes such moments of adventure in nature are deepened when facilitated by a professional outdoor leader. As the demand and need for outdoor recreation opportunities in the U.S. increases, professional outdoor leaders will become even more essential for sustaining those wild places and ensuring quality wilderness experiences for everyone. The WEA and its members believe the most effective leaders are motivated, academically prepared, professionally evaluated, and bound by industry codes of ethics. The founders of the WEA emphasized the one hallmark of outdoor leadership: applying sound judgment to make decisions that work. To that end, the WEA aims to continue to professionalize the career of outdoor leadership and to provide a membership organization that supports professionals.

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Certified Outdoor Leader

Certified Outdoor Educator

Outdoor Leadership Training Course

Membership

Where we work

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have they accomplished so far and what's next?

The WEA has several aims - to professionalize the field of outdoor leadership; - to maintain published standards informed by current practice and research in the field; - to offer certificates, certifications, accreditation, and registry recognizing standard levels of skill and performance; - to nurture a community of researchers, practitioners, and students in the field of outdoor leadership; and - to offer professional development and service opportunities to members. Ultimately, the WEA remains committed to driving the standardization of our profession forward. We will continue to advocate for an outdoor industry in the United States that 1) supports standards and credentials for outdoor leadership, and 2) recognizes outdoor leadership and education as professional occupations.

Since 1977, thousands of WEA instructors, students, apprentices, and members have used the WEA curriculum to influence numerous outdoor programs that develop authentic leaders who are equipped with the judgment to manage risk, protect the environment, and achieve the objectives of the experience. Today, the WEA sets standards for outdoor leadership education and accreditation; provides curriculum and assessment for outdoor leadership training and development; and offers credentials to individual leaders and educators. The WEA remains committed to driving the standardization of our profession forward through advocacy and training.

Through our membership and collaborations and strategic relationships with similar organizations, we represent many of the professionals in university training settings as well as leaders of programs offering outdoor leadership. We maximize a small budget relying on the commitment and time of our members to update standards, to review each other's work, and to recognize each other's competence as demonstrated in professional profiles. We maintain relationships with outstanding professionals in law, non-profit management, business practices, accounting, and branding and continue to pursue other relationships.

Listed are several benchmarks the Board considers indicators of progress: - The number of university and academic programs that adopt the WEA Curriculum and Standards for their programs continues to grow, as do the total number of credentials awarded. - We monitor job descriptions posted in areas of outdoor leadership to see an increase in the frequency of WEA credentials being identified as required or preferred qualifications. - Our membership numbers grow and lower-level memberships transition into professional and organizational memberships. Members persist and continue to renew. - Our scholarship funds are fully endowed and effectively administered to assist in professional development. - Our Board Of Directors grows to include more representatives of a diverse skill set supporting the entirety of the work of the Association. - Our Fundraising efforts produce useful income that can be efficiently gathered and effectively administered to addressing developing special needs.

In the last 5 years, the Board of Directors resolved to review and revise standards for our different products. As an Association, we have gathered representatives from across the industry for an Accreditation Summit and applied the feedback and direction received. The Standards Working Group was established to specifically attack the tasks associated with reviewing and revising the established WEA Curriculum and Standards; the volunteers in this group continue to develop further resources and help educators utilizing the standards in their own programs. An additional credential, the Certified Outdoor Leader, was created to serve those emerging professionals caught in the gap between hobbyists receiving Outdoor Leadership Training Course certificates and established professionals receiving Certified Outdoor Educator credentials. Established professionals can now access a simplified and standardized entry pathway to gain credentials as Certified Outdoor Educators in recognition of their demonstrated skills. As many changes occurred in our products, our outreach committee updated our website and social media to facilitate improved access to information and updated content. As we move forward, the Association has plans to publish updated manuals and curriculum guides with the revised Standards and course administration processes. We continue to refine our communication with members and stakeholders, building beneficial relationships with other professional organizations, and intentionally locating and planning our major conference events. The Board has identified additional funding sources to support increasing our professional staff and to fund special strategic investments including branding, consulting, and other services. Ultimately, we continue to do the work of the membership and reassess throughout.

How We Listen

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

Source: Self-reported by organization

the feedback loop
check_box We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
check_box We shared information about our current feedback practices.
How is the organization collecting feedback?
We regularly collect feedback through: electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), community meetings/town halls, suggestion box/email.
How is the organization using feedback?
We use feedback to: to identify and remedy poor client service experiences, to make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, to identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, to strengthen relationships with the people we serve.
With whom is the organization sharing feedback?
We share feedback with: the people we serve, our staff, our board.
What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?
It is difficult to: it is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, we don’t have the right technology to collect and aggregate feedback efficiently, staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time, it is hard to come up with good questions to ask people, it is difficult to identify actionable feedback.
What significant change resulted from feedback
We received significant feedback that one of our processes was unwieldy and daunting. We established a working group to review the standards and established improved systems. We continue to utilize focus groups to test the updated processes. One of the people initially so frustrated that she left, was willing to talk to us about the specific struggles, she participated in a focus group, and now has renewed her involvement for her home organization, AND she is now serving as an elected board member to help us continue the positive move forward.

External Reviews

Affiliations & Memberships

Wilderness Education Association Japan 2013

Photos

Financials

Wilderness Education Association

Need more info on this nonprofit?

Need more info on this nonprofit?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2017, 2016 and 2015
  • A Pro report is also available for this organization.

See what's included

Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Need more info?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2017, 2016 and 2015
  • A Pro report is also available for this organization.

See what's included

Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

Yes

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Not Applicable

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

No

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

Yes

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?

Yes

Organizational Demographics

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? This organization has voluntarily shared information to answer this important question and to support sector-wide learning. GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 04/20/2020

Leadership

No data

Race & Ethnicity

No data

Gender Identity

Sexual Orientation

No data

Disability

No data