Experiences in wild, outdoor places provide powerful opportunities for learning, personal growth, and improved health and wellness. 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. Since 1977, thousands of instructors and students have used the WEA curriculum to 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. 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.