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Welcome • Mission • History


ELA-logo-black-tag.v2 720-291-6390 or 720-470-2313

Thank you for taking the time to learn about Experiential Learning Associates. Our MISSION is to connect people to the wonders and workings of the natural world while developing community, scientific knowledge and an environmental stewardship ethic. We are a community-based group of educators who believe that the best teacher is experience followed by reflection and group discussion. CONNECTION BEFORE CONTENT. We build relationships FIRST. We weave in fun and adventure while creating meaningful learning opportunities.

Experiential Learning Associates grew out of our love of the natural world and desire to work with students and teachers. As William O. Douglas said best, I learned that adventure calls on all of the faculties of mind, body and spirit.

We have been partners in delivering environmental and outdoor education programs for over 30 years. Our journey began in northeast Ohio and led us to Colorado. Together we developed a successful wilderness camp and urban environmental/outdoor classroom program that served over 2000 youth and connected them to the wonders and workings of our planet. Our journeys combine science, community and challenge – just the right blend of ingredients for an engaging learning adventure. We believe that youth have the imagination and energy to spark new ventures, whether it be a lemonade stand or silk screen business. Experiencing the power to design and run your own company is one sustainable solution we believe is a great way to increase young people’s self-esteem, business sense and independence as well as solve some of the current economic challenges.

We bring a heart-centered awareness and process approach to education. Community building and connecting through spirit is inherent in all that we do. Risk management and safety takes precedent in each and every program. We have been trained and mentored by such esteemed organizations as Outward Bound, Outdoor Leadership Training Seminars, National Outdoor Leadership School, Wilderness Medical Institute, Project Adventure, Adventure Experiences, Yellowstone Association Institute and various others wonderful people and programs.

We proudly acknowledge our history with CU Science Discovery when we first began running wilderness trips for kids in 1989. Our goal was simple. And our mission remains: To connect kids to the natural world and building a caring community while traveling together to unique wilderness areas. Here is one comment from recent research by Corrie Colvin Williams, PhD.

“Emily was a repeated participant in the wilderness camps over much of her adolescence, often participating in multiple trips within one summer. While the wilderness camps instilled in her a love for the natural world, she spoke often of the people involved in the program. She spoke of how, over the course of a week, a very special bond was formed among the entire group, mentors and campers alike.”

“Amazingly well organized, planned, staffed, managed, etc. My kids benefited so much from their experiences, all I can do is thank you a million times over for all your help over the years!” Parent of 2 teenagers

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