2024 Regional Wilderness Therapy Symposium Call for Proposals

The call for proposals will open October 1st, 2023.

Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Council (OBH Council) is pleased to announce the Call for Proposals for the Regional Wilderness Therapy Symposium.

We’re excited to be returning to Asheville for another year.

The Symposium will take place on Wednesday, March 20th to Friday, March 22nd in Asheville (venue to be announced soon!).

Over the past year, we’ve been more intentional and leaning into conversations so we can learn what best supports those who turn to outdoor behavioral healthcare as well as those who do the work in this field.

Topics we’ve encouraged this past year have been around:

  • Government relations and legislative updates at the state and federal level
  • Preventing burnout in staff and retention
  • Mental health first aid for staff
  • Trauma-informed care and leading with compassion and empathy
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion in the field of OBH including:
    • Gender and gender expression
    • Lived experiences among cultures
    • The spectrum of neurodiversity beyond ASD
    • Financial access
    • Ways to better support racial diversity (proper hair products, bandaids that are representative of skin, etc)
    • Generational trauma and differences in how mental health is communicated
    • Individual perspectives:
      • Families and individuals living with autism and their experience in wilderness programs
  • How to be collaborative when the business of OBH feels competitive?
  • Public health perspectives of mental health
  • The intersection of mental health, public health, accessible care
  • Continuum of care
  • Application of skills developed in wilderness to daily life
  • Risk management
  • Working with specific mental and/or behavioral health conditions
  • Attachment-based care
  • How has the pandemic affected the support clients and families need and receive
  • Ethics of transport

If you are interested in presenting a workshop or presentation for the Regional Wilderness Therapy Symposium (regardless if the topic is on the list), please read the instructions below and then fill in the proposal form on our website.

Please remember to keep your proposal clear and concise.

Below is the timeline for this proposal cycle:

Applications open: Sunday, Oct 1st, 2023

Submission deadline: Extended to Friday, January 5th, 2024

Notification of acceptance at latest: Friday, January 12th, 2024

All proposals will be thoroughly reviewed by our Proposal Review Committee on a rolling basis. We generally receive between 50 to 60 proposals per conference, and reviewing in this way will allow committee members to produce timely feedback and ask additional questions if necessary. Thank you in advance for your patience with this selection process.

Workshop Proposal Instructions

The Wilderness Therapy Symposium (WTS) consists of interactive presentations, speakers and outdoor workshops. It brings a diverse cross-section of professionals under one roof to share theories, insights and best practices in an open spirit. The Symposium offers a place to explore, inform, and educate one another on a diverse range of topics all centering on various concepts and applications of wilderness therapy.

Audience

Instead of track labels, we ask you to consider the audience for your presentation. Often non-clinical staff may believe a clinical presentation isn’t appropriate for them even though those skills can be applied in a non-clinical way. We want all attendees to build the skills and learn what they believe will support them best now and as their career grows. Please select the audiences that you feel best fits your workshop topic.

Resumes

You must submit an updated resume for ALL presenters that are associated with your workshop.  Resumes are needed for our CE certification process and your proposal will not be considered complete until we receive all resumes.

Your resume must include:

  • Title and organization or company
  • All education including degree (BS/BA, MS/MA, etc.), major or program, institution, graduation year
  • Kind of license or certification along with license or certification number and state of awarded license

Presentation and Workshop Length

The WTS is accepting proposals for workshops that are 1.5 and 3 hours long. This year's conference will follow a robust schedule, with a kickoff event on Wednesday and workshops held on Thursday and Friday. The Symposium will close Friday at lunch with our traditional Closing ceremony.

1.5 hours: This presentation length is a perfect opportunity to allow participants exposure to various concepts, research, and ideas. These presentations occur indoors.

3 hours: This longer, three-hour time frame is ideal for experiential interactive presentations. Presenters will have enough time to share in-depth information and allow for extensive participation by the attendees. These presentations can occur indoors or outdoors on the hotel grounds.

Presenter Registration

We want to thank you for dedicating your time to your craft, the field and to us. We know that you've worked hard to get where you are and sharing your knowledge is a gift. To show our appreciation, The top two presenters will receive free registration to WTS regardless of OBH Council membership status.

We look forward to seeing you in Asheville. Your participation–be it as a presenter, attendee or volunteer–is valued immensely.

Click here to begin your proposal
If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact us at info@obhcouncil.org