Vertical Playpen show

Vertical Playpen

Summary: Join the staff at High 5 as they explore the many components of Adventure and Experiential education. High 5 Adventure Learning Center is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to helping individuals, teams, schools, communities and businesses improve the way they live, learn and work together. Connect with us at

Join Now to Subscribe to this Podcast


 Adventure Program Safety and Risk Management Considerations | Bob Ryan | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 01:06:35

Bob Ryan (Director of Safety and Risk Management at Project Adventure) chats with Chris Damboise (Director of Training and Team Development at High 5) about his introduction to the adventure industry, his work with writing standards and his program recommendations based on his risk management experience.

 The Challenge Course Certification Process | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 29:48

Chris, Lisa and Phil talk about High 5's ACCT certification process including how to prepare, why you might want a certification, what the process looks like, and common pitfalls we see as examiners. Chris also introduces the concept of Education - Preparation - Illumination - Certification.

 Art and Experiential Education | Adam Ames (Type A) | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 46:55

In this episode, Phil and Jim are joined by Adam Ames (Type A) to discuss his experience being trained by Jim, the impact it had on him and the visual art piece that resulted from their experiences. Check out Type A's Team building (Align) here -

 Risk Homeostasis | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 33:55

Lisa and Phil discuss the concept of Risk Homeostasis Theory and how it presents itself in adventure programming and challenge course operations. Books referenced in this episode are: Target Risk by Gerald J. S. Wilde - download a free digital copy here: The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande

 AEE (Association for Experiential Education) | Sherry Bagley | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 35:33

Sherry Bagley (AEE Executive Director) discusses her journey to leading AEE, all of the great ways to volunteer for the organization and the future of experiential education. The upcoming AEE International Virtual Conference info can be found here:

 The Experiential Thinking Practitioner | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 18:16

Chris, Lisa and Phil discuss a concept that is a large part of High 5 trainings and also features in some of our books; The Thinking Practitioner. It can be applied to both challenge course operation as well as adventure activities and leads to more confident and competent practitioners.

 The History of Outdoor Education | Hutch Hutchinson | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 44:24

Hutch Hutchinson (Senior Lecturer at Boston University Questrom School of Business) shares his road to working in Experiential Education, his love of the AEE community and the history of Outdoor Education based on his dissertation "Crafting an Outdoor Classroom: The Nineteenth Century Roots of the Outdoor Education Movement".

 Cultural Immersion Experiences | Katherine Conway | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 29:05

Katherine Conway (AMIGOS) discusses the importance of experiencing different cultures, conflict resolution strategies and gap year programming. Find more about AMIGOS here:

 Neurochemicals at Play | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 13:16

In this episode Phil discusses the 4 primary neurochemicals that elicit happiness; Endorphins, Dopamine, Serotonin and Oxytocin, as well as activities that you can use with your participants to help participants experience them. Disclaimer: Phil is not a neuroscientist.

 What Inspired You To Become An Educator? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 10:43

In this special episode we reached out to educators and asked them "What Inspired You To Become An Educator?" This is an inspirational and moving compilation of some of their responses. Thank you to all educators!

 Outdoor Education | Ross Cannon | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 38:17

Ross (Hulbert Outdoor Center) sat down with Phil to discuss the "magic" of working in outdoor education, making an impact on clients and relating to the mission of the organizations you work for. Learn more about Hulbert here:

 Finding Pinecones | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 12:52

In this episode Phil reads a blog he wrote back in 2018 titled "Finding Pinecones" which highlights the importance of being flexible with your agenda, reading your group's needs and enjoying the small moments.

 Children's Mental Health | Scott Bryant-Comstock | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 52:19

Scott, founder and CEO of the Children's Mental Health Network discusses the importance of advocacy and connection, gives some advice to educators regarding student mental health and shares what gives him hope for the future of child and family services. You can find more about CMHN and Scott here:

 Welcome to Vertical Playpen! | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 02:01

Welcome to Vertical Playpen! The podcast all about Adventure and Experiential Education! Join us as we interview experts in our field and give tips and advice utilizing our decades of experience. If you are an educator in any way, this is the podcast for you. Thanks for listening!

 Michelle Cummings - Training Wheels | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 46:40

Michelle joins Phil (while at the ACCT conference) to discuss how she got her start in experiential education, the importance of making connections and her parenting advice on coping with a world full of screens. Find her website full of resources here:


Login or signup comment.