Texas Outdoor Education Association
"Making the World our Classroom" since 1979

About TOEA



Mission of TOEA

The TOEA shall be an organization of individuals and groups with a common interest in outdoor education working toward the attainment of an appreciation, understanding and wise use of the total environment by all people.


TOEA Board of Directors

Past-President Keira Quam past.president@toea.org

President Kenneth Pyle president@toea.org

President-Elect Sandy Kimbrough president.elect@toea.org

VP - Financial Jo Ann Winston finance@toea.org

VP - Membership Sally McAfee membership@toea.org

VP - Public Relations Patty Donaldson public.relations@toea.org

Recording Secretary Caity Martin recording.secretary@toea.org
History of TOEA

 

In July 1974, Ewell Sessom, Director of Health, Physical Education and Recreation of the Texas Education Agency (TEA), formulated a plan around his vision that every student, before graduating from public schools in Texas, would have had an outdoor experience, an opportunity to learn something about the environment, an opportunity to learn something about how the world exists, and how to survive in the outdoors.  The first Outdoor Adventure workshop in Texas was held at Baylor Camp.  There were forty (40) people in attendance.  They did their own cooking during a cold, but productive first workshop.  Six small workshops sponsored by TEA, including the first one at Camp Baylor, were held from 1974 through 1978 at various locations around the state. 


The role for continuing outdoor education in public schools was entrusted to TOEA as Mr. Sessom became more involved in other programs in TEA in 1978 when he organized the last TEA workshop.

 

In 1979 Mr. Sessom contacted the superintendent at Corsicana and was given the name of a young teacher named John Fortner who had surfaced as an instructor and started an outdoor education program at his school.  John and Ewell organized the TOEA first workshop at the H.E. Butt Foundation Camp.  The Dallas Safari Club funded the majority of the cost of that workshop.  There were ninety six (96) in attendance at this first TOEA workshop.  From that workshop came the dream for a statewide outdoor education association, and a long relationship with the Dallas Safari Club, Houston Safari Club and Game Conservation International (Game COIN).


Neither sleet nor snow could discourage the determined people who attended the organizational meeting in Waco on February 17, 1979 to share ideas and plans for the formation of an outdoor education association.  Those in attendance included James Boyce, Vicky Christenson, John Fortner, Dr. Buddy Gilchrest, Ray Goodman, Dr. James Kroll, Susie Kroll, Dr. Mike Legg, Dr. Mickey Little, Patsy Martin, Lillian Morava, Milton Payne, Dave Wilkie, Jean Wilkie and Pat York.


At this meeting a name was selected, TOEA; an executive board was elected to plan for the 1979 state workshop; a committee was appointed to draft a constitution and bylaws; and plans for a newsletter were made.

 

The first Executive Board of the TOEA was:

            President – John Fortner

            President Elect – James Boyce

            Vice President for Membership – Dr. Mickey Little

            Vice President for Finance – Dave Wilkie

            Recording Secretary – Patsy Martin

            Corresponding Secretary – Vicky Christeson


John and Ewell organized the TOEA first workshop at the H. E. Butt Foundation Camp. The Dalas Safari Club funded the majority of the cost of the first workshop. From that workshop came the dream for a statewide outdoor education association. Initial funding came from organizations including the Dallas Safari Club, Houston Chaper of the Safari Club International and Houston Conservation International (COIN) Club through a series of grants. By 1989, TOEA became self-supporting and has hosted at least one and sometimes two or more outdoor education workshops at the H. E. Butt Foundation Camp, which has been the home to that workshop all but one year since 1979. 


The 1979 workshop is considered the official beginning of the Texas Outdoor Education Association.  In the years that followed several committees were formed and worked to develop a constitution and bylaws, policies and procedures manual, workshop manual and financial policies.  In 1984 the first Constitution and Bylaws were adopted as were the first Policies and Procedures Manual.  In 1987 TOEA was granted tax exempt status as a 501 (c) (3) organization by the Internal Revenue Service.

 


In 2004 TOEA celebrated its Silver Anniversary as an association while our host, the H.E. Butt Foundation, celebrated its Golden Anniversary.  TOEA has, is and will continue to be the leader in the State of Texas for outdoor education.

 

The mission of TOEA was clearly stated in the preamble to the Constitution adopted in 1984 and continues to provide direction for the future:

 

“The TOEA shall be an organization of individuals and groups with a common interest in outdoor education working toward the attainment of an appreciation, understanding and wise use of the total environment by all people.”

Keira Quam
Kenneth Pyle
Sally McAfee
Jo Ann Winston
Patty Donaldson
Ewell Sessom 1926-2012
John Fortner