Our 6th annual 3Ec Spring Conference will be held at the Jan Phillips Learning Center—a unique experiential learning space on The College School's LaBarque campus in Pacific, MO.

Have five or more people in your group? Your team is eligible for group rates and benefits! Click here to find out more.


- Conference Schedule April 4, 2020 -

8:00 am - 8:30 am    • • •    Registration and Light Breakfast

8:30 am - 9:00 am    • • •    Opening

9:00 am - 12:00 pm  • • •    Morning Workshops

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm  • • •    Lunch

1:00 pm - 4:00 pm    • • •    Afternoon Workshops

4:00 pm - 4:45 pm    • • •    Closing

5:00 pm - 7:00 pm    • • •    Community & Legends Dinner

7:00 pm - 10:00 pm  • • •    Evening Activities



The College Schools 28 acre LaBarque campus is home to The Jan Phillips Learning Center. It is designed to connect people with nature and advocate for a sustainability ethic for our region.  This 6,550 square foot complex, completed in December 2016, promotes The College School’s long held values of conservation and sustainability and serves as a regional headquarters for sustainable conversations, learning and inspiration.

After one year of use, the learning center will be certified Living Building Challenge, one of only 11 such structures in the world. Living Building Challenge is widely considered to represent the highest level of achievement in a green building rating system even above the better-known LEED certification.

Heart of Labarque Mystery Treasure Hunt

Hunting Season

Friday, April 3

9 am - 5 pm

Labarque Campus

- Lunch Included -

The Heart of LaBarque Mystery Treasure Hunt is based upon the concept of an Escape Room, but greatly expanded.  The challenges will not be contained in just one room, nor will they be completed in just one hour.  The team will be tasked with meeting both mental and physical challenges, finding clues and solving typical escape room conundrums like puzzles, codes, ciphers, navigation problems and lateral thinking puzzles that will be spread out over the entire 28 acres of the LaBarque campus.  The goal of this event is for the team to ultimately work together effectively to retrieve the ‘jewel’ that lies hidden somewhere on the LaBarque property in Pacific, Missouri.


Moderate foot travel over the LaBarque campus will be involved.

Lunch will be provided.

Please wear appropriate clothing for April’s changeable weather conditions.    

Labarque Campus History

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In 2011, The College School purchased 28 acres of property in the LaBarque Watershed near Pacific, MO. It is a rich place for experiential, hands-on, inquiry-based learning and our headquarters for learning beyond the classroom. 

Named in honor of former Head of School Jan Phillips, the learning center was built according to Living Building Challenge (LBC) standards, which are considered to represent the highest level of achievement in a green building rating system.


The Jan Phillips Learning Center serves as the base of ecological and scientific studies, adventure education, and cultural, historic and arts projects that take place on this campus.

The learning center will be used to host conferences and workshops on experiential learning for teachers from schools throughout the St. Louis area as well as a site for students from local schools to visit and experience alongside students from The College School.



Morning Sessions

9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Managing Risk Through Instruction
Jon Richard and Jim Gender
Senior Guide, Founder, Educators, & Climbing Facilitators
Vertical Voyages
High ropes?  Climbing? Rappelling? How do you intentionally structure a program to keep students engaged and empowered rather than sitting on the sidelines waiting their turn?  In this clinic, Vertical Voyages instructors Jon Richard and Jim Gender will explore how to manage groups at the crag when top-roping and rappelling. The skills and tools covered in this clinic are internationally recognized best practices required of all certified AMGA Single-Pitch Instructors.   "The American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) is a 501(c)(3) educational non‐profit that is dedicated to supporting the American mountain guiding and climbing instructor community". You do not need prior climbing experience to benefit from these clinics. 
Finding Your Way
Carol Fitzsimmons, Bill Langton, Scott McClintock,
& Darel Shelton
Area Educators and Former Head of SLOC & USA Youth Orienteering
Learn the basics of orienteering and its application to the classroom in this hands-on session. Map and compass work challenges the mind, promotes problem solving and, of course, improves navigational strategies that are fun, active and engaging. This session will share lessons that can start in the classroom and will expand to an outdoor experience using the LaBarque Campus. Beginners are welcome as these experiences can be adapted to be used for your particular location and expertise level. Come take your learning in a new direction!
Facilitating Experiential Learning
Larry Jeude
Group Dynamics Facilitator and Consultant
Learn skills, techniques, and methodologies used by expert facilitators to develop effective group dynamics. This workshop will go beyond the traditional set of team-building activities to show you the why and how of strong experiential learning facilitation. Specifically, this workshop will use specific team building events to help illustrate concepts such as “The Ladder of Inference," "Observation and Inquiry," "Story telling as the model for meaningful reflection," and more. The most basic concept in creating effective teams is, "The only person you can change to make your team more effective is You." With that in mind, the presenters will model the use of selected activities that, through the reflection process, are designed to engage participants in meaningful dialogue and generate a process of critical self-examination. By the end of this workshop, you'll agree that new knowledge is created by reflecting on hands-on experiences--and you'll know how to begin your own journey into experiential learning facilitation and reflection. This is a part of a complete course in experiential facilitation skills. 
Afternoon Sessions

1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

The Illusion of Safety
Jon Richard and Jim Gender
Senior Guide, Founder, Educators, & Climbing Facilitators
Vertical Voyages
If you’ve been trained as a first-responder, you learned to declare the “scene safe” before addressing the emergency.  In reality the scene is never “safe” and the medical world has now recognized that “safety” is not so simple. Instead it is imperative that we become effective risk managers; able to not only identify risk, but manage risk as best we can and appropriately.  Emergency situations are inherently dangerous, and that is the commonality between the adventure industry and the medical industry’s approach to risk management. The rewards of adventure are often life-changing for people, and it’s not healthy to sit life out on the couch.  Over the past decade as the outdoor industry has grown many individuals and groups seek out professional organizations and guides to help facilitate their adventure. How do we as professionals manage the risks, while also giving people a valuable and comfortable experience?  Doing this well is an “art” that goes far beyond just managing physical risk. “Not killing anyone” is not an adequate standard and a very low bar that honestly should be easy to achieve. Certainly managing physical risk is important, but what about the emotional, sociological, psychological, cultural and the financial risks?  This session will dive into these risk categories and provide a framework that will help us create better and yes, safer programs for our participants.

1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Making Teaching From Community Input

Ellie Stevens, PhD.


Increasingly, our schools, cities, and communities prioritize input from diverse stakeholders as they develop new projects. But how do you make meaning from this input and respond to it, especially when it comes from children? Forest Park Forever is opening a 17-acre Nature Playscape in Forest Park in the Fall of 2020. This one-of-a-kind space was designed through a one-of-a-kind process that engaged youth across a wide range of communities and age groups. Participants in this workshop will get to interact with the engagement tools that we developed and used as they get inspiration for how to gather meaningful input from their own communities.

Recreate your Classroom as a Student-Centered Learning Team
Scott McClintock and Ed Maggart
Current and Former President, Experiential Education Exchange
In most academic classrooms, students are passive receptors of whatever information the teacher decides to share with them through lecture, worksheets, and reading. Students get good at figuring out what the teacher wants them to know, memorizing that information for a test or writing it in a paper, and then emptying that information out of their brain so they can repeat the cycle. Research shows that this model of student instruction leads to poor retention of content and skills over time. Further still,  students do not tend to change their understanding of the world based on what they have learned, they see little relevance to their daily lives, and they are much more likely to be bored and disengaged, become disciplinary problems, and skip school than in a classroom that operates as a student-centered learning team. What would it be like if students saw relevance in their work were involved in projects that were important to them and to others outside their classroom? What if you were their guide on a learning adventure every day? What if they didn’t want to miss school because they were a critical member of a learning team that was doing important work? Come to this workshop to find out how to transform your classroom into an experiential learning team! 

2:30 pm - 4:00 pm

River City and the Natural Learning Cycle

Matt Diller and Will Langton

Third Grade Teachers, The College School


Come create your own model city at Labarque -- and walk away with ideas for your classroom around place-based and play-based learning. The site of the 3Ec 2020 Conference is also host to The College School's River City--a model city created and run by Third Grade students and their teachers, Matt and Will. Both Matt and Will are joining us to lead a hands-on exploration of how and why River City springs to life every year. Then, teachers will work together to create their own model cities while addressing challenges around economy, ecology, and society.



- Second Annual -

Experiential Educators Hank Schafermeyer Award Presentation & Legends Community Building Dinner
We would like to invite you to help celebrate the Second Annual presentation of the Hank Schafermeyer Achievement Award. The award will be given at 4pm, and will be followed by a community building dinner designed to bring “legends” in the field together with people just starting out in experiential education.  It’s a chance to share stories, find a mentor or be one, and enjoy each other’s company! 
The dinner will be from 5 to 7pm followed by a campfire, local music and optional outdoor adventures. There is no charge!  


3Ec 2020 will take place at the Jan Phillips Learning Center at LaBarque:


4180 Doc Sargent Rd

Pacific, MO 63069

Parking is available on site.