February 7th marks our 5th year anniversary as a legal entity. 2017 was an incredibly fruitful year for AAII’s growth! Many of you attended the 2017 AAII Conference in Vienna, and contributed to the working groups for standards, the accreditation process, and the guidance notes.
After two of our United States member organizations gave the accreditation process a trial, we realized there was some clarifications and adjustments to be made. Our board member working group is now in the final phase of revisions, so our USA test members can try it again. Once we successfully complete our accreditation documents, then we will be ready for the on-site visit portion of accreditation. This is big news around the world as there are very few international governing bodies that are represented, developed by and agreed upon by so many member countries.
YOU, our members, make this all possible and worthwhile! YOU make a difference in the lives of students, patients, clients, healthcare and human service providers, and the dogs who serve them all. YOU have driven this process from our infancy until now. And we will continue to be a member driven organization that is dedicated to the practice of all types of animal assisted interventions. We take great pride that our members help develop our structure.
We look forward to the new year as our 2018 AAII Conference will be in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA on August 16th (Member Development Meeting), with the actual conference being on the 17th & 18th. Our conference will be just before the Assistance Dogs International Conference, August 19th-23rd, also in Minneapolis. One of AAII’s Affiliate Members, Pet Partners, will also be inviting organizations from outside the US to become evaluators for their incredible volunteer visiting organization on the 19th as they expand to offer Pet Partners internationally. A lot of teaching and learning opportunities will be happening in Minnesota in August 2018! We will send out a call for presenters in the next few weeks.
Thank you for all for your input, your membership, and your passion in further developing and strengthening animal assisted interventions around the globe. Cheers to the new year at AAII, may we all stand united and strong! I can’t wait to see what the new year brings, and to see you at the conference! Happy 5th Anniversary AAII!
Melissa Winkle, OTR/L, FAOTA
President, Animal Assisted Intervention International