There is a new structural twist for the spring session in that it is an Adventure Week of 5 contiguous days during April vacation. (In the fall of 2015 we plan on returning to weekends spanning several months as a regular offering, with week longs every spring.)
Every day is different and ranges from caving and climbing to hiking, nature skills/connection and general woods tromping. We are excited to spend a week with these crews of local kids. The single-gender format provides a powerful vehicle for personal transformation, including the courage to be bold in new ways and the potential to create deep and lasting friendships. We had so much fun in past years building forts in the woods, descending into caves and having amazing conversations together.
See our Wild Hearted Programs tab for more details and to register. We so look forward to playing in the wilds with you!
“In a surprise, the City Council of Carson, California, rejected an ordinance aimed at making the Los Angeles suburb the nation’s first zero-tolerance place for bullies. The measure would have been the nation’s toughest piece of anti-bullying legislation, but was defeated Tuesday night after sailing through a reading and vote by the full Council earlier this month. The second and final step was viewed to be a formality, after the measure received strong support from Councilmembers in a May 6 preliminary vote.”
I have to admit, when I first saw this piece I felt disappointment; how could something designed to keep young people physically and emotionally safe be rejected?
But, then I read the article and the natural complexity of the situation started to emerge: “Opponents took issue with what they said was vague language and the overly-broad definition of bullying…’The biggest issue you deal with is always ‘he said, she said…’”
Of course, this issue also brings to the forefront the difficulty and possible ineffectiveness of trying to solve a problem with punishment rather than rehabilitation or reeducation; it’s akin to ‘treating’ the symptom rather than the cause.
To read the full story, visit MSNBC.
And visit our website to learn more about Adventure In Adventure Out’s growing anti-bullying program You Belong, a bold and transformative program that engages students and teachers in the creation of a physically and emotionally safe environment where courageous action is encouraged, and the true expression of each person is welcomed and celebrated.
We switched our AIAO Outing Club days to Sundays and are glad that we did. This past Sunday, we had 11 people join us for an eastern Holyoke Range traverse. The day was quite chilly and the trails were icy. Max & Luna, two canine friends, joined us as well. They made fast friends and their perpetual play was a joy to watch.
We paused along the way at the Norwottuck overlook, the Horse Caves and Rattlesnake Knob to enjoy snacks, tea and each other’s company. Some of us were focused at times on the natural history of the area, quizzing each other on tree i.d., exploring a porcupine den, scat on the trail, slug trails on birch, hickory nuts fed on by squirrel, and pileated woodpecker scat full of the exoskeletons of dozens of ants.
As the snow thaws, we have plans to visit local caves, get out on the river and bike the newly opened dirt roads in the Quabbin for some mountain biking. We look forward to further fun and exploration together, as we continue to build the AIAO community.
Happy Trails! James McNaughton
A recent article in the LA Times citing the journal JAMA Pediatrics addresses the hard and intuitive truth that bullied children are more likely to consider and attempt suicide.
And, in tragic confirmation of this fact, we now have the story of Michael Morones. Bullied so severely, Michael attempted to end his life by hanging himself, but being unsuccessful he is now “being treated for potentially lifelong neurological injuries caused by a lack of oxygen. [His mother] said they don’t know how much he will recover or when, if ever.”
“The world has developed stereotypes for our children, and when our children don’t fit these gender and sexist stereotypes they’re ostracized, ridiculed and bullied…Our society is no longer building up our children and setting them up for success, only tearing them down.”
The full story can be found here.
And, if you’re as passionate as we are about working to address bullying, or if you’d like to speak with us about setting up an anti-bullying workshop, check out Adventure In, Adventure Out’s program You Belong.
The field and office staff at Adventure In, Adventure Out are always trying to find the most effective ways to transform groups of individuals into effective teams that have the potential to thrive in any situation. Intriguingly, we regularly find ourselves coming back to the work of Bruce Tuckman.
Introduced in the mid-60s, Tuckman’s Stages of Group Development have remained relevant, and continue to serve outdoor educators and team builders of all kinds. They are: Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing. Other stages, like Adjourning, have been added to his model as well.
To dive deeper into this effective tool, and to learn how the stages relate to each other, check out this article by the University of Washington. And for more information on our team-building offering for both schools and businesses/organizations check out Adventure In, Adventure Out’s website.
For the first time this season we had an entire day of wet, cold and wind – we were well prepared for it. With the roof of our fort in place, the boys put the last touches on their fire pit and spent the day baking bread, roasting apples and playing games in (relative) warmth and comfort.
Instructor Chickadee brought his wood burning kit for the boys and they took turns drawing the tracks associated with the animal names that they were given at the beginning of the program. Once completed, these will be made a permanent part of our quickly growing outdoor camp.
The Sunday group has also constructed a shelter of their own! More primitive in nature, the boys researched and decided upon a traditional tipi style home. We used saws and knives to fell small saplings while instructor Coyote revealed his background in forestry to teach the boys how to harvest trees in a way that wouldn’t damage the overall health of the forest. We have been sworn to secrecy not to tell you where our new scout camp is but from how soundly it was constructed, it is clearly going to be home to many generations of Wild Hearts to come.
Construction of atlatls (top picture), a type of primitive spear launcher, also begun last week but it was a little too chilly to finish the job. Near the end of the day, a few of the boys discovered how to harden clay around the fire which, when we saw how fantastically clay explodes after hitting a target, led to the inevitable conversation of slingshots. It seems fairly clear what the boys are going to want to do this weekend although we will try not to ‘project’ too much into what the day is going to look like.
This week’s adventure took us out to Lake Wyola where the boys were presented with a challenge. Upon arrival at the boat launch they were given their rafts – several piles of two by fours, boards, drills and screws. Breaking up into teams, the boys used their previously acquired skills in fort building to construct two pontoon-style water crafts that they would then captain across the lake.
After lunch on the water, the two rafts split off for separate adventures. One group went and explored the far side of the lake while the other stayed more local and checked out the marshy area. One boy reported seeing around eight turtles by the end of the day.
The boys also found a small island which hosted a fairly active river otter scent post. Otter island, as it was promptly named, was quickly claimed by the Wild Hearted Boys. From what the boys were saying, the island would currently have a flag on it had there been one available. It is unknown how the otters feel about this.
Throughout the day the boys sang songs, invented sea-faring battle chants, fished, got soaking wet trying to catch turtles, ambushed each other on the high seas and took turns captaining their respective rafts. Come the days end, we efficiently deconstructed our vessels the way we made them. Hopefully all the boys will have regained their land legs by the next time we meet.