Earth Scouts! Program
COVID-19 and social distancing restrictions have challenged our organization’s ability to host educational events & safely connect with our community, leaving teachers, volunteers, and students isolated. More than half of the people we serve live in under-resourced and rural areas throughout Southern Oregon where poor internet access has plighted many from accessing virtual gatherings and educational materials. Many of the young people in our community are also struggling with mental and physical health during the pandemic with the decrease in human connection. As substance abuse and suicide rates double, we see a great need to uplift our valley’s youth.
Our new Earth Scouts! program, inspired by our late Board Member, Scout, will provide a safe outdoor educational experience specifically for teens and adults to heal from isolation and industrial culture. Through deepening relationships with themselves, each other, and the living earth, participants will build self confidence and trust in themselves and peers as they develop outdoor and rural living skills that they can depend on in uncertain times. Scout embodied what a community needed, and her compassion, humanity, and wilderness experiences are driving forces of this program.
We invite you to explore this life-changing opportunity to break free from societal distractions and pressures, improve physical and emotional wellness, connect with nature and community on a deeper level, and experience the freedom to align with one’s authentic self! Earth Scouts! is open to anyone 14 years or older living in or near the Illinois Valley of Southern Oregon. Currently we are in the process of program development, fundraising, and scheduling our upcoming 2021-2022 season. We are looking for teachers, participants, and volunteers who would like to be a part of this new program. To get involved, contact our Earth Scouts Coordinator, Shannon Long, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Through cycling with the four seasons, our curriculum allows participants to deepen their relationships with themselves, each other, and the earth. Our outdoor SkyLodge classroom provides 1500 sq-ft. of space, encouraging whole-body participation as the senses come alive with sounds, colors, and textures. These become valued and refined as students dive into experiential hands-on education. Skills will be taught and practiced locally on day & overnight trips, led by trained instructors. To empower participants and promote program sustainability, Earth Scouts! graduates will serve as future mentors to new students if desired. Our four pillars of Earth Scouts! includes:
- Skill Building: Participants will build self confidence and trust in themselves and peers as they develop outdoor and rural living skills they can depend on in uncertain times. This includes Permaculture, a framework of ethics for sustainable living, integrating plants, animals, buildings, people, & community.
- Reciprocity: By giving back to the land & our community, participants learn the value of Reciprocity. Local service projects will give students a chance to apply learned skills and develop a wider network of connection.
- Personal Growth: We encourage students to employ curiosity, focus, commitment, awareness, generosity, and honest self assessment. Social Skills are a large part of our program focus such as nonviolent communication and conflict resolution to foster respect towards each other.
- Self Expression: Cultivating their inner voices, participants can learn how to healthily transmute their learning process into a creative form. We will offer classes focused on nature-based crafts, arts, music, poetry, and spoken word.
Examples of future classes that will be offered include but are not limited to:
Health & Wellness: Herbal Remedies, First-Aid, Energy Work, & Death-Care
Food: Wild-crafting, Foraging, Growing, Cooking, & Preservation Methods
Homesteading: Animal Husbandry, Off-Grid Energy, & Natural Building
Survival Skills: Friction Fire, Shelter Building, Navigation, & Tracking
Social Skills: Nonviolent Communication & Conflict Resolution
Crafts: Pottery, Basketry, Cordage, Soapmaking, Hide Tanning, & Music