Our Mission: To support people and groups to awaken deep connection though experiential learning.
Why connection? We live in a world of abundance, from YouTube videos to supermarket bounty. However, true abundance may not be in our breadth of options, but in the depth of our connection to what we have. What is the impact of a reader skimming a hundred web-pages, as compared to reading a single book a hundred times, re-reading and memorizing sentences and applying their meaning to his life? How differently does a nature-enthusiast experience summiting a different peak every weekend, versus forming a friendship with the oak that bows over her front sidewalk, noticing changes in its bark and leaves as the days and seasons turn? What is the result of posting a Facebook status versus calling a friend? All of these experiences are valid, and yet the rapid changes in our world beg us to ask these questions.
We believe that the key to the wholeness and health of our current and future generations lies in our deep connection to the wisdom that is present within and around us. We can connect to our life's purpose: to finding and acting upon the reason for our existence, giving meaning and direction to our everyday actions. We can discover the wealth of insight and healing that comes when we become aware of the patterns stored in our own bodies and psyches. We are social beings, with the ability to create meaningful ties within our circles of friends and family, animals and ancestors, and relate in real ways that flow underneath everyday pleasantries and conflict. The trees and rocks and raccoons just beyond our walls often have messages for us, but are only heard if we listen closely, letting distraction and mental chatter fall away.
This wisdom is necessary as we not only face the daily task of living, but major world-wide transformations. Environmental shifts, technological developments, and vast increases in global communication will be navigated more or less smoothly according to personal actions, which then become collective actions. Underneath our mission to awaken connection is a vision of supporting individuals on the path to realizing their most whole selves: selves whose actions will define our futures.
Why experiential learning? Inherent to connection is the practice of it, rather than merely the study. Beyond analyzing and categorizing types of connection, there are benefits that only come from taking the time to feel one’s own breath, comfort a friend, or listen to the changes in the wind.
Furthermore, the process of deepening our connection involves learning how to do so, whether through the study of meditation or basket-weaving. Learning about any subject, including ourselves, takes more than just having information presented to a mind that is paying attention. Even academic material or self-analysis that commands our full attention in the moment can seem to sift out of our memories over days or years. In contrast, we likely vividly remember and draw from certain activities we took part in with a creative teacher, as part of a job, or in play or sport.
Looking back, these activities probably involved at least one of three things: a strong emotion, more than one sense, and/or prickling curiosity. Our brains are designed to imprint a lasting memory (i.e. learn) when a particular experience is accompanied by an intense emotion. This is why we so distinctly remember the embarrassing moment in gym class when we were twelve. We also make more neuronal connections (and stronger memories) the more senses we use, from touch to taste. And our minds tend to absorb more information when there is a vacuum, created by questions and curiosity. (This contrasts trying to shove math equations into the mind of an uninterested teenager, which is never particularly effective.)
At Wildbridge we strive to teach a subject, whether it is basket-weaving, yoga, or animal tracking, with these three components in mind. We strive to always first nourish inspiration and curiosity in students. We place a high value on hands-on experience in the learning process and involve as many senses as possible. We also really like having fun (and seriously perplexing or surprising students from time to time). This creates a more fulfilling and enlivening experience, not to mention one that we’ll actually remember and make use of in our lives.
What We Do:
We offer a range of experiential programs, classes, and individual sessions. Through the practice of council, nature awareness activities, wilderness living, yoga, meditation, and more, participants gain tools and opportunities to connect deeply to themselves and the world around them.
Our current offerings include young adult vision fasts, day and weekend camps for kids and teens, four directions workshops, primitive skills classes, yoga therapy sessions, and personalized ceremony for individuals in transition. We also design custom programs for individuals and groups.