Camp Confluence and Partners for Youth Empowerment.

5 07 2017

sara3By: Sarah Worl     Photos: Marty Oppenheimer and PYE Global

With support from our Instructor Development Funds, I was able to attend Camp Confluence, organized by Partners for Youth Empowerment (PYE) in Whidbey Island, Washington. Camp Confluence was a 6-day gathering of camp directors, lead facilitators, and staff that are involved with camps based on the Creative Community Model. The Creative Community Model was developed by PYE over decades of youth summer camps across the globe. In their own words from the PYE website:

“With arts-based practices and leading-edge group facilitation strategies, Creative Community Facilitators cultivate environments in which people can realize their potential. By embracing positive risk-taking and free creative expression, youth and adults alike open up to new possibilities. Research shows that creative expression—in a supportive setting—nurtures qualities like empathy, teamwork, and problem solving, while also fostering joy, hope, and the desire for a meaningful life”

At Camp Confluence we talked a lot about the “Emotional Arc” that a camper experiences from the day they enter camp to when they leave, and how to support that transformative experience with community agreements, plenary activities, supported creative risk-taking, free time, nature time, and more. I appreciated the emphasis on the camper’s experience and curating the week’s activities to support their journey.

We also spent a whole day talking about how to further Equity and Anti-Oppression in all levels of our summer camps; from camp staff demographics, to camper recruitment, to food and sleeping arrangements, to incorporating explicit community agreements around equity in the beginning of the camp. It is rare that I am in a space of people so committed, honest, and eager to talk about Anti-Oppression in their institutions and programs and I am very grateful to have participated in those conversations and to emerge with a greater awareness of actions I can bring back to my work. I am looking forward to my upcoming outdoor recreation and summer camp season to see how I can incorporate bits of the creative community model into my work.

I’ve learned a lot of very practical facilitation skills from the PYE trainings and camps I’ve been involved in over the years. I’ve also witnessed many young people and adults (including myself) overcome old stories of fear and self doubt as we explore our creativity, connection to ourselves, connection to others, and connections to nature together in a supportive environment. I believe many of you that work with youth know what I’m talking about when I say that those moments of witnessing youth light up with hope, joy, and connection are what keep me coming back to this work, and giving me hope for the present and future. I am so grateful to be a part of the community at the River House Outdoor Program; a community that is so committed to fostering these types of magical and transformative experiences for youth and adults.

P.S and Fun Fact: A local summer camp hosted by the Oregon Country Fair called Culture Jam is based on the Creative Community Model and brings in facilitators that have led PYE camps across the U.S and internationally. The River House supports Culture Jam each year with a couple days of outdoor play at Fern Ridge! PYE also offers facilitation trainings in the Pacific Northwest each year- check them out at www.pyeglobal.org.  Their website also contains many great summer camp and youth program resources!

-The River House Instructor Development Fund (IDF) is an investment in our staff to seek extra training and experiences that can be brought back to their work and personal lives to help enrich experiences for both participants and instructors.

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Who says Skating is an Urban Endeavor?

16 03 2017

NORTHBOUND | Skateboarding on Frozen Sand 4K from Turbin Film on Vimeo.

Skaters and artistic expression go together like peanut butter and jelly.  This new video from the frozen Norway coast continues to push what can be skated and how to beautifully film it.          “It’s cool to be somewhere where the eagles want to be.”

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How Small Things may help Overcome Fear

15 03 2017

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Sometimes what seems a simple activity to some, can be a challenge to others.  You may know, if you put sunflower seeds in your hand and hold very, very still, the birds will come when near alpine environments.  Habituating wildlife to humans is frowned upon, but in this instance, it was a challenge for overcoming fear.

Cary is a gentleman working to overcome fear and nervous about life after spending significant time in prison.  After a conversation about overcoming fears in daily life, he decided to try having a bird land on his hand even though he was really scared to do so.

Cary succeeded in his goal and has not stopped talking about it since.  This is a simple, but good reminder how healing nature can be, especially when you transfer the learning that happens outside into your daily regime.

Sponsor Inc. Mentor program helps match community volunteers with men and women just released from prison. The role of mentors is to guide and support these individuals into a successful reentry into our community, and they only ask for about 4-6 hours of your time each month.

For More info, contact:

Jen Jackson at Sponsors 541-505-5663

For an additional article about Sponsors from Outside Magazine see:

https://eugeneoutdoorprogram.wordpress.com/2016/12/05/is-nature-the-key-to-rehabilitating-prisoners/

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Swift Water Rescue Training

28 02 2017

swiftWith all the luck of the sky and the mountains, the storms have returned gifting us all with an abundance of sleet, snow pack, and rain drops.  The essence of life.  Thanks to an intricate and unexplainable series of fortunate events, I find myself granted the opportunity to travel into the heart of the forest and mountains; to travel into the river itself.  What’s more is the unexplainable magic of the opportunity to take part in the re-creation of the experience and adventure within the lives of others, from all walks of life, by means of a sea worthy whitewater raft.  Though simple in concept, these adventures and undertakings of which hold the power to shape shift lives and worlds, are also undeniably counterbalanced by the weight of risk.

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7 Wonders in Winter

17 01 2017

An Oregonian’s guide to the 7 Wonders during the chilly months

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SMITH ROCK: Here’s a little secret about Smith Rock State Park: It’s typically warmer and drier than the rest of Central Oregon. The volcanic tuff spires of Smith Rock and their location in the high desert create a bit of a microclimate. This makes winter a perfect time to hike here. Crowds have thinned, trails are in great shape, and the rock walls absorb sun that is reflected back as heat. I like to hike up Misery Ridge and over the backside, to return around the base of the cliffs along the Crooked River. This route offers a great combination of epic views of the Cascade Range from the top and awe-inspiring views of the red-green-brown spires of Smith from the trail below. (Photo by Ben Moon)

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THE WALLOWAS: To me, winter in the Wallowas is contemplative. One of the most beautiful, remote and peaceful parts of the state becomes even more so as the chill sets in and snow blankets the landscape. The Wallowas have 18 mountain peaks over 9,000 feet, and Hells Canyon is the deepest in North America. Simply put, it’s big country. The intrepid ones among us venture into the backcountry in winter; the rest of us are content to simply hunker down somewhere welcoming and cozy with friends and family, gazing at the massive, snowy beauty of those mountains. Do so from the Outlaw Restaurant in Joseph, the recently reborn Lostine Tavern, or Terminal Gravity Brewing in Enterprise, with a frosty, locally brewed IPA in front of you. (Photo by Leon Werdinger)

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CRATER LAKE: Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States and one of the snowiest inhabited places on the planet, with an average of 44 feet of snow annually. That means a visit to Oregon’s only national park in winter is a visit to an incredibly unique landscape in its most extreme season. I love the ranger-guided snowshoe trips offered daily on winter weekends at Rim Village. On this two-hour tour, learn about how animals, plants and people survive such harsh winters. From here, the sight of the caldera swathed in snow contrasted with the surreal blue of the lake is simply magical. Don’t forget to take lots of pictures. (Photo by Ian Shive / TandemStock.com)

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THE OREGON COAST: I grew up on the Oregon Coast. And while some people shy away from visiting in winter, for me, a windy and rainy day at the beach just feels like home — and if you visit during these more meditative months, I think you’ll agree. The more rugged, rockier South Coast is my favorite winter destination, where the energy of a stormy sea meets high cliffs in crashing, splashing glory. Great vistas for winter wave watching can be found in Gold Beach, in Coos County at Shore Acres State Park and Cape Arago, and around the wee town of Yachats. But up and down the Coast, you’ll find that nothing tops the energy of the shore in winter — you’ll feel it in your bones and your soul. (Photo by Dennis Frates)

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PAINTED HILLS: Confession: Some wintry nights, I dream about the pie at the Sidewalk Café and More in the town of Mitchell. There’s something particularly satisfying about finding a great little eating establishment in the middle of the high desert, and for me, Eastern Oregon is about taking in incredible outdoor vistas in between visits to authentic, down-home diners. Hike the Painted Hills on the Overlook Trail or the Carroll Rim Trail to achieve a great view of the multicolored volcanic ash of the hills while earning your pie in advance. After the exertion, enjoy a home-cooked meal at Sidewalk. Then continue east to explore more of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, or venture west into Prineville for more authentic western dining at hot spots like Barney Prine’s Steakhouse & Saloon or Club Pioneer. (Photo by Tyler Roemer)

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THE COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE: In winter the Gorge calls for a road trip. I like to pack some provisions and warm, comfortable clothes and head east from Greater Portland on the Historic Columbia River Highway. Visit Crown Point Vista House for 30-mile views of the Columbia from 700 feet above. If you’re lucky, it’ll be my favorite kind of Oregon winter day, with skies clear, wind whipping and clouds tearing by overhead. You’ll get back in your car feeling totally invigorated. Head on down the highway for short hikes without crowds at Latourell, Bridal Veil, Multnomah and Horsetail falls. End in Hood River for a late lunch at Full Sail Brewing Co. or Celilo Restaurant and Bar, followed by a little small-town boutique shopping before the journey back to Portland. Perfect day trip! (Photo by Alamy Stock)

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MT. HOOD: A few years ago, I spent a winter weekend at Timberline Lodge. Not being an alpine skier, I wondered what I’d do with my time. The answer was: Explore the iconic, historic lodge, from the hand-carved newel posts in animal motifs to the exhibit about The Shining in the lobby. Snowshoe up the flanks of the magnificent mountain under a shining winter sun. Sip hot drinks in the cozy Ram’s Head Bar with a breathtaking view of snowy Mt. Hood through the expansive windows. Soak in the hot tub with the smell of subalpine fir and snow on the breeze. Sleep peacefully under a warm, wool Pendleton blanket in a room built from great Oregon conifer trees. Finally, leave rested, happy and with a fresh vision of the beauty and wonder of my home state. (Photo by Timberline Lodge)

For more fun Oregon outings check out Travel Oregon!

Author: Kim Cooper Findling

Source: http://traveloregon.com/trip-ideas/itineraries/7-wonders-in-winter/

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Is Nature the Key to Rehabilitating Prisoners?

5 12 2016

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Once released, the formerly incarcerated face a daunting set of challenges­—a job, a place to live, and, most urgently, breaking the cycle of bad friends and bad habits that can lead to more prison time. Now scientists and activists are asking whether nature may be essential to helping them build new lives.

https://www.outsideonline.com/2110396/great-escape

The linked article from Outside Magazine features our long time instructor Jen Jackson who also runs the mentorship program at Sponsors, an organization in Eugene that helps the formerly incarcerated relearn life beyond prison.

As a lover of the outdoors and the happiness it can bring to one’s life; I can only guess it could do wonders for others that are lost in the negatives that have gotten them in the correctional system.  The article highlights some successes and challenges in creating such a program; currently the only one in the nation.

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Dutch Oven Pumpkin Pie

22 11 2016

Some content on this page was disabled on November 28, 2016 as a result of a DMCA takedown notice from Bill Osuch. You can learn more about the DMCA here:

https://en.support.wordpress.com/copyright-and-the-dmca/