Wild LEADERS TEEN Program

2021/22

Every phase of life is significant, but some stand out. The teenage years are particularly momentous — the journey from childhood to adulthood is accompanied by so many changes! Teenagers today are coming of age at a time marked by tremendous uncertainty and possibility. We imagine this is true in any era, and yet the crises and opportunities of today are ours to navigate. In these times, climate change is upon us and it will continue to radically alter the world that teenagers are maturing into. But teenagers also have the capacity to radically alter the world!

Confirmed by our extensive experience working with teenagers in a variety of settings, we know that teens are curious, creative, capable and so much more. Wild Leaders is a weekly program designed to support the development of these and other qualities in a supportive environment, guided by nature.

At Wild Leaders, the local ecosystem is the classroom — the woods, creeks, meadows, hills, plants, and animals come magically alive through exploration, interaction, story, and consistent contact through the seasons. This direct experience and meaningful play help our students to know themselves as interdependent, ecological beings.

As with all of our programs, Wild Leaders is simultaneously committed to education that cultivates earth intimacy and that interrupts the socialization of dominant, oppressive systems that have caused so many social, ecological, and existential crises that we face today. We do this work in service to our vision of a world deeply rooted in interrelationship, respect for life, and shared protection of the planet upon which we all depend.

Please read through the following 3 sections for more info about our curriculum and important program logistics.

I. OUR APPROACH TO EDUCATION

I. OUR APPROACH TO EDUCATION

II. PROGRAM DETAILS

II. PROGRAM DETAILS

III. APPLICATION

III. APPLICATION

I. OUR APPROACH TO EDUCATION

We organize our curriculum into four interrelated pillars. While we present these pillars as distinct, we want to emphasize that they are fluid and always interconnected in practice. That fluidity is symbolized by the water at the center.

EARTH INTIMACY

PRAYERFUL ACTION

CO-LIBERATION

EMBODIMENT

EARTH INTIMACY

CO-LIBERATION

EMBODIMENT

PRAYERFUL ACTION

WHY EARTH INTIMACY FOR TEENS?

“Knowing that you love the earth changes you, activates you to defend and protect and celebrate. But when you feel that the earth loves you in return, that feeling transforms the relationship from a one-way street into a sacred bond.”

(Robin Wall Kimmerer)

In stark contrast to Robin Wall Kimmerer’s beautiful words, James Watt — inventor of the steam engine — said: “Nature can be conquered; if we can but find her weak side.” This dangerous idea that humans are separate from and superior to “nature” shape systems, structures, and messages that influence our lives in countless ways. But we are nature, no better or worse than the other beings around us, only different. We believe our future depends on understanding and embodying our interdependent place in the ecological web.

Earth Intimacy is simply the process of nurturing our relationships with the environments we inhabit, loving them, and coming to understand that we are a part of the web of life, not apart from it. 

Exploring the wonders of Sonoma County’s coast (Southern Pomo / Coast Miwok Territory) // photo by Sam Edmondson

The younger we cultivate that embodied understanding, the more likely it will influence values and actions throughout one’s lifetime. And so, we believe that nurturing Earth Intimacy in youth is vital.

Sadly, research shows that children in the U.S. spend an average of 4 to 7 minutes in unstructured outdoor play compared to 7 hours in front of screens. You read that right: 7 minutes of green time, 7 hours of screen time.

There is so much room for improvement, and we believe wholeheartedly that it’s possible — especially because the benefits of “green” time are so clear. Research confirms that time outside promotes physical and mental health, and that’s true for humans of any age. As we prioritize Earth Intimacy in the youngest generation, relationships founded in connection, love and kinship can guide lifelong actions for protection and care.

WHY EARTH INTIMACY FOR TEENS?

“Knowing that you love the earth changes you, activates you to defend and protect and celebrate. But when you feel that the earth loves you in return, that feeling transforms the relationship from a one-way street into a sacred bond.”

(Robin Wall Kimmerer)

Exploring the wonders of Sonoma County’s coast (Southern Pomo / Coast Miwok Territory)
// photo by Sam Edmondson

In stark contrast to Robin Wall Kimmerer’s beautiful words, James Watt — inventor of the steam engine — said: “Nature can be conquered; if we can but find her weak side.” This dangerous idea that humans are separate from and superior to “nature” shapes systems, structures and messages that influence our lives in countless ways. But we are nature, no better or worse than the other beings around us, only different. We believe our future depends on understanding and embodying our interdependent place in the ecological web.

Earth Intimacy is simply the process of nurturing our relationships with the environments we inhabit, loving them, and coming to understand that we are a part of the web of life, not apart from it.

The younger we cultivate that embodied understanding, the more likely it will influence values and actions throughout one’s lifetime. And so, we believe that nurturing Earth Intimacy in youth is vital.

Sadly, research shows that children in the U.S. spend an average of 4 to 7 minutes in unstructured outdoor play compared to 7 hours in front of screens. You read that right: 7 minutes of green time, 7 hours of screen time.

There is so much room for improvement, and we believe wholeheartedly that it’s possible — especially because the benefits of “green” time are so clear. Research confirms that time outside promotes physical and mental health, and that’s true for humans of any age. As we prioritize Earth Intimacy in the youngest generation, relationships founded in connection, love and kinship can guide lifelong actions for protection and care.

WHY CO-LIBERATION WITH TEENS?

“Nobody’s free until everybody’s free.”
(Fannie Lou Hamer)

leaves frozen in ice // photo by Dave Hage

Fannie Lou Hamer’s words illuminate the interdependence of all peoples and all struggles for freedom. The sentence is simple, but the reality it describes is truly profound. Freedom is dynamic, individual, and collective, and it requires everyone’s active participation to achieve and maintain. Inspired by Hamer and so many visionaries, we use the term “co-liberation” to refer to the efforts that move us closer to freedom for all, including the Earth itself.

Co-liberation implies that we have work and practice to do together — and we most certainly do! But it’s also essential to recognize that the work is different depending on who we are… and more specifically, how protected and prioritized we are within the society we live in.

How does this relate to childhood education? Well, the truth is that we begin to learn the rules of society from a very young age. The fancy word for this is “socialization.” With each passing year, socialization becomes harder to undo — imagine you’re a salmon swimming upstream, and each year the current becomes stronger. The earlier we can start the process, the less there is to unlearn.

We believe that a better society — one in which all people are free to be themselves without retribution — depends on educating youth about these topics from the get go. With care and age-appropriate curriculum, we can lay foundations that support critical thinking, honest conversations and behaviour change, which we hope will add up to stopping the inheritance of injustice from being passed down any further.

WHY EMBODIMENT FOR TEENS?

“Our bodies are the earth in human form.”
(tayla shanaye)

falling in love with the birds at Weaving Earth // photo by Republic of Light

Our bodies undergo remarkable changes as we mature from infancy to adolescence, and these changes are deeply supported by our intimacy with the Earth. After all, as a species, we evolved in intimate contact with our environments: the sunlight, the winds and breezes, the uneven ground… everything that makes up the ecosystem — always living, always changing. We are ecological beings and the outdoors is an ideal playground to cultivate (and celebrate) our senses — taste, touch, smell, hearing, sight, proprioception, and intuition.

Embodiment at Wild Tenders has two dimensions:

1. We support youth to grow more fully into their physical, emotional, sensory and relational selves.
2. We teach tools for self-regulation, which support emotional and relational wellbeing.

As we explore, play, crawl, balance, listen, observe, and reflect, we are attuning our whole individual systems to the whole collective system we are a part of. With guidance, practice, and time, this exploration teaches us to notice more acutely what is happening in our bodies, and how those happenings are impacting and being impacted by what is going on around us. This sensitivity is a crucial skill for navigating the world, both physically and emotionally, and it supports an embodied sense of ourselves as interdependent, ecological beings.

WHY EMBODIMENT FOR TEENS?

“Our bodies are the earth in human form.”
(tayla shanaye)

Our bodies undergo remarkable changes as we mature from infancy to adolescence, and these changes are deeply supported by our intimacy with the Earth. After all, as a species, we evolved in intimate contact with our environments: the sunlight, the winds and breezes, the uneven ground… everything that makes up the ecosystem — always living, always changing. We are ecological beings and the outdoors is an ideal playground to cultivate (and celebrate) our senses — taste, touch, smell, hearing, sight, proprioception, and intuition.

Embodiment at Wild Leaders has two dimensions:

falling in love with the birds at Weaving Earth // photo by Republic of Light

1. We support youth to grow more fully into their physical, emotional, sensory and relational selves.
2. We teach tools for self-regulation, which support emotional and relational wellbeing.

As we explore, play, crawl, balance, listen, observe, and reflect, we are attuning our whole individual systems to the whole collective system we are a part of. With guidance, practice, and time, this exploration teaches us to notice more acutely what is happening in our bodies, and how those happenings are impacting and being impacted by what is going on around us. This sensitivity is a crucial skill for navigating the world, both physically and emotionally, and it supports an embodied sense of ourselves as interdependent, ecological beings.

WHY PRAYERFUL ACTION WITH TEENS?

“To love a place is not enough. We must find ways to heal it.”
(Robin Wall Kimmerer)

honoring an incredible sunset with our attention
//
photo by Sam Edmondson

We want young people to feel informed, inspired and resourced to contribute to the world around them. Prayerful action is how we refer to contributions that heal, that nurture life, that inspire, that promote freedom. It is a type of leadership that is considerate of the health and well-being of many generations to come.

Leadership is a complicated word. Our vision of leadership is not rooted in a single expert or a charismatic person who guides everyone else. Rather, leadership is collaborative. It is a balance between knowing one’s gifts and feeling confident to offer them, and at the same time, celebrating the gifts of others and co-creating containers that support the expression and celebration of each other’s gifts. It is equally important to understand our limitations and the places where we might grow. We make great effort in Wild Leaders to support the youth to see the gifts in themselves and others, to develop confidence in them, and also to believe that they can cultivate new gifts, skills, and awareness with time and practice (and guidance).

Service to the world can take so many different forms. After all, the Earth and the Earth’s inhabitants are ailing (and thriving) in so many ways — we want to support the thriving! Childhood can be a time of innocence, but not every child is fortunate enough to experience that luxury — and kids are often far more observant than we give them credit for … which is precisely why we need to talk to kids about what ails the world, particularly as they get older. To shield them from such realities is to hinder their capacity to respond — and perhaps their willingness. We believe that youth who are embodied, aware of the world’s ailments and wellness, and supported by an intimate relationship with the Earth will be well prepared for finding what prayerful actions are theirs to make in service to the whole.

II. PROGRAM DETAILS

In this section, you’ll find the following:

A. OVERVIEW

B. WHAT WE’LL DO

C. TUITION

a summary of program logistics

additional information about the program

information on pricing, payment options, and financial assistance

A. OVERVIEW – a summary of program logistics

B. WHAT WE’LL DO – additional information about the program

C. TUITION – information on pricing, payment options, and financial assistance

A. OVERVIEW

B. WHAT WE’LL DO


C. TUITION


a summary of program logistics

additional information about the program

information on pricing, payment options, and financial assistance

A. OVERVIEW

A. OVERVIEW

1. GROUP DESIGN

Wild Leaders participants, aged 13-16, will be part of a pod that journeys through the year together. We are only offering one pod for the 2021/22 year. 

10-14

TEENS

2

MENTORS

1. GROUP DESIGN

Wild Leaders participants will be part of a pod that journeys through the year together. We are only offering one pod for the 2021-22 year. Please note that the 11 and 12 year olds who are part of our 3-Day Wild Tenders program will be joining Wild Leaders on Fridays this year.

10-14

TEENS

2

MENTORS

2. PROGRAM DAY

We are currently offering the Wild Leaders program on Fridays, Sept 10th 2021 – June 3rd, 2022

1-DAY PROGRAM

Fridays

2. PROGRAM DAYS

The first factor we will use to create the pods for the year is the number of program days your family will be participating in. (You will note which program you are applying for in your application.) There are 3 options: 

1-DAY PROGRAM
Fridays
2-DAY PROGRAM
MONDAYS & WEDNESDAYS
3-DAY PROGRAM
MONDAYS, WEDNESDAYS, & FRIDAYS

3. LENGTH OF DAY

Wild Leaders meets from: 

9 AM - 3 PM

B. WHAT WE'LL DO

B. WHAT WE'LL DO

We will learn and deepen practices of Earth Intimacy — sit spot, bird language, living skills, wildlife tracking, stealthcraft (a term we learned from Queer Nature) and much more. Additionally, we will investigate the history and current state of this country through the lens of justice — paying particular attention to systemic oppression, socialization, and what we as individuals within the system can do to effect change. Lastly, we will use a variety of mediums of creative expression — visual art, music, crafting, and more — to develop our individual creative expression, which we believe is fundamental for personal health and systemic transformation. Creativity is key!

We believe this approach to education — weaving earth intimacy, co-liberation, somatics and creativity together into a seamless whole is something that teenagers need in today’s world.

Amidst the pandemic, protest, and politics of this moment, there is tremendous possibility. Teenagers have a clear stake in where we go as a society from here, and we are committed to supporting them with the teachings and confidence to make the difference that they want to make.

C. TUITION

C. TUITION

1. TIER PRICING STRUCTURE

We offer three price points for Wild Tenders, with options for financial assistance (detailed below):

TIER A

$14/hr

Covers basic costs but doesn’t meet all of our organizational expenses.

TIER B

$15/hr

Covers the costs of running the Wild Leaders program. It is comparable with similar programs in the Bay Area.

TIER C

If your family can pay beyond Tier B, please consider doing so! Anything contributed above Tier B will be regarded as a tax-deductible donation and will be used to support scholarships and Wild Leaders program costs. If you are able and willing to donate, you can indicate the amount of your pledge in your application. You can donate at any amount above Tier B. 

The program is the same regardless of which Tier you select. 

2. ANNUAL TUITION

1-DAY PROGRAM

Fridays

TIER A:
$3050

TIER B:
$3250

3. FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE

We recognize that Tier A may still be cost-prohibitive for families. We are committed to making Wild Leaders financially accessible to as many people as we can. At the moment, we can offer two forms of financial support.

OPTION 1 — ENROLL IN A CHARTER SCHOOL

Weaving Earth is an official vendor with two California Charter Schools. Both schools will offer a stipend per semester that you can use to pay for programs run by affiliate vendors (e.g. Weaving Earth). Wild Leaders can fulfill science credits and social studies with both schools. You can learn more about each school by visiting their websites, linked below. To enroll in one of these schools, contact the school directly and they will set you up with an education specialist. 

Please note: this option requires substantial additional work on our end. We charge a $50 administrative fee per child if you enroll with either charter.

From Compass Charter’s website:

“Compass Charter Schools is one of California’s leading WASC-accredited virtual charter schools of choice.”

From Heartwood’s website:

“Heartwood Charter School is a local, teacher led, community created independent study public school. We are proud to offer strong curriculum programs that provide educational choice to our families.”

OPTION 2 — REQUEST A SCHOLARSHIP

We have limited scholarship funds available for families who need the financial support. You will be able to indicate in your application if you would like to apply for scholarship funds — we will follow up with next steps after receiving your application. While we cannot guarantee that we will be able to meet your full need, we will do our best! 

4. PAYMENT SCHEDULES

Finally, we offer flexible payment plan schedules. The following options can be combined with either of the aforementioned financial assistance options to create a tuition program that works for your family. We will ask you to specify in your application what your financial plans/needs are for Wild Tenders, but please note that you will not be asked to sign an official financial agreement until after you have been accepted. For now, we want you to have this information for your planning purposes.  

OPTION 1 — ONE-TIME PAYMENT

Some families choose to make a one-time full payment before the start of the year. 

OPTION 2 — PAYMENT PLAN

Many families elect to pay their tuition in installments. This option is available to anyone, including families who are receiving Charter School assistance or scholarship funds. We offer two Payment Plans:

QUARTERLY

Under the Quarterly Payment Plan (QPP), you will make four equal tuition payments spread throughout the year. These payments will be due on:

July 15, 2021
october 15, 2021
January 15, 2021
April 15, 2021

MONTHLY

Under the Monthly Payment Plan (MPP), you will make 10 monthly payments starting on July 15, 2021 and concluding on April 15, 2021.

Please note: BOTH payment plans require that you either send us all of your payments as postdated checks before the start of the year.

THAT WAS A LOT OF INFO! GOOD JOB! Let's celebrate with A SWALLOWTAIL 🙂

III. APPLICATION

Thanks for reading through the information above! You’re almost ready to apply 🙂

1. APPLICATION PERIOD

After you submit your application, you will receive a confirmation email that explains the next steps.  Our application period for the Wild Leaders program runs from May 28 — June 11. We won’t make any acceptance decisions until after the application period closes.  If you apply after June 11 and the program is full, we will automatically add you to our waiting list.

2. MULTIPLE TEENS?

Please submit a separate application for each teen.