Here at Educated by Nature, we speak a lot about The Art of Mentoring and concepts such as ‘deep nature connection’ and ‘reconnection to culture’. It is often difficult to describe these elements. How we embed them within all our programs. And most importantly, why they are so important for supporting the development of happy, fulfilled, connected children. It’s difficult because it’s a process that is best experienced. It’s a feeling that is emotionally and mentally generated.
At the beginning of August this year, I was privileged to return to the Redwood Forests of northern California to attend the Art of Mentoring for the second year in a row. This week-long nature connection retreat is a chance to be fully immersed. Not just in nature but within a network of people building community. A seven-day experience that combines wild-craft, awareness games, wonderful food, group experiential activities, lectures, storytelling and music. A week spent outside exploring in the field, as well as learning in our outdoor classrooms.
The California Art of Mentoring utilises a well-tested model. It teaches about mentoring, but also offers the opportunity to be mentored. And also practice mentoring in a fun and powerful context.
The key to the success of this program comes back to its very name, The Art of Mentoring. Mentoring is an art form. A complex and dynamic relationship that exists between the leaders of the program, the participants and nature itself.
“Mentoring that draws people gently to the edge of their knowledge and experience, and guides them into new territory,” says Jon Young, Founder of the Art of Mentoring.
It was wonderful to reconnect with an incredibly inspirational natural space. To connect with old friends and a supportive community. But most importantly to reconnect with a truly immersive version of the philosophy and framework on which we model ALL our Educated by Nature programs. I’m a passionate believer that mentoring is our number one focus. Being available for young minds in natural spaces to support their adventures, their investigations, their personal development and awareness in the great outdoors.
“Before the myelin sheaths have hardened, while the kids are young and open-minded, we need to stretch their awareness beyond tightly wound thought patterns that are inattentive to and even fearful of natural processes. We need to teach them to reach out with their eyes,” Jon Young, Founder of the Art of Mentoring.