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Wilderness Awareness School The Art of Mentoring

by Rion on 04/06/2011 - About Me

in -Wilderness Awareness School,The Art of Mentoring

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For those familiar with Tom Brown, Jr. and his books on wilderness survival, the way of the scout, and apache philosophy / awareness, you’ve probably heard of his wilderness survival programs known as the Tracker School.  One of his first students, and probably one of the few who received a similar teaching style that Tom Brown, Jr. was put through by the legendary Apache scout, Stalking Wolf, is Jon Young.

Jon Young helped found a school in Deveraux, WA with another gentlemen by the name of Warren Moon called The Wilderness Awareness School.  From the second-hand reviews of The Tracker School run by Tom Brown, Jr. it sounds like all of the hardcore stuff you would expect from the world’s most renowned and skilled tracker.

Wilderness Awareness School adds the family and community component and offers a look into the “coyote mentoring” philosophy made famous by Tom Brown, Jr. and Jon Young.

My first taste of The Wilderness Awareness School came in March of 2003 with a course aptly named The Art of Mentoring.  I had recently been introduced to their sister school in Santa Barbara, Wilderness Youth Project, and the locals I looked up to spoke very highly of this program and the people who ran it.

At the core of this program is the examination of our personal connection to nature. Wilderness awareness exercises such as slow, cautious barefoot walking, learning to differentiate between focused and peripheral vision, and a sensory meditation to rediscover the sounds, smells, and sensations of the nature world form the foundation of these teachings.  Another core routine is to create a personal relationship with the natural world by establishing a sit spot: a consistent place to slow down the mind and observe the world around us.  Emphasis can be put on such questions as: What are the birds doing?; What direction is the wind blowing from?  What is making that noise?  Where does the water come from and go in this area?  Questions aside, it is offered to students as a time to stop the chatter of the analytical mind and simply observe nature as it is.

Specifically borrowing from the integration of several indigenous cultures, the program integrates what is known as “The Medicine Wheel,” or “The Four Directions” or “The Shield.”  All point to the cyclical nature of time, seasons, and human development.  The greatest reminder that this system brings to my life is that the learning process is never complete; it is a constant flux of inquiry, observation, transformation, and sharing.

Having grown up in the city of Las Vegas, and having a fairly minimal exposure to the wilderness – outside of a few family trips involving camping or the beach – I was at first intimidated by the vast overwhelm of potential information unfolding before me.  I had no idea the names of any of these trees; I couldn’t tell you the difference between an Oak, Sycamore or Poison Oak.  Certainly I knew a what a pine tree looked like, but I didn’t know that you could chew pine needles or make them into a tea for a great source of vitamin C.

The community of people coming together to share their experiences, challenges, fears and growth in such an authentic and vulnerable way paved the way for me to really allow myself to be humbled in my lack of knowledge, and inspired in my quest to see the world with fresh eyes.

Kudos to the staff of Wilderness Awareness School who allows participants to go through frustration, accomplishment, joy and timidity with absolute acceptance.  In fact, the behind the scenes magic they provide, sometimes referred to as “holding space” can sometimes look like nothing, and at other times be the most transformational therapy packed into 3 words or a simple question that you’ve ever seen.

The staff even provides a bit of guidance along the way – not enough to spoil the surprise, but just enough to keep us from getting too lost.  In fact, in these programs, getting lost can be one of the most educational and rewarding aspects for our personal growth, and – if we’re feeling open enough to share – our getting lost can be the learning point for an entire community to see their challenges from a fresh perspective.

Although this specific program has changed names, faces and locations in the last 8 years its essential approach and the core of the programs remain the same.

Duration 1 week
Official Website http://www.wildernessawareness.org
Price $785
Tips for success – Pack for all weather
– Bring clothes that can get very dirty
– Show up with a Beginner’s Mind
Wilderness Awareness School The Art of Mentoring4.6428571428569Rion2011-04-06 01:23:01For those familiar with Tom Brown, Jr. and his books on wilderness survival, the way of the scout, and apache philosophy / awareness, you’ve probabl…
-Wilderness Awareness School,The Art of Mentoring$785Wilderness Awareness School The Art of MentoringFor those familiar with Tom Brown, Jr. and his books on wilderness survival, the way of the scout, and apache philosophy / awareness, you’ve probabl…

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