The first of three years is about orienting ourselves to our ecologically unique bio-region and exploring how it influences the development of our individuality. We will sharpen our senses through awareness games, contemplative activities, embodiment exercises, resilience skills and open exploration. All activities and discussions are designed to inspire introspection, as we traverse the edges of growth and strengthen the bond within the group. Through our explorations of old-growth forest, oak savanna, rivers and waterfalls, mountain peaks, and coastal ecosystems, we will have opportunities to test our endurance, strength, and agility of mind in a safe, supportive environment. While our time together promises to be an enjoyable and enriching experience, challenges will arise. It is through such challenges that we learn to overcome discomfort, explore our potential and the limitations of personal power, as we learn to better care for ourselves and those whom we hold most dear.
1) Monthly Nature Excursions – Once a month, we depart from our meet-up location in Eugene to explore the beautiful terrain around us. Each place offers unique opportunities for self-discovery and nature connection. During our time together, we will learn about local flora and fauna and the ways various people of the past and present interact with the land. As we attune our bodies and minds to the lessons that surround us, we will learn to listen deeply to what is present in each precious moment. We integrate sense attunement practices with “bushcraft” (native botany, herbalism, bow drill, pit fire, basketry, and the like). Outings are a full day, 9am – 5pm and take place on a Saturday, approximately two weeks after the Wisdom Council. All trip locations are located between 30 and 90 minutes from Eugene. Transportation is provided throughout the school year, though we do ask for volunteer drivers for our end of the year camp.
2) Monthly Gathering & Wisdom Council – Council is an ancient communal practice of speaking and listening from the heart. The guidelines presented provide a sacred and safe space for exploring questions that lead the children to a deeper understanding of themselves and their place in the world. From 6-8pm one evening each month we will gather to discuss a different topic and whatever questions are most alive for us. The council itself lasts between 45 minutes to an hour. The rest of the evening includes some free-form social time and guided activities. Each participating family will host us for one gathering during the school year, for which an adult guardian of the hosting family is invited to join (typically Fathers with the boys, Mothers with the girls)*. Our first gathering, coinciding with the Autumn Equinox is a welcoming ceremony in which parents and siblings are encouraged to join. The last council of the year, all Mothers/Fathers come to share some of their own story and wisdom with the group.
3) Year End Rite of Passage Camp – At the end of each year, the Warriors of the Noble Heart join the Tenders of the Inner Tide to share with each other some of what they have learned. Each group undergoes a series of age-appropriate challenges to prove their readiness to take the next step on their path. They will also have an opportunity to demonstrate their maturity through service to their families, who are invited to join us for overnight camping and the closing ceremony to honor our children for their completion of the year. Boys and girls are responsible for clearing campsites, building, and tending a central fire, preparing food and cleaning up afterward. Year one is a five-day intensive with one overnight for which families are invited to join; year two includes two family overnights; and year three includes a participant-only, three night camping expedition.
*Please read full program description for additional elements.
Commitment: Far more than another extracurricular activity, coming-of-age mentorship and rites-of-passage are a crucial missing link in our society. A serious commitment and prioritization on behalf of everyone involved is necessary for the highest integrity of this journey. Priority will be given to families able to commit to the full three-year duration. A minimum commitment of one-year is required to apply.
1) Read the full journey description and agreements (linked above).
2) Complete the parent and participant application and mail it in along with a 25% deposit check (non-refundable upon acceptance) to Nature’s Mystery P.O. box 741 Cottage Grove, OR, 97424. Your check will be held, uncashed, until acceptance.
CREDIT CARD PAYMENTS ARE NOT ACCEPTED FOR YOUR 25% DEPOSIT
3) Upon receiving and reviewing your application, we will schedule a time to interview the applicant and meet with your family.
Program Cost and details
Cost is $1130 for the first year; $1270 for year two and $1380 for year three. (Transportation and supply fees may apply.)
**Our scholarships are designed to provide greater access to nature education for those in need. We do not turn away any family based on financial limitations alone. You can fill out a form online, or give us a call to discuss your situation.
Community Support Mentorship
Nature’s Mystery Awareness School is a community supported non-profit endeavor. We invest 100% of our time, energy, and financial resources in our mission. “To cultivate a peaceful, socially sustainable, and ecologically regenerative future in the hearts and minds of today’s youth.” Please consider supporting us through a tax-deductible contribution to our scholarship fund and/or outreach efforts.
Please call 541.521.8658 for more information.