ELEMENTAL QUEST 2019-2020
A Yearlong Rite of Passage Journey for Boys • AGES 13-15
The intention of this program goes beyond tracking and backpacking, extending into the realm of social and emotional intelligence as we will spend time both in solitude and in circle during our gatherings. Our goal is to create a context for youth to access and express their truths and their wisdom, with a foundation in nature. Throughout each gathering, we will practice core routines of nature connection, with the intention of cultivating relationship to and finding our individual place in nature.
Beyond nature explorations and backpacking trips, we will include time with indigenous elders and wisdom keepers who will facilitate opportunities such as sweat lodge, sunrise ceremony, or other fire ceremonies to allow them to connect with their own vitality and their transition towards young adulthood. Also, we will utilize the way of council, as a format for sharing our individual experiences, whether in reference to a game, school, our solo time, or themes emerging in our greater culture. The goal is to share not only ‘survival’ skills which a young man would need to know in the wild, but also ‘thrival’ skills for being a whole human, in touch with themselves and empowered to engage life with wisdom.
In the grand view, this program is a piece of the puzzle of cultural regeneration, renewing rites of passage for youth while engaging the gifts of the family in that process. In the course of the year, we hope to weave strong bonds with everyone involved - amongst the boys and the families as well as with the team of facilitators. In this village model, we will have opportunities for parents to engage in other gatherings and ceremonies deepening our connection and capacity to support the youth.
Parent meeting (TBD)
Summer 2019 - Fire: Creating Fire & Gathering As A Circle
Campout (3 nights): 10am, July 29th (Monday) - 4pm, August 1th (Thursday)
Nature Connection: Ecological indicators, fire-making, foraging, cooking with fire, orienteering with map & compass, leave no trace, fire ecology
Inner Nature: Self-care, exploring the sacred and profane, storytelling, flow states
Fall 2019 - Earth: Fall Harvest & Deepening Relations
2 Daylongs: September 29th and December 7th, 10am to 4pm each
Campout (1 night): 10am, October 26th - 2pm, October 27th
Parent Meeting (TBD)
Nature Connection: Wild fruit & nut harvesting and processing, medicine-making, heritage species
Inner Nature: Grounding practices, chi gong, sharing our gifts
Winter 2020 - Water: Survival Skills & Emotional Intelligence
2 Daylongs: January 26th and February 23rd, 10am- 4pm each
Parent Meeting (TBD)
Nature Connection: Survival, fire making and tending, shelter building, animal processing, hides and leatherwork
Inner Nature: Expressing emotions, grief release
Spring 2020 - Air: Interpreting bird language and human language
Campout: 10am, March 28th - 2pm, March 29th
Campout (1 night): 6pm, May 8th - 2pm, May 9th
Parent Meeting (TBD)
Nature Connection: Tracking and bird language, animal teachings, gardening, permaculture, spring edibles, archery & bow-making
Inner Nature: Deep listening and wise speech, learning peace-making and conflict resolution, aikido
Summer 2020 - Fire: Wilderness Quest & Personal Vision
Campout (4 nights): 10am, June 16th - 4pm, June 20th
Nature Connection: Weaving it all together - ecology of place
Inner Nature: Ceremony, solo time, storytelling, finding and following our passions, cultivating our gifts, ecological leadership, re-visioning family relationships
Fall 2020 - Harvest, Completion & Transition
Parent meeting (TBD)
Campout: 4pm September 12th- 1pm, Sept. 13th
All-family ceremony marking completion of the quest and sharing stories
Instructors: Spencer Nielsen & guest instructors
Ages: 13-15 year old boys
Dates: June 2019 - September 2019 (With TBD parent meeting in spring 2019)
Notes: Includes 2 backpacking trips, monthly daylong meetings, 2 overnight campouts, 6 parent evening meetings, totaling over 220 contact hours
Meeting locations: To be determined, based upon location of participants - summer trips in Northern California, daylongs in Marin, and weekends in the Bay Area.
Rate A: $3900
Rate B: $3400
Rate C: $2900
*Ceremonies with elders will be made possible by your donations, as putting a price on it is impossible. They will likely happen once per season.
Please read an explanation of our pricing tiers before you submit your registration.
How to register:
• Prerequisite: Have participated in a program with Spencer or Nick before.
Participating in a FIREKEEPERS program will cover this prerequisite as well.
• Fill out Elemental Quest Application
• After your application is received we’ll contact you to proceed
IMPORTANT FINE PRINT (PLEASE READ)
Refunds: Refunds are as per Vilda’s refund policy. Once the program starts there are no refunds, as we wont add participants late. Please make sure you and your son have connected with Vilda and with Spencer and or Nick prior to this program. See application for listing “past programs” with Vilda/Spencer/Nick. We will only consider partial refunds for major medical limitation that disallow the youth to continue the program. Please contact us for more information.
Pre-requisite: Participation in at least one Vilda program with Spencer or Nick. Acceptance into the program is based not on a first-come, first-serve basis, but will prioritize youth that have been involved in our programs. The intention is a culmination of years of participation in youth programs, so if families have not been involved in Vilda, then joining a campout or Thursday after school program.
Risk management: Due to the fact that this program is a teen rites of passage program, there are inherent risks in what we do in nature, as with all programs. Given the age of your son, and the adventure elements in this program - from high ropes course and backpacking trips, we need families to be clear about our medical waiver in that your participation is voluntary and you understand the risks. As an organization and staff, we try to facilitate healthy risk-taking and yet need you to agree to our medical waiver, which includes having adequate health insurance for your youth and that it will always be utilized first in case of a need arises.