If you want to build a ship don’t herd people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.
– Antoine de Saint-Exupery
For the past five years, Wild Folk has had the privilege of leading a beautiful Forest School, amazing summer camps, and a host of transformative programs for youth and adults in our region. All of this work has been grounded in our deeply held values of ecological connection, social and environmental justice, peace and non-violence, and a vision of a more healed society. We hold true to these values during these challenging times: this means we stand with the Black Lives Matter movement, we are brave truth-tellers and activists in the face of climate chaos, we do our part in being safe and generous during the pandemic, and we are engaged citizens in whatever ways we can be.
We hope you — our supporters, alumni, neighbors, and wild web surfers — stand with us in these efforts.
The big news, however, is that this year, amidst personal and global upheaval, we have decided to shift: we have decided to no longer run summer camps or a forest school. This does not mean that Wild Folk is done for though! Like so many of you, we are also seeking innovative ways to share our passions and skills in this new reality.
(Btw, if you are interested in Wild Folk-inspired summer programming, please reach out to our former counselor, Em Cooke, who is organizing small, week-long summer adventures for youth in our community: )
The decision to transition, transform, release, and re-imagine Wild Folk has not been easy. But we are committed to responding organically and intuitively to our changing world, and making decisions in light of changing circumstances. We want to continue to serve our community passionately and effectively, and we are working to figure out what that looks like. Wild Folk has always been a wild community-based experiment, one that adjusts nimbly and whole-heartedly to the environment and the changing needs of the community. This year, our need to adjust has been very dramatic — as we are all facing an intensely challenging, but hopefully transformative moment. Right now, when social distancing is critical, we have turned our energies towards offering more homemade goodies, plant medicines, and wild-crafted items for sale on our website.
Throughout the many years of leading Wild Folk, many of us have thought of our work as a sort of gardening practice. We have thought of our shared reality as the soil — the little bit of earth that we are tasked with tending, protecting, and enriching; and we have imagined the practices and lessons of our forest school as the seeds that we can plant, save, share, and nurture — in ourselves and our community. The “seeds” have been many: lessons of nonviolence, transformative justice, ecological connection, respect for diversity, and more. In these trying times, we find solace and strength in this sort of cosmic vision of gardening. Perhaps it is something you too may find meaning in during this confusing, shifting time.
We hope all of us — anyone who has been touched by our work in some way — can keep these Wild Folk lessons in our hearts for the rest of our lives. And we hope that these seeds will have the time and space to flourish and spread. And we hope each of you can act as gardeners and stewards — literally and metaphorically. And it is our hope that we have played a small role in encouraging the re-wilding and healing of our collective future.
While it is hard to let go, we trust that the seeds of Wild Folk will bloom in other yet unknown ways, in other beautiful gardens, with gardeners who are caring, brave, and visionary.
With love and in solidarity,
xo Wild Folk