Evolving Education: Learning From Our Given Cultures

There have been a number of eccentric communities I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing over the past, well, let’s say five years. I’d chock it all up to this sort of collective wanderlust spirit, sort of this fire-burning-inside/on-the-bus off-the-bus/spirituality quest, sort of this kind of journey to find space, to find community, to find work (and play) with intention.

While driving back home to the ranch from Denver a few weekends ago, I happened to pass by a neat looking outdoor education center/camp off the side of the road before I hit greater downtown Deckers. The sign read: Woodbine Ecology Center, and I had to take a peek.

The neat thing about this outdoor education center is that they believe wholeheartedly in being a sustainable community through indigenous Ute practices.

“The point of Woodbine is to provide a base from which indigenous peoples can join with other communities of goodwill to forge a more just and sustainable future for all future generations.”

I mean, you can’t argue with that. I think we do what we do at HTOEC and Sanborn very well. And similarly, I think what Woodbine is doing is incredible work for visitors and students alike. And a lot of that has to do with the rich Colorado history we’re able to pass along.

But one of the main reasons they do what they do is because of (well, here comes that buzz word again) … intention.

“We have indigenous children who are third- or fourth-generation urban dwellers, many of whom have lost any connection with their histories, values and culture, with their songs and ceremonies, and with their elders and the wisdom their ancestors have passed to them about living in their homeland.”

There’s a lot to learn at these sort of places. And I have to say that different paths work for different people.

And each person, thus, is able to thrive in the way in which they can (and want to), whether it be (shameless plugs …) living off the grid in geodesic domes and treehouses (and walking labyrinths for hours), designing biblical gardens as summer camp, teaching low-income families about aquaponics systems in urban areas, or just brewing a good cup of chai mate (and having an awesome folk dance on Shabbat!).

So I think we all have the same goal here. We can all find validity in each of our fields.

And I think that’s especially important. We should never, ever think that what we’re doing–the way in which we teach children, build our homes, feed our communities and share ideas to future generations–is better or worse than the work of our neighbors’.

Different paths work for different people. And we should all be excited to learn with each other.

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