Rick's Journal

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Hawk Circle and Waldorf Education

Waldorf education has had a huge influence on me. I will come right out and admit it. My mom was brilliant in putting me in the Sacramento Waldorf School in my early grades, then I was part of the Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School in their pioneering years from fourth to eighth grade. We lived in Camphill Village in Copake, NY, too. The philosophy wasn't something I read about, studied and thought about. It was something I lived, for much of my youth.

Even as I studied my wilderness skills throughout the country, I was never far away from Waldorf communities. I worked with Tamara Slayton in Sebastapol, developing Rites of Passage and Coming of Age events for young men and women. I worked for a summer at the Summerfield Waldorf School's summer day camp in Santa Rosa, and worked at the Hawthorne Valley Farm store for years as I developed the Hawk Circle Summer Camp on the land in that community.

I also worked at Hawthorne Valley School cleaning and doing maintenance projects, as well as being part of the Visiting Students Program on the Farm for several years. It was Nancy Dill, the director of that program, who helped me get Hawk Circle started on the old Agawamuck campsite location. Those were pioneering days!

For me, Waldorf education and the community environment shows up all of the time. I sew, draw, build cabins and teach through storytelling, all skills whose foundations were laid in my early classes at those schools. I am comfortable in front of large groups of people, usually! (Thanks, school play!) and I feel good about creating safe spaces where campers and students can grow and thrive, where they have a good balance of challenge and inner connection to nature that is unique to each group.

I guess this post is a small way of saying thank you to all of my teachers, who were patient with me while I knitted, drew with block crayons, painted in dark colors (I'm colorblind!) and goofed my way through eurythmy! I know I wasn't the easiest person to mentor and bring through the process, so I know it was a labor of love. Yeah, the pay probably wasn't that great either! Hopefully, the work I have tried to develop here at Hawk Circle is part of the growing unfoldment of positive leadership, change and transformation that is taking hold in our world today.

This year, we are working with the Minnesota Waldorf School, the Waldorf School of Garden City, the River Valley Waldorf School, the Rudolf Steiner School in NYC, the Aurora Waldorf School and a number of other schools. They come to Hawk Circle with their sixth grade, or seventh or eighth grade, for a week of immersion into nature, as a group. We work with the class teacher to develop a program that is customized to each class's unique needs, modifying native crafts, skills, adventures and experiences that will help ensure an awesome experience.

It is a great feeling to go into those schools and visit their class/parents, (as we do for each group that comes to Hawk Circle). We can really feel the strength, the caring and the dedication that is present, and to see the effect it has on the youth, on everyone, really. It makes me proud to have been and still be a part of this movement, and to support it with our wilderness camps and class trips.

I have a small article coming out in the next issue of LILIPOH, the unofficial publication of the expanding Waldorf influenced universe, as well as mention in a similar Waldorf education meets wilderness education article in Renewal (the official publication of Waldorf!) We look forward to continued collaboration and support in these movements, for the benefit of our children and young adults, and, well, all of us!

Please note: By the way, the pic above is of the October 2007 Baltimore Waldorf Coming of Age program at the Gunpowder Falls State Park in Maryland.