Structure of the forums
Young people will gather at sites outside of their urban setting including a horse ranch in a safe area of East Palo Alto next to the bay lands and a beachfront center in Half Moon Bay that offer a homelike setting big enough to accommodate groups of approximately 20 young people, 4 mentors (minimum) and additional older youth assistants.
Full kitchens and an outdoor space that offering versatility in the young peoples’ experiences will support activities that include but are not limited to horseback riding and roping steer, preparing a boat for water readiness and learning how to navigate/sail, fly-fishing and identifying safe plants to eat in the wild, fire safety certification, ropes course and other physical challenges such as hiking and setting up shelter.
Complimentary cultural, artistic and philosophical/ academic foundations will be provided by opportunities to explore painting, film/photography, dance, music, writing and select book/literature discussions whose purpose will be to help foster values, aesthetics, self knowledge and stimulate imagination in order to cultivate external and internal inquiry about themselves and society, i.e. scientific and psychological inquiry.
Recreational components offered include campfires, musical and poetry jam sessions, eating a meal together and cleaning up, local travel to nearby points of interest and quality down time away from electronic media in an indoor-outdoor quiet setting.
Dates and Duration of Program
Beginning on Sunday, October 25th through December 6th from 1-4 pm, we will run a six-session series in a serene setting where students can explore making a short video with a former Hollywood filmmaker, learn fly-fishing and explore with a naturalist, sail with a lieutenant from the Maritime Academy and try their hands at horsemanship from a real urban cowboy. Our adult mentors are supported by professional youth trainer and author, Bret Stephenson, who has worked with over 10,000 young people and continues to train teachers internationally.
We will meet weekly to foster community and offer communication skills amidst the physical challenges to round out the offerings. The program will culminate with a guided experience in a native sweat lodge where we will learn about the rituals native Californians embraced to help youth transition into adulthood.
Parents would be responsible for timely transportation to and from our East Palo Alto site.
Buses driven by adults whose records/licenses have been verified would transport children to the Half Moon Bay Site if coming from other communities. This would be included in the fees. Adults wishing to participate when appropriate would have to secure their own transportation.
These measures are being taken to ensure commitment by both child and adults to the program and respect for the teachers and group once their time has been committed and the group is in session.
Completion of the Program
Awards, a certificate of completion and a celebration of an agreed kind will be offered at the completion of the session. Friends and family will be invited to join at a designated point to witness the students’ accomplishments and participate in their newfound support community.
It is possible the young people can secure volunteer hours from our program depending on their school’s requirements.